Modern Style: the art of opposition

Modern Style: the art of opposition

The phrase "opposites attract" has always typically been applied to relationships, meaning that the tension of the opposition in certain character traits and behaviours creates that 'chemistry' or passion that sustains and enlivens a relationship. This concept has also long been applied to the creation of beautiful things, from buildings and gardens to works of art. In the very best of these, there is a creative tension, a beauty that we can't quite put our collective finger on, born from some kind of juxtaposition which elucidates a jarring of our senses. 

The Stahl House (Case Study House #22)

Think of the brutalist architecture of London's Southbank, the cold angularity of its concrete dimensions juxtaposed with the soft swept of the Thames before it. Much or modern architecture creates a sort of strangely complementary narrative with the environment its in, despite existing at the other end of a spectrum. Think again of buildings such as the Case Study Houses built in America between 1945 and 1966, jutting out of the landscape like alien terminals, or Picasso's Guernica, or Damien Hirst's formaldehyde-suspended animals, or Rothko's outpouring of depression in his vast coloramas - all striking realisations of the human imagination, with beauty and disjunction working in the engine room of our senses.

Linfield Bomber Jacket Beswick Charcoal Multi

Linfield Bomber Jacket
Beswick Charcoal Multi

House Hoodie Yale Grey

House Hoodie
Yale Grey

Drawstring Trousers Ellbridge Green

Drawstring Trousers
Ellbridge Green

It is the same with fashion too. Great style often comes from redrawing the line, not toeing it, and that typically requires breaking the status quo and creating tension where there was none. This can be achieved by introducing colours that 'shouldn't' go together, or clashing patterns and silhouettes, or taking completely opposing genres and finding ways of making them talk to each other visually. For example, the 'preppy' look which any reasonable person would deem relatively conservative by today's standards, originally sought to combine the divergent worlds of sportswear and tailoring. Sacrilege! But how it works...

Buffalo Jacket Cord Cream

Buffalo Jacket
Cord Cream

New York Special Shirt Copeland Blue/Cream

New York Special Shirt
Copeland Blue/Cream

Pleated Trousers Fairview Black

Pleated Trousers
Fairview Black

When designing this Autumn 22 collection, it was Oli's intention to really explore this concept of opposites attracting. He wanted to combine genres, fabrics, colours and patterns in such a way as to create a beautiful friction. Hence the collection is 'complete' in the sense that every element of it can be worn with everything else. A sporty jersey zip-through with a tailored jacket, a pair of jogging pants with a flannel shirt, a bomber jacket and smart pleated trousers... the permutations are endless.

Solms Jacket Deakin Cord Beige

Solms Jacket Deakin
Cord Beige

Blenheim Jumper Colwick Navy

Blenheim Jumper
Colwick Navy

Blenheim Jumper Colwick Charcoal

Blenheim Jumper
Colwick Charcoal

In many ways, it's about creating your own 'rules'. Of course, there are menswear tribes that stick to certain silhouettes and formulas, but the really stylish among them introduce elements from outside the standard prescription, such as accessorising an unstructured suit with a puffer jacket and baseball cap. On paper they should never work, but in reality, these otherwise diverging items seem to complement one another for their difference.

So next time you're staring into your wardrobe and are struggling for inspiration, think about this concept we've just outlined. Where can you create that tension, that juxtaposition? It's probably there that you'll find the most interesting answers.

Shop New Arrivals

← Older Post Newer Post →