Does anyone remember how about 2 years ago, underachieving inner-city English youth went mental in London's Tottenham district and spreading violence all over the country, inspiring copycats, and looting the local Footlocker outlets in Birmingham and Manchester, while everyone else sat in front of their TV predicting the decline of Western civilization and the French were like: "Et alors?"
A reasonable reaction when you take into account France's rich and vivid history of violence. The French are basically the world's unrivaled riot masters. Over the course of the last 300 years they've elevated the vile and despicable act of violence into an art form with a cultural heritage including snot-nosed cafe waiters, Pepe LePew, and women with hairy armpits.
Riots and other violent uprising have of course always been the pefrect backdrop for epic stories, see Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, or for a more contemporary interpretation La Haine aka Hate. Set in a housing project in the outskirts of Paris, the 1995 movie by director Mathieu Kassovitz follows three friends Said, Vinz, and Hubert - an Arab, a Jew, and a black guy, so virtually a walking and talking Benetton ad - over a period of 24 hours after their friend Abdel was severely beaten by the cops, causing, you said it, a good old fashioned riot. Ranking number 1 on Complex's "The 25 Most Stylish Movies Of All Time", we decided to give the movie's sartorial aspects a closer examination. See more after the jump.
Carhartt - Acrylic Watch Hat
I still remember that moment back in elementary school when all of a sudden the way you dressed became equally - no, even more important - than, I don't know, getting ahold of the finishing moves for Mortal Kombat II. As musical tastes of course tended toward rap, the likes of Carhartt or Dickies was the only possible choice. But as American workwear wasn't all over the place in mid-nineties Berlin, and neither was the interwebs to just cop that kind of stuff in one of the many virtual stores out there, finding Carhartt gear - at least for a twelve year old suburban kid - was like searching for a needle in a haystack. Or one of those quasi-illegal bars and clubs hidden in some obscure Mitte district basement the city is, strangely enough, still famed for.
Accordingly that shit meant the world to me as it was basically the source of my budding pre-teen coolness. I wore it with pride until it eventually fell apart, until it was virtually just loose threads and rags. Now I desperately try to convince my girlfriend to wear it to make her look like one of those tumblr babes. Get the hat over at Carhartt's web store.
Schott NYC - B3 Sheepskin Leather Jacket
Though leather jackets can be seen in abundance and are worn by all three of the protagonists throughout the film, Hubert sports without a doubt the most storied one. Originally designed in the early 1930s, the B-3 sheepskin leather jacket rose to prominence during the Second World War. As the large B-17 and B-24 bomber aircrafts were open and thus not pressurized, crew members had to wear appropriate gear to survive the freezing temperatures experienced in high altitudes. So if you are looking for a leather jacket, that offers unchallenged warmth and loads of style, the B-3 is definitely the right choice.
You can get it at Schott NYC. But seriously, that dude Hubert, either he is planning to go on a bombing raid over Dresden or he must be really sensitive to temperatures. Otherwise, I can't think of why someone would pull this one on on what looks like a late summer day. Those French...
Sergio Tacchini - Master Track Top
Asked about the underlying symbolism of the clothing seen in La Haine, director Mathiew Kassovitz stated the following:
The young people in the ghettos here in France wore very specific sportswear brands at that time. I remember when I came to the housing project where we shot “La Haine” for the first time. I wore a baseball cap, and I saw kids looking at me as if they wanted to hit me. They didn’t like the American look. They wanted European brands, so they wore Adidas or Sergio Tacchini. That’s why Saïd is wearing one. The golden Tacchini was made for him because the effect was better in black-and-white. The golden Tacchini was very nice!
Without doubt, Sergio Tacchini has seen better days and track tops have never managed rid themselves of that distinct air of underachieving working class dickhead. Yet, as everyone has been waiting for that long announced and overdue 90s revival to finally kick in, even tastemakers like Marcus Troy have stated their deep appreciation of the Italian sportswear brand. Maybe it's time for a Renaissance? If you agree, hop on over here to get ahold of a reworked version of the Sergio Tacchini Master Jacket made famous by legendary tennis badass John McEnroe.
Lacoste - Pique Polo Shirt
The French are a bunch of proud fuckers to begin with and have a highly-developed sense of pride concerning almost everything what associated with their country. So you better think twice about shit talking down to them, especially when it comes to their haute cuisine or haute couture. But quite frankly, the first one is overrated and the latter is in large parts run by "foreign cohorts" (quoting the Marseillaise here - the most badass national anthem there is) - Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel), Riccardo Tisci (Givenchy), and Lucas Ossendrijver (Lanvin) to name a few. Mon dieu!
Even Lacoste is now headed by Portuguese Felipe Oliveira Baptista after Christophe Lamaire stepped down 3 years ago. But do the French care? Mais non. Does anyone care? mmmhh...I guess fashion is and will always be an effective backdrop for subtle chauvinism. Get that classic Lacoste Polo at OiPolloi.
Loser Machine - The Bates Cargo Pants Camo
I'm pretty sure at least one of you will call me out for posting yet another camouflage staple. "Didn't you guys say no more camouflage in 2013? How about some consistency?" Give me a break! Since when is fashion about consistency? The fashion game is virtually all about making you buy stuff you thought was kinda weird half a year ago. You already bought into that whole skinny jeans trend and now you probably just woke up in a daze all clad in camo wondering what has happened.
Fashion works in mysterious ways my friend. But as a highly skilled fashion editor I can tell you it's equals parts peer pressure, inconsistencies, and bullshit. That makes no sense at all you say? Exactly. You can pick up a pair of those Loser Machine Cargo Pants at Karmaloop.
Reebok - ERS 2000
Do you sometimes catch yourself in a sudden burst of nostalgia, harkening back to the good old times, when you - or probably your mom - would get your sneakers at some generic shoe retailer at the local shopping mall, instead of some Bauhaus furnished concept store temple that sells gold leaf cast ceramic skulls and Rick Owens Alpaca wool drop crotch pants? No? Me neither. That's why I didn't even put the slightest effort into finding out what kind of Reeboks Hubert is actually wearing in the movie. You wouldn't care when buying them anyway because chances are high they're not made in collaboration with some weird Japanese dude you've never heard but that Hypebeast (and us too) consider a so-called "tastemaker." So I just went over to Ssense and picked the snazziest looking 80s Reebok retro runners for you to support your fragile self-confidence with.