Melvin Backman

  • Black Ivy: A Revolt in Style

    BROOKS BROTHERS USED TO MAKE UNIFORMS FOR SLAVES, you know. It’s true. The company supplied the mid-twentieth-century Ivy League uniform of oxford-cloth shirts, boneless three-button suits, and chunky cricket sweaters primarily because they were known to make good clothes. (Die-hard partisans, however many remain, would insist on the present tense.) That reputation was by then more than a century in the making; in the haberdasher’s antebellum years, enslavers who wanted to show that they didn’t just own people, but wanted to flex, enlisted it to outfit their chattel. As Dr. Jonathan Michael

  • Captivate!: Fashion Photography from the ’90s

    FELIX KRÄMER, A GENERAL DIRECTOR OF DÜSSELDORF’S MUSEUM KUNSTPALAST, writes in the foreword to Captivate!: Fashion Photography from the ’90s that “galleries, institutions, studios and the people who work in both the public and private spheres are struggling for survival” during the pandemic. It makes sense, then, to lean on a cash cow: the fashion exhibition. Who wouldn’t love to stand in front of a blown-up picture of a phalanx of famously beautiful women shimmering in Gianni Versace’s gold chain-mail dresses, whether they remember seeing it firsthand or on Tumblr or in Donatella’s re-creation