Friday 31 October 2008

Happy (colourful) Feet

Happy Socks are a recently formed Swedish label currently attempting to conquer the world of fashion socks. We are told that they were created on a rainy Sunday afternoon (most of my best plans are hatched during this scene) and the label is determined to give the world a mood boost with a blast of colour. "We design the kind of socks we want to wear ourselves, simple as that”, says Creative Director Viktor Tell. There can be little doubt that colour has an affect on our moods but unfortunately we often over look our feet. I must admit that before I fell in love with the colours on offer at Uniqlo I only ever wore socks in monochrome a push navy but now I just love my colourful socks. However you like to dress your feet Happy Socks is well worth a visit. We hope that they don't just stop at conquering the world of fashion socks but go forth and the conquer the world. The time for a colourful sock revolution is now.

Thursday 30 October 2008

Left feeling cold by wise words

Fashion156's latest editorial showing winter essentials by James Long and Melanie Broder.

During my obligatory Sunday call to my Grandparents where I hear about their weeks worh of trials and tribulations (who knew watching TV all day could be so hazardous and downright dangerous? I jest, I love my Sunday chats with the old folks.) my Nan warned me about that the cold weather on the way, she even mentioned snow. Snow in October, that's crazy talk...oh wait. As I was partaking in a pumpkin carving and soup making extravaganza on Wednesday night I noticed it getting cold, then it rained, then hailed, then snowed. It blew my fragile and somewhat excited little mind. I will never doubt my Nan again. Winter is upon us my friends. My calls for an early winter have been answered. Right on cue Fashion156 released their new issue, The Structured Issue and the editorial just makes me want to wrap up in giant knitted creations.

The chill factor makes me long for James Long's aw 08 collection

I've realised that even though I wanted Winter to arrive, I'm just not ready for it. I am going to James Long's AW 08 collection as my inspiration. I will go to war with the new chilly environment using a heady mix of sheepskin, suede, leather chunky knits and combining them with buckles and zips, to create my modern warrior look. This weekend will be a shopping filled one. More on this later...

Designers talk about the world of tomorrow

In light of the uncertain times ahead (more economy talk, I'm afraid but hear with me!) have asked an eclectic mix of designers (ranging from Dries Van Noten to Yohji Yamamoto) for their predictions for men's fashion in the year ahead. We might all be sick of this constant recession talk but the points made here are much more interesting than the bog standard lazy journalism we have all been frustrated by in recent weeks and just look at the awesome illustrations (by a chap named Mickey Duzyj). The full feature can be read here.

My favourite illustrations on show...Browne, Simons and Yamamoto

Here is a summary of what the designers had to say...

Dries Van Noten - "There may, in parallel, even be a subtle slide toward the conceptual."

John Galliano - "Fashion has an insatiable appetite for change, for the new and for the innovative. Anything goes, as long as it's exciting."

Patrick Ervell - "From a creative standpoint, chaos and collapse can lead to great things and new beginnings. I think a little bit of creative destruction can be healthy and bracing."

Raf Simons - "We have to give the audience beauty and something to be excited about and something that stimulates."

Thom Browne - "I don't know what the future of men's fashion will be like. I just hope that everyone does their own thing… Because that is what I'm going to do."

Yohji Yamamoto - "Am I still going to be alive in 2009? I really hope so. I am a designer; I will go on designing until I die. This is my way of talking about 2009, 2010…"

What have I learned from all of this? Well, I've learned that I want nothing more than a Mickey Duzyj drawn comic charting the trials and tribulations of our favourite menswear designers!

Wednesday 29 October 2008

Style Salvage's Tony Hart Moment

Steve has tried and failed (countless times) at picking up a pencil and producing something that it is worthy of your viewing pleasure. EJ has sketched something special but is nervous about posting - it will follow one day soon. Step forward Susie Bubble who has actually been pestering us to post her effort.

Here comes Style Salvage's Tony Hart moment...Readers have had more luck than us with a pencil and have put me to shame, we thank you all for taking part and apologise for the delay in posting your efforts. Even though Steve couldn't produce anything worthy of showcasing on the blog, his infantile sketching efforts certainly made him think about outfits in a more intense light. As he stared at the outfits of choice he analysed them deeply, taking in the cut, the use of colour, uncovering often over looked short, even though the act of sketching was a failure the task was certainly worthwhile.


Did you pick up a pencil? If you did, please let us know!

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Picture postcard: commons gold

Dear Steve

I was making a cursory search of the commons on Flickr and came across this chap. Don't you think he's the most wonderful man you've seen this week? I was initially drawn to this photograph by his mustache (naturally) but then I was gripped by his gaze and his slightly furrowed brow. His hair is fantastic- it almost seems as though he's sporting a quiff... though since this picture was taken c. 1915 that seems unlikely. If that flower in his lapel doesn't persuade you to sport a buttonhole of your own (and not just your poppy) then I don't know what will.


P.S. Blog admin type stuff: follow the blog with bloglovin´, try out the search function on the sidebar and keep up to date with our posts and ponderings on twitter.

Thanks for sharing this chap with us EJ! he is absolutely awesome. Everything about him is perfect and he sets the style benchmark for any middle aged gentlemen, I want to be him when I grow up. His gaze would ordinarily be quite frightening but because he is so well turned out I see it more as a look of contempt. I heart him.

Kawakubo on her collaboration with H&M

Now we’ve all seen the full Comme des Garçons for H&M collection a number of times across the online world but put aside your personal opinion of the collection and read the reasons behind the collaboration. The Independent has an interesting article chronicling the collection which includes a number of quotes from Rei Kawakubo herself.

Image courtesy of mensrag via Selectism.

"The collection is constructed around Comme des Garçons' style. Rather than aiming to make clothes that no one has ever seen before, it is very much Comme des Garçons goes [back] to its roots." Rei Kawakubo

When asked why she’d do this collaboration she answered, “I was interested in selling Comme des Garçons in a new place where it has never been sold before and to people who may never have heard of it. Usually, Comme des Garçons only sells in places where people who understand it go.” There we have the reason behind most designer collaborations: to extend the audience and potential customer base for the label. "The first objective of high-street fashion is that it sells. Designer fashion is more about new creation. In some respects, the high street represents the bad side of democracy, the lowest common denominator, but it certainly appeals to me that many people may be able to discover Comme des Garçons through H&M."

As the article points out, there is always a danger within any designer-high street collaboration that it might detract from the main event, causing customers to buy into the more reasonably priced line at the expense of the original that inspired it. However, by reverting to classic pieces, Kawakubo has ensured that this will not be the case. In fact, it is more likely that by working with H&M she will bring a whole new customer into her own, more rarefied fold.

Now that you have seen the collection and had a chance to read the thoughts from the designer herself what do you make of it all? For me personally collaborations can only be a good thing. However, I still have my doubts about the quality of the garments but that is become of my deep rooted scepticism of H&M fabric choice and garment construction (buttons should not be missing from shirts which are still on the rack!).

Monday 27 October 2008

Buck - First Issue News

We featured the launch of the online side of the magazine earlier in the month, we are now mere days away from the global launch of the actual magazine and I've been invited to the launch! From the 30th October the magazine will be available nationwide throughout the UK as it is will be stocked in the usual places including Borders and WHSmith and even Tesco, Marks & Spencer and ASDA! OK, so I know most of you live outside of the UK but don't worry it will be available internationally! It will be on sale in 35 Barnes & Noble stores in the US, and independent retailers in New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, Paris, and Milan from issue!

BUCK is apparently the first monthly men’s magazine in the UK to feature global street style in every issue and the first to combine fashion and design articles with significant food coverage (it caters for all my favourite needs (excuse the pun)). Most admiringly and interestingly, the magazine will be a showcase for new creative talent and will feature up and coming artists, bands and actors talking about their own style and tastes. Hopefully BUCK will become a must read for me...I'm eager to get my hands on it and judge it for myself and of course I'll share it with you. My magazine addiction will no doubt continue to bankrupt me...

Chase is the VMAN but Testino Takes Over

The latest cover VMAN features Gossip Girl star Chace Crawford, shot by Mario Testino

The latest issue of VMAN (which is the first ever winter issue!) is now available. As yet I've not managed to pick it up myself but I just had to remark on the cover. The cover boy is Chace Crawford, who if you don't know stars in one of my (many) guilty pleasures TV shows (I really should get out more and more importantly not admit to these things), Gossip Girl wearing D&G plaid. I have to admit though that when I first saw the cover I asked myself 'Why is Zac Efron' on the cover of VMAN...'Is VMAN turning into TeenVogue' (another guilty pleasure). I'm not 100% sold on the styling but I've certainly had enough of Efron for one lifetime.

For the magazine's first Winter Issue Mario Testino is guest editor. Within the issue he explores the extremes of masculinity. Testino explains “masculinity has come to be determined less by a man’s exterior than by his kindness, his fairness, his taste, his behavior. Now, you can look like one thing and be completely the opposite. I’m quite fascinated by this, so I decided to do a study of the extremes of masculine identity today.” Testino photographed thirteen extreme male archetypes, including Extreme Sun (the beach bum), Extreme ink (tattooed men), and Extreme Macho (bearded men), the other ten are a mystery until I get my hands on the issue. Have anyone read it? Should I hit the streets in search of it?

Sunday 26 October 2008

Is the thin man redefining fashion for his generation?

I only recently stumbled across the photos and musings of Bill Cunningham of The New York Times (after a reader pointed me in his direction). During my lazy weekend I have managed to catch up on the internet world and that included a visit to the New York Times Photographer's page where I came across his ideas on a new generation of men in New York. For Bill there has been an interesting evolution in men's style, with a new thin silhouette having reached the streets of New York in all its conservative force. After more than a decade where young men either cared nothing for clothes and more in frequenting the gym, or chose to dress like slobs. Now a younger generation are neat, precisely dressed and sleek are to the photographer's eye showing the future. Up to this point I am right there will Bill, nodding approvingly all the way BUT then he loses me by discussing the sobering economic period as reason why these men are dressing as they are and will continue to do so. There can be little doubt that (thankfully) there are an increased number of men who are taking an interest in men's fashion and most importantly their own style. The reasons why there has been this shift in male attitudes to their clothes is less clear. Is it really that important? Let's just continue to celebrate it.

