Thursday 30 September 2010

Illustrating Menswear Day SS11: JW Anderson

Each season Menswear Day gets stronger and stronger. For SS11 it was particularly exciting to see stalwarts of Savile Row sit comfortably alongside high street regulars and established designers and exciting new talent alike to help cause a sartorial stir or two while collectively flying the flag of menswear. Presentations, catwalk shows and film screenings all celebrated the exciting diversity of menswear design talent which uniquely exists in this capital of ours. Now that the dust begins to settle on the day itself and I've suitably recovered from fashion flu I want to dissect the day. the Going to the shows is a wonderful experience, but looking over catwalk photos afterwards can be a bit mind numbing. So, to help bring the day to life we decided to cover the shows a little differently and enlisted the help of Lauren Macaulay. I first met this talented illustrator wildly sketching on the front row Graduate Fashion Week. As I awkwardly scribbled the odd note or two, Macaulay had managed to pick out each collections key parts on the pages of her sketchbook. Thankfully she agreed to loan her talents and sketchbook to us for Menswear Day.

One of the real standout collections of an eclectic Menswear day was undoubtedly JW Anderson’s SS11 show, which for the first time showed both his menswear and equally desirable womenswear together. The Devoured and I, SS11 collection takes inspiration from three photographers and their view on subcultures in the 1950s through to the 1970s: Danny Lyon, William Gedney and Karl Heinz Weinberger. The driving focul point is youth and a sense of adventure exploring an unknown land. In recent seasons JW Anderson's designs have explored the beautiful transience of youth but none more effectively than here. There is a sense of fragility and wonder throughout the collection and this is best seen in the multi-layering of broken down elements. The combination of these elements is what truly left me excited. I often complain that Spring/Summer collections are overly simple, stripped from the element of dress that interests me most, layering. There were no complaints during this show. Trousers are patch worked and faded, lace doilies adorn t shirts, Liberty prints are bleached out and tulle and florals are borrowed from the girls. As I sat in my seat I marveled at the heady cocktail of prints and textures on display. Thankfully these caught Macaulay's eye as well and her illustrations highlight them far better than my words could describe. We hope you enjoy them...

Illustrations by Lauren Macaulay.

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Braille SS11

Following the success of Braille’s A/W10 debut collection, A Gentle Wake, founders Benjamin Vorono and Samuel Kientsch return with zeal for SS11. The labels sophomore collection is a celebration of freedom, speed and optimism. Inspired by the modernist design of Palm Springs juxtaposed with the natural landscape of Agua Caliente Canyon. 

Entitled Colt, it reflects the mountainous, desert landscape of the region as pleated blazers, jackets and rain coats incorporate the contours of the pleated Blazers, Jackets and Rain Coat. Shirts in sheer cotton in sun-faded shades of husk, loosely reference the palm tree oasis. Luminescent tweeds give visibility to the night explorer, whilst maintaining elegance and subtlety. Waxed cotton outerwear is used to protect from heavy rain and extended sleeve plackets to ease motion for the adventurous and active gentlemen...

To celebrate the launch of their new online store, Braille screened a film of the collection throughout LFW on a mobile cinema. You may have seen driving from show to show, and party to party but if not, don't worry (I missed the mobile showings too), we can share it with you. The film showcases the collection’s modernist lines, clean cuts and natural desert hues while helping to celebrate the launch of the brands online store on 1st October.

For the film, Sam and Ben created four additional showpieces made from the scraps of the collection. This included the creation of a silk/hemp fabric which was manipulated to reflect a texture of raindrops which was then hand dyed and waxed to form a tiered raincoat. The design duo also created an offset checkered board blazer assembled with rectangles of Wolf Fish leather and Luminescent tweed. 

Sunday 26 September 2010

In discussion: Neglected items of clothing II

Over the last couple of weeks or so we have concentrated our blogging efforts on highlighting the key SS11 collections on the catwalk and beyond but as you all know, there is so much to discuss on and around menswear beyond the goings on in Paris, New York, London and Milan. With this in mind, we've decided to take a breather from tackling Menswear Day and instead shift the focus on stocking the conversation fires. Here we've asked a selection of our favourite store owners and bloggers to put forward their favourite neglected or long forgotten items of clothing and accessories...

"Sweat pants. I cannot get enough in my life."
Ian Paley, Garbstore.

