Tuesday, 26 February 2008

NICE TRUNKS



The Samsonite Black Label Collections are so-so. With the brand collaboration pandemic contiuing into 2008, you sometimes get the impression that that the creatives laughed all the way the bank, delivering something sub-standard – like McQueen’s Samsonite collaboration, which is conceptually strong, but ugly in practice.

Cleverly, this time around Samsonite has delved into its heritage, resurrecting pieces from the original trunk collection of the Shwayder Brother, the original founders of the Samsonite brand. The 20’s style cases have kept original features in tact but adding handy modern features like wheels.
Instead of bringing on a big name collaborator, they've just made great trunks. Chloe Sevigny has been brought on to spruke the bag and not actually design it. Remember that concept? And I want one of these trunks.

ONE SOCKLESS EVENING...

I loved the no socks thing as soon as it arrived on the Ralph Lauren runway in New York 2006, and how trouser cuff rose to ankle reveling hights to flaut this new found freedom (chicken or the egg, anyone?). We've seen the look in louge and business, but this image from the Valentino Spring Summer 2008 shows how well it works with men's evening. Socks be banished!

Thursday, 21 February 2008

TIE CLIPS AND WHAT IS ‘IN’

I was with an acquaintance in a vintage store in Notting Hill, admiring an old Dunhill vintage tie clip. ‘Are tie clips back in?’ he asked, genuinely. I sound like a traitor to my profession as a trend forecaster, but I find this attitude – that something entirely timeless can be ‘in’ or ‘out’ – vexing in the extreme. It’s like with the brogue plague earlier this year. As much as the pressure mounted to take them off as every high street store brought out a £40 pair of rubber soled imitations, I point blank refused – ‘I will live through this’, I said, and I nearly have.

Tie clips, as this US GQ shoot shows, are ‘in’. These Gucci and Paul Stuart clips – or tie bars as the Americans call them – make these suits. But they always were in, and always will be.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

MAN SHOW

MAN, a collaboration between Topman and talent-incubator Fashion East, always gets my money for the most excited menswear offering from London Fashion Week. This was the 5th show and with an exception panel including Luke Day (Fashion Director ATTITUDE) Ben Reardon (Editor i-D MAGAZINE) and Tim Blanks (Contributing Editor STYLE.COM) it was no surprise they got it right.

Three new names where announced to show alongside Topman Design: Hans Christian Madsen, James Long and Kesh. Long got most of the attention on the night with his harness-like pieces made from sheepskin and leather, and featured already in Dazed & Confused, i-D Magazine, Another Man and Numero.

My favorite, however, was Hans Christian Madsen, whose pieces are informed by a 50s aesthetic with a minimal masculinity. His knitwear – and I love nothing more than good men’s knitwear – beat Long’s harnesses in the show-stealing arm wrestle.

Pictures: http://www.coutorture.com/1048563

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

TOM NAILS IT

Tom Ford has always had very good taste in fragrances. He always wore Penhaligon's Blenheim Bouquet - the same fragrance Winston Churchill wore. Indeed his new Tom Ford for men is very simular to the traditional, masculine scents which the legendary Penhaligan's House produces. Tom Ford For Men has the classic woody, leathery elements, with a unique twist. Obviously the campaign, shot by Terry Richardson, is brilliant and I love fragrance. I wonder if what Tom is wearing right now?

VERSACE’S WINNING SS08 IN BARNEYS SOON

Versace’s men’s SS08 – the first collection which showcased the influence of creative consultant Alexandre Plokhov – was the best men’s collection Versace has produced in seasons. Men’s Style.com tells us that it goes on sale in the US next month in Barney’s – an I’m thrilled because elegant double breasted suits and re-imagined cropped trench coats are superb and I’ve been wanting to see them in the flesh since the images came out.

Monday, 11 February 2008

ONII-KEI TAKES ON THE ESTABLISHMENT


Fashion-savy men in Japan have been holding their collective breath for the opening of the department store Hankyu’s flagship Men’s building in Osaka. Hankyu’s Men’s- which houses Tom Fords first Japanese store and Louis Vuitton first men’s only boutique - attracted 180,000 shoppers over its first three days. While highest revenue went to the LV boutique, the brand earning the second-highest sales ended up being Buffalo Bobs — a leader the O-nii-kei fashion subculture, which pulled in a cool ¥9.9 million.

O-nii-kei – epitomized in Men’s Knuckle magazine — has evolved to become a more market-friendly version of the gyaru-o taste culture. The gyaru-o boys have grown up, swapping crazy face paint and garish clothing for aviator glasses, fur-trimmed nylon parks, buccaneer boots, bronzed hair, silver accessories and dark tans and as much silver as could be possible.
While Japan’s elite and publications including Popeye and Men’s Nonno continue to ignore the trend - due to it's working class origins, the huge success of Buffalo Bob's this weekend means the style is not going away, and hopefully the countries fashionista's will evolve it further.

Friday, 8 February 2008

DAUBAL DOES NOKIA

I first came across Frederique Daubal’s work at Colette while in Paris. Her work has varied from collaborations with Paul Smith to exhibitions with GAS in Tokyo, but it is always distinctly hers. There is a sense of humour about her pieces which is complimented by a asthetic that is high graphic, while at the same time organic.

These is noticed considerable buzz in the blogosphere about a new phone on which she collaborated, the Nokia 7900 Crystal Prism. Here designs grace the back cover of the phone, and shows Nokia’s art department certainly has its figure on the pulse.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

IN THE NECK - THE DEATH OF THE TIE?


According to the legend, it was JFK’s objection to wearing a hat that finally relegated to the fedora to history’s dust bin of sartorial staples. Unlike every other President, ‘Hatless Jack’ - as he became known - appeared bareheaded at his inauguration, and the hat industry never forgave him. Of course Kennedy’s preference for going bareheaded was part of a trend that had been building for decades, and he only accelerated it. In fact, Kennedy actually did ware his hat to the famous inauguration.

Barak Obama’s aversion to wearing neckties is likely to create a similar urban legend with Obama framed as the tie killer. According to Wikipedia, ‘While still common as late as 1966, over the years 1967 to 1969, the necktie began falling completely out of fashion nearly everywhere, except where required. After a brief fashion resurgence in the 1980s, the 1990s saw the appearance of Internet-based (or dot-com) companies, where most workers did not feel the need for formal dress when facing clients’. While I wouldn't pin the tail on the dot com donkey, clearly changing workplaces is another factor behind the trend away from ties.

With neckwear of every variety popular on the catwalks this season, its easy to forget that for men across the board, ties are on the decline. It’s just a shame that these broad trends always seem to involve the casting off, and not adding on, of sartorial staples for men.