1001 Black Men–#468

I think I mentioned here that I was fortunate enough to see the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco. It was absolutely wonderful, and I think my favorite part–the aspect of the show that has stayed with me, even months later–is the focus on his use of the French sailor shirt as something of a trademark/foundation item, beginning early in his designing career. There’s something I’ve always loved about the sailor’s shirt. I know it has something to do with Jean Genet, with history (since that style of shirt dates back at least to the 1700s), and with the fun tension between the boatneck style of shirt (associated with femininity in much of the U.S.) and the iconic masculinity of the sailors who wear them.

Ajuan Mance

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