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Dystopian futures at London Fashion Week: Men’s SS19

Posted on 13th June, by Colin Chapman in London Fashion Week: Men's, menswear. No Comments

There isn’t always a discernible theme during fashion weeks, and happily so, it would surely be deadly boring if designers repeatedly worked on a shared theme. But when an overriding idea seems, genuinely, to bubble up from the collective subconscious it’s a different story and can be a compelling journey. For SS19 that theme seemed to be a dystopian take on science-fiction and that genre’s sometimes prophetic vision of the future. Dystopian is a word we have come to hear more regularly in our post-Brexit, mid-Trump world, as frustration gives way to dread and fear that the worst may still be to come, making stories like The Handmaid’s Tale feel less like fantasy and more of a grim parable for our times. In a way, this sense of the dystopian is not so new in fashion, certain London designers have … Read More »

Hockney retrospective opens at Tate Britain

Posted on 8th February, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

On Monday morning the David Hockney retrospective opened at Tate Britain for invited members of the press. It says something about this artist’s longevity and wide, cross-cultural appeal that the assembled crowd covered the gamut from renowned TV art critics to fashion commentators such as international Vogue editor Suzy Menkes (who was seen exiting via the gift shop, a large bag of Hockney memorabilia over her arm), as well as assorted oddballs like me.

The exhibition itself, starting with Hockney’s earliest experimental artworks, progresses through the most clearly biographical period of his early life in California, to preliminary landscape works, polaroid collages, drawings and Camera Lucida experiments to his more recent trials with video, iPhone and iPad painting, thereby covering some sixty years of the artist’s life.

On making my own exit, I was asked by … Read More »

North: Identity, Photography, Fashion exhibition opens in Liverpool

Posted on 6th January, by Colin Chapman in London Fashion Week, photography. No Comments

Following a press launch last night, the exhibition North, exploring the depiction of Northern England in art, photography and fashion collections has just opened in, appropriately enough, Liverpool. Curated by Lou Stoppard and Adam Murray, the exhibition includes iconic imagery by such celebrants of the Northern aesthetic as Raf Simons alongside profiles of Northern-born image makers such as Alasdair McLellan, Simon Foxton and Christopher Shannon, demonstrating that the impact of Northern England on our visual culture goes far beyond the familiar tropes.

The Essential Duckie: Duckie Brown produces a single look for SS17

Posted on 12th July, by Colin Chapman in menswear, New York Fashion Week. No Comments

Earlier today, I visited Duckie Brown at their studio in the West Village to talk about their bold move in representing a single look for SS17. In a nod to the troubled economic and political times we’re living through, the Duckie’s felt it was “a good moment” to pause, and made an active decision not to show this season (having shown the line twice a year for the last thirteen years). The resulting one look is a triumph; a Haiku poem in khaki, navy and white. The look itself is being shared with fashion editors who would normally attend their show as an exquisitely-produced monochrome poster and in the form of a film ‘The Essential Duckie.”

While Daniel Silver gave me his take on the challenges facing the fashion industry globally as the role of the … Read More »

London Collections: Men SS17 events commence with Lou Stoppard presents E.Tautz x Claire de Rouen

Posted on 8th June, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

Events for London Collections: Men SS17 got underway this evening on a bookish note, with the launch of a special ‘menswear library’ at the E.Tautz store in Mayfair. The exhibition, curated by Showstudio’s Lou Stoppard, is a special collaboration with Claire de Rouen, one of London’s most cherished art, fashion and photography bookstores. “You can tell so much about someone from their book collection and their favourite title”, commented Stoppard, “it was a real pleasure to chat to some of my favourite men in fashion about the menswear-related titles that they love.”
The eclectic range of photography titles on display (many being limited editions), spans topics from David Bowie (perhaps inevitably this year), to Disco and includes not one but two works by Wolfgang Tillmans. The books have been chosen by menswear influencers and commentators including Julian Ganio of Fantastic Man … Read More »

Back in blue: The 501® Jean: Stories of an Original

Posted on 15th March, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

I’ve only come back to wearing blue jeans very recently, I’ve had a thing about black denim for quite a few years now, which has seen me go through various cuts of Acne Jeans and more recently, versions from Robert James on the L.E.S. in New York, whose black denims are blacker than black.

Interestingly, my first port of call on my return to the blue denim fold was to find a pair of Levi’s 501‘s, the looser cut (albeit in the newly-tapered ‘CT’ version), higher waist and general sense of deja vu creating a perfect counterbalance to more obviously contemporary pieces, like my beloved Common Projects low tops and Gucci knitwear and blouse-y shirts.

I say interestingly, because tonight I’m off to the opening of “The 501® Jean: Stories of an Original”, a three-part … Read More »

London Collections: Men AW16 – Days 3 & 4 Highlights

Posted on 11th January, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

JW Anderson
Having grabbed the headlines with his Grindr-hosted live stream, there was little that JW Andersen would do to raise eyebrows any further, given that his designs are already renowned for their off kilter, gender defying singularity. Looks including satin pyjamas in pastel colours and a cropped floral quilted jacket worn with knitted trousers, all accessorised with chokers, were in keeping with Anderson’s determined approach to exploring clothing that is typically defined as female. But there were also more whimsical, cartoon-like features: a snail silhouette appeared as a motif, tracksuit pockets in the form of clouds. Whatever accusations of being too out-there might be thrown at Anderson, a look back at last Autumn Winter’s cropped shearling jackets, ’70s ski wear and horizontal blocked stripes should be enough to demonstrate that he is often prescient in his menswear, however outlandish it … Read More »

London Collections: Men AW16 – Day 2 Highlights

Posted on 11th January, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

Day 2 of London Collections: Men is typically the busiest of the whole long weekend and AW16 was no exception, here are some personal highlights from a packed day of shows and presentations.

Charged with the unenviable 9.30 Saturday morning slot, E.Tautz nevertheless offered us some warming nostalgia to counteract the leaden skies outside on The Strand with a collection inspired by Patrick Grant’s youthful experiences growing up and going out in Edinburgh. Reflecting that city’s sombre elegance, the colour palette was largely shades of charcoal and sandstone. Wide-legged pleated trousers were layered with bombers featuring oversized epaulettes and capacious double-breasted coats. These soft, roomy shapes emphasised the youthful form of the models and in a sense, the indolent innocence of youth itself.

Agi & Sam

Gone are the days when an Agi & Sam collection meant cacophonous print and … Read More »

London Collections: Men AW16 – Day 1 Highlights

Posted on 9th January, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

LC:M is back again, and feels bigger and more sprawling this time with attendees being expected to navigate three official locations as well as the off-schedule curveballs in Soho and beyond. What used to feel like a celebration of menswear is now very much a corporate machine but London is doing very well at maintaining the voices of smaller-scale independent designers.

Offically, LC:M started on Friday, but it felt like it started Thursday night with Matthew Miller’s SS16 Goodhood launch event in Shoreditch. and the opening of Mad About the Boy, the exhibition curated by Lou Stoppard at the London College of Fashion’s gallery space in town .

LCF continued it’s fanfare to the onset of the weekend, with the MA show in the City of … Read More »

New exhibition Mad About The Boy will open during London Collections: Men

Posted on 11th December, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

Mad About The Boy, curated by Showstudio alumnus Lou Stoppard, opens on 8 January exploring fashion’s obsession with youth, focuses on the way ideas of the teenage boy are constructed through definitive collections and fashion images. Inspired by designers’ fascination with youth culture, Mad About The Boy will examine the motifs and parallels within fashion’s treatment of youth.

The exhibition will collate the work of designers and image-makers including: Raf Simons, J W Anderson, Nick Knight, Larry Clark, Jason Evans, Kim Jones, Meadham Kirchhoff, Tyrone Lebon, Nasir Mazhar, Martine Rose, Gosha Rubchinskiy, Christopher Shannon, Judy Blame, Undercover, Patrick Robyn and more.
Read More »

Marsèll – how a tough-looking capsule collection for Mr Porter got me excited about Italian-made shoes all over again

Posted on 11th December, by Colin Chapman in Accessories, Designer profiles, menswear, Shoes. No Comments

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.

Wooyoungmi joins OKINI

Posted on 31st July, by Colin Chapman in Collection review, Designer profiles, menswear. No Comments

Sharpened Lead favourite Wooyoungmi has been added to the impressive roster at OKINI for AW15 and to celebrate the launch an interview with the mother and daughter designers is live on OKINI.

Having perused the collection up close at Starworks press day a few months back I strongly recommend closer inspection, the deep colour palette, elaborate paneling and sense of warmth and luxury are qualities we can all relate to once the evenings start drawing in.

New York Fashion Week: Men’s, Days 2, 3 and 4

Posted on 16th July, by Colin Chapman in menswear, New York Fashion Week. No Comments

I set out with intentions to document New York Fashion Week: Men’s in painstaking detail but there’s simply too much happening, and with weather veering from intense sunshine to tropical showers and humidity, dashing between shows and presentations around town has become a time-consuming challenge. But enough of the excuses, here are some highlights from the last couple of days. Some of these collections deserve posts in their own right and I will be returning to favourites once the pace of events slows down after the final events end later today, here and over at STREETS magazine so check back in for updates.

Robert Geller

No attention to detail was spared at Robert Geller: from the weathered boardwalk runway setting the scene squarely by the seashore, to the personalised notepads on the seats and accessories from open-toe … Read More »

New York Fashion Week: Men’s, Day 1, Part 2.

Posted on 14th July, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Maybe it was the glorious, midsummer sunshine or the excitement of finally having it’s own menswear week, but New York’s designers showed their softer side yesterday. For seasons now the story here has been uncompromisingly black and white; tough urban streetwear and Gotham menace had become the order of the day for New York menswear. However, as Industria Superstudios opened its doors for the second half of the opening showcase yesterday, the sunshine outdoors was reflected in yet more colour-soaked presentations. I can say very quickly that the standout collection for me was Fingers Crossed. Inspired by the vivid colour of Nick Cooper’s photographs of sunsets, designer Ryu Hayama literally lined up a colour spectrum going from deep golden yellow, through rich reds and into deepest black. Styled with mismatched socks worn with Birkenstocks, shapes were soft and flowing, wide … Read More »

New York Fashion Week: Men’s, Day 1, Part 1.

Posted on 13th July, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

After years of attending New York Fashion Week as one of a tiny cohort of European-based press, picking my way through the slim pickings of menswear shows in the main schedule, I’m here in the city to celebrate the city’s first ever menswear week; four days of men’s fashion and nothing else. The paint on the official hoarding was literally still wet when I turned up to collect my press pass this morning, but a buzzing showcase of emerging menswear labels at Industria studios helped to get things off to a more promising start.

An early favourite is the Boyswear collection by Jackson McKeehan. Provocatively titled The Manson Family Singers, McKeehan’s debut collection took an anarchic and thoroughly unexpected mix of references: everyone’s favourite late 60’s homicidal cult, and The Sound of Music (demonstrated with droll nods … Read More »

Q&A with Charles Jeffrey at his Fashion East presentation

Posted on 16th June, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

While the habitués of Charles Jeffrey’s club night, Loverboy, twirled away onstage at his Fashion East presentation yesterday, I managed to find a quiet corner with the designer to discuss how fashion and nightlife coexist in his world.


CC: So tell me about Loverboy…

CJ: The club started as my birthday party last year, and it was just a really fun way for me to play. But then it turned into a way to fund my Masters [Charles has an MA in Menswear from St. Martins] the money that was coming in through the door was actually paying for my rent and my fabrics. I nearly dropped out of the Masters because of the money. For me it was a project that allowed me to be super free, creatively I was working with a lot of my friends who … Read More »

London Collections: Men, Day 4 Highlights

Posted on 16th June, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

In the best tradition of LC:M, the fourth and final day exemplified the diversity of London’s showcase of menswear talent, from the Paul Smith event held on Savile Row to the hedonistic, polysexual world of Charles Jeffrey at Fashion East’s takeover of the ICA.

The day started with the reliably high taste values of E.Tautz. The collection this time was partially concerned with the concept of leisure time and the emergence of specific clothing to enjoy one’s leisure time in post War Britain. Patrick’s inspirations can often be read as being quite sombre, but the results are always extremely elegant, and, increasingly, particularly for summer, casual. Graphic print T-shirts, wide-legged raw denims and neat shorts had the easy-going grace of last summer’s British seaside-influenced collection with a more varied, modernistic appeal.

Paul Smith
After putting his … Read More »

Backstage Q&A with James Long at LCM:SS16

Posted on 14th June, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

This morning, James Long presented his collection for next spring/summer in London Collections: Men’s most capacious venues, The Old Sorting Office. The show notes talked about James finding inspiration in people who seem “natural” in their clothing, free spirits for whom blending in is rarely an option. Moments after the boys trooped backstage in their bohemian layers, I grabbed a few minutes with James to discuss his inspirations further.

What were your inspirations for this collection?

JL: It was very much about Brighton and the pavilion, originally owned by the Prince Regent, which was squatted for ten years, so it was all about that decadence. The original interior designers had an idea of India, an idea of China, it wasn’t real, they hadn’t been to these places so it was kind of an imaginary idea of what those places … Read More »

London Collections: Men, Day 3 Highlights

Posted on 14th June, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

James Long

James Long brought charm to London Collections: Men on a gloomy Sunday morning, featuring his signature bohemian knitwear and denim and, in this instance, bespoke fabrics featuring hand drawings by James Davison. Inspired by the carefree spirit of “people who think they are blending in, but they’re totally not,” I caught up with the man himself to talk about this intriguing concept, and others, moments after the show finished. Read my Q&A with James here, or read on for more highlights from Day 3.

Baartmans & Siegel

Baartmans and Siegel have an unfailing instinct for pre-empting what men want to wear, and have also become experts at the presentation format honed over seasons at London Collections: Men. Today’s presentation took a … Read More »

Backstage Q&A with Lou Dalton at LCM:SS16

Posted on 14th June, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

Yesterday, Lou Dalton presented her latest collection for London Collections: Men. Moments after the models had filed back into the changing room, to the sounds of Joe Smooth’s classic House anthem Promised Land, an emotional and exhausted Lou talked us through the origins of this collection, from the significance of the musical soundtrack to her own recollections of the era that inspired it.

How aware were you of other designers who have used this period of Britain’s dance music history as a source of inspiration?

LD: I am aware of other designers, who have used a similar aesthetic, and how each of us approaches it, but I have a certain handwriting; construction is one of my strengths, detail and utilitarian are things I try to hone in on every season. This is a time I lived through, I remember … Read More »

London Collections: Men, Day 2 Highlights

Posted on 14th June, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Lou Dalton

The second day of LCM got off to a poignant start with Lou Dalton’s homage to the hedonism and freedom of her own musically-enhanced youth. However, with typically incisive vision, rather than recreating the styles of the late 80s, and early 90s, Lou brought things bang up to date with a completely current spin on utilitarian clothing featuring the lightest of tech fabrics (at times transparent), warped checks and vivid orange and blues. Backstage, an exhausted and emotional Lou talked us through the process and inspiration for this light-hearted collection (read my Q&A with her here).

Astrid Andersen

Astrid Andersen has become known for a very specific look and a very specific demographic, but beside the uncompromising stance of her streetwear-focused brand exists some … Read More »

London Collections Men: Day 1, Highlights

Posted on 12th June, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

Topman Design had the honour of kicking off LCM SS16, brimful of the youthful brand’s typically magpie attitude to British youth culture: featuring a cassette case flyer, post punk soundtrack and the shapes and motifs of Northern Soul dancewear (cropped jackets, patches, flared trousers), an incongruent mix but one which was clear about one thing: the skinny trouser’s days are definitely numbered.

