Sunday 31 October 2010

Soar for Autumn

Tim Soar for AW10.

Now, I rarely wear an outfit of pieces from one designer but I had to make an exception after falling head over heels for Tim Soar's AW10 collection back in February. After a successful number of seasons of no-holds-barred modernism Soar opted to look back in order to look forward with his 'Greatest Hits' collection. Throughout, Soar manages to eloquently condense the last one hundred and fifty years of menswear, picking out key pieces and exploring the shifts in the social constructs of masculinity as he goes. Soar developed a mood board that ran chronologically from mid-victorian times through to the late 70s. It then became easy to pick out themes to explore. Some of the themes were detail focused, some were all about fabric others were about cut and construction. The real focus is all about making each piece desirable in its own right.

A closer look at the cashmere mix waffle knit and the silk shirt.

For his 'Greatest Hits', Soar wanted to produce a collection that was warm and familiar, one that would have many overlapping memories and echoes from the past. The result is a collection fit for any modern day gentleman. Timeless elegance. When we unpicked the seams of his the collection back in March, I had to physically restrain myself from purchasing the entire line but succumbed to ordering a trio of key piece; the cashmere mix scooped neck waffle knit, long silk shirt and a pair of black trousers. Having enjoyed and experimented with these items for just over a month, I thought that it was about time that I shared them with you...

The Tim Soar outfit. Silk shirt, waffle knit and trousers all by Tim Soar
Socks from Uniqlo and shoes by Mr. Hare.

The length and fluidity of the silk dress shirt has to take centre stage whenever it is worn. Of course, it can be a little too much on its own but the fluidity of the piece works so well when worn the super soft waffle knit. I love the playfulness of this combination and decided to accentuate it by cuffing my trousers a little higher.

Silk shirt, waffle knit and trousers all by Tim Soar.

For me, the key piece of the entire collection was the long silk shirt and I was fortunate enough to hear how this piece embodies the aesthetic of the collection from the designer himself. About a month into the design process Soar looked through his own clothing archive and pulled out two exquisite hand made 70s silk dress shirts that had been kicking around for some time. They where very long and fluid, but quite precise at the same time. Upon this discovery the designer was able to see this connection between the Victorian/Edwardian aesthetic and classy Parisian feeling mid-70s menswear. As soon as he made that connection, it all fell into place. Until now, I had nothing like this in my wardrobe and  will no doubt have great fun experimenting with the fluidity of the item.

Here's to celebrating Soar's Greatest Hits.

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Magazines in the Spotlight: Encens

Regular readers may have noticed that it has been quite some time since our last 'Magazine In The Spotlight' post but this is not want of trying. I have been frequently and somewhat furiously finger flicking my way through the racks at newsagents and bookstores far and wide before leaving empty handed. Of course, I have encountered the usual suspects but for one reason or another these have failed to truly excite me and therefore warrant a post. I relayed my woes during a recent shopping jaunt at b Store and thankfully proprietor Matthew Murphy stepped in and offered the name of a title that had previously been unknown to me, Encens. His enthusiasm for the title was infectious. As I left the store with my purchases I instantly began my search of Soho for the publication which came to fruition at the ever reliable Compton News. Since finding it I have struggled to put it down which is no easy task given the weight of this style beast. 

Encens number twenty six stands apart from previous issues as it signals their departure from the bi-annual format. Now published once yearly, the publication has taken on several properties which would classify it closer to a book. Firstly, the thickness and hardcover bound, its qualities as an object are just as powerful as the visual stories inside. During his Fashion Pioneers talk with Imran Ahmed, Jefferson Hack highlighted the growing importance of specialisation and what visionary science fiction author and futurist William Gibson terms mooks: “a hybrid of a book and a magazine where stories can be told in depth with beautiful photography.” Encens is undoubtedly more 'mook' than magazine. It is an exploration of the two editors, Samuel Drira and Sybille Walter, aesthetics and something of a manifesto against disposable fashion. Stylist Drira and photographer Walter share a passion for the drape and fall of clothing, a subtle tailoring and a softness of finish and form. Throughout this weighty hardback, there is an incessant delivery of their vision as opposed to a summation of the trends or season based investigations that we have come to expect from style magazines. This vision is contained is shared within everything from an interview with Yves Saint Laurent taken from Vogue in November 1983 to a celebration of the menswear design talent of Damir Doma and Kris Van Assche. Despite the temptation to scan every single page for you, I've decided to pick out a few highlights. Let the images inspire...

