vaqstyle 2017-02-05, 08:48
The ‘Esquire Man’ Is Dead.Long Live the ‘Esquire Man.
To that pocket-square-wearing, sidecar-sipping human known as the “Esquire man,” this was life as it was intended to be: a roomful of wags in natty suits throwing back cocktails and trading banter in one of Manhattan’s hottest restaurants, as willowy models and square-jawed movie stars circled the room.
At Esquire magazine’s “Mavericks of Style” dinner, held at Le Coucou on a rainy night this past November, spirits were so high, and consumed so freely, that it might as well have been 1966 — doubly so, since Gay Talese, Esquire’s living monument to the New Journalism of the 1960s, was holding court, dry gin martini in hand, a few yards away from Jay Fielden, Esquire’s new editor in chief.
“There was a period of time when Esquire had a real literary charisma, and there was a culture that responded to it,” said Mr. Fielden, 48, sounding nostalgic as he reclined in a banquette, wearing a steel-bluel Ferragamo suit and sporting what may be the best head of male hair in the magazine industry, a cascade of artfully coifed curls that calls to mind both the belletrist whimsy of Oscar Wilde and the gunslinger gusto of Wild Bill Hickok. “How do you make that urgent to a younger generation?”
It’s a question that may determine the fate of a magazine that for 84 years has not just sought to serve the American man, but to define him. Since the days of Hemingway, Esquire has provided a running seminar in the arts of manhood. It is where young men turned to learn to mix a French 75, tie a full Windsor knot, ogle (in purely aesthetic terms, of course) the latest lingerie-clad Hollywood ingénue and absorb life lessons from stoical, stubble-face cover subjects like Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper.
But times have changed. As we move into the era of transgender bathrooms and L.G.B.T.Q.I.A. studies, when millennials are more likely to take their cultural cues from Justin Bieber’s Instagram feed than 6,000-word profiles of Sean Penn, Mr. Fielden is charged not just with bringing back Esquire’s glory days, but with also figuring out exactly what the Esquire man — that is, the American man — is in 2017.
It is up to the 13th editor in Esquire’s history to decide if this is a crisis or an opportunity.