Saturday 31 January 2009

Street Style Induced Salivation

In the spirit of Goldilocks Tommy described the above look to be 'just rrright' and declared his intent to invest in a low cut pair of monochrome dr. martens. I've not owned a pair of DMs for about fifteen years now but I have enjoyed the brands (relatively) recent resurgence and have appreciated their collaborative work over the last few years. On this old school favourite, today's Guardian magazine stated that 'even Raf Simons can't persuade us on this 80s come back trend. Shoes for sixth form sulking and nowt else' - the magazine is a joy to read but I frequently disagree with their style content and I shake my head at their words once again.

The above shot demonstrates that the somewhat clumpy shoes can look good, albeit helped by the cuffed jean styling and a truly beautiful, slightly distressed bag. I want, nay need, that bag. Once again a street style blog has offered me more inspiration and reason to salivate over my keyboard...I think I will have to make the 'Street Style Induced Salivation' a regular feature because it is happening to me all too often lately.

The (Forgotten) Art of Wardrobe Building

Each day during this cold, mostly grey month of January, Valet have brought us a new tip, trick or tool to ensure that 2009 is the year we up your game on the looking-good and living-well well as providing inspiration for the odd post or two (my favourite being our personal uniform post). On day twenty eight the chaps at Valet have reminded me of the need to both purge and organise my wardrobe. Susie is constantly picking my clothes off the back of chairs and rehanging them within the wrinkle free safe haven which she goes on to inform me is called 'the wardrobe' before muttering more words under her breath. I am guilty of preferring to have my clothes close to hand rather than hanging in a wardrobe. My method of getting dressed in the morning doesn't even require the opening of a door or drawer because I have what I need on the back of my trusty chair...Of course, I do have a wardrobe and it is full of clothes but I just prefer to have my favourite pieces out on show...much to the bemusement and annoyance of Susie...Through a combination of this nagging and the looming threat coming from EJ (who takes a great amount of glee from informing me that she is going to rummage through my wardrobe in a mere two weeks time) it is about time that I spent an afternoon folding, ironing, arranging and charity shop bagging. Upon looking through our archive it came to my attention that it was about this time last year that we dedicated a post to salvaging wardrobes...a lot has changed over the course of the last year and it is certainly time to attack that wardrobe of mine all over again.

The Valet advice is threefold:

1) Take a visual survey and pull out the pieces you haven't worn in the past year. If it doesn't fit or you don't plan on wearing in the next couple of months, toss it.
I certainly need to do this and think a small bag at the very least will be dropped off at a nearby Charity Shop next week..

2) Look at your shoes. Dump the beat up sneakers you don't even wear to the gym, and take worn-out wing tips to be resoled. Now might be a good time to replace affordable standbys. I have at least pair of shoes which needs to be resoled, new year, new sole.

3) If there are seasonal items you'd like to keep, but are done wearing, take them to the cleaner and have them boxed for storage.
Is anyone this organised? This might be a step too far for me...

Methinks it is time to grow up and after purging my wardrobe, I will continue the pursuit of building the perfect wardrobe. I have been inspired by reading the E. Tautz website (after being pointed in it's direction by A Continuous Lean). This of course will not entail me taking hold of a hammer and a bag of nails but instead will require the thoughtful and measured collection of sartorial pieces...given the current world situation, I think it is the perfect time to advocate astute shopping. It is time to treat the wardrobe as more than a mere piece of furniture which I barely use. I will leave you with inspiring words from E. Tautz and I will purge the wardrobe...mañana.

The art of wardrobe building is not fast or haphazard; instead it is developed and nurtured over time. A mans wardrobe may rather eloquently tell the story of his life less ordinary.

Friday 30 January 2009

Style Salvage Speaks to... Charlie Porter

Charlie Porter is a man that we both greatly admire here at Style Salvage. As our obsession with men's style has evolved over the years Charlie Porter's insight has been our constant companion; his scribblings for GQ, the Guardian and, more recently, i-D and Fantastic Man have always been a pleasure to read. He is one of the few fashion journalists that discusses men's style with a heady mix of intelligence, knowledge, understanding and humour. We wish there were more commentators on men's style and fashion in his mould.

We could gush all day and night about him (especially Steve) but we (more like Steve) would only end up embarrassing ourselves (himself). That said, we have no problem admitting that we squealed like school girls when we realised that he was following us via Twitter... in fact we have Twitter to thank for securing us the opportunity to interview him. A quick google search doesn't bring up any other interviews with him, so this could be some kind of first and exclusive for us. Hurrah! We are excited so we hope you enjoy...

Style Salvage: How did you get into the men's fashion business? What excites you about men's fashion?
Charlie Porter: I began concentrating on menswear because I was offered a job. I had been deputy fashion editor at The Guardian, but newspapers are mainly focused on womenswear. Nick Sullivan was leaving British GQ for US Esquire, had met me at the men’s shows the season before, and so recommended me to Dylan Jones. And so I switched over. I quit GQ in June last year for Fantastic Man, which is an utter joy for me. I’ve never worked on an independent title before, and presumed I never would because they are mostly for the young. But I now work on a magazine made for men, and done with an independent spirit and drive, and it’s an honour to be a part of it.

