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Man Repeller x Gucci Presents: Cinematic Outfits Inspired by Photography Books
11.21.18

In partnership with Gucci

Have you ever sat criss-cross applesauce on a plush sofa with a book so good you have an irrepressible desire to jump inside of it and wrap yourself in the world of its inhabitants like a plush duvet? It’s a strangely similar feeling to the one I get whenever I dream up an outfit that speaks to the interior lining of my soul. I want to do more than just “put it on,” I want to inhabit it wholly and completely. In that sense, books and style are more intrinsically linked than we typically give them credit for — or at least than I typically give them credit for, because when I heard that Gucci was building out a bookstore component inside its newly-opened Soho space on Wooster street, it was as if something akin to a pair of jewel-encrusted shoes clicked together in my brain: ahhhhh!

To celebrate this relationship, Gucci challenged three members of Team Man Repeller — Leandra, Crystal and yours truly — to create respective outfits from the 2019 Cruise Collection inspired by a book sold at the Gucci Wooster Bookstore (which has its own entrance at 375 Broadway if you’re looking to flex some knowledge). The resulting looks paid homage to literature, photography, style and the aesthetic energy that shines between them. Keep scrolling to bask in it yourself.


Leandra Medine, Founder

What book did you choose and why?

Sisters by Jim Britt, because even though I don’t have sisters, I feel really strongly that I understand the power of such a unique, impenetrable bond. Also, now that I have daughters who are sisters, I am consistently fascinated by acknowledging and attempting to understand the dynamic in its many permutations.

How did this book inspire your outfit?

Looking through the book, which is actually a photo essay that distills the heartening experience of sisterhood, felt like the embrace of a hug. This is often how a leather jacket makes me feel. So I started with the coat to draw an emotional parallel and worked from there without thinking so much about the book as I was about how I like to wear a motorcycle jacket — mostly in direct contrast to whatever it is paired with. For the purpose of this outfit, that meant a tweed skirt (ladylike by all accounts) and sparkly shoes (escapist, quite feminine, untethered to the traditional connotation of a motorcycle jacket). The T-shirt is just connective tissue — butter between rye bread and sourdough, if you will.

Has the intersection between books and style impacted you in other ways over the course of your life?

You know, I’ve never really thought about how reading impacts my style, mostly because my style cues are driven by visual cues. In the case of Sisters, the photos depend exclusively on the emotional charge between the girls to tell the story — and what a story they tell! The simplicity of it makes confronting the complexity of a human relationship so much more approachable, and I really admire that. Now that I’m thinking about it, the way this book impacted my style for the shoot (which I know presents an alternative way to answer this question, hehe) is such that I was probably inspired to dress down a brand that is inherently dressed up as a way to rely on my own emotional charge to tell the story of my style.


Crystal Anderson, Operations Manager

What book did you choose and why?

Now Here Then by Huger Foote. Foote captures a true cross section of people, places and things for this particular series. The photos are gritty and messy and beautiful and incredibly personal at the same time — much like me!

How did this book inspire your outfit?

Huger’s photos are purposely imperfect, but so intentional at the same time, which is exactly how I wanted my outfit to look. That’s why I styled myself in a two-piece track suit AND a dress paired with white spiked heels. The juxtaposition of the beautifully masculine tracksuit with the more feminine dress and heels spoke to me and felt very much like how I present myself every day.

Has the intersection between books and style impacted you in other ways over the course of your life?

I’m from a small town in the south, so books were my first introduction to the fantasy of fashion. I can remember reading The Great Gatsby and thinking about how chic Daisy Buchanan seemed. The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah introduced me to 80s and 90s fashion in the inner city of New York that I became obsessed with. Winter, the main character, speaks often of her connection to clothing, and Souljah does such a beautiful job bringing readers into Winter’s world through her fashion choices. Anyone who knows me knows that both of those books have inspired my clothing choices to this day.


Harling Ross, Fashion Editor

What book did you choose and why?

Damaged Negatives by Glen Luchford. I recognized Luchford’s name as the photographer who shot Alessandro Michele’s first campaign as creative director of Gucci, so that was what initially piqued my interest. I then looked into the history of Damaged Negatives specifically and was intrigued by the backstory of this particular collection of photographs: Luchford put all of them in a storage unit that was subsequently flooded, thus destroying most of the images and deteriorating others. Instead of throwing them away, he compiled them into a book.

How did this book inspire your outfit?

Part of why Gucci’s aesthetic speaks to me so deeply is the way in which it consistently celebrates the weird and different, reframing these adjectives not only as worthy of flaunting but also as precious hallmarks of individualism. From my perspective, that is precisely what Luchford accomplished by taking something unconventional (i.e. damaged negatives) and consecrating it permanently inside a book. I tried to channel this sentiment as I pieced together my outfit.

Has the intersection between books and style impacted you in other ways over the course of your life?

The most memorable examples that come to mind are all from children’s books I read throughout my childhood. I remember running my fingers across the glossy pages of Angelina Ballerina and thinking about how I would like a pistachio-green leotard and tutu like Angelina’s friend Alice. I remember giggling at Frog and Toad’s shared commitment to wearing pants and blazers sans shirts. I remember examining the loose shoulder strap of Sal’s overalls in Blueberries for Sal and thinking about how mine often drooped in a similar fashion. I remember reading The Berenstain Bears and later realizing that the outfits on display were my first exposure to uniform-dressing. While I can’t say any of these vignettes directly influenced my own decision-making when it comes to getting dressed, I know they played a role in shaping how I perceive the relationship between words, images and style — a relationship that would ultimately dictate so much about who I am and how I express it.

Photos by Edith Young. Art direction by Emily Zirimis. Prop styling by Dominique Pagan.

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