Book review: “F**k Ivy” by Mark McNairy

Ok, let me just start by saying that I’m a little at a loss when it comes to this book. The provocative title, “F**k Ivy ** and everything else”, confirms my opinion of Mark as an enfant terrible of the menswear world. Which is strangely timely, given how much mention there has been of Ivy around here in recent times. And of course, the “F**k Ivy” is spoof of the Japanese fashion bible “Take Ivy“.

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I’ve been aware of Mark McNairy for a while now, and do own a pretty cool tweed shirt by him. He’s a difficult guy to pin down though, as he’s a little random in his output. The word might be inconsistent. My good impression of him is confirmed at the start of the book. I find myself thinking I should pay more attention of McNairy.

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As I read though, I find the content and rather desperate posturing grating. It all seems a bit shouty and juvenile. What is clever about making completely standard-issue shoes with “Fuck you” written on the sole? Which does make me wonder who this book is aimed at, given that most teens wouldn’t be wanting to spend 30 dollars buying it.

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I found I needed a second opinion on this, so I asked WDW and my 16 yo step-son for their input. WDW read through it and described it as a picture-book. My step-son was far more complimentary, describing it as to the point and full of good advice.

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As books go it’s a proper one as well. Hardback and 176 pages in full colour print. Yet there is a problem. I read it, and took my time doing so, looking at the photos closely and all, and it took me 20 minutes.

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In summary, the concept itself is great. Mark McNairy is a real character. The book is well presented and put together. The real problem is that amidst all the high-fives, wizard wisecracks and fun times, everyone forgot to actually write a book. Which is a shame.

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