Joseph Haspel Sr. was the first to recognize the power of the pucker. He founded his eponymous brand in 1909 with the goal of creating clothes that could stand up to his native New Orleans heat. He knew that the Brits used this strangely puckered cloth called seersucker in India and thought it could translate well from a laborer’s outfit to a hot-weather-ready suit.
He was right, the world agreed and quickly Haspel became synonymous with summertime soigné and the jazz hot, cayenne kick of the Crescent City style. Yankee prepsters at Princeton weren’t far behind, snapping up this "It Suit" and spreading it through the Ivy League as a signifier of a true gentlemen. Lawn parties ensued.
Joseph Sr. was keeping it real down south. In one famed story, he dove into the ocean with his clothes on just to show his friends how good his wash-and-wear suit would still look at that evening’s cocktails. Joseph didn’t merely create a brand; he set a standard for making clothes that never get in the way of a good time.
Joseph Haspel Sr.’s sons, one of which was Joseph Jr., took over the company in late 1950s, championing wash-and-wear fabrics and blends, combining comfort, ease and style. Celebrities started wearing Haspel. Seen Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird or Cary Grant in Charade. That was Haspel. Nearly every President since Coolidge has worn Haspel too. It’s a brand, in short, for ballers.
Enter Laurie Haspel stage right. She is Joseph Haspel Sr.'s great grand daughter and current steward of the legacy and a firecracker who reignited the brand for a new generation. Laurie tapped renowned designers to create clothing that echoes its founder. Seersucker remains in the soul but the party is now year round offering full lines of tailored, sportswear and accessory items.
Re-launched in Spring 2014, the brand which created its original seersucker suits in a New Orleans factory, is glad to continue to support domestic design. Available at Nordstrom and top stores around the country, the new Haspel is classic, authentic clothes that celebrate living in the moment, vintage vitality, Southern hospitality, and gutsy ingenuity from Bourbon Street to Broadway.
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