Somewhere between these party scenes and punk rock, velvet got
banished. A similar expulsion happened during the Regency period.
Etiquette renegade and style minimalist Beau Brummell turned up in
tight, matte jodhpurs like the sneering Johnny Rotten of his day.
He rubbished velvet along with colour, frills and anything overtly
‘fancy’. He was right, in a way. Looking manly in velvet can be a
Enter alpha-Texan Tom Ford with his 1994
collection for Gucci. Presenting a dark, plush take on men’s
evening garb, teamed with sexually charged images by Mario Testino,
Ford made dressy gear fanciable again. In more recent years, Ford’s
eponymous label has done brisk business swathing nocturnal
creatures in plush velvet apparel.
The night is velvet’s natural
habitat. But, like urban foxes abandoning protocol, nighttime items
are appearing in twilight and daytime arenas. Spazzolato (v. shiny)
or patent leather shoes, and hybrid dress shirts have emerged
blinking into the light. Other trappings of 1970s man-glam have
also become attractive of late. Yellow-gold watches and jewellery,
lizard/croc bags and shoes, hairy chests with necklaces, and
wafer-thin watches are all looking appetising on the verve buffet.
Dress slippers and even Cuban heels, maybe? Tailoring in brown
and burgundy has definitely been looking strong. The sartorial
planets are aligned and velvet looks to be on the
Tread carefully, however. Velvet
does need to be rendered with an edge, so be sure you find one. The
facial-hair department is a possibility, as championed by Ford
himself. I came adrift once, having tried on a full Ford ensemble
with stubble, loving the thing very much. Freshly shaved that
night, I discovered I was not channelling ’70s New York playboy,
but amateur variety-club entertainer at a wedding. Maybe it was my
dance moves, but best approach the matter with a rugged caution