Marsèll – how a tough-looking capsule collection for Mr Porter got me excited about Italian-made shoes all over again
It’s been a good old while, and fittingly my return to blogging is on the subject of shoes, a subject in which I have a perennial interest and am always happy to be associated with.
Mr Porter bravely declared itself the home of the world’s best shoes recently, and a well-lubricated event at their Westfield HQ demonstrated their handle on high-end footwear, from the trad to the defiantly un-trad (hello Rick Owens futurist trainers). Among the exclusives on offer (an impressive list: Grenson, Officine Creative, Filling Pieces, Neil Barrett, Christopher Kane and more) I came across the Marsèll brand for the first time, specifically in the form of an impressive pair of black boots, featuring a distinguished contrast between two very differently-treated leathers.
Time was when clubs, music and fashion formed a holy trinity. You went out to show off your finest, possibly DIY-enhanced outfit, danced all night to the DJ’s latest discoveries and went home full of ideas about what to wear and listen to next, fashion designers included. These days, the spheres of fashion and club music seem to overlap less, spinning in slightly separate orbits with fashion seemingly more propelled by social media and constant access to imagery. Which makes this post about the hats designed by Jerry Bouthier and Bernstock Speirs for Mason Kitsuné a rare pleasure, having something to say about all three worlds.
Sharpened Lead favourite, Marwood has collaborated with fellow English aesthetes Cherchbi on a travel bag for men, bringing a sense of timeless luxury and well-considered manufacture to a very practical item. Lined in a waterproof version of Marwood’s staircase silk jacquard, the bag itself is constructed from Herdwyck wool tweed, edged with saddle leather and featuring a sturdy-looking zip. The full collaborative set includes two Marwood-designed ties; one a bow. It’s refreshing to see a collaboration uniting two brands which are such great reflections of one another – Marwood’s fine art approach to accessories meeting Cherchbi’s use of the finest natural raw materials: wool, leathers and high-end fastenings. In fashion terms, the word collaboration these days usually refers to high-street names or faded giants cashing in on the ‘cool’ … Read More »
This isn’t exactly a hot off the press piece, given that I first saw Marwood‘s latest accessories collection at LC:M in January and again at an event at Zaha Hadid‘s studio a few months back. But, perusing the hi-res images from Marwood’s lookbook for this coming Autumn/Winter, I was compelled to share them with you now, regardless of fashion calendar timing, together with a little musing on the story of the lookbook.
Inspired by images of the artist, filmaker and poet, Jean Cocteau, this collection of ties, scarves and shawls, has the recognisably delicate touch of designer Becky French, but evolves the Marwood brand on in terms of additions to the now signature ties and bow ties. What grabbed me most about the images from … Read More »
Bags are one of the things I covet most, along with shoes. Whilst a shirt or trousers can eventually become mostly functional, there’s something more enduring about the pleasure of having something fancy to cart your stuff around in, as with owning a great pair of shoes. Maybe it’s also the likelihood they’ll be constructed from a fine hide that makes them the items I’m most likely to catch myself admiring whenever a reflection presents itself. The folio I recently reviewed for Holdall & Co definitely invoked my enthusiasm for fine leather goods (perhaps ironically, having just turned vegetarian and, aspirationally, vegan). Raimonda Navickaite scoured the UK looking for quality leather and manufacturers to produce her line of folio cases and the research shows. The deep red of the folio case (the smaller of two folios available) and the sturdy feel of the leather suggests it will age to a perfect, infinitely personal patina with time.
Back in the summer, I called in a selection of ties from Marwood, and off we headed to Hackney Marshes to shoot a little video. The idea was to see two men dressing one another, but in a natural, outdoor setting, creating a contrast between the refined, delicate ties and the then abundant foliage.
Whilst I intended this to go live whilst the sun was still high, and Marwood was finding new retail outlets like Mr Porter and Liberty over the summer months, it’s only just ready to share with you now. Hopefully this will trigger a few memories of summer and show the ties to their best advantage in that now distant sunlight.
Whilst I’m missing the party to celebrate hat makers Bernstock Speirs’ 30th anniversary tonight, I’ll definitely be there in spirit, and will be hotfooting it to the exhibition at Fred‘s on Riding House Street when I’m back in town. To me, Bernstock Speirs is part of London’s vital fashion story, and part of my own story of living there too. There are few names (Joe Casely-Hayford, Vivienne Westwood, Judy Blame, Princess Julia are some of the others) who have been so ever-present in London’s fashion landscape over the last few decades, especially now, when names seem to emerge and disappear so quickly. I was first aware of Bernstock Speirs in the era of Bodymap and Michael Clark, when London’s gay nightlife was at the epicentre of a small yet incredibly influential creative … Read More »
During the whirlwind that was New York Fashion Week, I took time out to meet Johnny Diamandis, lead designer and owner/founder of J.Panther bags, a range of luggage I’d seen photos of and was keen to get my hands on. I wasn’t disappointed. Regular readers will know that for me, one of the things New York is synonymous with is great luggage. And I’m pleased to say that in the flesh, J.Panther bags do not disappoint. My first reaction was ‘it looks like great military gear’, which Johnny was glad to hear, explaining that weathered, and well worn militaria is one of his key influences for the collection. There are basically 4 products: The Aviator a small uber-practical case with many internal compartments, that looks like it should hold something essential and military but would equally find a place for all your stuff; the Life Tote, which could more accurately be described as a tote to die for; the multifunctional Ruc Tote, combining the best of rucksack and tote bag and a Weekender bag with ample space for that jaunt to Palm Springs (or to Clacton if you must).
As a summer person, I’m usually the last in the fashion pack to proclaim the arrival of the autumn-winter season. But it does pay to be prepared which means being warm and dry amongst other things. So I will share with you a few items currently on my radar. Just don’t expect me to whoop. Or to write winsome fashion prose involving cosiness and autumn colours. What I love about summer is simplicity. This year a striped Breton, floral shorts by Post Overalls and pairing up a Timex on grosgrain with a Matt Singer nautical rope bracelet brought me great joy. Cold weather dressing meanwhile, requires investment and serious thought: which is probably why the young and skint are so bad at it.
Many readers will be too young to remember the Croft Original cream sherry advert which featured the line ‘One instinctively knows when something is right’ but that was definitely the case when I spotted the delicate lace ties by Marwood via a lovely piece by Steve on Style Salvage back in January. A few glimpses of the creamy, fragile-looking lace bow ties in particular, and I was penning an enquiry email to Becky French who runs the label, having read that the ties would be exclusively be available at b Store and even then not for some time. Running into Becky in person at her Fashion East installation at LFW menswear day a few weeks later, allowed me to follow up my request in person, with promises of a special feature on Sharpened Lead. Fast forward a couple of months and you’ll see me eagerly unwrapping the exquisite parcel, a moment I share with you here.