Steve McQueen Becomes a Fashion Brand

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  1. lucy92

    lucy92 Administrator

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    Fashion Channels the Steve McQueen Mojo


    Steve McQueen died in 1980. Today, he is a rising star in menswear.
    Dolce & Gabbana has created a line of $285 T-shirts decorated with pictures of the 1960s and '70s star for spring, building on the success of a limited-edition line in spring 2008. Thom Browne, a designer known for his extremely fitted clothing, cites Mr. McQueen's look in "The Thomas Crown Affair" as an inspiration. Pictures of Mr. McQueen adorn the "mood" bulletin boards used in-house to inform J. Crew's collections, says Frank Muytjens, head of men's design. The retailer carries off-white, slim-fitting corduroy pants and Baracuta jackets like the ones the actor wore; it even styles outfits in its catalogs based on photographs of him.
    'The King of Cool' a Fashion Icon, Too


    Steve McQueen, shown here in the 1968 movie “Bullitt,” has had a lasting influence on menswear and recently inspired a new clothing line.





    Furthermore: Gucci featured racing-driver looks inspired by Mr. McQueen in its spring 2008 runway show, A.P.C. sells a bomber called "the old-school jacket" that looks like the Harrington jacket Mr. McQueen wore, and Hermès and Michael Kors have recently based clothing and bags on the man once dubbed the "King of Cool."
    With so many brands channeling Mr. McQueen—Tag Heuer and Persol have resurrected a watch and aviator shades identified with him—perhaps it was only a matter of time before there was a Steve McQueen clothing line. Such a collection quietly made its debut last winter and will be carried this fall in stores including Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom.
    The made-in-America line was produced with the blessing of the star's son by motorcycle maker Johnson Motors Inc. and GreenLight, which manages Steve McQueen licensing rights. It includes $65 to $70 T-shirts made of Supima cotton, $130 sweat shirts and leather jackets and pea coats (between $400 and $850) that are based on ones Mr. McQueen wore.
    Mr. McQueen, who starred in action, adventure and suspense films such as "The Great Escape," "Bullitt" and "The Getaway," has a built-in audience among over-50 males and movie buffs. His coolness and "guy's guy" persona were admired in his day. But that doesn't fully explain the current obsession with him in the fashion world.

    His look is so restrained—and incorporates so many of today's basics—that those who haven't seen his movies can strain to understand the allure. His clothes were neutral-colored and plain: flat-front chinos, suede desert boots, straight-leg jeans, windbreakers, shawl-collar cardigans, T-shirts and sweat shirts. They were simply classic American casual clothing.



    "Sure, some consider him to be a style icon and a pioneer, but from what I have seen, he doesn't really do anything that was that extraordinary by today's standards," says 20-year-old Derek Yegan, of Mission Viejo, Calif.
    But that understatement is an essential part of his appeal to designers today. Mr. McQueen wore clothes that didn't scream to be seen. In an economic environment where conspicuous fashion is frowned upon, sobriety may be an easier sell, especially for men, who generally don't want their clothes to draw too much attention.
    Meanwhile, classic American sportswear has been all the rage in menswear recently, with designers like Michael Bastian and Band of Outsiders spinning updated interpretations of khakis, button-downs, cardigans and corduroys.
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    McQueen’s race-car-driver look influenced this Gucci look.

    It helps that Mr. McQueen looked as at ease in a sweatshirt and chinos as he did in a three-piece suit, wearing both looks effortlessly, says menswear historian Robert E. Bryan, whose book, "Men's American Fashion," comes out this month. "It wasn't just what he wore, but how he wore things, so naturally and with confidence. He had a relaxed un-self-conscious way of dressing" that appeals to men.



    "We've never had an actor who's presented a sportswear story in the way Steve McQueen has," explains Tom Julian, a trend expert and author of "Nordstrom Guide to Men's Style," published earlier this year.
    Menswear's love affair with Mr. McQueen also reflects a yearning for a certain type of masculinity. His stint as a U.S. Marine, rugged athleticism, less-is-more acting style and real-life love of car racing and motorcycles—which meant he performed some of his own film stunts—have earned him scores of cool points.
    Of course, some say McQueen worship reflects something more disheartening. "It speaks to the fact we are in dire need of some new style icons," says Tyler Thoreson, executive editor of fashion Web site men.style.com. While he likes Mr. McQueen, "everyone keeps going to the same well."
    For now, though, fashion marketers are hoping to extend Mr. McQueen's influence further into a younger generation of men. One 19-year-old, Alex Kizewski, of Wausau, Wis., recently "discovered" the star after stumbling on one of his movies on TV. Now, he says, "every time I watch a movie of his, I pick up on things that he wears that I want to incorporate into my own wardrobe."






    In order to reach more young guys who aren't that familiar with the actor, "marketers will have to do a good job in selling his 'back story,' " says Mr. Julian. Indeed, the new Steve McQueen line seeks to play up his off-screen life, including his stint in the Marines, says Sean Kelly, owner of Johnson Motors, the developer of the new McQueen collection; Johnson created the Triumph motorcycle Mr. McQueen liked to ride. "We wanted to build the collection around the real man," Mr. Kelly adds. Tags on the clothes will feature biographical stories about the actor, says Vince Gonzales, who handles the line's sales and marketing.



    Eric Jennings, men's fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue, thinks the line will resonate with men too young to appreciate Mr. McQueen because what the actor wore then happens to be what many stylish young men wear now. "Maybe [younger men] don't know who he is, but they are feeling his influence now."
    Though he took pride in the way he dressed, Mr. McQueen might have found it amusing to be held up as a style icon. "My dad was pretty humble about stuff like that," says Chad McQueen, the actor's son, who has been selective about agreeing to licensing deals and has sued brands over unauthorized use. "How would Dad feel? I don't think he would have taken himself too seriously," he says. "When I was growing up, he was really stylish, but his persona was about flying under the radar, being stylish but low-key."


    wsj.com
     
  2. lucy92

    lucy92 Administrator

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    1. The Steve McQueen-inspired line of clothing from motorcycle maker Johnson Motors.

    2. McQueen’s race-car-driver look influenced this Gucci look.

    wsj.com
     

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  3. Spike413

    Spike413 barcode

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    This is so random. There's something kind of off about using a dead celebrity/style icon to launch what is essentially a celeb clothing line. But then there's the memorabilia element of it, the same as buying a Steve McQUeen poster or something. It's just unusual.

    Thanks for posting lucy.
     
  4. lmelanie

    lmelanie Active Member

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    Steve McQueen is my favorite actor of all time and this kind of branding and mass marketing just makes me really sad. I don't mind if pieces are inspired by him but this just doesnt seem right.
     
  5. lucy92

    lucy92 Administrator

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    i think the new brand needs to remove all those logos.

    i think they should stick to copying his costume items and garments that he wore in real life as closely as possible.

    perhaps the logos are an attempt to appeal to the biker crowd.
     
  6. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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    ^ I guess all the live celebrities already had lines? :huh: If this becomes a trend, I can at least see it cutting back the number of celebrity 'designer' interviews cluttering fashion magazines ... unless they start imagining what the celebrities would have said had they ever been interviewed by Elle :innocent:
     
  7. b9409

    b9409 New Member

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    He is a fashion icon, he doesn't need to be anything more than that.

    Sad that we do not have any debonair and charismatic male celebrities or superstars that can replace these men like Dean, McQueen or Newman as popular culture and fashion icons.
     

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