SS: What do you really think about the aw 09 shows so far? What were your favourite moments and did you have any moments that you'd like to erase from your memory?
CP: There was so much fashion around, which I found so exciting – often menswear is just pieces or small steps, but so many shows had big bold moves. Yves Saint Laurent was a total standout for me, and was what I’ve been hoping Stefano Pilati would do for ages: clothing that was uncompromised and advanced in its thinking, made with the same spirit in which he does his womens shows. Raf Simons was amazing – I kind of embarrassed myself afterwards by going up to him and, rather than asking an intelligent question, I just said “I love a bolero”. I love the way that Comme des Garcons is almost being cheeky now with its obsession with skirts – Rei Kawakubo is getting some oomph with the challenge she’s making with them. And the studded coat at Prada was totally superb.Favourite moments tend to be the ones you don’t expect: we had a lovely few minutes reading our horoscopes on Sunday; there was one particularly enjoyable sing-a-long to Listen by Beyonce when I got a lift in the Love car; I was trying to make my friend laugh when she was right in the line of the catwalk photographers – it’s that sort of stuff that keeps you going.

SS: How do these shows compare to previous seasons? In your experience has there ever been such a resounding influence on the collections as the r...the rec...(oh you know what we mean - we just can't bare saying it anymore) has had on this season so far?
CP: I was getting quotes for a piece from David Walker Smith, the head of menswear buying at Selfridges, and he was saying how a few years ago we’d have been complaining about the shows being so boring, where as this time round they’ve been really exciting. So I think fashion design follows an opposite path to economic boom and bust –i actually think it’s boring when there’s too much money sloshing around. I think you should say the R word loud and proud – I think it’s the most exciting thing to happen in fashion for ages. It’s simple: the dull world of luxury has blunted the excitement of fashion this past decade because it’s more about logo and profit growth rather than fashion for the sake of it. Luxury has suddenly lost its confidence and is shying into the background, meaning that actual fashion designers – people who make clothes with a purpose rather than just to revive a brand – now have the floor clear. I think it’s something we’ve seen in menswear at these shows just gone and will hopefully happen in womenswear too. Obviously complaining about the recession is the most boring thing in the world, but look at its actual effects and it’s actually a cause for optimism (as long as I don’t lose my flat/job/life etc).

SS: Which shows are you most excited about seeing in London?
CP: Really really really hopeful that the new menswear day will work. It’s AMAZING that the men's shows have been given more of a shot, but it’s a shame that the day comes after the official shows are over – some womenswear editors will have left for Milan already. I personally think it’s an outrage that newspaper editors completely ignore men’s shows. They should do both. Fashion is fashion.

SS: You must have seen so much over the course of your career, what is your favourite fashion moment?
CP: The spring/summer 2002 shows were particularly tough, because they happened in September 2001. We were in New York on September 11th, so after London I skipped Milan to get over it all. I joined the shows back in Paris, where one of the first I saw there was Junya Watanabe, who’s one of my favourites anyway. The show started, and it was beautiful – that denim collection with skirts made of patchwork panels that curved as they went down. And the music was “If You Leave Me Now” by Chicago, and and as it got to the bit where it goes “ooh-oooh-oooooh-oooh-oooh baby please don’t go”, all the catwalk photographers started singing, and it was just lovely. I went to do a re-see of the collection a few days later, and they’d redubbed the video – don’t think singing photographers would help sell clothes.

SS: If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?
CP: I’d have loved to have seen relatively recent stuff, like Comme des Garcons first collections, early Vivienne Westwood, and also Bodymap stuff that I’d have read about when I was a kid but not seen. Even only going back a few seasons from when I started to see Alexander McQueen’s first couple of shows would be enough for me.

SS: Have you got any recommendation that you'd like to share with our readers? (shops, hairdressers, designers, websites, bars)
CP: Shops: Fabulous Fanny’s on E9th Street in NYC between 1st and 2nd – the most extraordinary spectacles shop in the world – it’s where I got my specs from, remakes of an old pair.
Hairdresser: The Turkish barbers on Broadway Market, London E8
Designers: Old Town! The most amazing versions of British workwear clothing that you can only get by mail-order or by visiting their store in Norfolk
Bars: well I’m totally in love with the Joiners Arms on the Hackney Road, where I co-host a weekly party on Thursdays called MACHO CITY, we also do a weekly mailout called the WEEK IN MACHO on Wednesday, which you can get by mailing

SS: Aside from the ones you contribute to, what are you your favourite magazines?
CP: World of Interiors, The Garden (which you get when you are a member of the Royal Horticultural Society), American Vogue, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker

SS: We have been writing about men's style on the blog for eighteen months or so now and in that time we have seen a number of other men's style blogs come and you read blogs and if so, which are on your blogroll?
CP: I think the exciting thing about the way blogs are expanding is that they can become more and more personal and involved. I think so many made the mistake of thinking they can just replicate a magazine online, or that it would be interesting just to reprint whats in press releases. The thing that The Sartorialist does so well is completely link to fashion without ever referring to the fashion industry itself. It’s very clever, and it’s the sort of natural link to something that makes sense which every blog has got to find for themselves.

SS: What is inspiring your own personal style at the moment? Do you have any style icons (long or short term)?
CP: I’ve just gone freelance, so I’m interested in how my clothing is changed from being at home and not going into the city so much – there’s been a definite weeding out of looks, and everything I’m wearing is definitely much more “me” – it’s a really good process. I’ve never had a style icon in my life, I just like wearing clothes that amuse me or that are enjoyable to wear.

SS: Is there anything that you'd never wear?
CP: Anything too revealing – I’m a total prude – very English.

SS: What item of clothing (if any) do you wish men wore more?
CP: I just wish men thought more about what it is they’re actually wearing than conforming to what they think they should wear. So many men are scared of rules that don’t exist, or think they should have a certain look or convey a preconceived message. I just think of clothing in terms of what it feels like to wear, both in terms of the fabric and cut, and then what it looks like to wear, and then go on from there. I think it’s a much more satisfying way of dressing than being linear about it.