Waiting for winter to be born

Yesterday was a beautiful Autumn day in London and it was spent in the best possible way, walking around Regents Park, kicking leaves and on the hunt for the duck pond which we never did find. Autumn is my favourite season as it offers so much styling opportunity. However, ever since EJ first told me about Yokoo and then Susie featured the etsy seller I've wanted to wake up to winter and have a wealth of winter accessories to choose from. Like a squirrel collecting his nuts for the cold months ahead I will begin searching and hoarding the best winter accessories out there and of course I will document my finds here. The search begins and could almost end with Yokoo as I buy everything in her etsy store.

P.S. - Judging by her latest collection I think we should petition for Sandra Buckland to try her hand and knitting needles at menswear.

Saturday 25 October 2008

Daniel Jenkins on British Mens Fashion

We asked Daniel Jenkins if he would like to write a guest post for the blog and were surprised after he agreed without hesitation. He went away back to his store in Monmouth and wrote the post in secret (he didn't even give us any clues on the subject matter) and here it is. A recurrent theme on the blog in recent months has been the discussion on the rise of menswear but despite this rise there are still so much room for improvement. As a store owner Daniel Jenkins has a clear vision on menswear and the designers he wants to sell. As a passionate, intelligent chap he has insightful thoughts on the current state of men's fashion in Britian so here they are!

Posts from the last week or so have forced me to rethink what I was going to write about, particularly the Lulu Kennedy interview. Her comments regarding men’s fashion fascinated me. As someone who believes in British menswear to such an extent that my shop is only stocking British menswear labels from ss09 I have a slightly vested interest in what happens with regards to MAN and menswear during British fashion week. During fashion week this time around there was much talk of New York, Milan and Paris trying to expand their timetable. In order to facilitate such a change London Fashion Week would have to be truncated. Maurice Chittenden in The Times wrote that menswear was likely to be the main casualty, something that, if I was of a sensitive disposition, I might find deeply upsetting. However, it could be argued that British menswear, despite a lack of mainstream coverage, is currently stronger than womenswear. In spite of this when was the last time you read an intelligent and thought provoking piece on menswear in any of the mainstream newspapers? Unless it is about how to look as if you’ve surrendered your manhood. Some of the looks that are proposed as ideal for the chap about town would make you look as if you’ve fallen out of an advert for Next and been dressed by your partner – I remove Charlie Porter from this blame, who is perhaps the best men’s fashion journalist we have in the UK. Time and time again I have the same line fed to me that women buy clothes for their husbands, boyfriends and sons. I’m struggling to see the evidence for this. It’s certainly not the case in my store or online. In fact I did a quick straw poll amongst my girlfriend and her friends the other night. They agreed with me that they would rather cut their arms off than go shopping for the ‘other half’. Is this the case with you as well?

As I stated before, menswear is fairly healthy in the UK. Some of the UK’s best stores are purely menswear affairs... something that would have been unthinkable a decade ago. The British male has certainly become more savvy and demanding. Is it any surprise then that we lead the world in online retailers? Last week saw the launch of FarFetch, another British concept. In fact I sat down and thought about purely womenswear stores which offered the level and breadth of talent that some of the best men's stores do. I’m not talking about replicating Vogue and Elle but rather those that offered well made clothes sourced from small labels from around the world. Answers on a postcard please.

British Talent: Satyenkumar, Lou Dalton and Stanfeild.

Not all is peachy though. Of the men’s fashion weeks Paris has traditionally been where the most business is done. Almost all the British labels we deal with do large amounts of business when in Paris or perhaps in Copenhagen. As a store based in deepest darkest Wales – only 200 years from London - I could quite easily do all of my buying without ever setting foot in London... the creative capital of the world? This isn’t because of a paucity of talent. Some of the best and brightest men's talent, those that will last the course, are British. We have labels as diverse as Lou Dalton, Stansfield and Passarella Death Squad – a modern phenomenon if there ever was one - all of which are stocked in the best stores in America, Japan, Europe yet have small presence in this country. Why is this? I found the last MAN show interesting. I usually go to fashion shows alone so I enjoyed watching it with Steve and being able to pick his brain about the collections.

Ms Kennedy is right, there was a good balance – although wool in July is never going to be a winner - but three labels and Topman design does not a fashion week make. The idea of a men’s fashion week in London is something I don’t believe I’ll see in my lifetime. The menswear could presently be fitted into one day. What a fine day it would be, but, it’s not enough! The New Gen programme has worked well for womenswear and poses interesting questions about menswear. Far too many labels are allowed to gather a head of steam then left to crash. I understand the 'why should we help people?’ argument. No-one helps retailers etc but if we aren’t careful we will lose our brightest and best talent. Rachel Sanderson in the International Herald Tribune writes about the shift away from British manufacture, stating that labels have decided that being able to put 'made in Britain' no longer has the cache it used to and that the problems in the global economy force them to construct their garments elsewhere. This is something I often chat with customers about. Most are quite informed about where something comes from and we’ve found as a business that those labels that are made in the UK tend to do quite well for us. Satyenkumar is quite a good example. We’ve had a number of repeat customers who have commented on the fact that everything is British and made in the UK. The use of British fabric again is important.

If you missed the Tailoring show - go watch it on iplayer now!

This week the BBC’s British Style Genius series dealt with Tailoring. Within the show there was a brief segment that dealt with Burton. The creative director was at pains to mention several times that they were using British fabric for their ‘Heritage’ range. Unfortunately this is something that is unlikely to end up in Monmouth’s branch of Burton. They however do fabulous business in Mister Men t-shirts...