Moving back and forth from the present to the past, the editorials and features have a timeless quality. Fashion magazines tend to constantly strive forward. Even though the latest collections may have been influenced by styles or characters from yesteryear, these influences tend to be ignored. Magazines are blinkered to the past. Encens however, takes a fond gaze at the aesthetics of the past which still should have clout today. The publications stands for an independent and long terms approach. Neither Dirra nor Walter are obsessed with clothes of the moment. For them, the best fashion has three common denominators - simplicity and style but also a sense of timelessness, the capacity to either be or become a classic. In one feature they celebrate Kris Van Assche and Damir Doma, declaring their designs to be menswear at its best. A fluid silhouette, void of the typical restriction of menswear, stripped of the 'for men only' labels. Both have a desire to render the ready made boxes of menswear, sharing ideals of versatility and a nomadic existence. The following quote from Per Spook in another feature echoes these ideal...

"One of my golden rules is to be at ease in a garment. Men hate feeling confined. Likewise, discretion, rather than disguise. A man's wardrobe must have its own personality, yet not be recognisable. I have always preferred the classicism of a great simplicity, natural materials, cuts that are worn loose, and since my clothes do not have linings, they remain light and supple." Per Spook.

Encens' relevance exists in the very fact that it is not grounded in any sort of fast fashion, instead quite the opposite. Although seasonality is expected in fashion, I respect and admire anyone who turns against those implemented measures of time. I heartily recommend that you add this publication to your reading list, consider it pleasurable homework.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Close Up And Private In Motion

As you should all know by now, Close Up and Private is an on going project by artist Sergei Sviatchenko which looks to capture the spirit of modern style, as seen through the subtle shades of the individual. We have long been admirers and love the project celebrates classic details alongside contemporary looks through a unique form of photographic documentary. The real beauty of menswear is in the details and this series celebrates them daily. Last night, Sviatchenko dropped us an email to notify us of the latest development in this inspiring series. A film collaboration with media artist Noriko Okaku that brings his body of work to life, Close Up And Private In Motion

The two artists met in Denmark over the summer. Okaku came to Viberg in Denmark, where Sviatchenko lives, to take part in the Artist in Residence programme at The Animation Workshop. When they met it soon became apparent that they shared a common fascination for the beauty of collage and the discussion naturally switched to a collaborative focus. The resulting Close Up and Private in Motion manages to bring Sviatchenko's distinctive and much loved still image collage work to life. The film wonderfully channels the projects quirky sense of sartorial fun.

What I love about this film and the project itself, is that they both clearly prescribe to the belief that dressing each morning should not be a chore or a bore. It reminds us all to have a little fun each morning while putting in a little extra thought in to each outfit. This season, when mornings are are a little grey and dull, rather than hit the snooze button and hide under the duvet in a depressed state, why not leap out of bed and take inspiration from your wardrobe. With this in mind, I'd like to finish with a quote from another great subscriber to this belief, Patrick Grant...

"I think men have lost sight of how much fun it is to be well dressed. It’s actually really fun to spend a little bit of time every morning putting your clothes on, picking tie, picking a handkerchief, choosing a shirt from your wardrobe, picking a jacket and a pair of trousers and putting it all together and feeling great in your wardrobe. It’s really a lovely thing to do each day." 
Patrick Grant speaking to SwipeLife.

Friday 22 October 2010

Stores unite for the Indigenos

Veja are considered by many to offer some of the greenest sneakers and rightly so. There is however, far more to them than their eco-friendly credentials might suggest. The French label produce simple, low profile trainers produced to a very high quality. With organic cotton from the Northeast of Brazil, wild Amazonian rubber and ecological leather, the label is inventing new methods of work while still creating trainers with designs to get excited over. Ordinarily, when I hear the words eco friendly uttered my mind is filled with thoughts of clumpy hemp or folksy printed creations but fortunately Veja offer a different proposition. They have managed to come up some of the best looking fair trade products I've ever come across, none more so than the Indigenos range. To celebrate the latest launch, the label have created a look book featuring a number of their retail supporters...

The Indigenos lookbook features retail characters from a selection of the best independent stores across Europe. Oi Polloi, Prive Joke, Addict, Novoid Plus, Diverse Menswear, Antic Boutik, The Three Threads all take part. The band of shopkeeping talent met at the Veja studio in Paris last June to produce a photoshoot that celebrates the launch.

Gregory Siary - Novoid Plus

Tony Jimenez and Suso Ramos - Addict.

