Sometimes an image is so good that it renders any text obsolete. Snoopy in the legendary Gucci Tennis from the book to coincide with 1984’s Japanese Snoopy in Fashion exhibition is a perfect case study. Idea Books Instagrammed it this morning and made my day. Even better than Donald Duck in Timbs. Speaking of wheat workboots, a couple of good promo print projects arrived in the post this week — Oi Polloi’s always excellent Pica~Post is back with some extra metal, an interview with Patagonia Alpine Outerwear Christian Regester and Mr. Gary Aspden (it’s heartening to see the low-key looks of the SPEZIAL Ardwick become an object of desire in a world where the same old Technicolor yawns get eBay bids) who really, really went on the campaign trail for his labour of love after years of not doing too many Q&As — Next’s role in casual culture, a picture of Gary with a spaniel and a Preston b-boy crew called Mystic Force makes this amazing. The increasingly prolific David Hellqvist (aka. the Baron) has done a good job with the Document project on the Timberland topic — there’s fashion talk in there, design talk and a really good conversation between my friends Nick Schonberger and Ronnie Fieg on the topic of the brand and its connection to NYC that I loved (sample quote: “Chris Webber used to buy 15 pairs of Timberland at a time”). That’s the kind of insight I want to read when we’re talking about brands that I’m smitten with.
I’ll keep it short: a couple of things have inspired me today. First up, it’s that kid above, lifted from this slideshow from Idea Books of Watanabe Katsumi’s book Discology, which seems to be nothing but images of new-wave Japanese club kids acting up for the camera. Which makes it incredible. I’d seen Katsumi’s other Kabukicho tribe shots in Gangs of Kabukicho and some other underground imagery in Shinjuku: the Story of a Band of Thieves (other people’s copies, never mine), but this was a new one to me and that kid sitting cross-legged with the v-neck overall with this bootleg, “BE HUMBLE YOU COOL FUCKER” Snoopy patch sewn onto it. Does sewing a badge onto something negate effortless cool? That’s kind of an effort — he looks cool regardless.
The second thing is this 1993 MTV News piece on hip-hop fashion uploaded from the considerable Crates of JR with a trip to Union and an appearance from Alyasha Owerka-Moore talking about Phat Farm (which, with the likes of Alyasha, Eli Gessner and Paul Mittlelman on deck to set it off, was pretty desirable around the time this segment was broadcasted. Nothing says 1993 like giant light blue jeans (laugh all you like but Supreme are taking it back for their 20th anniversary), lots of flava talk and Young Black Teenagers.
After a visit to Discover Dogs this weekend, there’s no way this blog wasn’t going to be dog related. Adding to the jacket talk a few weeks ago, the Dunhill design above is a contender — well, it would be if it wasn’t pretty morally reprehensible — because it’s such a dizzyingly flamboyant creation. Oran’ Juice Jones’ thirty-seven hundred-dollar lynx coat (that spared his wayward partner and her lover a bullet) is a significant sounding piece of fur, but this? This Cam’ron-esque creation is the next level. If you’ve been Tweeting, Instagramming or Facebooking your supposed “swag” levels, please don’t approach me unless you’re wearing this or you’ll be a walking letdown. A Siberian Wolf Coat had performance qualities too — weather-defying wolfed properties. I’m not too sure that it’s “most distinguished” in its looks though. Going on some chart I found online and taking the guinea down to the pound, I think 19 guineas circa 1910 translates as around £9,500 in today’s money. That’s about 6 times as much as Jones’ fur. This coat is mind-boggling.
Vietnam war Snoopy patches are another current preoccupation. At base level, there’s no real mystery to the iconic beagle’s appearance on patches across infantries and roles in the conflict — with Snoopy just nine years old when the war began, throughout the 1960s, Peanuts merchandise and imagery was everywhere, making Snoopy a strong representation of the U.S.A. Plus, flying a plane against the Red Baron in October 1965, Snoopy had seen some conflict himself. Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz had fought in WWII (as a machine gun operator) but never took a life himself and was anti-war in his opinions — the airborne Snoopy could be seen as a reaction to the realities of battle (the siege of Plei Mei occurred a few days after that first strip ran). By the end of the war, the WWI fantasy Peanut plots seemed to come to an end.
Unofficially, Snoopy found himself in helicopters over unsecured zones, giving war-opponent Jane Fonda the finger, drinking heavily, dancing (my favourite Snoopy imagery), urinating, patrolling, flying a syringe, dodging missiles, in Joe Cool mode and rollerskating. His flying ace attire features prominently and the heaviness of the situation the wearers were in makes these a presumed spot of light relief at a time of hopelessness. There was actually an Operation Snoopy in Vietnam, based around a device that sniffed out the enemy (developed in 1965) by picking up on effluents unique to humans. That started in a noisy backpack form for foot-based missions but, because of the noise emitted from it (not useful against an enemy skilled in stealthier forms of combat), it was operated from a helicopter for sniffer patrols — the Operation Snoopy patch features Snoopy with a propeller on his flying hat (you can see it as an accompaniment to this essay). Even Supreme played with the Vietnam Snoopy concept this season with the unlicensed “sitting Snoopy” pin design on a hat. This boonie hat right here is still the ultimate hat with Snoopy on it.