Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Charles Renfro, J.Crew-Wearing Architect

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed I have a thing for the intersection of architecture and advertising, be it iconic buildings used as a backdrop for a product, clothiers using the profession for style "cred," or an architect hawking merchandise. The last two converge in a J.Crew ad I noticed today on the inside cover of February's Fast Company:

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Pushing the Ludlow Suit, the ad features six gents sporting six variations on the "bespoke-inspired" suit. Two are restauranteurs, one is a journalist/activist, one is a business analyst, one is a creative director, and one is an architect, Charles Renfro of Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Given the firm where he is partner, his name is fairly well known with architects, but not his mug. This ad will certainly change that, while also making people wonder what his sock drawer looks like.

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Each of this six stylish professionals has their own idiosyncratic way of personalizing the J.Crew suit. Renfro has those socks; the creative director ditches socks altogether; one restauranteur shows off a wallet chain; you get the idea. Architecture, or any other profession, does not prevail over others. Instead five are used to cover a larger stylistic and professional spectrum, leaving out only jobs like caddy, dishwasher, and bookstore clerk (all hats I donned before architect), where bespoke-inspired fashion just isn't that important.

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