"Well, I'm a big advocate of the bow tie. Not just for formal events. And every gentleman must learn to tie a bow tie!"
Matt Fox, Fine and Dandy.

"I don’t like to say as a generalization that men should wear more of a certain garment as I am definitely of the opinion that what works for one will not work for another and in my opinion the key to having a great style is knowing exactly which pieces work for you. I’m also a massive fan of people who will wear something that is completely off key within their honed style and really ask questions of the observer, ie ‘I know that this guy has great style, so why is he wearing that really off key piece that doesn’t work with the rest of his get up?’ . This for me is a real statement of confidence in a person’s style and generally if they stick with a certain one of these pieces long enough it will eventually become a trend at some point."
John Skelton, LN-CC

"I would like to see men loosen up and bring in more glamour into the way they dress:
  • Cravats – I think they’re really handsome and are surprisingly quite warming in the winter.
  • Velvet – on coats, jackets, slippers. Black, burgundy, bottle green, or even yellow.
  • Dressing gowns/smoking jackets – I had quite a discussion with designer John Little on our wishes for a dressing gown. He wants a functional dressing gown executed with architectural/couture detailing, whereas I want a dressing gown/blazer hybrid that I can wear out as a jacket."
The Dandy Project, blogger.

"I wish more men wore hats - not those garish fitted baseball caps or newsboy caps, but proper hats.  It just adds that extra elegance and charm to a suited look.  I suppose proper etiquette would have to be observed when wearing a hat, but I think it would make for a far more polite and enjoyable experience.  Plus whenever I see elderly people on the street it always feels a bit odd saying "Good Morning" or the like when I pass, they tend to be wary, however tipping my hat would make it far easier."
Dapper Kid, blogger.

Is there an item of clothing or accessory that you'd like to see more men wear? Let us know below...

Saturday 25 September 2010

Showroom Next Door SS11: Final Few

Over the last ten days I have been reminded why menswear design is so exciting here in the capital. My London Fashion Week began with a three hour exploration of the Showroom Next Door. The Showroom has managed to improve on the success of its debut season and for SS11 the larger showroom space welcomed Hannah Martin, Armando Cabral, Cherry Brown, BUNNEY and Tigersushi Furs alongside a few old favourites. The expanded Showroom Next Door was an interesting and vibrant place where fashion, art and craftsmanship can be appreciated side by side. These are exciting times for menswear and I'm so pleased that there are platforms like the Showroom Next Door that help to showcase the obvious and abundant talent that calls the capital its home. After a trio of single brand focused posts and the need to begin reviewing Menswear Day in more detail, I thought it best to summarise the remaining brands. 

One of the first things that caught my eye was Cherry Brown. The designer, Keiko Ishikawa previously worked as a flower and interior designer and is now a self-taught jewellery designer. In 2006 she launched Cherry Brown. The range builds an original cocktail of jewelery and corsage as it focuses on the theme "creation with joy". The collection showcases hand craftsmanship throughout and the delicate paper flower pins (pictured above) would brighten up any lapel.

The H by H by Harris label heralds the new school in desirable contemporary accessories. Launched in AW09 to great success, designed and manufactured in the UK, the brainchild of stylist Harris Elliott.  Regular readers will recall that the debut H by Harris collection comprised itself of two lines, the Q hand quilted nappa leather and the SH wax hide leather collection. Both left me wanting to sell an organ or turn to a life of crime just to have one hanging off his arm.

Harris' personal need to find a stylish yet practical laptop case has continued to evolve into a thoroughly modern, yet understated luxury luggage brand which is designed and manufactured in the UK. Appealing to men and women the style savvy and classic consumer alike, meeting practical and aesthetic desires. Harris designs using the term 'luxury fatigues' to define his unique style. 

Known as a knitwear brand The Inoue Brothers have been searching to further their endeavors in creating relations in communities where craftsmanship and cultural heritages are rich. The communities found for their projects are purposely chosen for their less enriched history of financial stability and opportunity. Progressing from their collaboration with the indigenous Andean knitters of Bolivia, the brothers have ventured to the continent of the century - Africa, their starting point being the township of Khayelitsha, South Africa.

In Khayelitsha, the Brothers have formed a relationship with a community and a co-operative of beading ladies who use their unique skills to create beautiful beaded pieces original to South Africa. Using eco friendly organic hemp material as canvases for these beading pieces, the final garments are produced through an uncompromising process commissioning local artisans and seamstresses around Capetown. The spirit of “Ubuntu” is the message.

