by MARYLOU LUTHER
Illustration. By Daniel Storto
Dear Marylou: Do you really believe women will start wearing over-the-elbow gloves again? If you do, why?__D.K.K.: Los Angeles, CA.
Dear D.K.K.: If Zoe Kravitz wears them to the SAG Awards, if Beyonce wears them on some red carpet, yes, I believe long gloves will shine again, at least some some carpets. To get a better background on the why-gloves-happen phenomenon, I took your question to the man who is, hands-on, the world’s master glove maestro. He’s designer/artist Daniel Storto, and he traces the latest glove love to Lady Gaga, who wore long black gloves to last year’s Academy Awards. Before that, he says, “all formal rules went out with the bustle,” pointing out that those formal rules from the 1800s and 1900s forbade wearing gloves while having dinner. “To be proper, you either removed the gloves completely before dinner or you slipped your hands out of the wrist opening and tucked the hand parts inside the wrist area. After dinner, you removed your glove hands from the wrist opening and put the hand part back on.”
Storto’s advice for today’s glove-wearer: “Leave your gloves on while having dinner and create sensational gossip for morning-after coffee breaks.”
(Editor’s note: I can personally attest that Queen Elizabeth II, during her visit to Chicago in the late -50s, left her white gloves on while eating at a luncheon in her honor. I covered the event for The Chicago Tribune.)
The glove propriety that prevailed when a woman of style wouldn’t leave her house without her hat the gloves ended in The ‘60s. But with The ‘50s and early Jacqueline Kennedy ‘60s back in today’s fashion spotlight, maybe gloves will once again be a five-finger fashion exercise.
Storto, who first became fashion-famous/nation-famous in 2000, when he made a pair of black leather gloves hand-printed with the late great Designer Bonnie Cashin’s obituary. Those gloves and other what he calls “obituary gloves” for women of style, including Edith Head and Diana Vreeland, are now in the permanent collection at Storto’s “The Glove Museum”. Located in Dorloo, NY, the museum features a collection of more than 5,000 pairs of vintage gloves dating from The 1700s, glove-making tools from The 1800s, glove drawings from The 1930s and ‘40s and glove-making machinery dating to the 1900s.
The hand-sewn leather and suede gloves in his illustration are priced from $200 to $750. They and ready-made gloves ranging from $25 to $150. are made at Storto’s glove shop on Main street in downtown historical Gloversville, NY. A complimentary catalog with color swatches is available on request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Editor’s note: Storto is currently writing the chapter on glove-making for film and television for The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles.)
Dear Marylou: When the San Francisco 49er’s head coach Kyle Shanahan started wearing “the trucker hat”, it seems to have started a fashion trend. What is the difference between a trucker and a baseball cap? (And you might ask, why do I care?)__E.D.G., Chicago, IL.
Dear E.D.G.: You care enough to ask me about it. To get right to it, the trucker is technically a type of baseball cap. I have not interviewed Coach Shanahan, but it would make sense to me that he wanted to differentiate himself—and his cap– from baseball to football. According to Alex Williams of The New York Times, Shanahan worked with the league’s official cap maker New Era to design a hat inspired by the trucker caps he favors off the field. The trucker differs from the baseball cap because the front section stands up straight, making the cap taller than other caps. The trucker also has a snap-back closure, and it’s made of “breathable mesh”. The trucker started in the 1980s as a promotional giveaway from food stores and farming supply companies. To see New Era truckers, go to www.neweracap.com.
Dear Marylou: With The ‘70s recycling into fashion, what do you see as the big influencer of that decade?__E.M., Baltimore, MD.
Dear E.M.: I pick the movie “Annie Hall”, starring Diane Keaton, for its widely-copied girls-as-guys clothes. With that 1977 film, fashion androgyny filtered from the silver screen to the runway.
Dear Marylou: If you could only buy one thing to update your menswear wardrobe right now, what would it be?__J.K., Denver, CO.
Dear J.K.: A cardigan sweater.
Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column but regrets she cannot answer mail personally. Please send your questions in.