BHM Fashion Tribute: Miles Davis
Miles Davis‘ style was at times boldly eccentric, while at others quietly rebellious.
The famed trumpet player was known for the latter during the 1940s to the 1960s.
Whereas you might have caught him in an outfit that looked casual and effortless, it was clear that he had a hidden message of unconventionality somewhere in it.
“Miles Davis’ style was always very thought out, there were no accidents – every detail said something about him, and was there for a reason. It’s easy to look at this picture and miss the subtle, but very telling, details. Note – the absence of a breast pocket on the sportcoat, or buttons on the sleeve. The smooth, uninterrupted lines of the soft, almost invisible drop shoulder, close-notched coat collar, and the rounded club, or penny, shirt collar. It all adds up to a pretty specific look.” – The Selvedge Yard.
In 1965, jazz critic and Esquire style writer George Frazier named Miles “The Warlord of the Weejuns”.
What exactly does that mean?
Introduced by G.H. Bass & Co. in 1936, the Weejun takes its name from a Norwegian peasant shoe. In the 1950s, kids slipped pennies into the front saddle, hence the nickname “penny loafers.”
Miles was known for rocking this shoe in the 1950s himself, during which he went through an Ivy League phase “getting prepped-out in button-down shirts and boxy sports coats from the Harvard haberdashery”, as AskMen.com put it.
During the 70s, he adopted a flashier statement-making style, as you can see with his fur coat and large shades below:
He undeniable swag has even translated to streetwear brands of today, like Supreme and Ludwig, who paid homage to the musical legend in these projects:
Ludwig also paid homage, creating this limited edition “Kind of Blue” tee.
Where did Mr. Davis, the epitome of “cool”, obtain his unique sense of style?
“My mother was a beautiful woman. She had a whole lot of style, with an East Indian, Carmen McRae look, and dark, nut-brown, smooth skin. High cheekbones and Indian-like hair. Big Beautiful eyes. Me and my brother Vernon looked like her. She had mink coats, diamonds; she was a very glamorous woman who was into all kinds of hats and things, and my mother’s friends seemed just as glamorous to me as she was. She always dressed to kill. I got my looks from my mother and also my love of clothes and sense of style. I guess you could say I got whatever artistic talent I have from her also.” – Miles Davis.
Check out “The Picasso of Jazz”, a tribute video created by one of his fans: