25.04.2020

THE BELTS

Since its most ancient origins, the belt assumes two functions : it is utilitarian since the Bronze Age, to carry one’s weapon mostly ; it is an accessory since Antiquity.

In spite of an evolution in shape, this double use remains unchanged in its essence until the beginnings of the XXth century. The modern belt, as we know it, appears in the twenties in the British navy, when sailors replace the rope that was passing through their trousers’ belt loops by leather bands with a buckle.

In those days, men’s clothes, made by tailors, didn’t require a belt. Henry Fonda’s cue in Once Upon a Time in the West : “How can you trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders? The man can’t even trust his own pants”.

It is with the emergence of ready-to-wear in the sixties and seventies that the modern belt takes a new support function. It becomes necessary to uphold a garment that lacks precision.

Its use with bespoke clothes, on the other hand, reconnects with antique and military ornament function.

HUSBANDS

BELTS
Detail : Wounded Aeneas healed by Lapyx, Siricus' House in Pompei, 69-70

Detail : Wounded Aeneas healed by Lapyx, Siricus' House in Pompei, 69-70

Detail : Napoléon Bonaparte on the bridge at Arcole, Antoine-Jean Gros, 1796

Detail : Napoléon Bonaparte on the bridge at Arcole, Antoine-Jean Gros, 1796

Richard Gere in American Gigolo, 1980

Richard Gere in American Gigolo, 1980

Street scene in Portofino by Slim Aarons, 1977

Street scene in Portofino by Slim Aarons, 1977

Serge Gainsbourg, undated

Serge Gainsbourg, undated

Cary Grant and Randolph Scott in their Malibu house, 1935

Cary Grant and Randolph Scott in their Malibu house, 1935