For the Ubuntu Project, the Inoue Brothers changed their focus to hemp fabric. Hemp fabric is not only more durable while offering the same qualities as cotton – it is also close to 100% naturally grown. With hemp they found a fabric that could progress and expand their product line and at the same time act in accordance with their core values and beliefs.

The beading used so well throughout the the collection has great profound heritage with colour combinations, patterns and shapes. This heritage is much greater than our comprehension, however, the Inoue Brothers are determined to learn more about the culture of this magnificent continent and share it to their best capabilities. In an earlier interview with us, the brothers conceded that they have only just scratched the surface of what crafts and skills lie beneath. They will continue to work hard to ensure the dignity and empowerment of all people that sincerely need it. And as such plan to continue to work with this community and at the same time keep expanding our reach as far as they can – all in the true spirit of Ubuntu.

Subtlety, elegance, and innovation are the three defining features of Bruno Chaussignand Lunettes. His collection was born from the fusion of style and comfort. Each spectacle is hand made in France and is polished for three days to provide the finest quality finish. It is instantly apparent that Bruno Chaussignand takes great pride in the exceptionally high quality of materials and workmanship that goes into producing each individual frame. The moment I first put them on back in August last year I fell head over heels and invested in a pair. Now that I've seen a few additions to the offering, I might just add to my collection.

The Showroom Next Door embodies everything that I find exciting about menswear design in London; namely it's diversity and constant sense of sartorial evolution and revolution. As one season closes, I look forward to seeing what the Showroom will reveal in the next. If it grows much larger I'll easily spend the whole day there...if only I could move in.

Friday 24 September 2010

Showroom Next Door SS11: BUNNEY

Earlier this week I described how I spent just over three hours immersing myself in the SS11 offerings on display from the the Showroom Next Door. The expanded Showroom Next Door was an interesting and vibrant place where fashion, art and craftsmanship could be appreciated side by side. Three hours passed right by in what felt like a matter of enthused eye blinks. One of the overriding reasons why time whizzed right by was my discussion with Andrew Bunney over his amplified embellishments.  BUNNEY evolved from a single item - a large size silver pyramid stud which came in a set of three to a magpies heaven during London Fashion Week. Designer, Andrew Bunney, has gradually added more sizes and materials as he has discovered them.

The expanding collection beautifully housed in a restored display case.

There is of course a long history and tradition of producing jewellery in England and Bunney has spent a great deal of time sourcing the finest workshops and craftsmen across the country to help him crate his vision. On a personal level, the manufacturing side is very interesting to him and it is a subject that stokes a great deal of enthusiasm when he describes it. He enjoys visiting different workshops around the country to learn what can be made and the possibilities that there are. As the trade is much, much, smaller than in years gone by, there are always difficulties and some traditions or techniques have unfortunately disappeared. Of course it would be easier to produce things more quickly in other countries, but sometimes it is about establishing relationships too and keeping traditions alive where possible. It is exciting to hear how Bunney's designs have offered new challenges to the discovered craftsmen. The collections balance of age old proven techniques alongside the very latest processes is what makes it so exciting to me.

Clare de Rouen and Mr Hare wearing their choices extremely well. Photography by Marius W. Hansen.

As his offering grows, his desire to create something quite unisex and versatile remains. One of the facets that makes style in this country so exciting is how people can appropriate and interpret items and use them in a way unique to themselves. Bunney says the concept focuses on giving freedom to the wearer “you wear them how you want, on a jacket or a shirt, together or separately”. The entire line not only facilitates individuality but encourages it. To mark the launch of the new items, he decided to shoot a look book of sorts celebrating a selection of industry folk wearing their picks in a manner chosen by them. I have to confess to being somewhat inspired by Marius W. Hansen's shots and began to daydream about what I would choose and the combination I'd wear them. Below are the items that caught the attention of my inner magpie.. 

15mm silver pyramid

10mm gold pyramid.

34mm silver and gold dipped badge.

