Friday 31 July 2009

Happy Birthday Fashion156!

The ever wonderful Fashion156 recently blew out three candles and celebrated with a review issue looking back over three years of quality work. Three years after launching, it still shows how an online magazine can achieve that same feeling you get from flicking through your favourite glossy. Guy Hipwell is devoted to fashion, working sixteen to twenty hour days, seven days a week and with his talented team of interns and passionate helpers he has really set the online benchmark. We can't wait to see a lot more from on of our favourite online magazine but for now, let's wish them Happy Birthday and look over a few of the highlights along with a few words from Guy about his experiences over the last few years...

Chain knit sweater by Siv Stoldal. Pencil necklace, Husam El Odeh for Siv Stoldal. Wooden hat by Steve J & Yoni P. AW07/08. To see more from The Water Issue, click here.

On the high points...
"Just the great response and enthusiasm from our readers and being phoned out of the blue by the New York Times for an interview. Had no idea we were even on their radar!"

All items by Edward Sexton AW08/09. To see more from The London Fashion Week Issue, click here.

On the funniest moments...
"Always on the way back from our shoots - we are all so wired and tired we get kind of delirious!"

Visor by House of Flora. Blazer by Comme Des Garcons. Shirt by Nigel Cabourn. Bow-tie by Peckham Rye. AW08/09. To see more from The Hats & Headpieces Issue, click here.

On featured designers
"Following designers from their very first collections and watching them emerge as huge names that everyone talks about. We first featured Carolyn Massey back in early 2007 and she is one designer we absolutely love and will always support. I feel it is really important to support new generation talent as so many of them are struggling badly at the moment."

T-shirt by Material Boy. Shorts at Beyond Retro. Blazer by Maison Martin Margiela. Neckpiece by Little Shilpa. Socks at Sockshop. Hat by J. Smith Esquire. White loafers by Paul Smith. AW08/09. To see more of The Circus Issue, click here.

On the hair pulling out moments...
"We are all totally bald in the f156 office as literally every day is "nervous breakdown day". I always want the show pieces from the collections for my shoots and of course the PRs have to prioritise and established magazines take precedence. Plus we shoot twenty looks/images a day - a massive amount for our photographers - and I am literally running to get models changed and styled. It is always manic and chaotic!"

Leather Jacket, Shrunken Cardigan, Straw Hat and Printed Trousers by Marjan Pejoski. AW 08/09. To see more from The Segmented Issue, click here.

On his favourite shoots...
"The nightmarish ones, always turn out the best. The underwater shoot was one of the hardest to arrange as I wanted an ink blue pool, not the normal bright blue and no designers wanted to loan their collections to be ruined underwater. The Circus shoot when we were up to our knees in mud, I was nearly crying with frustration as we had racks of amazing clothing and I was terrified the whole lot would be ruined - meaning huge charges to my credit card. Oh yes, not forgetting the day we were nearly arrested in Richmond Park for not having the proper permit and wondering just what I was going to do with all the dozens of balloons we had suspended in the air as props."

Trousers and jacket by Carly Garwin. Shirt by Balenciaga. Shoes by Kurt Geiger. Socks by Topman. Brooch by Titi Madam SS 09. To see more from The Colour Issue, click here.

On the next three years...
"A brand new revamped site will be unveiled in September and then a huge party to coincide with the new website. Pipe dreams for a coffee table book of our images and a small e-shop selling some special one-off pieces."

Thursday 30 July 2009

Mr. Hare secret pre-order link at oki-ni

Regular readers should have noticed that I have been pretty much been endlessly salivating over my keyboard ever since I first examined Mr. Hare's debut the waiting game is over and it is time to mop up the drool and get my debit card out! We were both excited and intrigued when our favourite shoeist announced he was taking his obsession one step further and rolling up his sleeves to create his own line for AW09 and we weren't disappointed by the results. We were the first to interview him as part of our 'Style Salvage speaks to' series and we have been impatiently waiting for the news that his stock is now available to buy. Our friends at oki-ni have entrusted us with a secret link so our readers can be the first in line to pre-order the stock.

I'm sure you've all had (at least) one garment/accessory that you've seen and fantasised about wearing, well I've had my head in the clouds and my feet inside the Mr. Hare Orwells ever since I first clapped eyes on them back in February. The shoes are due to be released at the end of August but my beating heart can rest easy knowing that they have been pre-ordered. If your heart is all a flutter because of Mr. Hare's romantic shoes then why not follow the secret link for some further shoe porn.

