Military Style Invades Fashion

Image of Military Style Invades Fashion
Release Date: 
September 26, 2016
Phaidon Press
Reviewed by: 

Despite a rather “Tim Blanksian” pedantic and pretentious introduction by Colin McDowell, Military Style Invades Fashion  definitely possesses a wealth of information even if the topic has been stretched thin to include more than one might expect. The issue is that the book is nowhere near what it might have been if the author had chosen to examine this facet or recurring trend of fashion in a more thorough and expansive manner.

Traditional military style, in all of its manifestations, despite Godbold extending the boundaries, has been pervasive in the world of fashion for what seems like forever. In Military Style its relationships, inspiration, and observations are offered in a rather “eye of the needle” dissection of its influence and presence.

Godbold has somehow almost completely ignored the depth of history as might have been seen in a more inclusive examination and yet offers examples to back up his points with some of the most arcane designers and designs. He seems to center on the aspects of and the nuances of military fashion and style with heavy focus within the past 10 –15 years.

As for this book being a “photographic survey,” what has been offered is a bare bones visual presentation of military style through the ages.

What is even more puzzling is how and why the author assiduously ignores the brand Valentino who has practically built an entire men’s business on the use of classic camouflage patterns on everything from sneakers to coats.

Take for instance Jean Paul Gaultier who has made the “mariner stripe” a signature of his eponymous collections year after year, and then the author totally ignores that in the ’70s there were thrift shops,  army navy stores, and shops like the wildly successful Reminiscence in NYC that primarily sold military surplus as well as nostalgic throwbacks to another time. Even more to the point is the absence of so many other brands and retailers who have used so many facets of military style as signatures for their collections or presented it as the core of their inventories.

The bottom line is this: Yes, Military Style Invades Fashion is worth reading but no, it is certainly not an encyclopedic accounting of the influence of military style in the world of fashion through the ages.