The makers of men's fashions this fall have wrought almost as many changes as the designers of the autumnal gallery on the preceding pages. Just as the natural-shouldered, sack-suited lines of so-called Ivy League clothing have taken hold as far west of Yale as Anchorage, a new shape in shaping up. The look is European in inspiration—borrowed from England and Italy—more fit, more flare. But it is tailored with an American casualness that makes it an easy and logical fashion step from the ubiquitous gray flannel suit.
This is an article from the Sept. 15, 1958 issue
On this page, Olympic Track Star Bill Albans, who was also All-America in football, basketball and track at North Carolina, represents the urban aspect of this new look. His bowler bodes to be this fall's successor to summer's big revival, the straw boater. In its new version, the derby is of soft, lightweight fur felt, narrow and curled of brim. It is the logical topper to the big coat news of fall: the American version of the British warm, a popular coat in England since officers sported it, with epaulets, in World War I. Its suppression at the waist, its peaked lapels, its double-breasted closing are almost as trend-setting as its length—just to the knee. Through its influence, all coats are shorter this fall. As worn by Bill, it is of the traditional officer's "pink." It is also seen in tweeds and hop-sacking and moves casually to stadium or race meets. Bill's accessories are perfect accompaniments: a tab-collared shirt; a Macclesfield silk checked tie; French suede gloves; a silk foulard handkerchief; and squared-off shoes, a Johnston & Murphy adaptation of the latest Italian style. His young racquets companion is 4½-year-old Lloyd Ribner Jr. For other details of the 1958 look and a first view of the most revolutionary fashion development of the fall, see the following pages.
Bill Albans' Derby comes in gray, navy, brown, black ($13.50, Dobbs). His British warm is of Worumbo worsted ($115, Jason Gibbs). Hathaway shirt.
Country counterpart to the new shaping takes an equestrian bent. Here at Pennsylvania's Rose Tree Hunt are four examples—two suits, two jackets. Their detailing is directly inspired by English-cut hacking jackets: slanting pockets and back venting, both originally designed for saddle comfort. But each is distinctive, not carbon copies as men's wear has tended to be.
Country suit is of hound's-tooth blending of 60% wool and 40% Orion. It has extremely high center vent, flared skirt of riding jackets. Its Bemberg lining has Canadian goose print ($75, Norford Clothes).
Loden jacket has imaginative pocket and back detailing, bi-swing shoulder pleats ($80, John Alexander). Tweed hat is fall highlight ($10, Stetson).
Continental suit of plaid worsted has Italian-inspired shorter jacket, side vents, cuffs on sleeves, peaked lapels—an important fall silhouette. It has no flaps on pockets ($75, Chester Laurie).
Raw silk jacket won Caswell-Massey Award as the best jacket of the year for its beautifully executed detailing of pockets, back ($110, Baker).
Nylon cocklebur: fashion find of '58
Fall's most important innovation came from a walk in the woods
When Georges de Mestral took a walk in the woods near Geneva, Switzerland one autumn day, an idea for the most revolutionary closure since the zipper began to germinate in his inventive mind. De Mestral's imagination was sparked by the pestiferous clinging of cockleburs on his socks and pants. The end result is called the Velcro fastener, which is the fashion innovation of the fall of 1958. It consists of one strip of cloth on which there are myriad tiny nylon hooks and another on which there is a pile of nylon loops. When pressed smoothly together, they cling just as the burs did to de Mestral's clothing. Unlike cockleburs, when peeled apart from top to bottom or bottom to top, the hooks release as easily as a zipper. The first garment to feature a Velcro closure, the poplin golf jacket on this page ($22, Saks Fifth Avenue) has passed rigid tests, will hold in action, last the garment's lifetime. Before winter, Velcro will be giving smooth, bulkless fastening to every form of men's and women's wear—thanks to a walk in autumn.