SS: What piece of style advice would you pass on to your (theoretical) sons?
CP: I couldn’t imagine anything worse than telling (theoretical) offspring how to dress! It would cause immediate hatred in (theoretical) offspring!

SS: And finally, our quick google search didn't uncover any other interviews with you online... this is your chance to ask yourself and answer the one question you wish you had been asked but have never had the opportunity to do so.
CP: Yes I do think it’s a crying shame that Hedi Slimane, Helmut Lang and Jil Sander aren’t designing right now.

Thursday 29 January 2009

Excited by...Beige???

The goings on in Milan and Paris have had a strange effect on me. As designer after designer has presented collections dominated by black, I have looked for something more and just might be getting exctited by things that oridnairly would be far from exciting. The world is seemingly in an advanced stage of collective mourning in response to the terrible situation (we are frequently told we are in) and it seems we are supposed to dress the part in the coming seasons. Such a sorrowful colour palette has forced me to cling to any colour that I can and I have found myself being somewhat excited by glimpses of the neutral colour palette which we have been treated to from time to time. Who knew that it would be possible to be excited by beige?

Despite seeing black almost everywhere, the runways of Paris did offer some light tones. I was not 100% convinced that the Lanvin collection preached 'change' but I was convinced by the soft touches on show and was a fan of the cinched at the waist trench coats with contrasting lapels. McQueen's dark and aggressive Victorian vision shown by his 'McQueensbury Rules' collection contained some beautiful coats and some neutral tone styling which made the whole thing less menacing...However, the highlights were really off the runway and were captured by Mr Schuman in Sweden and by Tommy in Paris. The final look above (in particular) really caught my imagination. I'm not completely sold on short sleeve jackets but it works here because it shows off the lovely knitted texture of the jumper.

These recent demonstrations of how a neutral colour palette can be quite striking got me thinking about the coming season and the many examples I have seen since the last round of shows. The Cablog is a constant source of inspiration and he certainly knows how to use colour and textures to make some truly wonderful outfits. Upon the purchase of a delicate umbrella he used neutral neutral tones to create a soft and delicate look, all he needs is a promenade to stroll down. Martyn Bal's SS 09 lookbook was one of my favourites because it contained a number of light as-a-feather layered looks...perfect Spring dressing in my opinion. Likewise, Burberry's 'Crumpled Classics' collection beautifully demonstrated how men should layer throughout the seasons. Jumpers over printed shirts, with scarves and light macs in a number of soft, light and thin fabrics were so inspiring.

As the world is increasingly dark and sombre, it it that much of a surprise that I can be excited by beige? Am I an isolated case or are other people experiencing this strange phenomena?

Monday 26 January 2009

Picture Postcard: I want my own entourage

Dearest Eliza

When can I have my own entourage like Mr West? I came across this image on the simply wonderful every day is fashion week blog that is Jak & Jill. I doubt that my entourage would look quite like this but nevertheless I want one. As my birthday is coming up, maybe you could rustle me up a dandy butch of gents to follow me around and do my bidding however I see fit...

Speaking of Kanye, after my headache (induced by catching up on all of the shows that I missed) subsided I ventured on to Kanye's blog and was confronted with this strange video of the newly titled Martin Louis The King Jnr talking from his hotel room in Paris....strange viewing indeed.

I wait for the assembly of my entourage...



Hey Steve!

And here was me thinking that you were scared of clowns... Ok, so that's a little mean. I have been bemoaning the lack of colour on the catwalks so this is definitely a breath of fresh air... but ever so slightly overwhelming when all viewed together.

Taken individually, I generally like what each of them is wearing (with the exception of the chap in the green jacket... does... not... compute...) and it is fantastic to see men having such fun with their clothing and not being afraid to wear bright primary colours. I'm seriously considering yellow trainers now, not that I need an excuse to buy more trainers.

Not sure why they're carrying round their luggage though. I would've thought that they'd have valets to do that sort of thing for them...


P.S. I'll begin assembling your entourage when I'm down in London in a couple of weeks. Applications to the usual email address please...

Sunday 25 January 2009

In need of pain relief

The New Tylenol? Looks from the Lanvin AW09 show.
Always read the label. Do not operate heavy machinery.

From bad planning on my part and an eagerness on the behalf of my Grandparents I ended up packing a small case full of jumpers and took the train for a weekend break on the South East coast. All of this meant that I was sans Internet for two days (aside from my phone) and I duly missed much of the activity in Paris...although, did I really miss that much (answers on a postcard, or alternatively the comment box)? I have to admit that I've not caught up on all of the shows as yet because quite honestly the sheer number of looks (mostly mediocre) on offer have given me a headache and I needed a break from it all.

The collection which I took the greatest time over (as it relieved the symptoms of my headache) was unsurprisingly Lanvin. After salivating over the catwalking images, I progressed to the WWD show report and chuckled over the following Elbaz remark:

“In difficult times the public needs something uplifting. You can either take a Tylenol or wear a Lanvin suit.”

Unfortunately, Lanvin suits aren't quite as easy to get hold off as a paracetamol but nevertheless I agree with the many of the shows in Milan and Paris have focused on the negativity of the current economic situation or at best, played it safe, whereas we all want and deserve more! For me fashion should offer some form of an escape and as most of us are forced to reach for the Tylenol (or in my case the English equivalent, paracetamol) and financial markets crumble around us, we can at least aspire/dream and attempt to emulate the look on the runway - and I certainly feel that way about some of the looks created within this show. I just wish more designers shared this mentality, we certainly do need uplifting...and until that happens I guess the message is to hit the painkillers...

