In his previous career as a fashion publicist and impassioned historian, Andy Stinson had many occasions to wax poetic about everything from silk ascots and Windsor-knotted neckwear to cutaway-collared shirts and cloisonné cuff links. Now the 30-year fashion veteran is putting both talents to use with the launch of Stinson R. Ely, a collection of vintage-inspired menswear centered around the 1930s-era high-waisted, or Hollywood waist, dress slack. Originally worn as part of the Duke of Windsor’s (Edward VIII) legendary drape-cut suit, the fishtail-back trousers quickly became synonymous with such Hollywood style icons as Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Clark Gable, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr., hence the Hollywood reference, before the look became somewhat comical with the exaggerated 1950s zoot suit.
“Men have never looked as stylish as they did when the Prince of Wales and Hollywood’s dashing matinee idols once set the fashion stage and the collective world faithfully followed,” says Stinson, whose updated variation of the Hollywood-waist trouser, made in America by Rochester, N.Y.-based Adrian Jules, is, like its predecessor, devoid of a structured waistband, yet includes low-slung belt loops, suspender buttons, and/or double inverted pleats. True to their retro spirit, the slacks, starting at around $600, are made of richly textured and colorful flannel, wool gabardine, and linen (for summer), and are designed for wear with the brand’s exclusive new ultra-narrow watch-strap alligator belts and braces created in collaboration with Melbourne, Fla.-based Henry Slaughter. “Wide belts visually slice the body in half, and they rivet the eye’s visual focus on a man’s waist, which, for most men, is their worst physical attribute,” says Stinson. Based in San Diego and named for Stinson and his late design partner, Robbi Ely, Stinson R. Ely slacks and belts are available in several better specialty stores for spring. (858.573.1698, www.stinsonrely.com)