Wednesday 4 September 2013

Who's the Boss?

The name 'Hugo Boss' first swam into my ken some 20 or more years ago, when a woman I was working with told me she had taken her boyfriend shopping and kitted him out from top to toe in 'Hugo Boss'. Poor chap, I thought - and what a repellent name for a gentleman's outfitters. I didn't like the look of their products either, as I began to notice them over the years, and have never been tempted, even at knockdown eBay prices.
  I assumed from the start that 'Hugo Boss' was an invented brand name, craftily conflating the blunt assertiveness of 'Boss' and the softening touch of class provided by 'Hugo'. But no - I now discover that the firm was founded by a charming character called Hugo Ferdinand Boss (born Metzingen, 1885), who set up in business in 1923, joined the Nazi party in 1931, and made his fortune manufacturing those oh so chic black uniforms for the SS, the elegantly understated brown outfits of the SA, and the fun black-and-brown ensembles of the Hitler Youth. The forced labour of French and Polish prisoners helped speed the expansion of his empire - a fact for which belated apologies were issued. Hugo Boss himself survived the war, was fined for his support of the Nazis and disenfranchised. He died in 1948, of a tooth abscess.
  Somehow I now like Hugo Boss clothes even less.


  1. Sad to read this, my BOSS Bomber jacket with matching Bumbag is my go to outfit.

  2. The default schmutter for a certain type of older German men, cropped grey hair, grey stubble, rimless specs and black polo neck. Gerhard Richter buys 'em at Köln's Peek and Cloppenburg, (allegedly because Renzo Piano designed the store.) It's his local gent's outfitters, he lives in the Köln suburb of Hahnwald.

    All nicely topped off, Richter drives a Jaguar.

  3. Thanks Malty - knew I'd get the inside track from you... Meanwhile, it seems that even Russell Brand reads Nigeness
    Oh dear!