Despite my headache I did manage to gaze over the Sartorialist's shots over on and I have to take the trophy out of the hands of Zegna and provisionally award best dressed crowd to Anne Demeulemeester but there is still all to play for...

Saturday 24 January 2009

Style Salvage Speaks to... BUCK (part two)

Here's part two of our interview with the chaps at BUCK magazine. For part one click here.

SS: How do you see BUCK developing over the next couple of years?
SD: There are so many things that we want to do with it but and we don't want to bore you with this but there is so little cash around. It is difficult to know how it will pan out to be honest.

SS: I guess it must be difficult with BUCK when it comes to getting the right advertisers on board... you don't want just any old brand
SD: In a way I'd rather have ads for food and interiors, so we can be a bit more picky what we put into the fashion pages. As the magazine is settling in to its own stride now, we will turn our attentions more to the website, get a lot more video content up. You can just translate a lot of our features into video. For example 'In my room' could be turned into a three minute programme and depending on the production value it could be popular. Once you know what you want, and it has taken us several months, but now everyone here understands the brand, who our reader is and we always keep that person in mind, someone like yourself, are we targeting this to Style Salvage Steve? It can be easier to make decisions that way when you are going along, some magazines forget who they are actually targeting.

SS: I think with some magazines they have certainly lost sight of who their reader actually is, they have become diluted and as such don't really appeal to anyone and they can have a confused voice.
SD: Not everyone likes the design of the magazine. We had a really great response from people our age but people in their fifties find it a little arty. Which is strange...
EJS: It's because it isn't like GQ or Esquire...
SD: We just want to translate this online through video. We will start during fashion week. We are going to do video reports, backstage, street style outside of the shows and we have interviews with a couple of designers. it is going to be really complicated because we are so busy. Fashion is hard work.

SS: Oh fashion is hard work. People don't realise that it is actually quite demanding!
EJS: The hardest part is waiting around with no food...
SD: A few canapes and champagne. We are going to drink Prosecco for four days...

SS: BUCK is packed full of knowledgeable recommendations, from restaurants and shop addresses to the best red wine and how to tie a bow tie. Could you recommend something you've recently come across to our readers today? What is your favourite tip at the moment?
SD: Well, Elliot can do style... There is a new restaurant/bar called Derriere (in Paris) and it is the coolest place in the world.

SS: That is what is getting you excited right now?
SD: It is. We are going again when we go next week. It is absolutely incredible. It is at the back of a bar called Andy Waloo and it is set up by the same guy who set up Sketch in London and Momo. It is basically a house behind Andy Waloo, hence the name and it is completely secret...they don't advertise, there are no pictures, they basically don't tell anyone and it is one big house party inside with a restaurant kitchen. You go in and you have a lounge, dining room, a snug and a bedroom, dressing room and bathroom upstairs and you can eat anywhere. We ordered in the bedroom and it was fine to eat there as well, the guy was like...*puts on believable Parisian accent*...'You can order it here and we bring it to you, it is fine'. It is just really Parisian. The interior decor is just so eclectic, Philippe Starke ghost chairs next to a 60s black and white table, then beaten up leather sofas next to a real Louis XIV chair...all just so mismatched and really, really good.

SS: And your fashion tip Elliott?
EJS: What we have been thinking alot about recently and this links into the new that what we'll see in the coming years is people actually ordering from the designers themselves, rather than going to x,y or z department store. It is great to contact the designers directly about pieces.

BUCK front covers, Steve at his desk and Elliott posing on the desk...

SS: I bought a cardigan from the Carola Euler 'Still' Collection and it was so nice speaking to the designer.
EJS: I ordered a few pieces as well and I bought a backpack from Sophie Hume. Car boot sales are still a big tip as well. Finding new ideas to update your wardrobe in the credit crunch.

SD: We always try to promote vintage. I went to Brick Lane on Sunday and half the shops had sales on, and I've never seen that before... I think the price of vintage is going to come down because it has been quite inflated over the years.

EJS: Vintage is a key element to BUCK, it highlights how we approach fashion. We see guys mix their grandad's shoes with Comme trousers and a tshirt their mum made them or something. There is always a place for high end and classic pieces. As we enter the recession, it makes sense to buy quality but much less.

SS: Last couple of questions now, what is the one question that you would like to be asked but never had the chance to answer?
SD: To answer the question in a round about way... Most people, when they meet me and they think of what I do, they get it completely wrong. They think I spend all day looking at clothes rails or the Habitat catalogue or something.

SS: That sounds like a dream job!
EJS: That is actually Laura's job.

SD: In fact, my day is spent responding to irritating emails and dealing with people (outside of this office) not doing their jobs properly. It is certainly not all high glamour but I absolutely love it!

SS: Ok, last question: when are you going to run a feature on men's style blogs?
*Noticed the hint that we'd like a feature*
SD: We could do, I mean we could get you in some other way, an at home with 'Steve and Susie'

SS: But then you would just see Susie's shoes everywhere!
EJS: I've seen, they are amazing!
SD: It is a funny thing though because when GQ does a similar feature, it focuses on the old guard telling you what is going on young people's culture. For us to do it, it would be somewhat odd because everyone know, if you know BUCK, you would probably know about the blogs already.
EJS: We all read everything and we want to offer something quite different. if we did do anything on blogs we would like to do it from a different point of view.
SD: We don't want to tell people what they should have on their blog reader.
EJS: The life cycle of some blogs can be very short. It is amazing how blogs like yours have been around for so long, grow it whilst keeping it up.