Later, Craig Green took things up a notch in terms of levels of taste and a more cerebral approach to design; building on his experiments with samurai-style padded layers, loose, almost ecclesiastical volume and intriguing jumpers with nipple level holes emanating streaming fabric. If recent graduate shows are anything to go by, Green’s work is currently a yardstick for a certain well-considered approach to menswear, rich with meaning and the gravity of deep research.

Read More »

London College of Fashion: BA Show 2015

Posted on 8th June, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

London College of Fashion’s BA graduation show places a unique emphasis on collaboration, which as anyone who works in the fashion business will know, is an essential part of the process of creating a real, grown-up collection as a professional designer. Thus, graduating students like Menswear designer Marianne Tse-Laurence, (BA Fashion: Design and Development) and knitwear specialist Emily Grieves, (BA Fashion Textiles: Knitwear) get to produce a runway collection together, in this case combining menswear shapes with the applied art of knitted textiles. Techniques such as embroidery, knitting in its many forms and permutations, jewellery, shoemaking and millinery are showcased in a really distinctive way, being as much a focus of the runway show as the overall concept and silhouettes of the garments themselves (where something as prosaic as ‘garments’ even exist). While this makes for a bewildering complexity of … Read More »

Grace Wales Bonner and Charles Jeffrey to share the bill at Fashion East SS16.

Posted on 28th May, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Hot on the heels of the announced line up for MAN SS16, and the 10th anniversary celebrations thereof, comes news of the designers to be featured at Fashion East’s installations at LC:M in a couple of weeks’ time. Keeping things tight seems to be the order of the day, and just as MAN this season is honed down to just two designers in place of the usual three, Fashion East is also pared back to two designers sharing the exhibit space: Grace Wales Bonner and Charles Jeffrey. Then recent graduate Wales Bonner created waves of excitement at Fashion East last season with her stunning Ebonics installation, full of Jazz-Era references and nuanced allusions to black male sexuality, which led to her being invited to present at … Read More »

The Belgians. An Unexpected Fashion Story – exhibition preview

Posted on 28th May, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Next week a new exhibition opens at the BOZAR centre for fine arts in Brussels, exploring the rise of Belgian fashion designers and their huge influence on the international fashion scene. Presumably the ‘unexpected’ in the exhibition title comes from the fact that at least in other regards, Belgium remains something of an enigma in Europe; Brussels bringing to mind bureaucratic officialdom rather than world class design, and, in the main, Belgian culture being less readily identifiable than that of some of its European neighbours. But as last year’s Dries Van Noten exhibition and the recent Dior film profiling Raf Simons indicates, there is much more to this little country than reputation might allow.

What is clear is that the impact of the Read More »

MAN celebrates 10 years and announces the line up for SS16

Posted on 27th May, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

A decade ago Fashion East’s Lulu Kennedy and Topman came together to create London’s first support scheme for new menswear design. The list of talent nurtured by the initiative since then is nothing less than a roll call of some of the most discussed and critically acclaimed designers of this generation: from J.W. Anderson and Christopher Shannon to James Long, Martine Rose, Matthew Miller, Shaun Samson, Agi & Sam, Astrid Andersen and Craig Green.

What’s more, the judging panel (featuring leading journalists and editors including Tim Blanks and Ben Reardon, alongside Gordon Richardson of Topman and Lulu Kennedy herself) has lost none of it’s flair for identifying genuinely exciting new voices in fashion.

For SS16, the panel has selected just two designers: Liam Hodges, known for his lyrical celebration of working class heroes, from market stall traders to Morris Men and Rory … Read More »

Westminster Fashion BA, 11 highlights from the graduate collections

Posted on 22nd May, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

On Wednesday evening Westminster University’s BA Fashion students showed their graduate collections. The course is led by Andrew Groves who himself is part of the living fabric of London’s fashion story and the sterling presence on the front row (Cozette McCreery from Sibling, Princess Julia, Hilary Alexander, Charlie Porter among many others) the seriousness with which this course is taken by the industry. But the evening belonged to the young designers who impressed with accomplished collections demonstrating unique starting points and some fascinating shared zeitgeists. I tried to squeeze it into a top 10 but there was too much to fit in. I look forward to a season of discovering new fashion talent in London.

All photos courtesy of Chris Moore.

1. Chloe McGeehan impressed with vibrant colours and sculptured draping which artfully avoided swamping the models.

2. Craig Green was clearly an influence on … Read More »

Mr Porter launches Exclusives collection with Japanese brands Blackmeans, Beams Plus, Beams T, Remi Relief and Neighborhood.

Posted on 18th May, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

One of the highlights of The Selby’s ingenious fashion book, Fashionable Selby last year (which took a look at the live/work spaces inhabited by some of the world’s most intriguing fashion creatives), was discovering Blackmeans, three Tokyo designers, for whom original, customised hardcore punk biker jackets provide endless visual inspiration. I was therefore delighted to discover this band of badass creatives included in Mr Porter, the global menswear online retail hub’s batch of designer collaborations with some of Japan’s most exclusive, cult brands. Launching tomorrow, (except for the Blackmeans pieces that will be live from Friday) the Exclusives collaborations include Blackmeans alongside Neighborhood, Beams Plus, Beams T and Remi Relief. It’s no secret that Japanese men take their fashion seriously, and these brands represent some of the country’s prominent … Read More »

A look back at Public School, the new creative directors of DKNY

Posted on 18th May, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Visiting New York for fashion week a few years ago, Public School were one of the brands I came across, and enthused about to a then largely disinterested audience in the UK, still hyped up on the success of London C0llections: Men at drawing the fashion world’s attention to menswear and the emergence of  homegrown talent in particular. I continued to cover the brand’s presentations for The Guardian, which usually took place at Milk Studios where other New York menswear hopefuls such as Rochambeau, staged concurrent presentations on the Sunday night of fashion week, providing focus in a city where menswear is illiberally sprinkled across the week’s schedule. From the first, designers Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow stuck to a clear formula; a refined version of New York’s no-fuss streetwear, in the form of MA1s, biker jackets and mesh … Read More »

I.T Post – a high-end publication from Hong Kong, and nothing to do with dodgy connections

Posted on 14th May, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

My own experience of Hong Kong is fleeting, I went there as a pit stop on a Grand Tour of Asia, and while it definitely left an  impression: buses and buildings slim enough to slot into a toaster, a nostalgic ‘old London’ vibe, some heavenly dinners, and of course shopping, I can’t say my finger is on the pulse of what’s happening there. Cue the I.T Post, the publication from I.T, the Hong Kong based, “multi retailer” (they have own-name stores in HK and mainland China, acquired A Bathing Ape in 2012 and collaborate with everyone from French Connection to Galeries Lafayette).

While the name may conjure up the idea of a newsletter from your office I.T. manager, the Spring Summer issue of the I.T Post features some startlingly beautiful fashion editorial, with content spanning art, … Read More »

Kempes – a new brand bringing the hippy trail back to East London

Posted on 11th May, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Kempes a new British/Japanese brand launched last week, and has already taken over the coveted window display at East London landmark store, Present.

Small but perfectly formed, the Kempes capsule collection consists of three T-shirts, two crew-neck sweats and two denim washes, expertly cut by British specialist craftsmen, using impeccably-sourced Japanese fabrics.

What makes these simple pieces unique is an unmistakable sewn-on patch inspired by the ‘hippy trail’ of the late ’60s and early 70s, which took London’s bohemian set on a psychedelically enhanced Grand Tour, from then hippy haven, Ibiza to Goa and Bali in east Asia, via Istanbul’s Pudding Shop.

Each patch’s psychedelic sunburst design comes in an entirely different colourway, designed to set off the fabric tone of the T shirt it embellishes: the two crew-neck sweats in slate grey and tangerine, the three T-shirts in ivory, turquoise and sunlight yellow.

In terms of the jeans, the denim is … Read More »

CIFF spreads the Copenhagen word in London and Berlin

Posted on 10th May, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

CIFF and CIFF RAVEN the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair (and its menswear extension), is set to follow-up its Shoreditch House bash a couple of weeks ago with a follow-up event at Soho House in Berlin this coming week, spreading the event’s reputation as one of the premier platforms of its kind in Northern Europe. The Shoreditch House celebration (in collaboration with Starworks PR group) brought some of London’s best -known fashion press and buyers to the ‘Secret Garden’ space on the roof of Shoreditch House where Horsemeat Disco’s DJ Severino provided a louche London soundtrack to the evening, and Scandi-style canapés were served. The profile of Danish fashion has been raised in London by Astrid Andersen’s shows at LC:M, and in the form of inimitable Danish fashion lecturer/designer Peter Jensen. CIFF of course … Read More »

COS team up with Mr Porter for a Spring/Summer capsule collection

Posted on 10th May, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

COS, the design-led high street brand, renowned for their well-priced, minimal staples has teamed up with Mr Porter to produce a capsule collection. Beloved of many a stylist, the COS store in Regent Street is also a favourite of local Soho media types, eager to pad out purchases between major designer splurges, and now the brand has teamed up with the one of the leaders in online fashion retail, Mr Porter to produce a Spring/Summer collection of travel-friendly essentials. Based on a subdued, very-COS colour palette of navy, pale blues and aubergine, the collection features tailored summer pieces and separates from summer suiting to shorts, bombers and long-sleeved tops and even a weekend bag and sneakers. What makes COS covetable is the attention to detail, here the focus is on fastenings: unexpected zips, minimal self-coloured press studs … Read More »

Reba Maybury’s Radical People: defying homogeneity

Posted on 8th May, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

In contrast to the predictably uninspiring outcome of Britain’s 2015 General Election, the release of Reba Maybury’s Radical People last night features an uplifting roll-call of some of the most thought-provoking artists and original voices ever to be featured in one publication, from body artists Ron Athey and Franko B, to original Anarchist Punk icons Steve Ignorant, GBH and Rubella Ballet, gay activist Peter Tatchell and iconic subcultural muse Princess Julia. The fact that all contributors are over 50, is both a refreshing change from our current youth-obsessed, social media-led world and a deliberate mark in the sand, asking an open question of who the next generation of dissenting voices might be. Kim Gordon’s recent biography Girl In a Band, lamenting the loss of New York as an incubator for artistic expression after decades of gentrification, evokes a similar sense … Read More »

The Other Art Fair – a Private View, Thursday 23 April 2015

Posted on 24th April, by Colin Chapman in Art, menswear. No Comments

The Other Art Fair opened last night with a private view, thronged with art lovers circling the stands with great enthusiasm (particularly after a visit to the Fever-Tree G&T bar). The event which spans this weekend, enables artists to represent their own work, and make connections with customers eager to buy a piece of art to take home. The general absence of gallerists and professional collectors makes The Other Art Fair a much more relaxed affair than the likes of Frieze, but in no sense is the work on show any less interesting or collectible. Indeed, as “visiting artist” Gavin Turk was the solitary big-league YBA presence but there is a wealth of lesser-known talent to explore, with photography, illustration and painting particularly in evidence. Highlights for me included Dan Hillier’s breathtaking … Read More »

Far Fetch Curates: Food, a fashion eye turns to the world’s best foodie experiences

Posted on 21st April, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Better known for putting what’s on the shop rails at high-end boutiques the world over within reach of your laptop via a single, digital storefront, FarFetch has just released a book on food culture: FarFetch Curates: Food with luxury book publisher Prosper and Martine Assouline.

Drawing on the local expertise of the digital fashion brand’s inevitably widespread network, the book focuses on the finest food and drink experiences to be had around the world. With a foreword by Tim Blanks, the links between food and fashion are strongly established from the outset. As Blanks himself notes, curation is one of the defining words and activities of our times, social media making us all ‘curators’, with fashion and food being familiar tag mates on Instagram brunch shares the world over.

Hopefully you’ll be relieved to hear it’s not all about … Read More »

Interview: Andrew Blyszak on his new eyewear range

Posted on 21st March, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Niche brand expert Andrew Blyszak is about to launch his own eyewear range, a high-end affair using matte powder-coated metal and real horn: bringing something genuinely new to the crowded sunglasses market. Here I ask him about his life behind the darkened lens and his plans for the brand. Product images are from the new lookbook, pre-release images are exclusives.

SL: I know you’re Australian by origin, so presumably sunglasses were an early necessity. Can you remember what pair you first bought for yourself?

AB: Not suprisingly the first pair I ever bought for myself were Ray-Ban.

SL: The collection features a very specific shape, how did you arrive at this design?

AB: The shape was derived from a pair I had been wearing for years which I had originally found at a flea market in the South of France for 50 cents. They … Read More »

Agender: Selfridge’s takes gender neutral fashion mainstream

Posted on 20th March, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Last week Selfridges launched its in-store installation, Agender, introducing the concept of gender-neutral fashion to a largely unsuspecting public and the media response has been really quite remarkable: a feature in Time Out, an insert on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour among others, all seemingly taking the concept at least half-seriously. Even with a declared disinterest in fashion, you’d have to be wilfully unobservant to have missed at least some mention of it this week. While gender “play” and the concept of gender neutral fashion have become common parlance in high fashion circles in the last few years, as ever, what is an accepted part of current fashion debate can be the subject of fierce derision beyond its luminous boundaries (and as an occasional commentator on fashion and gender on the likes of Read More »

Jonathan Saunders Eyewear, SS15

Posted on 3rd March, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

It’s been a bit quiet here of late, as I’ve been publishing over at STREETS, the recently-planted digital flag for the new bi-annual print publication we’re preparing for, (in classic print style), a September Issue. More news on THAT soon.

Meanwhile, back on my personal radar, here is the release of Jonathan Saunders’ eyewear collection for SS15. Back when I reviewed the full collection for The Guardian at LC:M, I’d already picked out the eyewear as a highlight, adding to the appeal of the ready-to-wear collection’s soft candy colours and clean, modern lines. The glasses have similarly bold, modern outlines, in solid colours, unique patterns and shiny metals. I find that I wear sunglasses for most of the year, to combat low-lying winter sun as much as full-on … Read More »

NYFW AW15: Details to savour from the menswear shows

Posted on 19th February, by Colin Chapman in menswear. 1 Comment

As I share my highlights from the week, it’s time to wave goodbye to New York, though this time it’s more of a ‘see you later’ as we’ll be right back here again in July for the inaugural menswear week.

I’ve already reviewed Duckie Brown in detail, but here are some details from the other collections I particularly enjoyed this trip. There are some familiar names here, as certain New York talents continue to plough as steady furrow through the dross of mainstream menswear, but as ever, I was interested to discover the newer names around town. With the likes of Astrid Andersen and Bobby Abley showing in the city, it’s also interesting to see if some of the fierce lustre of the street-ier aspects of LC:M will rub off over here.

N. Hoolywood
Bettering … Read More »

As fast as a camera lens shutting: I interview Clym Evernden on the power of Menswear Illustration

Posted on 18th February, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

A new book, launching tonight with an exhibition at Paul Smith‘s gallery on Albermarle Street, celebrates the buoyancy of fashion illustration in menswear. I caught up with Clym Evernden, one of the talents featured in the book to find out more about why menswear illustration is having a moment right now.

