Tommy Nutter Fashion Over the Top

Jean Cocteau Quote of the Day, Van Gogh & Tommy Nutter

In the recent past, we launched our category Gentleman’s Quotations, and today, we would like to continue the series with an interesting quote from Jean Cocteau.

He once stated: “Art produces ugly things which frequently become more beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time.Jean Cocteau 1856 – 1950.

Vincent van Gogh - Olive Trees with Yellow Sky & Sun

Vincent van Gogh – Olive Trees with Yellow Sky & Sun

It seems like many famous quotes play with words in the same manner Cocteau did it here with the words ‘beautiful’ and ‘ugly’. Often times, these expressions are over-exaggerated to make a point. In this case, it seems to me like Cocteau is not far from the truth. There are many artists such as Vincent van Gough whose art was never really appreciated during their lifetime, while future generations were deeply inspired and moved by the art. Consequently, Van Gough paintings yield millions in art auctions.

Tommy Nutter Patchwork Plaid Outfit 1975

Tommy Nutter Patchwork Plaid Outfit 1975

On the other hand, hair styles. looks and suits from the 1970’s and 1980’s that were popular at the time look awkward and out of place nowadays. Often times, it is hard to imagine that any person with a sense of style would have worn that jacket. Just take a look at the cut and composition of this Tommy Nutter coat from 1975. While I appreciate Nutter’s fashion spirit and his pursuit of new, innovative garments that certainly influenced others, it was not more than a creation born of the zeitgeist of the seventies.
What do you think about Cocteau’s quote? Can you think of similar examples or maybe an exception to the rule? Let us know in the comments!

6 replies
  1. Federico says:

    Love Tommy Nutter outfit in the b/w photo! ..probably not the best choice for a banker, especially on a Monday morning, but luckily enough not everybody is working in an office.

    One friend of mine – I visited him yesterday to swap some 1970’s suits – was born in 1960 and never changed his style. His hair is long and now white; he always wears flared trousers with eye-catching patterns and flamboyant shirts. He runs his own vintage clothing shop, specialized in 1970’s.

    Unlikely 1960’s, 1970’s style is not top of popularity today, but I guess things will be a bit different in 10 years time. It might be that we need those 50 years gap in order to achieve some sort of ‘detachment’ and then fall in love again.

    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      Hardy Amies used to remark on the fact that jacket go from 1 -2-3-4-5 buttons down 4-3-2-1 and back over the years. While it is true that certain basic styles change, there is always something that is just a bit different. That being said, I doubt that the Tommy Nutter style will ever be popular with a larger audience again.

      • Federico says:

        Part of the reason why those outfits will never be ‘widely’ popular is that they weren’t probably conceived for ‘everybody’ (Michael Fish’s dress for Mick Jagger, 1969). On the other hand big lapels and flared trousers are not out and have already been back; like 1980’s garments, they are worn by a certain number of creative people, at least in London.

        What happened in those years was itself quite close to the trends of a very far past. Flamboyant patterns, big sideburns – have a look at Roger Fenton’s self portrait, 1854.

  2. Lendyl Garcia says:

    I think that looking at the fashion industry, it is evident that fashion progresses in a circle, whats in today is out tomorrow and back in later. Therefore like art, fashion is still appreciated with the passing of time. Old designs forms the frame or foundation on which to build, they inspire and motivate creativity,- edited though, to one’s personal style and by modern interpretation- becoming more beautiful with time.

  3. Barima says:

    As a partisan of this period, I’d be remiss if I didn’t chime in

    As I’ve written before, and as Federico affirms, much of Tommy Nutter and Edward Sexton’s work was Not For Mortals. I feel the same way about Michael Fish’s designs

    But what many people miss is that these guys were easily capable of providing to the less flamboyant. Two of my Mr. Fish neckties are actually amongst the most conservative I own, marked by plain, slightly muted colours and distinguished only by the quality of their (differing) fabrics

    I’m almost certain that Federico’s friend sold me my maroon burgundy mohair suit that I alluded to here some months ago

    Stay well,


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