Wednesday 29 July 2009

Style Salvage Speaks to... Universal Works

We are currently searching for the best British design and craftsmanship to feature on the blog as we feel that despite there being so much talent out there it is often over looked and neglected. Last week we stumbled across a new label, Universal Works which aims to produce well made, well considered, easy to wear, affordable menswear. Spurned on by the recent discovery of Old Town we were after quality, British made workwear inspired menswear and Universal Works certainly fits the bill. After many years of working in the fashion industry David Keyte and his team wanted to make something they were proud of, not over-designed but well cut and craftsman-made. All garments and accessories are made in small, highly skilled factories and are designed for purpose and to live way beyond one season of fashion. A pop up store showcasing the AW09 collection opened last week at 47 Lambs Conduit Street for one month only but will also be available all autumn winter from the Oliver Spencer store on the same street. The street (as profiled by Monocle last year) symbolises what can be achieved in retail areas as it champions a real community spirit and this pop up store fits in nicely. Inside, the classic collection of British workwear-inspired menswear sits alongside art work by Kay Van Bellen and features special edition t-shirt prints designed for the event by Kay. We caught up with David Keyte as he manned the store and chatted excitedly about the launch, Josef Beuys and menswear of the 50s and 80s...

Universal Works takes over Cube

Style Salvage; You have worked with companies such as Paul Smith and Maharishi, what drove you to set up your own label?
David Keyte: I have been lucky to work with great British fashion companies, working for many years with Paul was the best education in British fashion you could get. Slowly I realised I was less interested in fashion and more in the function, fit and cut of garments. Always inspired by work wear and military clothing I wanted to explore this more and decided the only way to do this was for myself. And what better time to start a new business than in the worst recession for a generation! Anyone know a good bank?

SS: Describe the collection in your own words
DK: It's a very British look, loosely based on work wear, simple honest fabrics, practical knitwear, a collection for a man who doesn't need to follow fashion but cares about how he looks but does not have try too hard.

SS: Can you talk us through some of your inspirations?
DK: I was always inspired by old guys who seem to always have on too much of their mismatched wardrobe at the same time yet look weirdly stylish; my grandad who could wear his work jacket with a pair of pleated wool baggy trousers, a fair isle slipover, a hearing aid and still look good.

SS: What are your favourite pieces from the collection?
DK: The trousers are a favourite as the fit is great (I think) and the suit waistcoat, not really part of a suit but a good looking classic. Two heavy jersey pieces; the Bomber jacket lined with light weight jersey and the climbing pant (which is not really for climbing but the perfect track pant) yet looks like a normal trouser are also favourites and are selling well.

Left: Hand Embroidered wool scarf, canvas unlined jacket. Right: Knitted Work Jacket in milano wool over knitted L/S waistcoat also in milano wool, blue oxford cotton work shirt, pleated chino pants.

SS: Is there a Universal Works man/muse?
DK: Me... or is it my granddad!?

SS: You've recently opened up your pop up store on Lambs Conduit street, what has the reaction been like to the collection?
DK: Really good, I love the street and there are some great men's stores here like Folk, Pokit and Oliver Spencer so there is already a customer for interesting men's wear coming here. Also Oliver is carrying the collection for the autumn.

SS: Provenance, craft and a sense of purpose seem to be integral parts of the label. All of which are rare traits in the industry, which other designers/brands do you admire?
DK: I have always admired the late Masimo Osti and for a British aesthetic Margaret Howell. Current favourites are Junya Watanabe, Diaki Suzuki in the USA, and Post Overalls from Japan. They all have great integrity in their work.

SS: How do you see the Universal Works label developing over the next couple of years?
DK: Continuing to work with great skilled factories and craft people and find a few more British suppliers and working with good independent retailers and maybe selling enough product to pay the mortgage.

Left: Work Jacket in cotton, white poplin classic shirt, heavy jersey climbing pants, soft wool bobble hat. Right: Bomber Jacket in heavy jersey, sand cotton pleated chino pants, work waistcoat in cotton, stripe poplin classic shirt.

SS: What item of clothing (if any) do you wish that more men wore?
DK: Hats

SS: What is inspiring your own personal styles at the moment? Do you have any style icons (long or short term)?
DK: Josef Beuys. a man who knew how to wear a hat... and a waistcoat. A recent trip to Japan was very inspiring, they still have a great love of craft and quality and they all look so damn good.