1. Tell me about the book project. How did you come to be involved?

Richard Kilroy approached me to be part of the book. I’m thrilled that Richard approached me as I think now is a perfect time to acknowledge menswear illustration in its own right. Fashion illustration has previously occupied a cliche that it portrays almost exclusively womenswear, often in that tired old aesthetic of an elegant woman in the 1950s wearing couture, or walking down Bond street with shopping bags and … Read More »

New York menswear, before, during and after Fashion Week

Posted on 13th February, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

New York fashion week is underway, and as ever, the menswear shows will play their part, lightly peppered across the schedule, and often held at smaller, more intimate locations than the media carnival around the major league womenswear shows at the Lincoln Centre. During fashion week, the island of Manhattan is invaded by an army of fashionable women (and some men) from across the U.S., the former generally rivaling the tall buildings in their heels, all seemingly in a constant rush and making as much noise about it as possible. The menswear shows tend to have a more sedate feel, as a select and recognisable crew gathers in warehouse spaces and studios around Chelsea and the Meatpacking District to demonstrate their allegiance to the idea of men’s fashion in New York.

But changes are afoot, with the recent announcement … Read More »

Duckie Brown, AW15: Tomorrow

Posted on 13th February, by Colin Chapman in menswear. 2 Comments

The recent announcement that New York will have a separate menswear week in July, means that the men’s collections showing here this week will be under additional scrutiny. With such considerations in mind, it is reassuring to see Duckie Brown once again delivering a collection which reveals their mastery of cut, colour and form; demonstrating that its business as usual for the Duckies.

There’s often a body part, a focal point or implied movement being celebrated in a Duckie Brown collection, and this time it would appear to be the breastbone, revealed under sheer fabrics, in shirts worn pulled open to reveal the chest or framed by the “V” of a kimono-style wrapped neckline. There is something almost swashbuckling about this shape, the chest revealed under undulating layers of silky … Read More » launches in-house menswear line: Raey

Posted on 29th January, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Matchesfashion.comis one of the most established destinations for buying designer fashion online, with a switched-on buying team not afraid to dip their toes into emerging talent (Craig Green is part of the offer for SS15 for example) and with the likes of Simon Chilvers (formerly of The Guardian) on the editorial sideas Men’s Style Director, it makes sense that Matches would try their hands at offering an in-house line. Well-crafted, unbranded separates at a reasonable price are a constant rarity and therefore it is exciting to see a new player on the scene with a fashion-savvy perspective to offer. Designed by a team led by Creative Director Rachael Proud, (hence the slightly awkward name, presumably), outlines for the Raey SS15 collection show a … Read More »

5 details to savour from the Milan/Paris AW15 menswear shows

Posted on 23rd January, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

I have to confess that the Pitti/Milan leg of the current triathlon of menswear that is the European menswear shows was a bit of a blur. After seeing SO many shows and presentations at LC:M this season, the Italian shows whizzed by with the haste of a Vespa slash-and-grab chase. Now Paris is midway through, and it feels like a good moment to pause and reflect on what’s been shown since London and to focus in on some of the most beautiful details. If there’a anything that feels like a common thread here, its a desire for futurism, a desire to see what the future might look like even if that involves elements of the past reimagined.

1. The Nemeth fabric at Louis Vuitton
I am a huge fan of Kim Jones. From his Read More »

Mr Porter’s shoppable collection for Kingsman, the film

Posted on 16th January, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Bang in the middle of LC:M, Mr Porter held an event on Savile Row, featuring the collection that the luxury online retailer has produced for the film Kingsman, starring Colin Firth. The film had its world premiere on Wednesday night, with the cast, Take That and um, me in attendance. What was remarkable about the Mr Porter tie-in was how integral clothing and thus the collection (designed by Hollywood costume designer Ariane Phillips, who worked with Tom Ford on A Single Man) was to the film. In fact, the Kingsman spy HQ (actually a make over of the Huntsman store at 11 Savile Row, and used as the venue for Sunday night’s presentation of the collection) is at the very core of the story.

In the film, a suit, and in particular … Read More »

London Collections Men, AW15: 6 key themes

Posted on 13th January, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

I’m not sure I really believe in trends any more, neither do I want to facilitate the easy dilution of designers’ ideas through tidy generalisations. But call it collective consciousness, cultural synergy or simply a reaction to what’s gone before and inevitably, themes emerge after four days of menswear shows. Here are some of those I noted while attending dozens of shows across the full four days of London Collections:Men.

The colour pink
It would be a natural assumption to make that Sibling’s all pink collection was a starting point for this one (especially if there’s any doubt in your mind that such a theme exists at all) but actually, I’d first noted the use of dusky pink in Lou Dalton’s collection, on short printed scarves, a pink sweater and the on the shaggy inner lining of a coat. Furthermore, Casely-Hayford injected … Read More »

London Collections Men, AW15: Day 4 highlights

Posted on 12th January, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

So, the fourth and longest ever London Collections: Men just ended and the fashion set already have their eyes trained on Florence, Milan and Paris (those that aren’t scouring the Internet for pics and opinions of Galliano’s return at Maison Margiela, that is). It’s a sad fact that after months of hard work on the part of designers, a collection either makes the headlines or it doesn’t, and even then, interest is fleeting as there is always another show, another city, another designer to focus on, especially in these super-fast days of Instagram gratification. I’m therefore cautious to be seen to be drawing too much of a definite line under anything, as there are still fuller stories to be told, images to be savoured and opinions to be reassessed and considered. But, from a very personal perspective here are my … Read More »

London Collections: Men, Day 3 Highlights

Posted on 12th January, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

By the third day, London Collections: Men began to feel like a marathon with another busy day of shows and presentations across the gamut of menswear; from edgy, emerging talent to mega brands and some of London’s most established designers. Again, I’m limiting myself to one image from each of the shows that felt like stand-outs for me yesterday, but my bulging hard drive is evidence that there is a lot of exciting menswear still to share over the coming days.

Baartmans and Siegel
Athough they only graduated to an on-schedule runway show this season, Baartmans and Siegel are already established as a reliable source of impeccably-made tailored sportswear with the very best fabric and finish. Grosgrain ribbon added a sporty element, a typically luxe take on go-faster stripes. Fur, as ever, was very evident as trim on high-end parkas, and now … Read More »

London Collections Men: AW15, Day 2 Highlights

Posted on 10th January, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Day two at London Collections: Men has been quite phenomenal, picking up the pace with shows spanning morning to late evening and showcasing the range of menswear talent in London. As this is a highlights piece, I’ve decided to try and limit myself to one image per designer, a bit challenging to be honest, as I’ve seen so many beautiful things today.

Lou Dalton
As a fashion commentator, there is a risk of covering the same designers over and over, particularly when you get to know them and their their work intimately. Lou Dalton is a mainstay across all my fashion writing, a touchstone for what I refer to when people ask me what defines good menswear in London currently, and I make no apology for that. This morning’s show was one of her best ever, ramped up by some incredible fabrics … Read More »

London Collections: Men, AW15: Day 1 Highlights

Posted on 9th January, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

My first stop this morning was the London College of Fashion’s MA menswear show, a 25 minutes ‘best of’ showcase, where for me, the standouts were Emma Fenton Villar’s textural sportswear, Thien Trang Bui’s supremely elegant, shimmering tailoring and Jasmine Haoyao Deng’s colourful textiles.

Topman Design
In terms of the official schedule, things got off to a high-energy start at Topman Design with an unlikely fusion of hippy-trail flowing Afghan coats and testicle-hugging Bay City Roller suits (the collection was titled Bombay City Rollers). Brilliantly styled by Luke Day, the looks featured big hair with heavy fringes on swaggering lads with rock and roll intent. The glam rock sound track got everyone smiling at least.

There was more swagger on display at MAN where Liam … Read More »

London Collections Men: January 2015, who I’m most looking forward to seeing

Posted on 8th January, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

A month of menswear kicks off tomorrow with London Collections: Men, now a four-day event. Back in the day (2011 to be precise, when it was still called Menswear Day), a handful of enthusiastic journos, buyers, bloggers and me squeezed into compact rooms at Somerset House to watch London’s menswear talent present their collections. The atmosphere crackled with expectation, alive with cherished dreams of recognition and just the very newness of it all, despite those cramped surroundings. These days its the schedule that’s packed, with headline talent such as Burberry on the agenda, and the full span of London’s menswear on display – from East London’s latest enfants terribles to big league brands and Savile Row tailoring houses.

Here are some of the shows I’m personally looking forward to.

Kit Neale
Kit Neale is a great talent who I’ve supported, cheered on and … Read More »

Patrick Grant releases Original Man – The Tautz Compendium of Less Ordinary Gentlemen

Posted on 26th November, by Colin Chapman in Event, menswear, Patrick Grant. 1 Comment

Today sees the launch of Patrick Grant’s book, Original Man – The Tautz Compendium of Less Ordinary Gentlemen. Perhaps the most articulate designer of his generation, what I’ve always appreciated about Patrick is his ability to tell a great story, from the beautifully compiled notes given out at E.Tautz shows to his recent TV work, so I’m guessing that his first book will be full of charm, well-chosen epigrams and the occasional LOL (the list of gentlemen featured includes Olly Reed and Ozzy Osbourne after all).

Published with the commendable intention of “inspiring readers to lead a less ordinary life” the book showcases more than 80 original men (including some personal heroes of mine like Yves Saint Laurent and Quentin Crisp), selected not for their sartorial prominence (there are … Read More »

Bedwin & The Heartbreakers pop-up launch at Folk

Posted on 17th November, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

I popped into the launch for the Bedwin & The Heartbreakers pop-up at Folk on Thursday night, (my lateness in posting this is entirely due to my extended birthday celebrations over the weekend BTW). Besides the name (which makes the brand sound like an obscure ’80s punk band you should know about) I like their Japanese twist on Americana, which of course, places all the attention on the details. In particular, I was very taken with their Brando-esque weathered biker jackets and the collegiate-meets-selvedge-denim pieces (see my Instagram for close-ups). Their pared-back pumps will be gracing my feet while the weather’s still warm enough. While the word preppy may not elicit the warm fuzzy feeling it may have done a few years back, in these hands the irony … Read More »

Adventurous knitwear is a focus for London’s menswear designers

Posted on 6th November, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

I originally wrote this piece about London’s most exciting knitwear designers back in the summer, when thoughts of wooly jumpers and indeed winter itself felt like a distant prospect, stuffed away with the thermal undies, but here we now are in the first properly cold days of the season when a warm sweater makes perfect sense. This piece somehow got squeezed out of the publishing schedule it was intended for, but as some of London’s finest knitted garment designers gave me their time to divulge their thoughts on the art of the knit I’m sharing it with you here.

The humble sweater rarely gets media attention (unless it’s one of those pieces in the free papers celebrating ironic Christmas jumpers) but knitwear for men is becoming more creative and experimental. There will always be scope for a classic – a black … Read More »

Our Legacy opens a London store

Posted on 20th October, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

With typical understatement, Swedish brand Our Legacy opened a store in London last week. Distinguished by a nifty neon sign, the store, located at the enigmatically named 1 Silver Place in Soho is evidence of the label’s particular success here in the UK. Since designing a range of T-shirts in 2005, co-founders Christopher Nying and Jockum Hallin have found a keen audience here for Our Legacy’s spare but elegant designs, the cut and their inventive use of fabrics finding harmony with a British sensibility in men’s fashion.

“We had been looking for a space here for a while; we wanted something magical and with character,” says Hallin of the new Soho store. “The UK has developed into a great market for us, especially in the past two years. We’ve thought a lot about that, and we’re not … Read More »

Jerry Bouthier and Bernstock Speirs collaborate on a hat for Maison Kitsuné

Posted on 8th October, by Colin Chapman in Accessories, menswear. No Comments

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.

Bouthier is renowned for being the DJ at London’s Boombox, possibly the last club to have a real impact on fashion, while retaining at its core the genuine experience of nightclubbing, … Read More »

Tim Coppens – NYFW #SS15

Posted on 18th September, by Colin Chapman in menswear. 1 Comment

I know it’s Milan fashion week now but I wanted to share with you a quick chat I had with Tim Coppens after his show back at New York fashion week that didn’t make it into my Guardian piece. Coppens’ show was packed, with a palpable excitement front of house and a strong international contingent attending which gave a definite sense that he’s about to become big. There was already much anticipation of the fact Tim would be showing some womenswear alongside the menswear. In the end the collection featured sports mesh, blocked colour and a special blurred neon print called Jungle Sunrise. The focus was on construction, form and function for both sexes but there was also a sleek polish to the pieces that went beyond sportswear and, incidentally there was … Read More »

New York Fashion Week SS15: my round-up

Posted on 8th September, by Colin Chapman in menswear, New York Fashion Week. No Comments

New York fashion week is underway and amidst all the big-guns productions the final menswear shows of the fashion year (and what those attending them are wearing) confirm the trends for next summer.

New York fashion week is largely dominated by womenswear but there are menswear shows in the schedule too and New York retains a small but well formed core of talented young designers showing progressive men’s fashion. In addition, trends have had soak time and as the last big showcase of menswear in the annual calendar what editors and buyers are wearing to the shows this week is a good indication of what everyone else will want to be wearing next spring/summer (it’s also most likely what will be the shops).

1. New York menswear designers are doing really well at designing womenswear too. CFDA menswear designers of the year … Read More »

N.Hoolywood SS15 – New York Fashion Week

Posted on 7th September, by Colin Chapman in menswear, New York Fashion Week. No Comments

It’s impossible to talk about the N.Hoolywood show on Friday here in New York without mentioning the incredible location: the show took place on a rooftop in the Garment District opposite the iconic New Yorker building and the Empire State building and with the kind of dramatic sky dreamt of by Hollywood art directors. This setting impressed even the resident fashion crowd and created a sense of awe from the outset. Recent N.Hoolywood collections have focused on specific time periods and iconography in American history; the Western, the prohibition era, but this time designer Daisuke Obana took inspiration from his native Japan, and the unique natural environment there, specifically exotic insect life. Loud birdsong piped through the speakers set the tone for this nature-inspired theme, emphasising that we were in fact open to the elements even in the midst of ultra urban … Read More »

Duckie Brown SS15 New York

Posted on 6th September, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

On Thursday in New York Duckie Brown showed a collection of crisp whites, plaids and high-waisted trousers accessorised with bucket hats; a spin on elder style made relevant through the choice of fabrics and colour.

As ever with the Duckies, the invite held a clue, this time featuring an image of designer Daniel Silver’s father, now 91, in bucket hat, a tucked-in short sleeved shirt and the kind of high-waisted trousers men of a certain age and ilk wear. What couldn’t have been predicted was the precision with which the details of this specific look would be recreated; in the shape of the trousers, high up on the waist, roomy in the middle but tapering towards the ankle, the crisp outline of the short-sleeved shirts and, yes, bucket hats.

