Aug 27, 2007

Why choose?

The Sartorialist asks: Who had more style?

Cary Grant?
He didn’t cheat like Fred Astaire who created all kinds of innovations in his legendary collaboration with his Savile Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard or Kilgour, French & Stanbury to facilitate his incomparable movements on the dance floor.

Some of Astaire’s innovations were ridiculously pretentious like the time he tied a scarf instead of a belt around his pants, a substitution that was supposed to make his clothes less constricting. Cary Grant just wore clothes that fit.

Fred Astaire was a one-dimensional talent, a dandy dancer, a leggy technician with a lot of skill, and even more discipline. His girlishly lithe figure made it easier for him to defy gravity than a man of Grant’s more manly size.

or Fred Astaire?
There is more a sense of studied nonchalance about Astaire. Grant looked elegant in white tie and tails, but Astaire looked elegant and comfortable. He wore them like they were pajamas and a tux as though it were a part of his everyday routine, rather than borrowed from some Prussian general. It wasn’t supposed to look perfect, it was supposed to look thrown together in a perfectly natural way. Of course, it wasn’t anything of the sort. It’s what Castiglione in The Book of the Courtier defined as “sprezzatura”, a studied casualness that hides itself in purposeful eccentricity.

No comments: