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Sep 21 / admin

Arrow Collar Man

I just learned of the Arrow Collar Man through an article on the Collector’s Weekly website (here) about the art illustrator behind him, J.C. Leyendecker. Mr. Man and his equally handsome clothes look as beautiful and stylish today as when first published a century ago. And advertising images like these are everything I appreciate about vintage menswear in general.  There is an idealization (crossing into romanticism) of the male form, his clothes, and the man through his clothes in their stylized geometric perfection, all sleek lines and hard angles–Leyendecker’s signature crosshatching style. That stylization evokes both male power and sensitivity where the hardness and certainty of Leyendecker’s line meets its equal refinement and elegance, just as the strong physique and worldly success of his subjects meets their beauty and over-civilized privilege. Plus you have to love the irony of such a super gay sensibility gaining nationwide popularity as an icon of masculinity, which the Arrow Man was. A precursor and idol of Norman Rockwell, Leyendecker became an extremely successful illustrator, working on other accounts besides Arrow such as those for Kuppenheimer suits above, as well as numerous beloved magazine covers for the Saturday Evening Post and Colliers.

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