Whereas last season Steven and Daniel mixed things up, showing womenswear … Read More »

Personally tailored shirts: Ede & Ravenscroft

Posted on 3rd September, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Do you find that shirts you buy often don’t fit in exactly the same way: sleeves are a bit long, extra fabric balloons around your waist or it fits perfectly everywhere but is impossible to do up the top button? Let’s face it, we’re all made differently and ready to wear clothing will either work for you or not. Chances are if you find a brand and cut of shirt that fits you you’ll stick to it. This used to mean Rugby Ralph Lauren’s Oxford Shirts for me, which I discovered fitted me perfectly (alas the sub-brand is no more). But I’ve also bought shirts knowing that they weren’t a perfect fit and had them re-tailored. Going a step further and having a shirt personally tailored to my specifications was a new step (aside from a few half-successful efforts while … Read More »

CMMN SWDN collaborates with STORM

Posted on 19th August, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Having firmly re-established itself the biker jacket is still around this season and in its best incarnations is being pared back to the essentials of its rebellious roots. Perhaps more than any fashion item since blue jeans, the functional origins of the biker have been usurped by its countercultural resonance as a symbol of rebellious attitude. After all, Joey Ramone didn’t shrug on his trusty leather biker out of concern about protection: it was a statement of intent. Having been given a fashion spin in endless fabric variations in recent seasons including contrast sleeves, the freshest looking biker jackets right now involve premium black leather, sturdy, heavy-weight zips and the classic shape without any fuss. Which is exactly what this collaboration between Swedish label CMMN SWDNRead More »

Opening Ceremony’s Shoreditch

Posted on 24th July, by Colin Chapman in menswear, shopping. No Comments

This morning Opening Ceremony’s latest outpost opened it’s doors at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch. British designer Max Lamb has transformed the diminutive shop space, lining the walls in ivory latex, the sinuous folds emphasising the height of the interior, and furnishing the boutique with floating blue metal rails and a centerpiece table hewn from natural rock. This painterly colour scheme offsets Opening Ceremony’s current Surrealist-inspired collection perfectly, as Birkenstock clogs daubed with the work of Rene Magritte sit prettily on a block of rough polystyrene, itself sealed with a rubbery, peachy-coloured paint. There is an obvious visual synergy between Max Lamb’s work here and Opening Ceremony’s love of the unexpected, the purely playful and their mutual desire to create something unique. With collections touching on some of … Read More »

Field report: Warsaw, an unexpected fashion hotspot

Posted on 25th June, by Colin Chapman in menswear. 1 Comment

With all the emphasis on London, Milan and Paris in fashion, as with the current round of menswear shows, its not surprising that some of Europe’s lesser-known fashion spots are often overlooked even outside of fashion weeks. On a recent trip to Warsaw however, the Polish capital’s fashion scene was revealed to me, and I left the city very impressed with its sense of style.

From bespoke tailoring houses like Zaremba (which remained a favourite during the Communist era by stashing outlawed “bourgeois” fabrics for clients, thus circumventing state-dictated outlets), to newly graduated fashion talent and more established independent designers, Warsaw has a surprising diversity of fashion both old and new.

My visit coincided with the graduation of Warsaw Art Academy’s first ever Fashion Diploma students, a talented bunch including womenswear designer Read More »

Sibling x Robert Clergerie Homme collection SS15

Posted on 22nd June, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

There’s a lot to be distracted about at a Sibling show. If its not the foot stomping soundtrack there’s the smorgasbord of models (and the hottest models at LC:M always seem to do the Sibling show), a front row full of fashion legends and the wild styling and sense of theatrics which altogether create a visual spectacle perfectly pitched for Instagram sensation. This season sky-high hair, fringing and the general intent to provoke and push taste boundaries created more noise than ever. Beneath the spectacle however are some fine fashion details, as you’d expect from the trio with their collective fashion heritage. This season for me it was the footwear and the denims that invited a closer look. For SS15 Sibling have worked with Robert Clergerie Homme, the venerable label now under the helm of Roland Mouret and the result is an interpretation of the classic Delbie boot in both … Read More »

LC:M SS15 report, days 2 and 3

Posted on 18th June, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

London Collections: Men ended last night in buoyant mood as the capital’s menswear industry rides high on a wave of seemingly ever-growing interest in men’s fashion. The London menswear showcase is now firmly on the map for American and Asian buyers visiting on their way to the European shows and there was more to see than ever and more people here to see it. I posted my initial impressions at the start of the week over on my Guardian page, but here are my thoughts from the remaining 2 days.

On Monday evening Richard Nicoll showed his trademark simple unfussy separates in refreshing whites, gingham check and with clashing patterns in red, yellow and blue colourways. Classic low profile Adidas lace-ups were accessorised by the inimitable Judy Blame. In fact styling … Read More »

LCM Preview: Kit Neale SS15

Posted on 16th June, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

Last week I caught up with menswear designer Kit Neale in his studio. Originally known for his prints, as a designer Kit’s range is becoming known for perfectly proportioned casual wear such as jean jackets and bombers, and last season brought surprise in the form of beautiful jacquard fabrics alongside the signature prints. I was looking forward to seeing what Kit has in store for us in SS15.

Moving on from explorations of London’s less celebrated quarters (Autumn/Winter was inspired by the decaying Elephant & Castle shopping centre) next summer stretches those horizons slightly, “it’s Kit Neale goes on holiday” Kit explained, “I got sick of people asking what part of London we were going to do … Read More »

5 reasons to be excited about LC:M SS15

Posted on 12th June, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

In just three days time London Collections:Men will launch the SS15 season. Having grown from a single day to three packed ones with the speed of a monstrous puppy on hormones, the menswear industry’s attention will be on London’s bi-annual menswear showcase from Sunday onwards, as young design talent, established designers and a whole load of dressed up people draw stares from the regular folk of Covent Garden and the electronic eyes of a million Instagram accounts at once. With the invites still rolling in, I take a moment to assess what’s really exciting me so far.

1. Sibling Sibling’s invites simply get better as the trio’s renown grows. After last season’s working class man homage, this wonderful invite featuring a gravity-defying Gothic quiff taps into the deep grain of London counterculture from which Cozette, Sid and Joe derive such pleasure. … Read More »

Review: Benjamin Kirchhoff in conversation with Sarah Mower at Bath in Fashion

Posted on 9th May, by Colin Chapman in menswear, Talk. No Comments

Last night I attended a talk with Meadham Kirchhoff at Bath in Fashion, the annual fashion event that takes place over several days in the city of Bath. In fact, only Benjamin Kirchhoff (the French half of Meadham Kirchhoff), without his more flamboyant, other half Edward Meadham, was present to talk to Sarah Mower, the contributing editor to US Vogue, but as it turned out his solitary presence was still impressive.

So why was I there? Basically the Meadham Kirchhoff menswear show for SS13 has had the greatest impact on me in the whole time I have been attending menswear shows and I was keen to hear something in person from (at least one of) the minds that created it. Something about the subversiveness of that presentation: the experience was … Read More »

Opening Ceremony x Teva sandals

Posted on 29th April, by Colin Chapman in menswear, Shoes, socks. No Comments

Opening Ceremony recently launched a capsule collection with Teva, the brand responsible for the kind of ‘leisure sandals’ worn with socks by American tourists of a certain age, and given similarly-dubious reknown through the style’s popularity with younger backpackers the world over. The Opening Ceremony brand however is unlikely to be affected by such associations, in the promo shots each sandal in the range is paired with a bold choice of sock, declaring war loudly and proudly on unimaginative commenters. Growing up in California, it’s likely that Leon and Lim associate the Teva brand with more practical concerns, like scrambling up valleys and canyons in actual sunshine and the range embraces the practicality of the design at the same time as adding such outré urban details as gold and silver metallic nylon … Read More »

In the studio with Diego Vanassibara

Posted on 13th April, by Colin Chapman in menswear, Shoes. No Comments

The recipients of New Gen Men, one of London’s most highly regarded initiatives for fledgling menswear design talent, were announced this week by the BFC. Backed by Topman, the scheme provides successful recipients with tailored mentoring support alongside their sponsorship, with a view to helping these emerging designers build their businesses. Among the latest line-up (and receiving the New Gen funding for the second time running) is shoe designer Diego Vanassibara. Diego cuts a dash not only with his unique personal style but also as the solitary men’s shoe designer within the line-up of colourful, largely East London-based fashion designers.