In France the FFC was set up not only to deal with the organisation for Paris Fashion week but also to protect the interests of French fashion. We have the BFC in this country that aims to do this. It’s created an interesting dialogue with the media regarding the size zero debate. Yet we hear very little from them about British menswear. I’ve certainly never spoken to anyone connected with the organisation. Of course there are organisations such as the CFE (Centre for Fashion Enterprise) which offer government backed help. but this only goes so far.

Jonathan Saunders in an interview with stated that he and the other stars of his generation quickly realised that you needed to work on collaborations and for other companies in order to further your own business. MAN does a wonderful job of bringing the industry together and celebrating menswear through the show and party, but there is only so much they can do. Once fashion week is over we seem to be left to our own devices. Constantly I hear that British Fashion is a multi billion dollar industry... given that according to Robert Peston of the BBC the world should end sometime next Tuesday shouldn’t we do something to make sure that we safeguard it?

In more trying and testing economic times the maxim was always that people dressed better, stopped buying disposable fashion and moved towards items which would last and wear well. This has always been our maxim. Trying to offer something a little different to the customer. Limiting the chance that they will see 5 men wearing the same outfit while out and about. This is what the British male who is interested in fashion strives for. Limited edition releases and hard to find products will always do well. Sir Paul Smith (my hero) summed it up quite nicely last night when dealt with the topic of other nations being better dressed than us Brits. He said “the Italians are extraordinarily well dressed. Yet there is very little individuality in the way they dress... In Britain we have our own character and we dress to fit our character.” British fashion is incredibly important. We created most of the prevailing trends of the last 200 years. Constantly we are at the forefront pushing new ideas without losing that sense of British identity in our cut and drape. Raf Simons – the nearest we currently have to a genius in men's fashion - is constantly influenced by British fashion and our youth culture. Wouldn’t it be a shame to lose that sense of craft in order to push fast celebrity fashion?

Friday 24 October 2008

Street Style Surprise

As I made my final visit of the day to thesartorialist before retreating to bed (it was the second of the had been a slow day for my aesthetic amusement as work was frustratingly an obstacle) I must admit that I was surprised by the below image....

My eyes have been conditioned by the elegant but somewhat safe style captured by his camera. After getting over the style shock my first reaction was that the comments box must be full of negative comments...questioning why Mr Schuman would shoot such a 'try hard' or at the very least just wouldn't understand where the chap was coming from...but to my second surprise in mere moments, the feedback was 90% positive. I can go to bed happy. Happy, firstly as thesart has given me something new, awoken me out of my constant nodding approval of the street style shots contained within his blog by offering me something different, something intriguing; and secondly because a significant number of people appreciated it rather than shoot it down with negativity. Yes, there are elements of the outfit which are questionable (the shoes in particular) but on the whole this is a multi layered and textured look which is original and (for me) carried off (interestingly). What do you make of it all?

Thursday 23 October 2008

Vans venture in neo plasticism

Back in April we posted about the Mondrian inspired Dunks and TheSundayBest proclaimed his love of the Dutch master of abstract art and even admitted visiting the MOMA just to stare at the great man's signature (this post is dedicated to you Thom). A visit to thecoolhunter has in my eyes unearthed a shoe taking the Mondrian even further...

Vans have released a Modular Authentic series which come in three different colourways (from a nice and simple black, grey and white colorway to a more vibrant red, yellow, blue, black and white colorway).

I have some time on my hands over the next week or so as Susie is away in San Francisco so I will research Mondrian further and will dedicate an outfit to one of the greatest of all modern artists. I will leave you with a quote from his essay on Neo Plasticism which has made me think about the options within my own wardrobe...

'As a pure representation of the human mind, art will express itself in an aesthetically purified, that is to say, abstract form…The new plastic idea cannot therefore, take the form of a natural or concrete representation …this new plastic idea will ignore the particulars of appearance, that is to say, natural form and colour. On the contrary it should find its expression in the abstraction of form and colour, that is to say, in the straight line and the clearly defined primary colour'.

Ponystep interview bstore

Ponystep's Jean-Marc Masala caught up with bstore's Mathew Murphy to talk shop and toast the existence of the best menswear stores in London (now in it's 7th year).

The whole interview is well worth a read but the final two questions are my favourites...
Jean-Marc Masala: Do you think a new breed of male customer emerged since you opened.

Matew Murphy: Yes, definitely. Before we opened, men’s fashion was about buying jeans and t-shirts, it was the only thing that was sold to men (unless you consider the extreme opposite - cutting edge stuff from Pineal Eye). Then this new consumer appeared. He wanted a bit more than that, and we could offer him a choice. That’s why we are now taken a bit more seriously. It does not matter if the customer is a young gay guy or a middle age architect; he is a person who needs to find the designer that works for him. You match them up; you then have a loyal customer.

Jean-Marc Masala: And finally, who is the b man?

Matew Murphy: A constant reference and inspiration for the collection is David Bowie, through all his different periods but mainly late 70's early 80's..........he is the ultimate b man.