SS: If you could go back in time and experience any fashion/style moment, what would it be?
DK: I love the menswear of the fifties and also of the early eighties (well more Joe Strummer than new romantic!) but I prefer to live for now and am happy to be living my own style moment.

SS: Finally, have you got any recommendation that you'd like to share with our readers? (shops, hairdressers, designers, websites, bars, cafes etc)
DK: Dover Street Market is still one of the my favourites and Oi Polloi in Manchester has become a great northern institution. Bikefix another great store on Lambs Conduit St. Monmouth Coffee for the best caffeine fix in London and Grindleford Station Cafe for the best greasy spoon breakfast, but you will have to go to the Peak District to enjoy it. For websites, apart from your own great site, JJJound, detourdesign blog and acontinouslean are always good to look at and hyr collective is another good site.

Left: Work shirt in grey checked cotton, l/s henly tee in grey marl, suit jacket in herringbone brushed cotton, chino pants in same, hat in soft wool. Right: Waistcoat in herringbone brushed cotton, chino pants in same, grey check cotton work shirt.

Tuesday 28 July 2009

Picture Postcard: Milan Vukmirovic and the importance of accessories

Milan Vukmirovic captured by the Sartorialist

Beneath his shot, Scott confessed "The belt is such a simple accessory, and yet I am just now really learning how to use one successfully" and I have to say I feel exactly the same. Here, the belt is elevated from humble bit part accessory in to a head turning, statement piece. When I wear a belt I usually hide it and function reigns over aesthetic but why not have both? I must go belt shopping this weekend. If you are interested in the details of this particular belt, after a little late night accessory hunting I discovered that it is a blue and white embroidered belt from YSL's Cruise Spring 09 collection, I don't think the term accessory does it justice.

As a regular reader of The Sartorialist for the last few years, I always enjoy recognising those who Scott focusses his camera on. Milan Vukmirovic frequently pops up and always looks effortlessly stylish making him one of my favourite subjects. For those of you who don't recognise the name or face, he is something of a retail visionary as well as menswear designer and photographer. After co-founding Colette, he worked alongside Tom Ford at Gucci and succeeded Jil Sander when the beloved designer was ousted. Now the 36-year-old Frenchman is creative director at L’Officiel Hommes, menswear designer for Trussard and has his fingers in far too many other pies to mention. GQ recently ran a piece on Milan where he talked about his style, below is my favourite quote and I will leave you with this:

I go to L.A. and people tell me, ‘I love the way you dress, but I could never do that because everyone will think I’m gay.’ American guys worry too much about what others think. Fashion is fun, and you should be able to play with your look.”

Monday 27 July 2009

Les mêmes lunettes

In a slight change to our normal posting, I thought I'd present you with a new feature: Style Blogger Glasses Trendwatch 2009 (note: may not be a regular feature)

Take special note of Thom's lovely white trousersThe classic: 'why are you still taking photos of us' look

Some of you may know that we recently met up with Thomas Wong and his lovely fiance Sharon in Paris. Stood side by side, I couldn't help noticing that Steve and Thom had something in common. Later on (sadly I don't have a photo, but maybe Steve will be so kind as to provide one) I noticed that they shared this with another friend of ours. That's right: tortoiseshell, thick framed glasses are taking over. This may be highly contagious. Watch out for the tell-tale symptoms in your local men's fashion blogger.

(Additional: this man had rather nice shoes so I just had to sneak a shot. Click to enlarge and then tell me the make.)
That's Steve on the right, trying to block my shot

Magazines In The Spotlight: The Rake

The Rake (cover of issue four)

The magazine spells out, in exquisite detail, the ground rules for grand, flattering dressing...and then explains how and when those rules may be broken. The Rake

Regular readers might have noticed that it has been a few months since our last 'Magazine In The Spotlight' post but this is not want of trying. I normally furiously finger through the racks at my favourite newsagents but instead have been nonchalantly flicking through them before placing them back only to walk glumly out empty handed. Fortunately, it isn't all doom and gloom though as we stumbled across a fine specimen of a gentleman's magazine, The Rake.

I first heard about this brainchild of Singapore-based publisher Revolution Press via a Simon CromptonMen's Flair a few months back where he justifiably declared "
penned piece for Finally. A magazine that professes to be about men’s style and actually dedicates most of its content to that topic." This bi monthly launched last December but it has taken me this long to track a copy down because, somewhat criminally it just is not stocked anywhere in the UK. Thankfully my own hunt for the magazine was concluded by a chance sighting of the James Sherwood cover peaking out from the shelves of Lodger Footwear.

A closer look at Savile Row tailors Chittleborough & Morgan

Issue four is a celebration of British heritage and elegance and I've found it difficult to put down since picking it up last week. James Sherwood, self appointed Savile Row guardian and author of the marvellous The London Cut, is guest editor and overseas proceedings. During his editors note Sherwood confesses that the premier issue of the magazine 'prompted a murmur of satisfaction that at last a publication had arrived celebrating the fine art of men's dress' and no doubt the satisfied murmurs are echoing throughout the rooms of whoever encounters the publication. It amazes me that this magazine published in Singapore and so damn hard to find in Britain has really shown what the British magazine market has been missing. It certainly fills the void for the disenfranchised, elite sector of the male population whose needs are just not catered for by the likes of GQ anymore (boo hoo I know). As someone who is not yet a member of the disenfranchised elite, I am interested more in the magazines desire to recapture codes of classic men's elegance which have been increasingly marginalised in the printed press as I've grown up.

Whilst refusing to be drawn in to the 'who is the best Bond debate' the feature dissects the style of Sean Connery's iconic Bond.

This is a magazine which caters for mature minded readers who have become alienated by the typical, 'edgy' , fashion focused offerings on the market. Rather than following the lead of the catwalk and the latest releases, sartorial inspirations are drawn from icons of classic gentleman's dress including Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, The Duke of Windsor and a few contemporary counterparts.

The Fabulous Bentley Boys: A dashing photographic homage to the daring aristocratic rakes of Roaring Twenties British motoring.

During the last few months there have been a number of ominous grey clouds hovering over an industry struggling against an economic downturn induced advertising slump and a general state of publishing soul searching. One of the obvious signs of a magazine being in trouble is an issues weight and number of pages and it is clear that most on the market are becoming more like style pamphlets rather than style bibles. 00o00 highlighted the WWD article which predicts that as advertising revenue is in decline, the September issues will drop with a whisper instead of the usual thud. Thankfully, The Rake is decidedly plump and full of juicy content. Highlights inside issue four include features on rebellious sartorial legend Tommy Nutter, masterful shoemakers John Lobb London and Foster & Son, superb shirt maker Turnbell & Asser and Sean Connery's seminal style.

Offering something more than a classic black dinner suit taking guidance from the Duke of Windsor, Sean Connery and Roger Moore, followed by a few words on formalwear uttered by no less than G. Bruce Boyer.

Through providing comprehensive knowledge of the heritage, expertise and craftsmanship of some of the world’s most luxurious products and brands, The Rake seeks to educate readers on their inherent value something which the likes of popular men's fashion magazines consistently fail to do. Yes, the content is classic elegance and it is undeniably shaped by the past but with contributions by the likes of Patrick Grant, James Sherwood and Timothy Everest it certainly has a modern voice. Here's hoping that the flailing British counterparts learn a few things from this publication or at the very least, The Rake becomes widely available for all to marvel over.

Saturday 25 July 2009

Style Spy at Amsterdam Fashion Week

Susie was invited out to Amsterdam Fashion Week so has spent the last few days in the Dutch capital. As well as her own official business and blogging of the event she has also donned her mac, dark glasses and trilby as she style spied for us. Her solid recommendation was NON by Kim's SS10 collection titled Inventorum Natura...

Founded in 2007, the Dutch designer Kim Bakker is a new find for me. Looking through her first few collections she mutates the archetypes of men’s garments to push and explore the boundaries of menswear. This third collection of Kim Bakker takes us in to the wonderfully weird realm of flesh eating plants. The collection reflects parts of this world, the agthered constructions and wired seams give the garments an organic and clean cut feel. An interesting balance is created between lightweight and textured materials achieving fluid layered silhouettes and a feeling of motion. Now, it might be because I am a little sleep deprived at the moment (a combination of late nights, howling at the moon because of Susie's absence and a few too many drinks) but I am most intrigued by the textured tights worn under the shorts. Of course we have seen Ricardo Tisci experiment with this styling for the past few seasons but it is interesting to see quite so many of his peers play with this idea, Kim Bakker pulls it off most admirably here.

