The REVIVALISTS will be released in May 2013 and is sponsored by Lewis Leathers.
The second book in the Men’s File Archive series, The Revivalists is a publication that seeks permission from some of the world’s most dedicated mid-century stylists to reveal their all encompassing adherence to revival style. Following Dick Hebdige’s original thought, these individuals often operate in a subculture of one and hide in plain sight. In other words what might appear to the straight world as exhibitionism is in fact an inward looking process concerned with a deeply personal aesthetic ideal and little else. Given that this statement is true the reader might be concerned that the author is somehow betraying the trust of the revivalists and opening their private realm for the whole world to gorp at – but no. Nick Clements sees such revelations as part of the on-going and constantly self-adjusting nature of subcultures and their relationship with the dominant culture. Clements says “in order for you to grow as a stylist, the mainstream needs to appropriate your ideas, which you then reject as contaminated. This drives you on to renew and repair. Always saying one step ahead”.
NOTES FROM THE AUTHOR
There are those who simply ‘live’ revival. This is not so much a choice as a vocation. They do everything possible to position themselves amongst objects they place in high regard and react to such a situation in a very natural way. Here Tim Gunn, founder of the Old Bicycle Co., rides as navigator in a 1908 Panhard (above). Tim arrived at the re-enactment / photo-shoot with period duster coats that turn a good day into a great one.
The Panhard is offered for sale by historic racing car dealers Fiskens of London. This company has such vision they have brought historic car sales into the 21st century with a series of elaborate revival photo-shoots used in their advertising. A contradiction? Revival style is today, modern and real yet still not totally commodified. It’s also culturally independent and not obsessed by youth. How many style movements can say that?
Simon Delaney is an accomplished actor who is never off duty. His entire life is a series of scenes from a movie that is auto-scripted and directed. His internal landscape is expressed through pure aesthetics that are mediated through his own re-enactment subcultures. Simon brings Hemmingway’s “moveable feast” of clothing and props to every photo-shoot or film as the presence of a camera transports him from the training ground to an arena in which he is able to show-off his understanding of history and theatre.
Long Beach based Cliff Shirk is a jazz musician and revivalist of note. His collection of mid-century American bicycles is of museum quality but the machines are not part of a static display. Any sunny day Cliff might be observed wheeling away from his 1920s wooden home cushioned by two big fat tires. Here Cliff and Antoinette take part in a 1930s cruise ship tableau that I was able to arrange during Rin Tanaka’s Inspiration show on the Queen Mary (now permanently docked in Cliff’s home town).