Mix and Match this Winter with Ethosens

When there is a chill in the air which forces you to jump out of bed and into a warm shower as quickly as possible it is THE time to have some fun whilst dressing in the morning. Mensrag constantly beat me to posting about new collections but the Ethosens autumn/winter collection is so good I just don't care. As featured on Mensrag last week Tokyo based fashion label Ethosens have showcased their second autumn/winter collection which for me has the perfect combination to facilitate great winter style - a flurry of patterns, cuts and colors. Founded by Yui Hashimoto in 2007, the brand has received a warm welcome in the industry coming off a successful spring/summer 2008 showing in Paris.

According to Kanye the jacket on the right is reeetarded which according to the sland dictionary means good...

Yes, some of the looks are rather flamboyant but as the sky fades to grey, there is nothing wrong with a dash of flamboyance. The collection’s technical features contribute to a unique pairing of patterns and textiles such as their removable pant leg feature which as well being practical adds excitement and intrigue into the looks.

What I love most about this collection is that each garment’s unique look allows for unlimited mix-matching and outfit pairings. The jacket with the removable bottom section (above right) is on my Christmas list (Santa I know you are reading this because you are such a huge fan of the blog).

Wednesday 22 October 2008

Mo' money, mo' research

Good lord, where has the year gone? November is creeping up on us and with it comes Movember. You may remember that I wrote about Movember last year but was a bit slow to catch on.

Not this year however! This year I am doing things properly and I urge you to join me. Sadly I cannot take part myself (damn you woman's body!) but I have persuaded my long suffering boyfriend to do the growing for me. If any of you do decide to take part, please let me know and we can big you up/chart your progress right here. The rules are simple: at the start of Movember guys register with a clean shaven face. The Movember participants known as Mo Bros then have the remainder of the month to grow and groom their moustache and along the way raise as much money and awareness about male health issues as possible. Funds raised by Mo Bros and Sistas in the U.K. will be donated to The Prostate Cancer Charity.

The serious bit: November is an important month for me. The 5th of November is my Grandpa's birthday. The 19th of November was the date he died of Prostate cancer. The more I can do to help raise awareness of the disease and raise money for research to try to cure it, the better, so something like Movember means quite a lot to me. Any of you that will help out by publicising the cause, donating what you can or growing a tash can be certain of my gratitude.

The style bit: So you're growing a tash? Well, for guidance, we wrote a post on the matter here and for inspiration you may wish to consult Hudson's Guide or Mustaches of the 19th century.

This really is a cause we should all get behind. I must admit that I'm not blessed with the best facial hair in the world, it grows randomly and has a ginger tinge to it but I want to take part and hopefully you will as well. TheSundayBest documented the journey he had with his lip companion and it would be great if more of us could do the same and raise both awareness and money at the same time. To inspire one and all, here is an old image from thesartorialist.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Sorry Sunday saved by the Sunday Supplements

A cheerful looking Lang brightened up the cover...

Sunday was a day that I want to forget (it was a day where my hangover met something else, some form of stomach bug which has left me utterly useless for the last few days) but now that I'm feeling human again, there is one good thing which came out of Sunday. The Observer Fashion Supplement by Tank. Ordinarily, this is a supplement which I like to flick through but the lasting taste is always bemoaning the lack of menswear...Issue 13 was different it was dedicated to Men's Fashion. This was the first men's edition, a behind the scenes look at what's going on in men's fashion right now as well as showcasing seasonal essentials, a conversation between the infamous curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and the pioneering designer turned conceptual artist Helmut Lang.

The Seventh Seal Editorial - Photography by Christopher Anderson

Here's to menswear infiltrating the Sunday Supplements and to feeling human again!

Interview with Carola Euler

Carola Euler is one of most exciting talents designing menswear today and we were fortunate enough to steal a few moments with her. If the designer has slipped you by (seriously where have you been?) but here is a quick bio: Carola Euler was born in Germany and studied dressmaking and tailoring in her home town of Gießen. She moved to London in 1999 to study a course in fashion design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. In March 2005 she was awarded an M.A, by which time she had already worked for designers such as Alexander McQueen, Alfred Dunhill, Jonathan Saunders, Raf Simons and Kim Jones.

Euler's collection took over bStore who have been fans of the designers work. ‘I was inspired by the idea of what a 16-year-old boy would buy if he suddenly came into lots of money,’ says Euler. ‘That kind of naive approach to luxury dressing.’

What drove you to become a menswear designer?
The opposite of peer pressure. Nearly everybody was opting for womenswear in college and I felt very special being one of 2 girls studying menswear.

How would you describe your work?
Irony, Surrealism, Sports and Sex. I am serious in a subtle, ironic way.

You only graduated from Central Saint martins in 2005? How have the last few years gone?
Very fast and furious. A lot of work, fun, pain and joy. Three moves from London to Stockholm to my small hometown in Germany and finally to Berlin. I met all sorts of people and have done some fun collaborations. It was never boring, that's for sure.

Euler's second line - Carola Euler Stills

Can you tell us about your latest collection?
For SS2009 we launched our second line, CAROLA EULER STILLS - a self-contained jersey collection of t-shirts, tanks, sweaters and cardigans. I always wanted to do more jerseys – I love jerseys - but unfortunately there is only so much space for it in a mainline. We finally gave that idea attention and are very pleased with the result and the amazing response we got for it, so consequently this will be a constant collection from now on running alongside the main collection, complementing each season.
This first season we concentrated on offering that 'special t-shirt' that doesn't rely on print as so many t-shirt labels do, but on cut, colour, silhouette and detail without being fuzzy or overly expensive – jerseys that can be dressed up or down.

