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In Remembrance: Boxing Legend And Style Icon Muhammad Ali

Giorgio D'Antonio

Boxing Legend and Style Icon Muhammad Ali

Boxing Legend And Style Icon Muhammad Ali

2016 has been, thus far, one of the most tal­ent depriv­ing years in recent his­to­ry. Since Jan­u­ary, the world has come to halt with news of the untime­ly demise of some of the most icon­ic and leg­endary artists of our time.

Bowie, Prince, Alan Rick­man, Harp­er Lee and more recent­ly Muham­mad Ali, are but a few per­son­al­i­ties whose out­stand­ing tal­ent has been tak­en from us pre­ma­ture­ly.

While each and every one of the afore­men­tioned are wor­thy of an out­spo­ken homage, our focus at this time turns to Ali, a leg­end in and out­side of the ring.

The boxing legend in his early years.

Born Cas­sius Mar­cel­lus Clay Jr., Muham­mad Ali will always be remem­bered as one of the most cel­e­brat­ed and icon­ic sports fig­ures in his­to­ry. Due in part not only to his ath­let­ic skills, but also his activism and set-in-stone opin­ion of the mil­i­tary and war.

His right­eous pos­ture and voice were renowned, espe­cial­ly in an indus­try where most ath­letes allow their spokes­men and man­agers to take the spot­light.

Boxing Legend And Style Icon Muhammad Ali: denim jacket

Muham­mad Ali in his icon­ic punch-pose, wear­ing a den­im jack­et with elon­gat­ed col­lar points.

 

Boxing Legend And Style Icon Muhammad Ali: all black ensemble

Ali sport­ing a casu­al vel­vet navy shirt yet still look­ing taste­ful­ly ele­gant.

Muhammad Ali’s sense of style and becoming an icon.

Set­ting the dif­fer­ence in most aspects of his life, style wasn’t an excep­tion for Ali. In fact, his dis­tinct inter­pre­ta­tion was heav­i­ly sup­port­ed by the array of bespoke shirts that pop­u­lat­ed his wardrobe.

His taste in fash­ion echoed the trends of the decade he was in. Since every­thing he wore was well-tai­lored, his looks always eschewed clas­sic ele­gance.

Here we see him wear­ing a suit don­ning skin­ny lapels, along with a skin­ny tie, both of which dom­i­nat­ed men’s fash­ion in the 1960’s.

Boxing Legend And Style Icon Muhammad Ali: sports illustrated

Caught read­ing Sports Illus­trat­ed; Ali’s love for tai­lored cloth­ing made sure he always looked his best.

 

Boxing Legend And Style Icon Muhammad Ali: skinny suit and tie

Short col­lars and skin­ny ties reigned supreme in the 60’s.

His first expe­ri­ence into the world of bespoke came by way of Gor­don Parks, the not­ed Amer­i­can pho­tog­ra­ph­er for Life mag­a­zine. Through their many inter­ac­tions for some of the magazine’s sto­ries, he took notice of Gordon’s bespoke suit.

Gor­don had com­mis­sioned his from a leg­end on Sav­ile Row, Har­ry Hel­man, who had even made suits for Prince Philip. Ali imme­di­ate­ly decid­ed to make six, each in dif­fer­ent col­ors.

He sim­ply told Parks “I’m a gen­tle­man now, I have to look like one.”

Boxing Legend And Style Icon Muhammad Ali: Harry Helman sartoria

Muham­mad Ali vis­its Har­ry Hel­man of Sav­ile Row, for his first bespoke com­mis­sion.

Dur­ing the 1960’s, short-col­lars and mini-points dom­i­nat­ed the land­scape, as evi­denced by the pho­tos of Ali. While in the 70’s, a more pow­er­ful look sur­faced with wider lapels and for­ward-point col­lars, all in bal­anced pro­por­tions giv­ing a look of dom­i­nance.

Ali put in a great deal of effort into his wardrobe pieces, mak­ing sure they rep­re­sent­ed his per­son­al­i­ty and sense of style. We remem­ber him as a tal­ent­ed box­er, but he was no less of a sar­to­ri­al­ist by today’s stan­dards.

Even with the likes of Gian­ni Agnel­li, who was a style icon in his own right, Ali equal­ly held his own to Europe’s best. Per­haps his com­pet­i­tive nature embod­ied great­ness in all respects of his life.

Boxing Legend And Style Icon Muhammad Ali: 1970s

Ali look­ing a bit old­er and wis­er and more com­posed. The slight­ly wider lapels on his suit con­vey a more pow­er­ful impres­sion.

Boxing Legend And Style Icon Muhammad Ali: among greats jabbar and russell

Bill Rus­sell and Kareem Abdul-Jab­bar loom over Ali. Out­side of their respec­tive pro­fes­sion­al are­nas, their ele­gant style was always a wel­come sight.

 

Boxing Legend And Style Icon Muhammad Ali: reflecting on thoughts

His taste in style still had on-cam­era pres­ence, despite the black and white pho­tos.

Ali’s unique personality and style.

He was intim­i­dat­ing, but charis­mat­ic. He made his pres­ence felt every­where he went, with throngs of fans eager to see him. Some­times he would stand for hours to give auto­graphs, just to see the smiles on their faces.

Ali’s unique voice will nev­er be for­got­ten, and the fights we’ve wit­nessed will remain a lega­cy. It’s a bless­ing to have been in his pres­ence for so long, grant­ed the debil­i­tat­ing ill­ness he suf­fered from.

He had a sense of style, atti­tude, and pas­sion that made him very spe­cial — trade­marks if you will. Whether or not some­one sim­i­lar walks this earth again, there is and was, only one Muham­mad Ali.

Boxing Legend And Style Icon Muhammad Ali: messing with stallone

Two leg­ends spar at the 49th Annu­al Acad­e­my Awards hon­or­ing Rocky I.  As was pop­u­lar with the era, Ali sport­ed ruf­fled plack­ets on all his tuxe­do shirts.

 

Boxing Legend And Style Icon Muhammad Ali: wearing a tuxedo

Ali in the afore­men­tioned ruf­fled plack­et tuxe­do shirt paired with a wide lapel / dou­ble breast­ed blaz­er and flo­ral lapel pin.

Muhammad Ali’s lasting impression on boxing and style.

Blessed with the pow­er of his words, Ali used them exten­sive­ly after his box­ing career. With a resound­ing grav­i­tas, his speech­es were heart­felt, mov­ing even the strongest of men.

And while he left us with many pearls of wis­dom, we leave you with one of Ali’s most famous quotes.

Boxing Legend And Style Icon Muhammad Ali: powerful and elegant

Muham­mad Ali pos­es inside the ring, look­ing ele­gant in his well-pro­por­tioned suit.

Impos­si­ble is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it eas­i­er to live in the world they’ve been giv­en than to explore the pow­er they have to change it. Impos­si­ble is not a fact. It’s an opin­ion. Impos­si­ble is not a dec­la­ra­tion. It’s a dare. Impos­si­ble is poten­tial. Impos­si­ble is tem­po­rary. Impos­si­ble is noth­ing.” 

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