Revising John Bartlett.

January 3, 2013
It might come over as all too ambitious but this year I’ve resolved to have the best year of my life so far. Vague? Yes. Difficult to achieve – or more pressingly –  to accurately assess? Certainly. Still, I like to think we, all of us, know what makes us happy and by extension, then, how we can try to carve the happiest year out of the mass clay (potential) we’re presented with on January 1st – by filling our time with the happy-making things.
OK, you’re probably tempted to report this post and have me committed at this stage, but as Miranda‘s Tilly would say, bear with.
This mammoth resolution aside, I’ve also taken up something much more quantifiable – poring over the v. many pages of an old Taschen book I’d bought ages ago in an attempt to educate myself, but had never got ’round to actually reading. Fashion Now, in which Brit-cool mag i-D selects the world’s 150 most important designers, is one of those treasure troves of information; more than a mere reference book, it offers insight as well as aesthetic appeal. And not only does this provide daily opportunities to improve my fashun skillz, I’m also getting a bit of much-needed Deutsch practice in (before moving to Berlin in a couple of months…).

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^ John Bartlett

First up is John Bartlett (b. 1963), a menswear designer who hails from Cincinnati, Ohio, but who rails against the philosophies of his Middle American origins. I’d not heard of him before happening upon his entry in the book but having read the mini-interview and gained more of an understanding of his aesthetic leanings, I reckon I’ve found a like-minded individual when it comes to all things menswear.

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^ Fall Winter 2010
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^ Spring Summer 2010

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^ Spring Summer 2009

A FIT grad counting Genet and Mapplethorpe amongst those who inspire him, Bartlett says he seeks to “merge masculinity and fashion”, and in the process he’s become fixated on uniforms, esp. those of the military. Although his parents sought an investment banking future for Bartlett, he opted instead for a full immersion in the world of clubbing and clothing in 80’s London, frequenting the King’s Road for his gear, and club Taboo for antics. It seemed to work for him, too, considering he was the inaugural recipient of the CFDA Perry Ellis Award in 1994.

Looking at his work now, I couldn’t honestly say I’m enamoured of his collections in their entirety, the silhouettes being that bit flabby by today’s modern, much more svelte and closely-cut standards, and the visual effect having something of the kitsch to it (and not in the ironic hipster sense). Still, certain elements (those above) assure that Bartlett can hold us own amongst contemporaries, and that’s noteworthy enough, no?

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  • Mat January 4, 2011 at 10:09 am

    the guys face in the second bit is just killer. he doesn't look to happy to be dressed as a german solider. the material of the suit jacket in the first is just excellent, it looks good and it works good. really heavy too. only £4 in the sale

  • Cillian January 4, 2011 at 10:32 am

    True! Not the most model-esque of mugs.Must have a look-see. My surprisingly over-priced plastic just doesn't cut it anymore…C.

  • Fashion Philosopher January 4, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Hi Cillian, I just read you move to Berlin. I love Berlin and I am sure you will have a great time there. I am German and Berlin is the only place I can see myself living at in Germany ( I am must say my first love is London where I have been living for the last 13 years now). You will be suprised by the beautiful flats people have and the prices. Berlin is a bit like 1993 in terms of the money you spend there. By the way I keep myself up- dated by this on- line magazine by people, I think, from the UK, who live in Berlin. It is quite informative about going out, fashion, music and art in Berlin. Check it out: !!!Love, the fashion philosopher