There is constant sense of humour embedded within the themes of your work, aside from humour what inspires you as a designer?
Thank you very much, I am happy this is palpable without sticking a post-it on it. I also like repetition, mass-produced single use products, ridiculously expensive individualism, the vicious boy-at-heart and deep male voices singing monotonously.

Is there an Carola Euler man/muse?
The past few seasons it started to be the idea of a certain man or group of men that don't but could exist. Who they are and what they do varies with each collection but I observed they all tend to be highly self-confident bordering on arrogant with an eye for a kind of luxury that is just as virtual as they are. The setting changes, the sports according to season but they all have a hint of American psycho and could be cast offs of each other - quite homogeneous and interchangeable in an aggressive way. All sexy and rich. Give the impression you can buy them in a pack of 10.

How do you feel about the rising interest in menswear? Which fellow designers to you admire?
I hope it's making men feel less insecure to be interested in a 'chick' thing like fashion. I think men want to appear style confident without looking they ever spent ages thinking about it. But very few can do that, I can't do that for my part – so it's good they get a little help by the men's fashion magazines they can hide from their girl-friends and mates afterwards.
I admire Helmut Lang and Raf Simons – not so much fellows, rather icons.

What would you like to achieve?
The perfect show. I am not stopping before I have done that and if it kills me or any of my assitants. To make it sound more dramatic.

Finally, What item of clothing (if any) do you wish that more men wore?
None, but there are some I wished they wouldn't wear, e.g. fully ribbed zip ups in beige, tops with lacing on slit necklines, jeans with crazy washings. Still very popular in some regions.

Friday 17 October 2008

Picture Postcard: Weekend Inspiration

Dearest EJ

We have made it to the weekend!

Friday's picture postcard comes to you courtesy of Hel Looks and is of a chap named Artturi. On the outfit he remarks "I was browsing The Sartorialist today and got inspired. All my clothes are second hand except the trousers. I like to wear dress shirts and knits. Gypsy men have a great style. Personality is always stylish, too." Susie is off vintage shopping in West London tomorrow and I am hell bent on purchasing at least one item of good quality second hand clothing. My experiences of vintage stores thus far have been fine but I've only ever walked away with accessories (woolen ties mostly), now I want something more. If Artturi can dress head to toe in second hand fare then surely I can find something more than a woolen tie. I will keep you posted!

I will shout at you on the laptop (via Skype) on Sunday no doubt


Thursday 16 October 2008

Purple haze all in my brain

I am slowly becoming obsessed by the colour purple, I even dream purple. Ever since EJ challenged me to wear more colour in my every day outfits I have increasingly given thought to colour but I'm stuck on one in particular, purple. My mind was recently blown when EJ flaunted and taunted me with her Uniqlo purchase of purple jeans and then once again when I came across the Visvim's 08 Winter Hockney Collection and the gift of a purple offering. Be warned I might just start rocking all purple ensembles...

Purple Haze Style, clockwise from top left: Ann Demeulemeester Purple Jacket, uniqlo purple jeans, Visvim's 08 Winter Hockney Collection and thecablog's hat which I might just steal one day.

Another way to procrastinate...

The Internet is a wonderful yet dangerous place as it fuels my innate desire to procrastinate from all forms of real work (one of these days it might get me into trouble but until that day I'm just going to enjoy where my whims take me). The latest procrastination gift came in the form of online magazine Scoute which focuses on fashion, travel and culture. The magazine published its first issue in May (so I can raid the archives and keep myself busy) and I love the format and most importantly the focused attention it gives to menswear. The latest issue introduced me to Boris Bidjan Saberi, a menswear designer with a distinct style and keen eye for detail and finish who has up until now passed under my radar. Scoute informs me that Saberi has presented his collections since s/s 08 at the Barcelona fashion week, and in fall 2008 his garments started reaching stores such as L'Eclaireur in Paris and Darklands, Berlin....his desire for nothing but perfection might limit his garments availability but we can't begrudge him on this.

Scoute talked to the designer in Barcelona about his background and work, you can read the article here.

Tomorrow whilst raiding the archives I will read up on the magazine's guide to shopping in the weekend I hope to have booked my Eurostar tickets to explore the coolest Flemish city in Belgium. Happy procrastinating to you all!

Wednesday 15 October 2008

To tie or not to tie?

An article on the Times website had me both irritated and curious. The gist of the article is that, contrary to a earlier article, ties are actually 'out' and apprently not advisable in this climate of economic crisis. The main basis of this argument? That several authors at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival were seen sporting open collared shirts.

Robert Kennedy - wondering whether to do up that tie?

I can't really put my finger on why this article riled me so much. I think part of it is that is seems supremely fickle. Yes, fashion IS fickle, but for me, the way men dress- wearing ties or not, wearing jeans or trousers, this colour or that- is not so much about fashion or about fads, it is more about personal style. One of the main reasons that I was drawn enough to men's style to want to write about it was because it seemed that bit less fickle than women's. That is not to say that men are not interested in fads or trends obviously (I'm not blind to the number of stylish men I've noticed turning up their trousers a bit shorter of late... I'm looking at you, Steve) but I've always hoped that men who wore ties (or who didn't wear ties) really wouldn't be bothered by whether or not someone else was or wasn't wearing them (or whether the economic climate demanded it!)