Alex Mein - Diverse

Sebastian Beesley and Patrick Little - Oi Polloi

Veja wanted the Indigenos lookbook to be a tribute to their work and vision while showcasing the latest model. I love both the concept and execution. These retail figures represent the essence of the Indigenos style in a previously unseen way. Over the years our High Streets have become so overrun with huge chain outlets that they have lost their community spirit. On the most part, if you have seen one high street you have seen them all. These individuals, along with many others are trying to change this sorry state of affairs. They all oppose homogenized global fashion with their comsidered selection of styles while nurturing independent labels and projects, just like Veja. Like the Indegenos, these retailers stand strong. For me, the shoot manages to capture the individuality of each store and ultimately demonstrates the versatility of the Indigenos range.

Wrapping up in a gentle wake for Autumn

As the mercury has continued to ooze southwards in recent weeks I decided that my wardrobe was in desperate need for an injection of wool. Having recently posted about Braille's SS11 collection and the launch of their online store, my search wasn't a long one. As mentioned last month, the London based design duo, Benjamin Vorono and Samuel Kientsch, burst on to the scene at Vauxhall Fashion Scout back in February and they've since gone from strength to strength. A Gentle Wake took inspiration from an autumnal holiday on the Croatian coast. It showcased a smart, masculine silhouette while using wool, hemp and silk to create pieces that are both accessible and exciting.

Working with the season friendly palette of brown, rust, forest green and grey, the duo breathed fresh life in to the wanting lungs of an assortment of classic essentials. Braille manage to encapsulate the ideal blend of minimalist design and modernity. The talented duo design garments that can effortlessly slide in to any man's wardrobe. Soon after their online store launched earlier this month and forced to resist the temptation of the other items, I snapped up the wool zip scarf. It was time to wrap myself up in a piece of gentle wake for Autumn...

Around this time last year I celebrated the season with a harvest festival of an outfit post inspired by Fantastic Man's October Look and I am itching do reenact this sartorial celebration. Ever since my eyes first encountered the combination of autumnal hues and the comforting and playful layering I have longed to dress in the true spirit of the season of dropped leaves. During October, the rich colours of autumn really come into play and should be celebrated. The forest green zip wool scarf will play an important part in this years ensemble. 

Dressed head to toe in various autumnal hues, it is difficult not to have a little fun standing in a pile of crisp leaves. However, too eager to wait for my next trip to Hampstead Heath I decided to share the scarf and the various ways of wearing it with you first. After the initial confusion of the double zip, I soon found my way...

Zip wool scarf by Braille worn with corduroy shirt and woll trousers by Uniqlo and crombie by ASOS Black.

Now, I'm off to construct my Fallen Leaf Outfit 2.0. Am I slightly mad for wanting to dress like a fallen leaf at the age of twenty six? The answer is of course a resounding yes but do I care? Not a jot. Dressing each morning should be fun. I will no doubt head to the Heath while it is at its most beautiful over the course of the next few weeks and this Braille scarf will undoubtedly adorn my neck.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Neo Artisan Made in Komatsu

Twice a year my postman has to summon all of his might to deliver an inspiring parcel from the fine folks at J. Lindeberg. The generous large format book evolved from J. Lindeberg's desire to tell the complete story of what they do and why they do it. To inspire thoughts beyond the beaten track and the roads well worn while showing off their passion for craftsmanship and attention to detail. Last week my postman had to once again struggle, this time delivering the AW10 bi annual to my post box (it is now available online). The story it weaves is one that expands way beyond the realms of the standard look book and runway views we are all accustomed to seeing. Throughout the book the reader is treated to an array of wonderful imagery while showcasing the AW10 collection. The True North is essentially inspired by the utility and function of workwear that has been reimagined for the modern world, utilising technical advancements and tailoring. The editorial that best explores this theme is Neo Artisan Made in Komatsu.

Photographer Waturo and features writer Nanako Yamamori traveled to Komatsu with designer Pierangelo d'Agostin in May 2010 during a chilly Japanese springtime. D'Agostin has been visiting his Japanese factories regularly over the years and knows the country as if it was his own land. It was the designers dream to share these experience of not just with the people who wear his clothes, but also with those who make the material from which his designs are crafted. So, he took his clothes back to their origin, Koamatsu Seiren and dressed the craftsmen using the fabric they had produced. Komatsu Seiren's unique vitality springs from the balanced cocktail of skilful specialism, high technology fibres and the untouchable power of the surrounding nature. Waturo manages to capture it all beautifully with his images. I just had to share them with you because they are a true celebration of the craftsmen and their surroundings.

The technicians at Komatsu Seiren are proud of their cultural heritage and have a unique identity. They have an ambition to develop new technologies based on their traditional skills. In a recent interview with Dazed & Confused, d'Agostin mentioned the importance of collaboration both with his tailor, Eugenio and his factories. He declared,  'perfection doesn't exist. If you find it you are lost. If you are convinced of having found it, it's time to change your job.' With the help of the craftsmen of Komatsu, d'Agostin will no doubt continue to chase perfection.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Autumn Favourites (Part Two)

There has been a definite change in the atmosphere over the last few days, perhaps you've noticed it. The more discernable chill in the air means that rather than fantasise about wearing more layers we have duly rummaged through our knitwear drawers to unearth more comfort and protection. When the sun shines we happily explore the changing landscape, rich in comforting tones and ever evolving. To celebrate the coming of our favourite season we asked a selection of our favourite people to tell us about an item in their wardrobe that they are looking forward to wear throughout the season. Responses range from a trusty shawl knit that is worn every other day to a watch noted for being worn by Clint Eastwood in Firefox.

"This fall I'm making great use of my tweed blazer with elbow patches. I've had it for several years and I've always loved it but haven't worn it previous years. I was concerned that maybe it was just too "university professor". But for some reason right now I'm digging elbow patches to the point that I want to to add them to many other blazers, sweaters, button down shirts, etc. But I'm showing restraint."
Matt Fox, Fine and Dandy.


"I kinda wanted to pick one of my super fancy new purchases for this post but I decided to keep it honest and choose this And I Cardigan. If it weren't for society saying that I have to change clothes daily, I'd wear it every day (at present I wear it every other day). It's a little more bobbled than my newer pickups but it's still my favourite - and a turned up shawl collar is a great scarf alternative."
Jason Dike, Selectism, Gentleman's Corner and Esquire.


"I remember going into a watch dealer in London years ago, explaining that I liked the Brown (or Root-Beer) coloured GMT, and was told that 'this is the single most unpopular colour' (and that he didn't have one in stock). I don't think he was quite right, although it is fair to say that of all the variations, this is not the most desirable version, not having the most authentic 'sports look'. For some reason though, this is one of the colours that appeals to me most.

Noted (in watch circles) to have been worn by Clint Eastwood in the film Firefox, the colourway really has a 70's feel to it, especially when worn with the steel/gold bracelet - it makes me think of a lot of cars from that era, or products from brands like Gucci. But as with many things it is the details which make this special - for a period dealers offered an all-brown bezel option as opposed to the two-tone version, and this particular model was sold at a Tiffany&Co store as you can see on the double-branded dial. Today, this watch is around 30 years old, the bezel and dial has faded beautifully, and I like to wear this with a leather strap to dress it down even more - I don't think this is the style that most people have come to associate with the brand."
Andrew Bunney, BUNNEY and British Remains.

ROLEX Tiffany & Co

Over the coming weeks our enthusiasm will only intensify so we will no doubt be sharing a few more Autumn favourites with you. We would love to hear from you as well. Is there a particular item that has seen you through our favourite season?

Monday 18 October 2010

Omar Kashoura's New Ease

Although fashion tends not to acknowledge it, there is a make do and mend attitude for the mere mortal consumers amongst us. Omar Kashoura decided to channel the attitude of the ration book dictacted spirit of 1940s which has lurked in the shadows subsequent decades coming to the fore when times get tough. When pockets are empty and wallets are slim, there tends to be a reversion to all things classic and this collection sees Kashoura outfit a self sufficient city sartorialist. Drawing inspiration from his own city lifestyle, he creates a collection designed for every day survival in an unforgiving metropolis. Throughout he revisits the idea of outfitting the modern gentleman and has created a collection that adapts with the demanding lifestyle of the wearer given the current economic woes. SS11 is a collection of basics that every man needs in his wardrobe. However, despite the austerity of the climate, Kashoura chose to invest in beautiful fabrications to create a featherlight yet versatile and highly practical collection. Knitwear and jerseys are aching to be touched. Having had the opportunity to marvel at the line in person a few times, I long for the opportunity to snap up a few pieces for myself. In the meantime, I am pleased to share the SS11 look book with you...

Look Book Credits... Styling by Julian Ganio. Grooming by Ian Jeffries. Photography by Alex Klesta. Shoes by Edward Green.

The Alex Klesta shot look book showcases Kashoura's self sufficient city sartorialist perfectly. Here is a man that is still making the most of the twenty four hour metropolis of the previous but now, taking the time to enjoy the changing scenery. For SS11 is all about a new elegance, a new ease.


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