34mm silver hammered badge.
 The latest pieces will be on sale at DSM, Colette and the F.I.L. stores in Japan and HK (the Visvim own brand shops) early next year. Until then, I will continue to daydream about my picks and the myriad of ways in which they will be worn.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Carolyn Massey SS11

Season after season Menswear Day gets stronger and stronger. For SS11 it was particularly exciting to see stalwarts of Savile Row sit comfortably alongside the high street and established designers and exciting new talent alike cause a sartorial stir or two. Presentations, catwalk shows and film screenings all celebrated the exciting diversity of menswear design talent which uniquely exists in this capital of ours. Over the coming week we will dissect the collections that caused our collective heart to skip a beat or two and we'd like to kick things off with Style Salvage favourite, Carolyn Massey.

As mentioned earlier this week, Massey's SS11 collection was influenced by two books, Tibor Kalman's 'Un-Fashion' and Jackie Nickerson's 'Farm'. Nickerson photographed the small towns and corporate plantations of Mozambique, making portraits of workers in their workplace resulting in the forging of a new visual language that creates a sense of elegance, dignity and compassion in the face of daily toil. "Farm" is a view of Africa outside the language of photojournalism and the previous depictions of the glories of tribal culture. Massey was inspired by the essentially masculine and functional dressing portrayed in both bodies of work. The SS11 collection balances her eye for the quintessentially 'English' tailoring and signature detailing with a fond nod to Eastern elegance (no more obvious than the headwear which saw the desinger collaborate with Justin Smith. The collection showcases mature fabrication. Cotton drill from Italy, Japanese cotton shirting, merino wool. Cream, stone, mustard and rust are used alongside Indian ilk, petrol blue and navy to seamlessly complement Massey's play on proportion and shape throughout the collection. These are clothes you and I will want to wear. Many of the garments have an aged and lived in look which is something that I really love. This of course comes from Massey's interest in handing down garments from generation to generation and there is undoubtedly a timeless quality that runs through much of the collection.

This season the designer took full advantage of the presentation format and presented a V shaped wall of models clad in the finest Spring garb. A catwalk show comes and goes but with a presentation there is a physical element and visitors can walk around and explore it at their own leisure. Armed with my camera I did just that. As her SS11 film played on the surrounding walls and guests admired the collection and sipped on Gin and Tonics I excitedly shot the relaxed elegance of the collection and captured as much detailing as possible...we all know by now that Massey celebrates the beauty of details in menswear...

Accessories have become a key facet of the label's offering in recent seasons and here they have continued to evolve, providing a number of items that many of us will covet. Highlights include shoes inspired by those created for the British for wear in the desert, a new line of bags including the ultimate statement accessories in an oversize doctor's bag and a backpack with detachable box bags.

Our sartorial love affair with Carolyn Massey is well documented on the pages of this blog, with this collection that obsessive love just got deeper. Every once in a while you encounter a collection that you wish hanged in your closet and for me this is my dream Spring/Summer wardrobe. I want it all. If my images aren't enough in demonstrating how beautiful this collection is then please watch the below video. Shot at various locations around the Isle of Sheppey by Chris Brooks it demonstrates something quite stunning in the wilderness...

Hormazd Narielwalla's Hat Parade

Hormazd Narielwalla's Hat Parade

There have been many golden eras where a man would consider an outfit incomplete, consider himself naked even, without a hat but now they are rarely even considered in the construction of the everyday outfit. As EJ mentioned in her campaign for hats, 'just look at the street scenes in almost any film made the 50s or earlier to see how commonly the hat used to be worn and how much better it makes almost everyone look.' However, the modern decline of hat wearing amongst men is obvious. I have to confess that despite admiring many hats from afar, I'm yet to fully commit to donning one. There is however, a great deal of inspirational hat donning out there. None more so than the creations of Bernstock Speirs. Inspired by the underground club and music scene, the design duo began creating men’s and women’s headwear which challenged the traditional ideas of millinery. A new generation of hat wearers has since been seduced by their innovative creations. An upcoming exhibition at their Brick Lane store will showcase the work of Style Salvage favourite, Hormazd Narielwalla.

Narielwalla’s fascination with pattern blocks has taken him on a trip up north of the body and drawn inspiration from shapes created for the head. The work features military figures composed of collage, photography and illustration sporting the designers AW10 hat collection. Using hat pattern blocks from Bernstock Speirs’ archive along with uniform drafts extracted from military cutting books and the all important masculine ingredient – facial hair. In his evocative work Narielwalla illustrates a new take on patterns, as they have never been seen. Bernstock Speirs have created a capsule range of hats to accompany the exhibition which will run from 15th of October until the 15th of November. The time for a new era of hat wearing is now my friends.


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