Thursday 23 July 2009

Brioni and the RCA: The Travel Jacket

The Travel jacket reimagined. Robert Huth's winning design was judged to have best expressed Brioni excellence.

Regular readers will know that I have something of a soft spot for student design competitions (the CSM's 1960s film challenge anyone?), so I am kicking myself that the second year partnership between Brioni and RCA passed me by until now. To be honest with you, if it hadn't been for a quick visit to Wallpaper this morning, I would no doubt still be in the dark about the partnership and I'm amazed that barely any blogs picked up on it all. (were the happenings in Milan really that interesting?). Last year the fledgling designers took the iconic tuxedo to task and this time round it was the turn of the travelling jacket.

In 1968 Brioni created the first travel jacket for a wealthy Californian globetrotter who commissioned a bespoke piece of outerwear for his countless adventures. This original and innovative garment was made with sixteen pockets and compartments to store a variety of essential items of gentleman’s travel equipment: a compass, plane tickets and passport, as well as cigars, watch and wallet. The jacket soon became an iconic garment for Brioni and this unique jacket has since become a staple fixture in the menswear collections. Forty one years after the first jacket was produced, awards were recently presented to the twelve students from the Royal College of Art for the travel jackets they have designed and created. The students have interpreted and created their own travel jackets, with garments that reflect the concepts of sartorial skill, creativity and stylistic innovation, below are a few of my favourite efforts...

Alan Bennett's design hides all the pockets on the outside of the jacket, using concertina folds achieving a tidy practicality. The jacket also incorporates a rolled-up towel into the collar. How many times have you been away and longed for a clean towel?

Justifiably, Astrid Anderson's design (above) won the Creativity Award. Her creation was inspired by sportswear jackets from her native Denmark and I just can't stop looking at it!

Hanna Ter Meulen’s design was not awarded any prizes but it is still one of my favourites. I remember reading Hanna's diary on The Moment back in February but for some reason this whole project still managed to pass me by. With a cape hidden behind the collar, this design was intended to be as comfortable as possible for running through airports. Having travelled myself a fair bit over the last few months, I longingly look at some of these designs and see that my own wardrobe offerings are somewhat lacking...pockets, I need more pockets!

Tuesday 21 July 2009

E Tautz SS10: An Englishman on Holiday

We excitedly covered the resurrection of E. Tautz back in February as the historic sporting and military outfitters took its place in the extended MAN afternoon. Since its relaunch E. Tautz has deservedly gone from strength-to-strength (as mentioned in previous posts) and SS10 sees the launch of its second ready to wear collection. I was fortunate enough to meet the lovely Patrick Grant to discuss the last few months and the inspirations behind the Spring/Summer offering for Dazed Digital. The full interview is now live over on DD but I've picked out my favourite looks and look at the inspiration behind the designs.

The double breasted suits are cut exquisitely. The suited short never looked so good!

E. Tautz's first offering was inspired by the photo archive the Sandringham Estate, the colours, the landscape and more than the odd sartorial nod to its stylish inhabitants. It was quintessentially English and for Spring/Summer, Patrick an his team have been inspired by the idea of the Englishmen on holiday. Upon hearing this today, one instantly conjures up images of over hanging beer bellies and loutish behaviour (I would know, I've been on such holidays!) but thankfully, Patrick was inspired by an Englishman cut from a different cloth. The inspiration was not just any Englishman but the Duke of Windsor. Diana Vreeland, the former editor of Vogue, had strong views about the Duke and once remarked "the Duke of Windsor had style in every buckle on his kilt, every check of his country suits' and who can argue with her!? Patrick explained...

"The inspiration really came from a photograph of the Duke of Windsor getting off his boat in Mallorca. Actually, there are two photographs really. One where he is sitting cross legged wearing this beautiful Breton jumper and his ivory flannels rolled up and a pair of espadrilles. The other photograph was of him stepping on a boat with a pair of bagpipes, shorts and some espadrilles. The whole idea of that Englishman enjoying life on the Mediterranean in the summer is what flavoured the whole thing. When we were thinking about creating the collection we were thinking about what the English like to do in the Summer, they like to go to the med, sit on beaches and wear hankies on their heads...haha. Those particular two images covered everything that we did."

Patrick's two favourite looks. I love the sheer fabric used on the summer trousers.

