As the Tate Modern prepares to open its new exhibition, a menswear expert – and Warhol superfan – explains why the artist continues to impact on personal style
“Artists aren’t supposed to dress up and I’ll never look right anyway,” Andy Warhol utters in Bob Colacello’s fantastic biographical Holy Terror book. It’s ironic, given that when anyone talks about men having a sartorial uniform, I always think of Warhol. Specifically, the blazer, shirt, tie and jeans era. He often also had a plastic carrier bag in hand, with copies of his magazine Interview inside to give out to potential advertisers. Warhol was never not working. He was his art.
Warhol’s dedication to jeans is also something of a personal obsession; I recently bought three pairs of vintage Levi’s – his favourite denim brand. Arguably, one of the best denim-related stories is of Warhol keeping his Levi’s 501s on under his tuxedo suit – he was going to the White House for the first time – because the trousers were itchy. Then there is the picture of him skating in jeans and a blazer, or a roll neck with New Balance trainers, Basquiat in the foreground, topless and weight-training.
As Tate Modern is about to open a new Warhol show, attention to his style seems more pertinent than ever. During Milan men’s fashion week last month, I spotted a photograph of Warhol by Antonio Lopez in an exhibition at 10 Corso Como (on until April) in blazer, striped tie, clear-framed glasses and the infamous silvery grey wig.
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