Monday, October 17, 2011

Grand Pants and Beatle Jackets

Let's start the week off right: with some Grand Pants. The Grand Pants Company of Kansas City, Missouri had the answer (in 1909) to that perennial question: What sort of wool garment will I be wanting this fall?

My answer is always: cashmere cardigans in a variety of shades, please. But the correct answer is: gigantic wool trousers, held up by a smirking boy half-hiding behind a doorway made out of wooden rulers.

Added bonus: the name of the company. Irresistible. Who doesn't love a pair of Grand Pants?

The Grand Pants Company was run by a Mr. Samuel Gretzer - and Grand Pants were not his only sartorial invention. According to  1908 news item in The Kansas City Journal, Gretzer had designed a new, trendy collarless coat for men - long before the Beatles in their collarless suits, mind you:

Grand Jackets [source]
 Its snug shoulder-hugging lines curve artistically about the neck, but there is absolutely nothing which could be termed a "collar," or part of one....Samuel Gretzer, owner and manager of the Grand Pants stores, asserts that this style will be positively seen on the streets this coming season. Mr. Gretzer is the originator of the Grand Pants idea, a plan of selling which has become justly famous, and has been copied all over the United States - that of selling trousers at "$1.75 a leg, seats free!"*

The collarless so-called Beatle suit of the early 1960s (as worn by you-know-who), was based on Pierre Cardin's collarless jackets. And Cardin was supposed to have been inspired by Edwardian men's suits (that is, of the 1901-1910 period). But as far as I have been able to tell, Edwardian men's suits had collars (Cardin's inspiration was more generalized, I think). Unless Pierre Cardin knew about the Grand Pants company. And if that's the case, I think that Mr. Gretzer should get a lot more credit, don't you? Yeah yeah yeah.

Oh, and if you click the link under the Beatles, you can get your very own finely tailored reproduction Beatle suit. They are pretty expensive, though. Not exactly $1.75 a leg. And the seat is definitely not free.

*One of the best advertising slogans ever.


vanilla said...

The pants in that ad are certainly "Grand," in the sense that it would take a Goliath or some such Anak to fill them. The slogan is outstanding!

wv: hater No, I am not; I really, really like Lidian's retro ads!

Kath Lockett said...

I think there should be a rock band called 'Grand Pants' !