One of Patrick's main reasons for relaunching the label was because he felt that there was nobody creating beautiful, chic, English menswear. He identified a desire for something handmade, beautifully cut and with English cloth at its heart. The label offers simple tailoring with a little something extra added, a bit of pomp, a bit of colour. This collection, like the first, demonstrates chic menswear but with a sense of humour, a sense of Englishness that has been lost over the years. The revived house strives to make stylish clothes to which a wardrobe can be built from. Patrick hopes that in "in ten years time I'd like to think that there are customers who have built a wardrobe of E Tautz, that allows them to dress beautifully every single day of the year, whatever the weather," I'd certainly love to be such a gentlemen.

Monday 20 July 2009

Style Salvage Speaks to... bStore

The UK used to be known as the nation of shopkeepers but over the years the retail landscape has changed from busy, bustling stores to empty and even boarded up shop fronts. We can honestly count the number of exciting stores in London using our fingers. One finger outstretched is for the fashion mecca that is bstore. Savile Row's bStore needs no introduction but for those of you who are a little slow, it is an independent boutique which has supported some of the most exciting design talent to emerge in recent years. In addition to the store, b Store's partners Kirk Beattie, José Neves and Matthew Murphy have added to the brand by launching a magazine (b paper), their own clothing line (b Clothing) which is going from strength to strength and their renowned footwear line (b Footwear). We were fortunate enough to talk shop and toast the existence of one of the best menswear brands in London with its proprietor Matthew Murphy...

Kirk and Matthew posing in store for Ponystep.

Style Salvage: How did it all start for you? What were your inspirations, your dreams and the driving catalyst behind it all?
Matthew Murphy: I met Jose and he wanted to open a flagship store for his footwear brand b. We (Kirk, Mathew and Jose) then came up with the concept to open a store in Central London that would not only showcase the complete b collection but would buy in products from young creatives. It would be a platform for young designers. Our vision was to launch b as a brand but with an identity, we also felt there was no store in London at the time that supported the amount of young talent coming out of the London colleges.

SS: What was the first and last item you remember selling in the store?
MM: The first item was a pair of b store white oxford shoe's, this went onto being one of our best selling shoes. A Bernhard Willhelm belted men's jersey dress was the last.

SS: bstore moved to its current Savile Row location in 2006 from Conduit Street, how was the reaction from the tailors of this most famous street? Was your move to Savile Row a calculated move, or more of a chance opportunity?
MM: We have been accepted slowly, not that anyone was against but in the last year a few of the tailor's have ventured into the store to understand what we are about. We had outgrown our Conduit Street store but felt we needed to stay in the area, so when the store came available on Savile Row it was an opportunity we could not miss.

bstore popped in to Selfridges last September. Image courtesy of DazedDigital.

SS: When we think of bstore we have an overriding sense that it represents something 'new', from the desire to showcase new creative talent to how you go about selling it but it really isn't new anymore, how do you do it?
MM: We have never changed our vision. Our brand has evolved and become our main focus but we have continued to support young artists and designers and constantly look to work with new creatives to continue to push the store forward.

SS: Collaboration with creative talent is an integral part of your brand identity, (art installations, working with graduates, etc). What have been your favourite collaborations to date? Who would you love to work with in the future?
MM: We did a t-shirt collaboration with Judy Blame about four years ago, both the t shirt's and party were very memorable. The latest collab with G-Shock has been great fun and we are really pleased with the watches. If we could do something with David Bowie that would be our dream, he is a constant source of inspiration for us.

SS: Do you believe that the way men and women shop really is fundamentally different- i.e. men are 'hunter-gatherers' and more focused on what they want while women accumulate and adapt? How do you think online shopping has affected this?
MM: They are definitely completely different shoppers, men are very brand/shop loyal, once they feel comfortable they tend to return... where as women are always looking for the new thing, our women's area has to be regularly re-invented, adding new designers each season.

b store's AW09 collection plays with proportions...making us rethink high waisted trousers along the way.

SS: If such a thing exists can you describe your typical day.
MM: Unfortunately there is not a typical day... we have a very small team, so we have to wear many hats each day, designers, creatives, sales... the list goes on.

SS: How did it feel to show your AW09 collection at the extended Menswear afternoon at LFW? Did you get a chance to see any of the shows other shows? Who did you enjoy most?
MM: We were honoured to be asked to be part of the day. There has been and still is so much menswear talent in London, this showcase is something that has been desperately needed for a while. We showed back to back with our good friend Tim Soar and his collection was quite amazing.

SS: The store has been something of a fashion mecca for fresh talent, like Bernhard Willhelm, Carola Euler and Damir Doma. Who are your favourite emerging designers? How do you find the labels and new talent that you stock?
MM: We are lucky enough that the store has gained a reputation for launching new designers, so we don't have to do as much research as most come to us now. New talent's are Natascha Stolle for womenswear and Peter Perret for menswear.

SS: How do you see the bstore brand developing over the next couple of years?
MM: Our intention is to continue growing the brand in both size and distribution. In the future we hope this will mean we will be able to open corners in other stores with both our brand and brand collaborations. We have already collaborated with a milliner, bag designer, jeweller, so to continue this would be great.

Playing in the fields, two looks from b paper.

SS: What item of clothing (if any) do you wish that more men wore?
MM: High waisted trousers, they add a bit of elegance

SS: How would you describe your own personal style?
MM: Modern

SS: If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?
MM: The beat generation

SS: Finally, what are you favourite pieces currently available from bstore?
MM: bstore tweed raglan sleeve mac, heavy soled b store brogue, Tim Soar high waist two pleat dogtooth trouser, Peter Jensen oversized tweed blazer.

Two of our favourite bStore Aw09 look book shots

Ordinarily we end our 'Speaks to' features with a collection of our interviewees recommendations but there was no need with Matthew because bstore have their own, great London guide online. Their guide features tips from the likes of Carola Euler, Tim Soar and Peter Jenson and is well worth a read.

Friday 17 July 2009

Sneak peak at Carolyn Massey SS10

Carolyn Massey has always been a Style Salvage favourite and it has been great to see her develop her label over the last few seasons to become one of the most significant menswear designers in the UK. This is going to be a huge year for her and deservedly so. She closed the extended menswear afternoon back in February in true style with her first solo show and since then has been beavering away on an her SS10 collection, not to mention her Topman Lens designs and various other projects! After being offered a closer look of her AW09 designs and her studio back in March she allowed me to nosey around her studio whilst salivating over her SS10 collection. The tailoring pieces weren't quite finished yet but there was more than enough to keep my eyes busy, as Carolyn added printed t shirts and additional accessories including handmade braided belts and amazing backpacks. I asked Carolyn about her inspirations for this collection and she kindly sent through the below images. She was inspired by adventure and exploration. For me the season is all about escaping the mundanity of everyday life and exploring far away lands...or beaches in Kent (in my case, ha!).

Carolyn kindly sent through a few of her inspirations for the collection.

I was privileged to have this sneak preview of the future and even more fortuitous to be able to pick Carolyn's brain as I marvelled over her wares. Below is my exploration of her the SS10 offering and I've added quotes from the lady herself which explain her thoughts and guidance on the pieces.

I couldn't stop taking pictures of the amazing accessories, the braided belts and the backpacks were amazing!

On the handmade, braided belts...
"The pieces that you photographed are based on 'Troddels' - traditionally used by the German army (post war) to place with precision the exact whereabouts of soldiers in particular regiments. Also the Japanese craft of Kumihimo was definitely an inspiration for the brading. This featured in the key rings, troddels and belts."

Massey's chunky knits and all more friendlier 'alas, poor Yorick' moment.

I fell head over heels for the chunky, cable knits in Massey's Aw09 collection and the above table of bold blue knitted creations renewed my love. Carolyn once again worked closely with her knitwear consultant Lynn to create these pieces which looked to be inspired by fishermen and explorers.

On the accessories:
"The accessories came about as a store that I work with mentioned that his customers would love to see some bags and belts from me, and I work with a really good factory that also makes these, so I thought I'd try this and see how they would be received. Its also went in so well with the inspiration for the collection- the film the Heroes of Telemark - based on the true story of Norwegian heavy water sabotage in WW2. Id also recently been on a camping trip to Dungeness, and this inspiring thinking of realistically when and where you would wear these garments. Gave them a sense of grounding, of place."

One of Carolyn's print collage t shirts.

On expanding the collection for this season:
"I've expanded the collection quite a lot this season, as showing on the catwalk was very inspiring, thinking about the whole offer of the collection. I did some T shirt styles also, which were quite fun to do, thinking about placement print- collages from found images."