Friday 23 January 2009

Style Salvage Speaks to...BUCK (part one)

After a couple of weeks of hinting about our 'Style Salvage Speaks to' feature we can now finally begin posting our interviews. Over the course of the next month we will be posting interviews covering as many facets of the men's style industry as possible, including a number of designers, stylists, journalists, buyers and shop owners... even fellow bloggers! As most of the blogging world's attention has been diverted to the goings on in Milan, Paris and an ever increasing number of trade shows around the globe, this feature will provide something a little different. Even though we have been watching the shows we believe that there is much more to men's style and fashion than what happens on the runway.

We thought that we would start off proceedings with our little chat with BUCK magazines editor and founder, Steve Doyle and Fashion Editor (and long time blogger) Elliott James Sainsbury. As mentioned on Wednesday, Steve has just launched his own blog where he is documenting his random collection of thoughts, so it is a fitting time to get to now the man behind BUCK that little bit more. We have supported BUCK ever since we first heard about its launch last year and have seen it develop into a fine magazine; it has certainly filled a gaping hole in the market.

Steve met up with the chaps at their offices in Bethnal Green the evening before they flew off to Milan to cover the shows....

Steve Doyle hard at work at his desk...photoshopped in front of a 'Buck Reader' inspiration board.

Style Salvage: Are you surprised to be founder and editor of a Men's lifestyle magazine at the age of 26?
Steve Doyle: Not at all because it feels so right. It doesn't surprise me because I was very determined to do it and when I'm determined to do something, I tend to do it.

SS: How did you get into journalism?
SD: I actually worked in fashion programmes for the BBC, I'm not sure if you remember but it was for a show called Style Challenge. It was on in the daytime and no one seems to remember it. It was one of the first makeover shows, where they kept the person they were making over in the dark and then at the end they had this spin the mirror moment

SS: Wow, TV is missing something like that!
SD: It was made at Pebble Mill and I grew up in Birmingham. When I was in sixth form I worked there for about two years, every Friday and during Holidays. I worked on that and Clothes Show live. Then I did my degree in Japanese and as part of that was lucky enough to live in Tokyo. I was always into the fashion but then fell completely in love with Men's Non-no whilst out there and I just always thought, "I wish someone would do this or something like it back home, there has to be a market for it even if it is small". I finished Uni, had a diversion into working in the City which now seems like a distant memory - what was I thinking? - but I learnt a great deal but realised it wasn't for me and needed to working on something creative. I had some inheritance come through and decided that this is what I needed to do. Set up this magazine with a website.

SS: Who would you say was the target BUCK reader?
SD: I would say that he was around 25, living in a city, might be living with his girlfriend or in a house with mates. He is just starting out on his career, whatever that might be, and he wants something accessible and affordable but new. He wants to find out what other guys are doing without being dictated what to do, which I feel a number of Men's Lifestyle magazines do.

SS: They can read like an aspirational catalogue...
SD: Yeah, it is all a bit constraining. Which is why we do the street style feature, the in your home is from their point of view, the readers point of view. Okay, this guy has designed his own wall in this way, we then show the shopping pages after so you can get the look in your own house but it not all a PR push from a brand. With some magazines every page is PR copy, it really is no wonder people aren't buying magazines anymore.

SS: My gripe with a number of leading men's magazines is that it difficult to see what is editorial content and what are adverts or advertorials, everything is blurred in to one.
SD: i noticed in the new issue of i-D, their Menswear Issue, they have a ten page feature on CK. Did in an interesting way but why dedicate ten pages, it has to be an advertorial. They ticked all these boxes by featuring the underwear, the jeans, menswear and's just not very interesting.

Elliott and the an inspiration board used for the upcoming issue...

SS: There are so few adverts in BUCK and many of the ones that are in there are dedicated to emerging designers, for examples there were two full pages of JW Anderson
SD: We've featured Carola Euler, Unconditional, SOAR...We think they are going to be important and want to build this relationship from the start

Elliot James Sainsbury: With JW Anderson, he is now showing at MAN. Since the very first BUCK we have been saying that he is a great talent. It is fun to be an early adopter.

SS: It is a close knit team here, where did you find everyone?
SD: We've been quite lucky that everyone has got on so well but most people were hired through completing open interviews. I met so many people last summer, it all took several months. Everyone has brought different skills with them. Most people here had experience with working with web or were prepared to, whether it was a blog or like Elliot at a site like Fashion156. Joseph and I had both worked at Vogue and we were introduced there but on the most part it was through interviews. I think that is why it has worked because often in fashion magazines, they are quite cliquey.

SS: I assumed that you were a group of friends maybe, living in a flat together and then one day you thought, fuck it, let's just start our own magazine.
SD: It does happen but often that can go wrong. We spend so much time together that we are all friends now. We have built up so many contacts now, so if we need anything we can put our heads together and come up with the right person. We have so many street style photographers that we could pretty much take our street style feature to any city in the world.

EJS: We can now put together shoots at a day's notice which is really good.

SS: If such a thing exists, could you describe your typical day?
SD: Joe gets the brunt of my typical day. I normally get here about 9 and go through my inbox, which is quite horrendous, deleting. Then it is a whole variety of things really, because I am editor and publishing there is a lot to do. Planning the next issue, it is talking with Elliot about which designers we are going to use for the next shoot, what are the themes and what are we going to promote as the important things for next season, and this is mainly what we have been doing recently because of the new season starting soon. Then I'll be talking with Laura about the same for interiors, then we'll decide what restaurants we are going to review each month and who is going to review them. I'm not sure about a typical day but I tend to have the same conversations every day. I spend a lot of time with our picture editor Holly finding new photographers, we love featuring new talent. As each of our issues is focused on a different city, we try and get as much as we can do in that city which takes quite a lot of organisation. There is the advertising side, so I am speaking to advertisers and I cover distribution as well.

