As WWP is an unashamed Greekophile, Mythology nerd and student of ancient philosophy, it seemed like a good time to discuss the merits of ancient Greek menswear. Never in history has there been clothing so androgynous yet so flattering – and also so practical.
Athenians of today do not dress for their climate; women totter round in skin tight jeans, kitten heels and black Missoni t-shirts and men, ancestors of democracy, favour the low-slung chino and overly open-buttoned shirt. Comparison to the fresco above is futile.
Plato and Aristotle were two very similar men with different ideas. Born into a time when sexual urges could be overcome by the pleasure of the mind, philosophers lived together in schools in order to understand…well, everything. Plato quite fancied the idea of a society segregated by talent; a Republic as Utopian as it gets which falls short at the killing babies part. Aristotle took a slightly more reasonable approach that was big on natural virtue ethics and one that assumes man needs politics to live a fulfilled life. Quite the way to keep yourself in business boy.
In this painting, Plato (the one pointing at the sky) has pioneered colour blocking, the three-quarter length sleeve and the neckerchief. Aristotle has gone for an ethereal embroidery and khaki to highlight his olive skin tones.
So something clearly went wrong in the middle ages when it came to fashion. And hygiene. And overall well-being when it comes down to it. The Greeks seemed to have it all, only for the world to flush it away with the pig slop. Not so surprisingly Grecian inspired style is still one of the most flattering that there is – skimming and clinching where it needs to – and one that no doubt will stick around for a while at least. As far as I know, Stella McCartney doesn’t have Joan of Arc-inspired collection in the pipeline.