So here's my question to you, dear readers. How much DO you feel you're influenced by such things? Do catwalks, celebrities or magazine articles have much of an affect when you're planning your outfits for the day/month/season? Or is it something else, and if so, what?

This has nothing really to do with any of the above, but doesn't this chap over on Brandish look like he's channelling Ian Curtis of Joy Division to a ridiculous degree in this picture?

ASOS Untitled

Tomorrow (16th October...where has this year gone) sees ASOS launch their "Untitled"collection which is a selection of limited edition products. The purpose of the collection is to take advantage of men's collecting obessions by curating a selection of vinyl, trainers, sunglasses and new designers. As mentioned by Susie on DazedDigital it really is testament to the rise of menswear when a store like ASOS dedicates something of this scale to men.

Brandish recently posted the above image which made me salivate and wince is of the jewell in the collection: the exclusive pair of Adidas' 35th Anniversary Superstar trainers which were selected by trainer rarity store Crooked Tongues (I love these shoes but the price of £4000 is enough to make anyone wince).

The above capsule collection should be more affordable. Hywel Davies, author of 100 New Designers and Modern Menswear asked a number of menswear designers to contribute to the project and the result is an interesting capsule collection. Swedish Patrik Soderstam designed five limited edition graphic tees which are bold and humorous but not really for me. One of my favourite designers, Carola Euler submitted a beautiful grey pleat front sweatshirt, Jean Pierre Braganza added leather panel detailing to a pair of low crotch slim fit wool trousers, Deryck Walker continues his interpretations of the classic white shirt and a wool scarf by Frank Leder completes this capsule wardrobe. The designers had this to say about their designs in ASOS' Insider. No doubt that all of the good pieces will sell out faster than you click the F5 button, so if you are an obsessive collector who needs all things rare then take this as a warning.

Tuesday 14 October 2008

Tailoring on the TV

Afer working late at the office I decided to treat myself and go out for dinner because I just couldn't face cooking. This meant that I missed the latest episode of British Style Genius which was all about tailoring. Did anyone catch it? The series which explores what makes British fashion and style distinctive continued with the tailored look - from Savile Row to Paul Smith, Fred Astaire to James Bond. The British tailoring story is one of elegant craftsmanship, where a bespoke suit takes 40 measurements and weeks of cutting and stitching by hand to complete. It pains me that British tailoring has often been better appreciated abroad than at home - hopefully the series can make one and all appreciate this somewhat unappreciated art form. The cameras travel to Japan with designer Paul Smith, whose colourful, 'classic-with-a-twist' formula has created a global style brand and more traditional Savile Row designers are following suit.

Here is a clip of Michael Caine rambling featuring Roger Moore

What excites me most about this episode is how it portrays the industry. The heart of this very British success story is shown to be an ability to combine centuries of heritage and tradition with creativity, imagination and a defiant sense of individuality as seen in the 60s psychedelic tailored designs of 'Granny Takes a Trip', the flamboyance of Tommy Nutter's suits for women and the modern cuts of today's mavericks like Ozwald Boeteng and Timothy Everest.

Thank goodness for technology, BBC iplayer means I can soon catch up on the action but whilst I wait for BBC to upload the episode I thought I would share it with you. After I've seen the show I will write a full review and hopefully share some clips with you. In the meantime, if you saw it, let us know what you thought.

Arena Homme makes it to 30

"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months"
Oscar Wilde

The new issue of Arena Homme + kept myself and Susie (who bought and then read Vogue all in the space of 5 minutes) entertained on the train back home to Kent. The new issue marks the 30th Issue Anniversary of this quite awesome bi-annual and came in a choice of three covers (photographed by Willy Vanderperre, fashion by Olivier Rizzo and accompanied with illustrations by M/M (Paris). Beginning with the cover the anniversary issue portrays an other worldliness inspired by Dickens and Wilde and is full of crazed characters, a fair bit of vanity and a surprising number of epigrams - a world I would like to frequent. Over the last few years we have gone through something of a golden period in men's fashion and there can be no doubt that Nick Logan's creation has been a part of and indeed facilitator of this time. Nick Logon (who also gave us The Face and Smash Hits) is a publishing pioneer and recently stated that "Homme+ is probably my proudest achievement. To realise a magazine that competes internationally, where all of those big designers and brands from Italy and France really felt it was a must to be in it was always really something for me.To be based in London at a time where magazines like Homme+ did not exist, it felt like the entry into another world." Now that the baton has been passed on to a new generation, the magazine is still at the forefront. Happy Anniversary Arena Homme +.

Below are the highlights from the main editorial 'A Young Man of Extraordinary Beauty' where they present fifteen Homme+ boys of past and present.

The final look in the bottom right is my favourite. Lucas wears wool sleeveless jacket and cotton t shirt by Dior Homm (s/s 09), silk lace scarf (worn as vest underneath) by Number Nine (s/s 09), eslastic armour made from customised martin Margiella Bustier, finishedd of with an 18k gold safety pin by Commes des Garcons. I would like Olivier Rizzo to dress me every day.