An array of front covers next to an inspiration board for the next issue...

SS: I was amazed at how widely stocked the magazine is, even from the launch issue...
SD: The cover is by far the most difficult. The cover is so hard to decide. On the launch cover we almost had a full breakdown, there were nearly tears because it was so stressful. How can you ever sum it up in one image. There were so many mistakes we made with that first cover, which is why the 2nd and 3rd covers look different, for example the BUCK logo was in the middle of the page, but in 2 and 3 we have switched it to the left and the reason for that is that when you have it in a corner shop...

SS: ...You can't actually see the title.
SD: Exactly! On the day it came out I went into a shop and couldn't see it and then saw the red but I was like 'Oh god, nobody is going to be able to see it'

SS: We should just blame the display... The issues are getting stronger and stronger, so it feels like you are learning as you go...
SD: That is a huge part of it. I think with the third issue we are all really happy. The first two were getting there, I'm still really happy with the first issue but the third is much closer to what we want it to be.

EJS: At first no one really knew who BUCK were and Steve was keen on bringing in people who were up and coming or whatever, so by issue three, everyone we wanted to work with and everything we wanted to do we were able to do. Issue four has been so much easier because people really know the magazine. Now, when we go out and do the street style, people know about the magazine which is great.

Come back for part two of the interview tomorrow!

Thursday 22 January 2009

A judging eye on Milan

Fantastic Man's very own Gert Jonkers wearing his stars and stripes outside the Ermenegildo Zegna show.

Seeing as the last post was a long rant of a post, I thought I'd offer something a little lighter. As I try and arrange an agreeable time with Thom for our Milan discussion, I am still refraining from posting about the shows themselves (although that makes it sound like they were really exciting when you all know that they weren't!) so instead I will continue to comment on the street style. I have searched the net for the best street style shots of the events in Milan but the Sartorialist's blog on still offers the best by far (if you've come across anything of note, please do let me know).

These two chaps above are two of my favourites.

As I cast my judging eye over the happenings over in Milan I would like to award Ermenegildo Zegna as attracting best dressed crowd. The show itself had far too much camel for my tastes (I guess it made a nice change from all that grey) but the crowd were far better dressed. Apparently, this tailored clothing powerhouse wants to be known as more than just a maker of luxury textiles and banker suits and it certainly attracts a different crowd. Well done Ermenegildo.

A Nation of Shopkeepers?

Over the last week most of our attention has been focused on the goings on over in Milan and now Paris...Charlie Porter has notified us via his Twitter that the YSL presentation is his favourite show thus far so I am desperate to see the first lot of images (update: now up on Dazed Digital). Despite the fashion week activity I have also been contemplating the other side of the business, retail. Even the collections themselves were deeply affected by the current state of the world economy...the recession wasn't hinted at but instead the shows almost screamed panic due to the state of affairs...which sends a warning signal to the rest of the industry. I am torturing myself by watching and reading the the doom and gloom seems to be getting darker by the day...which leads me to thinking about the business side of men's style.

However much Tyler
Brûlé frustrates me, he frequently covers the topics that interest me and within his Observation column in Monocle he talks about playing shop. I visited the Monocle shop in November last year and at just nine square metres in size (it is only a touch larger than my childhood bedroom which only allowed my bed, a small television set and my Sega Mega Drive) the space has been beautifully designed and furnished so it feels welcoming and feels so homely. After over two months of trading Tyler Brûlé feels there is a core of consumers who are looking for a more personal, hands on approach to minding a shop. I couldn't agree more! My favourite shops are the ones which have a strong but friendly and welcoming ownership. bstore which is now in it's seventh year has gone from strength to strength and this can only be down to the vision, drive and commitment of the two owners, Kirk Beattie and Matt Murphy (and maybe a little luck). We featured parts of an insightful interview Matt Murphy gave with Ponystep and I have to admit that I re-read this from time to time and it inspires me...Another prime example of how a shop owner should be is Daniel Jenkins who has single-handedly put Monmouth (a small town in Wales, population 8407) on the men's style map and is always buying in great menswear. As mentioned on the blog previously, I met up with Dan at the last MAN show and this guys passion and knowlege for menswear is in my experience unparalleled...and over a beer before the show he was taking calls from designers and customers alike. I just wish more store owners shared these attributes but they really are few and far between.

In a recent interview with BUCK, Creative Director of oki-ni, John Skelton, predicts that
'there is going to be a real return to the independent retail mentality of old, where small/independent stores will make their money by offering something different.'
Over the last year or two, we have certainly seen a number of retailers, large and small, offering emerging menswear talent and I hope this continues into 2009 and beyond. There is undoubtedly a market, where people like myself, are eager to buy designs from recent graduates and small fashion teams but this market is certainly not the safe option: the demise of London-based fashion concept store twosee which showcased avant-garde designers but is unfortunately closing it's doors at the end of this month is testament to the difficulties. The Shop At Bluebird (even the website is down) used to be a favourite of mine and I managed to pick up a number of pieces from emerging design talent but in recent visits I have become frustrated by the 'safe' Buying, there is no longer a place for brands like Unconditional and Omar Kashoura, they have been replaced by much more established brands. Yawn.

The UK used to be dubbed as the nation of shopkeepers but in recent years the landscape has changed from busy, bustling stores to empty and even boarded up stores. I can honestly count the number of exciting stores in London using my fingers. Tyler Brûlé mentions how Japan's lost decade was the catalyst for the rise of a new. super talented merchant class that kept the retail scene buoyant despite the dire state of the economy. Let's hope that one positive outcome of the recent troubling economic times will be a new breed of shop keepers. It would be great if the UK could be crowned as the nation of menswear shopkeepers.

