Monday, October 3, 2011
5 Minutes With Jeffrey Banks
Jeffrey Banks is an acclaimed Menswear Designer whose signature American design style has significantly impacted the entire fashion world. The Jeffrey Banks Signature Menswear Collection was launched in 1977, consisting of tailored clothing, dress furnishings and sportswear. It established a new benchmark for men of style.
Throughout his distinguished career Banks has been honored for his talent and creativity. He has won two Coty Awards for Outstanding Menswear and Men's Furs. He received the Cutty Sark U.S. Menswear Designer of the Year Award for his Extraordinary Contribution to Men's Fashion, an Earnie Award for Boyswear and the Pratt Award for Design Excellence.
While obtaining a degree in Fashion Design at Pratt Institute and Parsons School of Design in New York City, Jeffrey Banks was Design Assistant to both Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein.
Jeffrey Banks and co-author, Doria de La Chapelle, have written the authoritative reference for all things tartan and plaid-'Tartan, Romancing the Plaid' and 'Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style' which offers the first definitive and in-depth volume on preppy fashion, exploring its evolution from its pragmatic origins and presence on elite Eastern campuses in America to its profound influence internationally and metamorphosis on the runway.
Q1. This should be an easy one...What was the first record that you owned that really made an impact on you?
JB: It was the original Broadway cast recording of "The Sound of Music" with Mary Martin. I saw it on its tryout in Wash.DC prior to coming to New York. It was my first Broadway show. I played it until the vinyl wore off !
Q2. Your new book is 'Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style'. Do you think that preppy style can be rebellious given that new wave bands like Talking Heads and the Feelies and current bands like Vampire Weekend wear a preppy look in an unconventional way?
JB: Absolutely, there are rules in preppy dressing but they just beg to be broken, like wearing a madras sports jacket with a striped oxford shirt and a crested woven tie and velvet slippers ( with no socks ).
Q3.What are the five key garments in Preppy style?
JB: A Navy Blazer. A Pink BD Shirt. Brogue shoes. Flat front khaki chinos. A D-ring ribbon belt
Q3. You previous book 'Tartan: Romancing the Plaid' is the the definitive book on tartan. I came to tartan with the advent of punk rock and then wore a kilt with eyeliner during the new romantic era. What drew you to tartan as a fashion statement?
JB: I have always loved tartan and everything it represents ; Romance , History, Sedition, Bravado , Daring , Tradition. And I've loved it since I was a little boy. It's always a classic and yet it 's always changing. It's what you do to it and with it that makes it exciting !
Q5. As a designer and the co-editor of the book 'American Mens Fashion' (Assouline) how do you think men's fashion has changed over the past few decades?
JB: I think have become more confident in their own style.They no longer have to follow like sheep what other men wear. They can change from jeans to a suit to have drinks at night, or wear jeans with a sports jacket to the office in the morning. They take care of their bodies and want to show them off with better tailored clothes. They can be straight as a arrow and sport black nail polish. It's a whole new era...of confidence !