Paying Homage To The J. Press Brochure

The saga of The J. Press Brochure brings to mind a winter afternoon in the early 1960s when my boss (and Uncle), Irving Press, was busy studying the new brochure in his corner lair by the custom department at the fabled Heyday shop on 16 East 44th Street. While alerting me to sophistries of his craft, we were greeted by David Ogilvy taking leave of his custom suit fitting with legendary tailor Felix Samelson. Pinned into his chalked and basted three-piece Donegal Tweed suit, Irving gave him a thumb’s up.

My uncle immediately proffered Ogilvy the brochure proofs, an act that might otherwise have been considered pure chutzpah since Ogilvy’s firm was never hired to produce a J. Press brochure. Catalogues at the time were home produced by the company. David Ogilvy, universally admired advertising tycoon, often shared fashion gossip with my uncle sharing J. Press customer repartée as if to a friend. Ogilvy studied the proofs admonishing my uncle. “Irving, don’t change a thing. You are precisely following my maxim, “The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be.”

The original 1950s era catalogues depicted merchandise displayed on bare bone manikins set up in the back room of Kravitz’ Wedding Portrait Studio on Chapel Street in New Haven. The original catalogue format changed in 1990 adding live models and location shots at local businessman’s Quinnipiac Club just off the Yale Campus. The fashion models were chosen not unlike what today’s annoying TV cliché ad, “not models but actual customers.” Ours were models, but you couldn’t tell them apart from real live customers.

More than a half century after the Ogilvy meeting, the 2019 J. Press Fall & Winter Brochure honor his philosophy. Changing Times require New Rules—exhaustive product copy detail have given way to meticulously prepared advanced digital photography together with familiar scenes favored by our customer profile audience.

A long way from David Ogilvy.

RICHARD PRESS

9 comments

Good stuff.

JPF Dowling September 17, 2019

Oh good! The last one was so rich in color and texture pictures. Really cool. I brought the 2018 in to my office and catch my staff ogling over it frequently. Looking forward to the new one!

Todd McNichols September 16, 2019

Splendid publication.

Jim A. Steele September 16, 2019

I always enjoy the historic and sartorial commentary of Mr. Press. His witty and satirical banter about fashion , family, business and the promotion of individual style vis a vis a whimsically changeable and usually fickle fashion in men’s wardrobe gives a balanced prospective on why style, dress, and personal carriage are an important statement about our civilization; denoting both respect for ourselves and others and a mainstay of gentlemanly deportment. Please continue the column, display photographically where appropriate and inform us of our history.
Bravo,
J. Holmes Armstead, J.D., Ph.D., LL.D.

Dr. J. Holmes Armstead September 16, 2019

Please send me your 2019 brochure:
Marcus R. T. Thomson
Spa Le Chien
Sonoma Oaks
65 Ramon Street
Sonoma, CA 95476
Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Marcus Thomson September 16, 2019

I was very happy when the new catalog arrived as it presents the latest in fine merchandise offered by the last truly Ivy League men’s store in the United States. Your advertising team have done a great job.

Michael Feinstein September 16, 2019

Another interesting piece of history. The 2019 brochure arrived last week and is naturally well done but I still remember the thinner horizontal brochures from the late 1950s and 1960s when I was much younger. Always preppy with sophistication. Thanks for the memories and keep up the good work.

Mason Burnette September 16, 2019

I always look forward to receiving the Look Book. . . sits on the credenza in my office and I share it with my colleagues and customers until the next one arrives!

Michael Kasparian September 16, 2019

Please forward me a copy of your all new catalog or should I say brochure :
William Sutton
12/2 Eastbourne Rd
Darling Point NSW 2027
Australia
Thank you … I am a Brooke’s Bros customer but am impressed with J Press’s stylish products.

William Sutton September 16, 2019

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