The Icon: Glenn Gould
The buttoned-up look doesn’t have many icons, but we’d like to shine a light on one of the best: Mr. Glenn Gould. His origin’s a perfect storm of tweediness—a hypochondriac boy genius of classical music in 1950s Canada—but out of it came some brilliant twists on the staples of menswear—the blazers, ties and sweater-vests that the more ambitious trads are still tussling with today.
Here he is at the ripe age of 24, decked out in a sweater-vest and channeling near-manic levels of energy into the piano. It’s Leave It to Beaver-era style at its best—perfect for the boy genius look.
As he got older, he moved out of the prodigy look and into a more inspiring kind of mad professor style. The popped collar is a particularly nice touch, long before anyone thought of it as trendy.
He felt cold nearly all the time, which is the main reason you’ll rarely see pictures of him without a sweater, but he also had a penchant for wearing gloves indoors and out to protect his hands. As affectations go, that’s pretty good.
This one’s from the ’50s, not the ’80s—which should give you some idea of just how far ahead Mr. Gould was looking. It’s also not an editorial for Vogue Hommes Japan, but you could have fooled us.
And finally, the banker period. After he gave up concerts and devoted more of his time to studio recordings and broadcasting, he spent a chunk of sartorial energy convincing the world he could look respectable. He pulled it off, of course, but we’ll always prefer the manic energy of the ’50s Gould.
- — Russell Brandom