A gentleman according to the books is a man of good and courteous conducts, a well-educated man so to speak. If we stick to this simple vision of who a gentleman should be it seems quite easy for any man to be one or to pretend to be one.
However not everybody is a gentleman and the truth is that Mother Nature has not given the same style and family package to everybody. Gentlemen are part of an international tribe and are the ones that turn ladies' heads over toes and make the headlines on street style fashion week pages or Hollywood red carpets. A gentleman is not only gentle, he is a real man and in that sense has the courtesy of knowing how to dress according to his lifestyle.
Here you go, being a gentleman is a matter of attitude or so told me Matthew McConaugheywhen I met him in Milan during the SS11 menswear fashion week.
According to the menswear trendsetters and after having looked back into lasts seasons' proposals, contemporary is part of the definition of being a gentleman. On time with what's going on but not only, Mr needs to prove to be a forward thinker. As a knowledgeable city dweller his mind is focused on what drives the world, could be politics, art or culture. The most important thing is the way he approaches the others and the subjects that matter. With a quirky nonchalance he is the master of non show off elegance, think cashmere turtle and corduroy trousers in winter under a trench or a classic navy blue wool pea coat. At evenings, he will most probably appear in a Martini Suit signed Dolce&Gabbana, the Italian creative duo were among the fashion artists that revolutionized the masculine wardrobe back in the nineties. Since then men have started dressing themselves as opposed to just covering themselves. But how difficult is it to be a gentleman, a real one? What are today's coats of arms? Last weeks' menswear fashion shows have given us an illustration that we might want to buy into as it is casual, chic, inspirational and just enough sensational.
Gentle is surely what defines a contemporary super man. A super hero that does see the world in colour but has not been drawn out of a cartoon but out of some sartorial cuts and tailored silhouettes. For Ermengildo Zegna, the essence of our gentle-super-man is his passion for life. Wherever he goes he takes part to what is happening. He interacts with people virtually, he travels for real, he shops with his fingertips and falls in love naturally. Impeccable at ease with what comes up his wardrobe reflects his ability to adapt.
Where does he shop? Everywhere, depending on his mood and time. He could be buying a casual polo shirt on the newly launch online 3-D Zegna_In_Store and in the next 10 minutes be running to an appointment with Bally's made-to-measure Scribe team.
Accessories are key for him as much as they are to us women who cannot run out of the house without the it bag of the day and the happy shoes pinned on magazines' must have double page spreads. This fashion-purchasing factor has been clearly understood by luxury brands especially the ones specialised in leathergoods. Hence Tod's presented last week a full stationery office collection including in-house versions of the moleskin notebooks and watch collector boxes in alligator. Not only the skin is exotic but also the colours. Bygone are the days when a man had to stick to the 4-colour spectrum black-white-navy-brown. The new millennium gave him a go for bold bright colours to be worn and featured on his desk. Personally I had a fashion week crush on the Tod's stationery and hope that women will be allowed to indulge. After all a good work can only be done in an appropriate setup, no?
Having nailed down his behaviour and opened his closet cupboards, a crucial question needs to be answered: What does he look like?
Tousled hairstyle, preppy dirty... Think David Bowie meets Rob Steward and says "Hi" to George Clooney. Got the picture? Forget the static definition written by John Selden, in Titles of Honour (1614), a gentleman is first and foremost made out of a gentle mind... What about gentlewomen then?
By Delphine Hervieu.