Monday, March 4, 2013

Look Book

TOAST is an English design/retail company offering men's clothes, women's clothes and housewares. They have what my daughter refers to as "brick and mortar" stores in the UK but only an online presence in the US. Together we have ordered a few things for my daughter that turned out very well (skirts, scarves, beads).

The editorial presentation at TOAST (and the craftsmanship and vintage details and marvelous fabrics) have also been seductive enough to induce me to order a few pieces for myself over the past couple of years. Those have not turned out so well. Beautifully made as this clothing is, the fit in my own case has proved wildly unreliable. Of two different items ordered in the same size and arriving in the same package, one was far too small and one was far too big. Returns are a problem as well, with the customer required to pay nonrefundable international shipping rates of around $30. As I result, I now study and admire the men's styles, but do not buy.

Still, certain TOAST ads are masterpieces unto themselves. The selections above, for example (offered for Spring 2013) were photographed by Neil Gavin as a "modest homage" to Irving Penn's famous Small Trades series of 1950/51. And the "look" is amazingly right. Except of course that the "workers" in the TOAST photos are only workers in the broadest sense, working in glamorous creative fields, rather than the everyday occupations of Penn's subjects.