In early July, precisely on the 5th, Seinfeld turned 33 years old.
If you don’t know what Seinfeld is or more simply have never seen it, here, I suggest you remedy that beforehand.
Seinfeld is an American sitcom that aired on NBC from July 5, 1989 until May 14, 1998, for a total of no less than 9 seasons.
This epoch-making series was created by Jerry Seinfeld, a legend of U.S. stand-up comedy, and another unique and inimitable character of American show biz, Larry David.
The “show about nothing” – as it is still called today – set mostly on New York’s Upper West Side stars, in addition to Jerry Seinfeld himself, who plays an imaginative and sui generis version of himself, Jason Alexander (George Costanza), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine Benes) and Micheal Richards (Cosmo Kramer), all of whom have become cult characters.
A postmodern series, where the protagonists were “singles in their 30-somethings … rootless, with vague identities, and with a conscious indifference to morality”, during which a new model of representing reality was coming into being.
Ingrained narrative conventions such as clearly separating characters and the actors playing them, the world of the characters from that of the actors and the audience, were being overturned. An example of this is the story line in which characters try to promote a television sitcom called Jerry. The show within the show, Jerry, in which Seinfeld played himself, and which was avowedly “about nothing”, was resoundingly similar to Seinfeld. Jerry was launched in the final episode of the fourth season, but it was unsuccessful and was dropped, thus creating a metareferential understanding and language with the audience.
From a stylistic point of view, Seinfeld has influenced the formats, language, and style of so many iconic series such as The Office, Arrested Development, Scrubs, and many others.
What interests us more closely, however, is to go and explore a specific peculiarity of the show, styling, which over the years has acquired an importance and significance that deserves to be explored.
The show’s legacy, which has now become an absolute cult, has ensured that the attention around the events of Jerry Seinfeld and company has always been very high, social media then did the rest thanks to memes, videos, references, etc..
The show’s costumes retained a timeless appeal, and in charge of styling the series, along with costume designer Stephanie Kennedy, was Jerry himself, who wanted for his character that there be no difference between what he wore on set during filming and what he used to put on in everyday life.
The choice of genericness of costumes was also declined on the other characters of the sitcom: George Costanza is the character who more than the others had to appear simple, essential. In fact, we see him wearing Levi’s, Dockers, sweaters, New York Yankees jackets and jerseys, questionable hats, chenille jumpsuits, and so much else that determines his sobriety, with some peaks that I will not spoil in case you have not seen the series.
What really no one could have predicted, however, is that the style of Constance in Seinfeld, could end up in the moodboards of the coolest brands of our contemporary times.
It makes one smile, and at the same time reflect, to see the character’s looks associated with the lookbooks of the brand that, more than any other in this moment in history, defines the aesthetic of coolness linked to a soft, hinted, simple, and refined elegance at the same time, Aimé Leon Dore.
If you also factor in nostalgia and thus the consequent return of 90s fashion, that’s it.
Costanza is a New Yorker doc, just as Aimé Leon Dore wishes to embody the spirit of the Big Apple through his collections, recalling distinctive elements of it and involving characters who live, work and represent its style in New York in all respects, not just aesthetically.
The character of Elaine Benes became an icon of the concept of “unfashionable,” floral dresses, objectionable blazers and almost comical shirts. The choice, however, was thoughtful: these were used clothes that were then altered to elicit hilarity from the audience, succeeding perfectly.
To the InsideHook platform Kennedy revealed, “It’s a fine line. You don’t want the clothes to attract too much attention. If you look at the clothes, then I’m not doing my job”.
Another key aspect of the issue is Jerry’s passion for Nike and for shoes in general. He insisted very much that George Costanza’s character often wore a pair of Cortez, which were to become a defining characteristic of the character, as well as for Kramer, who always wore a pair of Dr. Martens on his feet.
As for Jerry, a true and passionate sneakerhead, there was nothing but Nike. Over the course of the nine seasons, we saw it all. Then when Nike understood the scale of the phenomenon and more importantly realized that it could be a great marketing operation to tie in with the show in some way, they decided to endorse the cast and crew characters, going so far as to make collaborations and merchandise specifically for the series.
If you feel like catching up or rewatching it (it’s always a good time for a Seinfeld rewatch) you can find all 9 seasons on Netflix, give yourself a treat and watch it.