1935: Is it back? Economically, maybe, who knows. Fashion-wise? Andre Benjamin certainly believes so fiercely! Andre, a.k.a. Andre 3000 of Outkast, long ago gave up rollin down the strip on Vogues and slammin Cadillac doe's in favor of acting, singing weird songs, and designing fancy menswear under the label "Benjamin Bixby." It features old-style things like breeches and waistcoats and "plus fours," something I could not even identify despite being a
stylish man myself. So: is this a mark of progress, or something to scoff at? Take a look!: Despite the fact that his clothing line is perhaps not for me—and perhaps something that would cause me to make jokes were I to spy it on the street, offending as it is to my traditional small-mindedness—there's no denying that Andre is a guy with an actual claim to being an artist, whereas just about every other celebrity designer just has a claim to being a narcissist. So good for him!
Later, to create a persona for his fashion line, Mr. Benjamin combined his surname with that of Bill Bixby. The character is a world traveler whose wardrobe includes things like a $995 cotton corduroy blazer, a $350 felted waistcoat and a $95 newsboy cap. At Barneys, those clothes now hang next to lines like Double RL and Engineered Garments, which have a similar bent of Depression Chic.God it just sounds so ridiculous. You think it looks good on the models, ladies? Wait till your boyfriend puts it on. It will be awful. So, boo hoo, he made some crazy clothes. It's hardly Southernplayalistic. But it's an improvement over Sean John. This clothing line is just like Andre's music: he was great at standard, normal hip hop. Then he got bored with it and started making crazy shit. I liked the early stuff better, but the new stuff is still miles above whatever Puffy might turn out. Creativity is painful. The only thing worse is no creativity. We still don't encourage anyone to actually wear this. [NYT]