There is a lot that could be said on this subject so I feel that this is only the beginning. I would like to hear your thoughts thoughts though....What in your eyes makes a good menswear store? What would you like to see store owners do in the year ahead and beyond?

Wednesday 21 January 2009

Eager for a Werther's Original from Bond

OK, I should warn you in advance that this is a slightly strange post but welcome to the inner thoughts of my odd, little mind....I picked up the latest issue of Monocle earlier this evening and as I was flicking through the pages somewhat excitedly over my Mocha in a crowded coffee chain I encountered the sight of an old friend on the back cover. Sean Connery is the second grandad I've always wished I had so it is always nice to see him now and again. Here he stars in the new Louis Vuitton ad shot by Annie Leibovitz and tonight was the first time that I've seen it. I have grown up with the best James Bond ageing very well indeed whilst he starred in some great films and a number of bad ones. In the shot taken close to his Bahamas home, Connery is the picture of masculine cool - I wish I look this good when I reach 78. Mr. Connery if you are reading this, you can give me a Werther's Original anytime.

The Editor informs...The Burberry Belly Warmer Explained

We have a number of interviews at various stages of completion but over the coming week or two you should be entertained as we launch our 'Style Salvage Speaks To...' feature. We have spoken to a number of people involved in men's style, including designers, editors and stylists and are enjoying getting different perspectives on our favourite subject. One of the first interviews posted will be our discussion with BUCK where we spoke with Editor and Founder, Steve Doyle and Fashion Editor Elliott James Sainsbury, the night before they went off to Milan. During the course of our long chat Steve mentioned that he was going to launch his own blog and he certainly meant it because Doyle Says is already live!

In his very first post he has taught me something. Although it was an unexciting and uneventful Burberry AW09 show, my heart skipped a bit for the folksy knit cummerbunds, whilst Steve agrees that this was one of the standout pieces he sheds some light onto this accessory which I thank him for:

"In Japan, this is known as a haramaki. A very traditional garment, originating out of armour that the Samurai once wore, it is said that, by keeping your belly warm, it is good for your health."

One of the most iconic haramaki wearers is apparently Tora San. A film critic once said that in Japan, his face was more recognizable than the emperor’s; fans call him “the bum from Shibamata.” He is the sake-loving, itinerant salesman who starred in the longest-running film series in history.

In recent years there has been resurgence of popularity in the haramaki in Japan (as supported by this article in Pingmag) but of course they do not have much in common with their historical predecessors that were made for armour...although an armour one would be interesting!

I lapplaud designers when they look further afield and to the past for inspiration. As I said on the Fashion156 blog, Bailey's designed belly accessory could not be further from what I imagine a cummerbund to be. I have always found this traditional piece to be rigid , uncomfortable and somewhat dull but these folksy yet chic creations were beautiful in their versatility. Have you come across a haramaki before the Burberry show?

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Japanese Dandyism on show in Italy

Members of the 'Japanese Fashion Flock' as captured by the Sartorialist for Men.Style

We often say within posts and the comments section (particularly from one rather persistent fellow, naming no names...Thom...this post is dedicated to you) that Japan does everything better. It does seem that we as men's style commentators spend a large chunk of our time salivating over designers, brands, magazines and the people of Japan wishing that we could either speak the language, lived there or looked as cool.

During their coverage of Pitti and Milan The Moment mentioned the rise of the new Japanese dandy.

'I have to say that the Japanese fashion flock are stealing the show here. Amazing personal style, with what is becoming a bit of a signature look for a group of them: very natty, often checked sport jackets, worn with a coordinated checked shirt underneath a crew-neck sweater, along with slender pressed gray flannel trousers, argyle or some other colored sock and a very fine English shoe.'

I agree with everything above, except the fact that this is new because season after season I have marvelled at the Japanese fashion flock when captured by The Sartorialist. The mix of fabrics and attention to detail really sets these gents apart, we should all take note. If you aren't doing so already I suggest that you take a look at the street style photography outside of the can be much more interesting than the shows themselves.

Topman Calling

Topman have asked us to spread the net in their hunt for creative talent and we thought that we just had to pass on the opportunity to you as we know how talented you are. Topman are on the hunt for movie makers and budding photographers to capture the highlight of the London Fashion Week calender, the MAN Show on 25th February.

MAN will enter it’s 8th successful season as it opens the final day of London Fashion Week on 25th February 2009. It proves that British menswear is fighting strong and making it’s mark and you could be a part of it.

You will get behind the scenes and squeeze your way into the end pf the runway whilst taking pictures and shooting the show for Topman. If you would love a chance to cover the event all you have to do is send a few examples of your work in to

Monday 19 January 2009

Miuccia's Studs

Studded Shoe Close Up - courtesy of DazedDigital's backstage coverage.

I will be speaking to The Sunday Best at the end of the week to run through the goings on at Pitti, Capsule and Milan so I will not divulge too much just yet (although if you are interested my initial thoughts can be read over on the Fashion156 daily blog. After Miuccia deciding to surprise us all by showing a day early, I just couldn't resist posting about the studded shirts and shoes.

As great as the catwalking images are, backstage photos bring the collections to life. The strong, tailored black looks imposed themselves and took control of the runway but flashes of distinction came in the form of studs and leather and this is what impressed me most. Last season Balenciaga provided the most talked about brogues but Prada's studded offering will be difficult to top this season. Inspired by Rumi of FashionToast I might just have to mess around with a stud gun...although I'm not sure I have the patience or the skill and there is more chance of me having to visit the hospital than walking in modified shoes.