The outwear on show was truly special. A featherlight trench came in bold blue and for me is the perfect everyday jacket for the season. Even on the warmest of days in fair Blighty, there is a constant threat of the odd downpour. I've been looking for a similar trench for some time, thankfully I won't have to look next year! The most surprising piece for me was the multi option hoodie/jacket hybrid which came in the sturdy waxed cotton. I described it as multi option purely because features like additional pockets, straps and even a backpack can be added to this utility jacket.

Massey's marvellous multi option jacket.

On the amazing jacket above:
"The "multi option jacket" (I love this - makes it sound so sci-fi!) we call the paracoat. I collect garments that are of interest, mostly army/navy/RAF- and this was inspired by a coat which I actually don't have any idea where it is from. It had a detachable bag on it which just seemed a bit bonkers as an idea, so I ran with it."

The collection was undoubtedly inspired by spending the so-called warmer months in the great outdoors. The pieces come together to offer protection and function whatever the weather whilst colour, including mustard yellow and rich blues, is splashed throughout to create a collection to truly covet. I will soon be leaving London for the weekend to have another trip by the Kentish seaside, looking at the forecast for the next few days, my suitcase would most certainly be improved with a few pieces from this collection.

When you're a boy opens

Iconic Foxton images taken from FTape article.

I had to leave London on Wednesday for a couple of days to pay my respects to my old nan who passed away at the tender age of ninety five. The outside world unfortunately didn't stop with me and I missed out the chance to be shot by the Sartorialist as part of a Burberry promotion (there should be further opportunities if I follow the flow chart) along with the opening of Simon Foxton's When you're a boy exhibition at the Photographer's Gallery (fortunately Susie did and she has confirmed what I thought, it is amazing!). The exhibition celebrates men in fashion and is the first exhibitions to focus on the work of a stylist as opposed to a photographer.

Images from The Face Feb 1986 shot by Nick Knight... oh The Face how I miss you...

With a career spanning three decades, Foxton has built himself a reputation as a leading image-maker of men’s fashion; anticipating and defining key shifts in menswear design over this period. Foxton's interest in masculinity, ethnicity and sexuality are captured in images shot by photographers and longtime collaborators Alistair Mclellan, Nick Knight and Jason Evans.

After graduating from St. Martin's College of Art and Design in 1983, he set up his own design label, Bazooka. Foxton began styling for i-D in 1984, at a time when the visual language of fashion photography was still being established. Since then he has contributed to our favourite magazines including The Face, Arena, Arena Homme Plus, Vogue Hommes International, Details, W, GQ Style and Big Magazine. Without his work, the magazines that we know and love would certainly not be the same. Foxton evolved a highly recognisable and much emulated approach to creating fashion photography which balances a deep respect for traditional men’s fashion design with an injection of street culture, popular imagery and much needed humour. He is quite simply the quintessential menswear stylist, consistently progressing men’s fashion.

Simon Foxton has been keeping sketchbooks since 1981, here is a look inside one of them...

Although I missed out on the opening night, I did however get the chance to ask the great stylist a question, albeit through the wonderful Fred Butler. Fred asked for question contributions via her twitter and I made sure that I didn't miss my chance. The full interview can and should be read here but for now, here is the question I asked along with the answer:

"Ive read that you keep a box under your bed for inspiration containing tear outs from magazines. How do you formulate your ideas from these scraps?"
I can now confirm that this is the case. Simon doesn't believe in stacking up smelly old back issues and prefers to make a more considered and concise reference bank. If an image resonates with him, it winds up ripped out and glued in. These scrapbooks are a personal vehicle to consolidate his own vision, affirming his taste and form a reminder of ideas and direction. Curator Penny Martin got involved from trawling this primary starting point, all the way through to ordering the space at The Photographer's Gallery. The two of them rooted through the archive boxes and Penny assertively assisted Simon to weed out the cream of the crop for this first show. According to Simon there is a great more to be exhibited but it could not be accommodated this time.

Another look inside on his scrapbooks.

Dazed Digital recently published a nice interview with Simon and included some amazing images of the stylists shed where his ideas are formulated. I need a shed just like this, the quality of blog posts would surely improve if I had my own inspiration filled hideway...

If you are in town anytime from today until October 17th, you have to make a trip to this exhibition. Now that I am back in London (for the afternoon atleast) I will make a trip down.


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