Monday 13 October 2008

The desert boot - defying the sands of time

I'm not too are whether it was the Kentish sand that ran between my toes (it was beautiful weather over the weekend) or maybe it was Brandish informing me of a new release by Clarks but my love for Desert Boots have grown significantly in the last few days. Of course the classic desert boot is by Clarks Originals but there are a number of great alternatives out there! I wanted to give you some interesting facts about the history of the shoe but wikipedia let me down (the entry had been deleted), fortunately Oi Polloi informs me that the desert boot was created in 1950 by Nathan Clark after he got the idea from crepe-soled, rough suede boots which officers in the Eighth Army were in the habit of getting made in the Bazaar at Cairo. Since 1950 this soft, floppy, ankle high boot has become something of an icon, continuing to defy the sands of time. Here are my favourites:

Pierre Hardy available at trebienshop, Clarks Originals available at Clarks, Aquascutum and Common Projects versions both available at farfetch

Friday 10 October 2008

Men Represent - Sketches

First and foremost we apologise for the obvious lack of activity on this Men Represent task. Jonas Fred has continued to lead the way with little support from any of us. Picking up a pencil and a notepad isn't that hard but some how we have let other things take precedence. No more. Steve is off to the seaside to visit the old folks so will have plenty of time to sketch the locals...expect a great deal of sportswear from him but more than likely the local uniform of intimidation and trainers will bore him and he'll take inspiration from the new issue of Arena + Homme instead. Meanwhile EJ is on her way down to the big smoke - no doubt she will be inspired by the abundance of art she will see over her stay in the capital. On Monday we will upload the fruits of our scribbling. We hope you all have great weekends and productive ones.

Please note, you will need the following to sketch effectively (we've packed ours):
Drawing paper
Tracing paper
Pencils (including coloured)

An assortment of sketches from What I Saw Today to inspire you this weekend

If you are stuck on how to approach the task, here a selection of useful links:

Thursday 9 October 2008

Far Fetch(ed) Shopping

v. t.
1. To bring from far; to seek out studiously.
1. Anything brought from far, or brought about with studious care; a deep strategem.

(Definition by thefreedictionary)

Online shopping on the whole is not exactly exciting... necessary and practical it may be but on many occasions the true thrill of the consumerist chase which culminates in triumphantly carrying the purchase home is lost within the online world and only replaced by a sense of convenience. There are a number of great stores which exist online (our favourites being Daniel Jenkins - we would love to go to the physical store but Monmouth is that little bit too far for us at the moment- oi polloi and luisaviaroma at sale time) but historically we would always choose a trip to the shops over a virtual shopping spree... That said, our perceptions of online retail might soon change and not because of the efforts of sites like oki-ni and asos. As the price of flights rockets Farfetch makes shopping around the globe that whole bit easier by bringing together twenty fashion boutiques from ten different cities.

The site unites some of Europe’s best independent fashion boutiques so that we can browse some interesting designer fashion brands which were previously hard to get hold of, in one website. Farfetch's aim is to provide an exciting range of designers and labels, whilst maintaining the personality of unique, independent boutiques.... only time will tell if they succeed on both of these points but in our opinion they've certainly started strongly!
The offerings are split into three sections:

1 - Luxe, which is home to the world renowned designers we scrimp and save for (including Alexander McQueen, Jill Sander, Pierre Hardy, YSL)
2 - Lab, which is home to the forward thinking and unconventional designers (including bstore, Raf Simons, Henrik Vibskov, Opening Ceremony)
3 - Cult, which is home to designers which can be difficult to get hold of (including Ksubi, Sw**r, Paul Smith).

As well as standard e-commerce opportunities (albeit for an exciting array of designers which are hard to get hold of) the site has some really great editorials and asks the boutiques' buyers for their highlights.

Editorial - Classic tailoring with a modern twist

Here are our highlights:

Steve's favourites/wish list, if money were no object (in the midst of the credit crunch we all need to befriend Birdman) include:

EJ's highlights are:

Steve, I was totally going to pick that purple jacket! It's pricy but I really love it! No fancy dan collage for me today I'm afraid, the PC has been commandeered. The classic list instead...

- Tan leather 'Mario' boot - seriously tasty footwear in a lovely colour

- Crust puffa jacket with stripes - I think I must be channelling the 70s today

- Frankie Morello stripy jumper - because I think we should all be rocking the old-timey footballer look.

- Small black python wallet with gold python inner by Philippe Roucou

Wednesday 8 October 2008

The beginnings of colour in Manchester

Last weekend the Style Salvage twosome were united in EJ's adopted city of Manchester. As you will remember she recently challenged me to experiment with colour in my daily style so I thought I would rummage through my wardrobe and pack some colour in my suitcase. Here are my weekend outfits....

Saturday was a wet and windy I expected Manchester to be. Here is what I wore to keep me warm and dry, with a hint of colour.

The outfit - J Lindenberg Trench worn with COS studded belt, polka dot silk scarf, polka dot polo shirt, purple sweater, navy wool trousers and purple socks all from Uniqlo, b store suede shoes.

The outfit - As above, without the jacket of course. You can also notice that taking inspiration from Fred Astaire, I wore a vintage leather tie as a belt.
Sunday was something of a surprise as it was a beautifully bright day. Here is my outfit shot in classic Next catalogue pose....

The Outfit - Grey knit with blue trim from Folk, red sweater from b store, apc jeans and blue shoes by swear.

This is only the beginning in my exploration into the wonderful world of colour. I am on the hunt for all kinds of colourful accessories and I will post regular updates.


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