"There is no such thing as a good fit that is uncomfortable. The good fit, which, as I have said, must be allied to cutting, must never have any appearance of strain anywhere, and it should look as relaxed as you feel."
"I am quite aware that I shall annoy some people by my insistence on correctness based on tradition in the choice of certain articles of clothing; that I shall be called a snob and out of date. My reply again is that the suit is the dress of a gentleman. If you are one, you will instinctively, almost unconsciously, uphold its standards. If you are not, you might like to be helped. Don’t forget, I was not born a gentleman. But I was born with sharp eyes that noticed what a real gentleman wore and a curious mind which enquired into the origins of his style. What I learned I am trying to pass on."
"‘So what must you get into that handsdome head of yours? Just this—set yourself a brilliant goal, and conceal the means by which you arrive at it, conceal every step you take towards it. You have behaved like child—now be a man, be a hunter, get into the swim, lie in ambush in the world of Paris, wait until chance brings the quarry within your reach and do not worry too much about your personal integrity and your so-called dignity—because we are all more or less in the power of something—a vice, or a failing; but keep the one supreme law—that of secrecy!’"
Advice from an Archcriminal to a young man, from Honoré de Balzac’s Lost Illusions.
"Lucien realised, at the Minister’s house, the great difference that exists between the world of high society and the Bohemian world in which he had been living for some time. There was nothing in common between these two kinds of magnificence, not a single point of resemblance."
"At that time there flourished a circle of young men, some rich, others poor, all equally idle, known as viveurs—and indeed their lives were carefree to a degree; they ate intrepidly, drank still more intrepidly. They were all wildly extravagant and fond of playing crude practical jokes. They were not merely foolish, they were mad; they drew back before no impossibility, and gloried in their misdeeds—which, however, they kept within certain limits; and there was so much wit and originality in their escapades that it was impossible not to forgive them.
The restoration had condemned its young men to the idleness of helots, and this fashion was symptomatic. There was so much wasted energy and ability allowed to go to seed among the youth of France that young men, with no outlet for their energies, threw themselves not only into journalism and conspiracies, literature and the arts, but into the most extravant excesses and dissipations. Those who were by nature cut out to be men of energy and hard work wanted power and pleasure. Those witha natural love of the arts wanted money; and the idle wanted sensation; they all wanted something to do, and the political situation gave them no opening.
Nearly all of the viveurs were men of outstanding abilities; some of them were ruined by this enervating life, others held out against it."
"You have genius; try to have your revenge. The world despises you—despise the world. Take refuge in some attic and write masterpieces, make yourself powerful in any way you will, and you will soon see the world at your feet; then for every wound that you have received you can give back a wound in return…"
Advice to a defeated enemy from Honoré du Balzac, Lost Illusions.
"Although linen wears much better than cotton and is therefore in the end cheaper, the poorer classes prefer, as always, to pay less than more, and, by the law of Vae victis, really spend far more in the end. The middle classes behave in much the same way.
The time has come when the policy of equalisation is diminishing fortunes, so that everything will have to be of poorer quality. There will be a demand for cheap clothes and cheap books, just as pictures today are small because no one has space for large ones. Well, neither clothes nor books will last, that is all. One sees it everywhere—the quality of goods is deteriorating."
Ivy Style: Why do you think VAN was such a success?
Toshiyuki Kurosu: VAN would basically create things that never existed before or things that were common in the U.S. but not available in Japan. We would just copy those American goods, and they all sold like crazy. But no one realized that this is what we were doing.
Take T-shirts, for example. We tried to quietly put them in stores, but no one bought them. So then we would write in Men’s Club or wherever, “All American students wear T-shirts!” and suddenly everyone would buy them.
"More and more, navigating a menu is fraught with treachery. You look across the lunch table at a work colleague and have to decide if you should suggest ordering a glass of Burgundy—or is it too early in the day or the week? If it was a brave man who ate the first oyster, it’s a braver one who orders the first martini."
VICE: There is a lot of that with the pace of media right now, where people are always looking to see who’s putting out the newest sneakers, but there are a few brands whose authenticity is paramount.
BURT AVEDON: Yeah, but unfortunately good brands of heritage are a reflection of their original management; when they become professionally managed, they lose the spark that brought them to where they are today. I found that to be classic in the industry. Whenever they go into second- and third-generation management, they lose themselves. They no longer have the passion that was originally part of their DNA.