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Friday, April 4, 2014

This Is Amusing, Worth A Read, Dominic Knight On The Yummy Male Phenomenon

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The other reason I’m inclined to believe in the ‘yummy’ phenomenon is because I have a friend who is at its epicentre. Several years ago, Nicholas Atgemis set up a company to manufacture Italian silk bow ties and sell them online. It’s called Le Noeud Papillon, which is French for ‘butterfly knot’, and is not only stocked all over the world, but has opened a bricks and mortar outlet in Vaucluse. I interviewed Australia’s foremost bow impresario exclusively for Daily Life.

DK: Why did you decide to start selling bow ties?

NA: At the time I started making bow ties, the men of true sartorial style, or perhaps one could say ‘Old World’ style, were so few and far apart that they were almost covertly operating like a group of clandestine French Resistance operators under Nazi occupied France. We wanted to change that attitude and to celebrate men who dress well.

DK: Have you seen any evidence that ‘yummys’ are a real phenomenon?

NA: The word is just a new buzz word… what we are seeing is young men turning to websites such as StyleForum where they educate themselves on the finer points of menswear before they purchase. Then, empowered with greater knowledge from these forums plus numerous menswear blogs which are all very accessible, they are becoming some of the toughest shoppers in history. They know a lot more about fabrics, cut, sewing techniques and above all, they have learnt to dismantle pricing structures which makes them very dangerous. These guys don’t want to pay off-the-rack prices.

DK: Is there a better term out there?

NA: The ideal word for it is ‘renaissance’ men. Because essentially they are re-generating interest in age-old areas such as tailoring and personal grooming. These things existed for my grandparent’s generation but with my parent’s generation everything moved towards the corporation and ready-to-wear/off-the-rack. Now the buzzwords are ‘custom’, ‘bespoke’, ‘hand-made’ and ‘tailored’ – and corporations have cottoned on so now they are using the same language. But what I like about these ‘renaissance’ men is that they are re-birthing old information but also generating new information at the same time. Another word for this phenomenon is the ‘peacock’ and to appreciate this fully you need to watch the blogs which snap the photos of men who turn up to Pitti menswear in Florence twice a year.

Following Nicholas’ advice as always, I looked up Pitti and – whoa. Seriously, whoa.

Nicholas has also at times favoured the term ‘dandy’, and has directed his army of loyal blog readers to helpful coffee-table books such as I Am Dandy, which like all books nowadays, is based on a blog. It catalogues the phenomenon worldwide and features a gentleman somehow rocking off a light-blue suit on its cover. Nicholas himself, I am proud to report, was photographed by its author at the Waldorf Astoria.

Through his blog, I’ve discovered shops like Mr Porter, a hilariously high-end menswear boutique whose website has a section not just for boat shoes, but espadrilles. Indeed, Nicholas’ most recent blog post is about a custom-made beaver felt hat that he obtained from Toronto, Canada.

So, young men’s interest in fancy accessories is here to stay, it seems. But if you don’t believe that this is really, truly a thing, allow me to introduce further a piece of incontrovertible evidence. King Gee is introducing a range of skin-tight ‘compression workwear’ for ‘industrial athletes’. If even tradies are wearing fancy gear that takes optimal care of their bulging pecs, we blokes really must be becoming dandies.

So make some extra room around that fancy dining table of yours, Crawley family, because the yummies are here. And yes, Mr Carson, of course they are dressed appropriately for dinner at a pre-war stately home.

Photo by Magnus Omme -

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