Alexander shields has spent the last 10 years setting tradition on its ear—and in a world for which he was never made. As the son of a California ship-owning family, he was slated for a diplomatic career. He circled the globe on freighters in his teens and on merchant ships as a World War II commander. But all of this travel and the consequent exposure to dress around the globe gave Alex another mission—to set the American male free from the hidebound tradition of his dress. More than any other individual in the men's apparel field he is succeeding in doing just that. He made the first men's suit of jersey—a fabric as difficult to tailor as it is easy to wear and to pack. His jackets don't button—they fit so easily that they don't need to. He made the first tartan dinner jacket, and started a whole new trend toward colorful evening wear. He is particularly noted for the colorful fabrics—burnt oranges, citron yellows, rich greens—used in his resort clothes, such as those photographed here on Shields aficionados in Palm Beach.
Alex Shields (shown here in his New York shop with Mrs. Shields) is his own best model. He wears a Shields classic—a buttonless, wool jersey suit ($150). His square-end silk tie is another Shields classic. He also has a shop in Palm Beach, and his complete line is at I. Magnin in the West.
Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Pulitzer, at pool of Mrs. T. Bedford Davie with daughter Lily, display a Shields first: Herbert's kimono ($45), made of terry. Shields took the Oriental kimono, cut it more trimly to make it functional for men. It also comes in silk and cotton.
Mr. and Mrs. William E. Benjamin II have a drink beside pool at Point Manalapan, a club real-estate colony Mr. Benjamin is developing on site of Mme. Jacques Balsan's Lantana, Fla. villa. His jacket is of red-colored jute with black grosgrain piping ($75).
February 16, 1959
William G. Cluett and Bill Benjamin play golf in Shields jersey. Cluett's jacket is of forest green ($100), and Benjamin's is cut like a battle jacket, with brass buttons ($25).
"Pete" Pulitzer wears a Dacron-cotton sport shirt ($18.50), its bold pattern one of the many that Alex Shields has taken from the heraldic banners of Siena, flown during the Palio.
Messmore Kendall Jr.'s jacket ($100) is of a featherweight silk, striped in black and white, and cut in the Shields manner with peak lapel, the only buttons (of brass) on the sleeves.
Robert E. Bissett wears a Shields Dinky ($17), a brass-buttoned shirt designed to be worn outside the trousers. His slacks are of wool jersey ($50). Skipwith Kendall lounges in the pool.