In the 1950s, Americans took many brave, wide steps in the ongoing expansion of the national waistline (i.e. tuna casserole, fast food, TV dinners). Even as girdles yawned and warped, the strides forward in men's fashion were small in comparison to the processed foods revolution. Love "Mad Men" as we do, the real innovations in men's dress aesthetics were left to the unkempt, dropout, noise-making beatniks that populated the step-down coffee shops of Bleecker Street.
This fall, novice designer Claude Grant translates the original hipster style for today with his namesake men's collection. By tweaking traditional proportions and embracing the true waist and the pleat, Grant's foray into menswear injects a much-needed history lesson into casual sportswear. "It's a little quirky and enigmatic but made to very traditional tailor standards," Grant says. "I want to make clothes that work in various occasions; clothes that will kind of fit in [but still] kind of stand out." Currently, the NY-State-bread, F.I.T.-trained designer is only offering his work through scheduled fittings at his West-Village studio. However, a positive reception at several trade shows this season has Grant thinking about retail possibilities. In the meantime, our favorite piece from the collection, which will be sold exclusively bespoke this fall, is a gray tailored deep V-neck work suit. Perfect for abstract painting on the Seine or bongoing your hands off at The Bitter End.