I will now sit on my hands and refrain from posting too much more on the shows. My conversation with Thom is bound to be full of head nodding, finger waving, laughter, tears and so much more.

Saturday 17 January 2009

In the Market for Spring

Susie posted about our afternoon trip to Dover Street Market where we watched the biannual transformation of the store, out with the old and in with S/S 09., but I just two add my two pennies worth. If I wasn't longing for someone to hit the fast forward button on this grey, dull winter enough already, this visit to Dover Street Market was the straw which broke this camel's back. I no longer long for Spring, I demand it!

As always the third floor is my favourite, as Alber Elbaz knows how to put on a good show and his space, in particular his menswear space is encroaching and indeed taking over other areas. The Lanvin show held joint first placed (in my mind) with Burberry with creating the menswear that I'd love to wear and seeing the collection in person only confirmed my choice. The mix of fabrics, textures and subtle tones helped create an almost perfect Spring collection. I just wanted to run off with the chap mannequin who was watching over the web chat scenario because it was styled so well....

As amazing as the third floor was, it was great to see these blinding accessories by Raf Simons up close and personal...I could actually see my face in the reflective surface. EJ posted a link to them over on our twitter last week and the most common reaction was simply 'Wow!' I have to say, that when I saw them in the store, my subconscious mutterings echoed that reaction. They certainly are statement accessories and if they are blinding in the middle of a grey January, I can only think that once worn in July as the sun crashes (hopefully) down us they will create an Antony Gormley 'White Light' world...Just imagine what would happen if a cyclist wore the hi tops at the height of Summer, it would certainly end in bloody tears...

I have said it before but if you are ever in London, my advice to you is avoid the usual, over crowded department stores and take a walk through Dover Street Market and you can thank me later.

Thursday 15 January 2009

Picture postcard: ready for action

Found here
Howdy Steve!

From personal uniforms to real uniforms... I thought you'd appreciate these chaps. You know how much I love wide legged trousers, and these are no exception. I know that you shocked a few of our readers by admitting that you weren't a fan of leather coats, but surely these lovely brown jackets must meet your approval?

Oh, and that reminds me... I really must shine my shoes.


Thanks for posting this. It is beautiful.

I just love this image. It awakes the child in me who dreams of one day being a fighter pilot and looking just like this. On the style stakes this is perfect. Yes, I'm not a huge fan of leather jackets but the brown leather works so well combined with the wide legged trousers and shiney boots.
I'm not sure that I'm quite macho enough to pull this look off though.

On the uniform front, have you seen this image from Pitti Uomo...

Thom Browne's presentation declared that there is 'Beauty is Uniformity.' Something uniform was promised and duly delivered by the militarily precise arrival of forty models identically dressed in signature Thom Browne looks. The 41st model then pressed the desktop bell a number of times and the models carried out the required action. It sounds perfect. We have to return to the uniform concept at a later post because there is just so much to say.

Keeping it in the family

I love this shot of Charlie and Joe Casely-Hayford in their white shirts.

I picked up a copy of the latest issue of i-D over the weekend and I must say, the Manhood issue is far better than any issue that I've read for as long as I can remember, for a start it doesn't feel and read like a love letter to the 90s. Within the issue I came across Casely-Hayford who are the first brand in high fashion to have a father and son working together at the creative helm. Joe has long demonstrated his ability to draw upon and connect his formal training in tailoring and fashion . Throughout his career he has pushed and examined menswear with his intriguing and influential innovation. From the deconstructed tailoring of the 80s (three dimensional lapels and exposed seams) to oversized knitwear and the fusion between sportswear and formal clothing in the 90s. Now this well seasoned hand has joined forces with his son, Charlie, who has to be one of London's most stylish chaps (I remember this Sartorialist shot in particular) who has recently become the face of Dr Martens alongside Coco Summer..

Here is an excerpt from the i-D interview...

i-D: What prompted this new father-son venture?
JCH: I still feel as excited as when when I first walked through the doors of St. Martins. I don't feel like I've created my greatest work yet. It seemed natural to take this step with Charlie who has been a confidant and collaborator for some time. I have a great deal of respect for Charlie's discipline and focus. His input isn't always that of the young avant garde experimentalist. He is often conservative and pensive and approaches things from a classical standpoint. So it isn't predetermined that I stand for tradition and he the innovation. We believe that no other brand can capture the duality of English Sartorialism and British Anarchy, and celebrate the beauty of high art and street culture simultaneously. We aim to offer a new and considered vision of English style in the 21st Century.

The duality of the brand reflects Joe's design history which has seen him creating stage clothes for bands like Clash to dressing the highest members of the British establishment whilst at Gieves & Hawkes.

Within their first show they combine the urbane qualities of Edward VIII, the first modern day English sartorialist, with the contemporary sportswear of London's street culture. The sense of duality is continued with a simultaneous emphasis on lightness and substance. Technical fabrics are fused with formal wear, sporting items formalised through the use of fine silk dog tooth jersey fabric, whilst contemporary twists underplay suits.

One of the main concepts behind the house is celebrating "Made in Japan, designed in London", with the British spirit clearing running through the clothes. The majority of the products are made in Japan (we often say that the Japanese do most things better) with a smaller part of the collection made by craftsmen in the UK and Italy. Shoes are bench made in Northampton, hand made silk ties are woken in Italy; printed silk scarves come from Italy and hand knitted pieces from Scotland. The focus is on creativity, attention to detail and craftsmanship, I wish every brand focused on the same ideals.

I am fascinated by the father and son element to this brand and can't help but think that I wish that my father was a leading designer. This is certainly a brand to keep an eye on. The label is currently only being stocked in Dover St Market in London and a few places in Japan.


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