I caught up with Diego in his refreshingly leafy, suburban studio to discuss all things shoes. Originally from the South of Brazil, Diego initially studied architecture in his native country. Finding … Read More »

Baartmans and Siegel for River Island

Posted on 11th April, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Baartmans and Siegel are the latest young British designer to announce a collaboration with high street chain River Island. I tend to be a bit lukewarm about high street/designer collaborations in general, mainly because the few purchases I’ve made from such designer hook-ups are now gathering dust. However, River Island has been working with some of the most interesting young British designers recently, having produced collections with Joseph Turvey and T.Lipop to date. This approach feels like a more relevant exercise than trying to translate very established luxury brands into mass-produced budget fashion à la H&M, being more akin to Topman’s long term support of YBDs. Baartmans are regulars on Sharpened Lead and their relaxed … Read More »

What is the influence of house music on British fashion?

Posted on 5th April, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

As tributes to the late Frankie Knuckles, godfather of house, continue to pour in from across the music world following his death this week, its clear that the musical genre has had a huge influence, but what impact has this massively-popular music subculture had on British fashion, if at all?

The arrival of house and the later onset of the rave era in Britain has often been derided by the likes of sartorial commentators like Robert Elms as marking the end of club dandyism and triggering an era of pastel tracksuits.

In fact, many of the influential dandies and club kids from the Blitz club era embraced house because the music came from a newly-emerged urban, black gay subculture and therefore appealed to the free spirits and mavericks within the club scene here (as evidence, Boy George is still a house music … Read More »

Lou Dalton designs exclusive sweatshirt for Liberty

Posted on 31st March, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Beyond her collections shown twice a year at L:CM, young British menswear designer Lou Dalton has also established a reputation for producing one-off collaborations with some of the world’s leading stores. Liberty was the first London store to have Lou Dalton on it’s rails and is currently being rewarded for its foresight with a unique sweatshirt designed to sit alongside the SS14 collection.

In her full-scale collections Lou blends a romantic sensibility with luxurious yet rugged materials, often celebrating the great outdoors, and it is the unique fabrication that makes this particular collaborative piece special. The all black design combines a spongy jersey body offset by panels of fabric with a Braille-like, raised texture. Being black-on-black, the piece would benefit from close-up inspection (better still a stroke) to reveal … Read More »

Fashionable Selby, a new fashion book by photographer Todd Selby

Posted on 22nd March, by Colin Chapman in Book review, menswear. No Comments

Photographer and design magpie Todd Selby‘s book Fashionable Selby has just been published and I got my hands on one of the first copies. Originally known for his photographs taken inside the homes of designers and other creatives, (usually showing off their eclectic, maximalist collections of ‘gorgeous things’), in this new book, “The Selby” focuses his attention on the studio spaces of people working within the fashion industry.

There are big names – Dries Van Noten, Isabel Marant, Nicola Formichetti – but some of the most interesting characters and spaces explored belong to people I hadn’t heard of before, like Dutch stylist and exhibition designer Maarten Spruyt, and ‘punk’ design trio Blackmeans from Japan. If … Read More »

Review: Dries Van Noten Exhibition at Musee des Arts Decoratifs

Posted on 6th March, by Colin Chapman in Designer profiles, Event, menswear. No Comments

The family of Belgian designer Dries Van Noten has been dressing the people of Antwerp for three generations, and now the work of its most famous son is being celebrated in Paris.

Strictly speaking, the Dries Van Noten exhibition, which opened in Paris on Saturday, is not a retrospective. We were told at the exhibition’s opening in Musée des Arts Decoratifs not to expect the Belgian designer’s career highlights, but that the show would instead reveal the creative process. The exhibition begins with the designer’s initial inspirations, by way of a room celebrating various artists through song and film titles, album covers and pieces by fashion designers of the 70s and 80s. The room emphasises the inter-connectedness of fashion within the greater cultural picture, and also gives an impression of the pivotal creative times that Van Noten emerged … Read More »

Up close with Matthew Miller’s AW14 collection

Posted on 28th February, by Colin Chapman in Collection review. No Comments

Matthew Miller’s collection was a big highlight of London Collections: Men for me a couple of months back, and as the private orders/sales/re-see season came around I was very keen to see it up close. In particular, the intriguing textured material produced with Danish fabric experts Kvadrat demanded to be touched. So last week I headed over to a studio in Soho to see the collection up close and grab a feel of that fancy fabric. And I was not disappointed: at close range it delights your sense of touch, like the kind of very expensive upholstery you might stroke in an uber chic hotel or furniture showroom. On the body meanwhile, it feels surprisingly light; the bulk of the fabric making the constructed form stand away from … Read More »

Dark florals, a key trend taking root for for SS14: Prada, Dries Van Noten, AMI, House of Hackney,

Posted on 27th February, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Not all fashion trends make it from designer’s studio to shop rail, but dark florals will be blooming this summer, bringing a touch of art history to sportswear.

Last summer I noted the rise of dark florals as a menswear theme for this coming spring/summer, and now the look is taking root in men’s stores, from high-end designer to the high street. At Prada the style is a dark take on the tropical foliage associated with the Hawaiian shirt, a kind of aloha noir, while the botanical prints of Parisian label Ami are straight out of exquisitely illustrated horticultural books. Closer to home, London-based House of Hackney offer prints that are equally lush, especially as seen in their actual flower-shop fronted east London outlet.

High-street brand … Read More »

Grenson x LC:M designer collaborations: Sibling, Katie Eary, Matthew Miller, Agi & Sam, Christopher Raeburn, Craig Green.

Posted on 20th February, by Colin Chapman in menswear, Shoes. No Comments

Showing a very timely allegiance to London’s up-and-coming menswear designers, Grenson has just announced a range of collaborations with the cream of LC:M designers, available through Mr Porter. Following three successful seasons of working with designer Lou Dalton on footwear for her collections, this surely makes Grenson THE British shoemaker most aligned with the new generation of design talent in our menswear industry. Usually when such a batch of collaborations is announced, there are obvious hits among the range and others likely to languish in the Sale corner. For once, I’m having a difficult time choosing a favourite, though Matthew Miller‘s crocodile embossed leather derbies and Agi & Sam’s very grown-up monkstraps are most definitely contenders. Following the announcement of a flagship … Read More »

Duckie Brown, AW14: The Duckie Has Two Faces

Posted on 9th February, by Colin Chapman in Collection review, Duckie Brown, New York Fashion Week. No Comments

My support of Duckie Brown is no secret, their studio was among the first I visited for Sharpened Lead and I love the fact that their vision is so oppositional to most of what can be seen in New York in terms of men’s fashion. As I reported earier this week, the Duckies presented womenswear alongside the menswear for AW14 which feels like a natural progression of the constant gender boundary-pushing within their work. I can see that a Duckie Brown women’s line could be a big hit, arguably there are more fashionable women in New York who know of and celebrate the duo as … Read More »

Duckie Brown to show womenswear for AW14

Posted on 4th February, by Colin Chapman in Designer profiles, Duckie Brown, New York Fashion Week. No Comments

Sneak peaks of what’s to come at New York Fashion Week have started to surface, and, as ever with New York menswear, nothing bubbles more provocatively than a Duckie Brown collection. Emerging yesterday, this video, replete with the couple’s dry humour, announced that the Duckies will also be showing womenswear this season. As the video says, having produced a label for 12 years showing menswear based on womenswear, the Duckie’s will finally be showing womenswear for women this season. While I will (slightly) miss the audacity of their menswear flying solo in the face of American conservatism, at least with a women’s line on board their mastery of fashion design and craft may be more fully appreciated. And I’m sure the menswear will still have the kick of a potent martini.

Duckie Brown from 365GUY.NETRead More »

Paris menswear reviews: Kenzo AW14

Posted on 19th January, by Colin Chapman in Catwalk review, Collection review. 2 Comments

Workwear’s influence on high fashion is one of those trends that required a few spins on the fashion turntable before its real impact has taken hold. For one, it needed to shrug off the associations of the overly-earnest workwear enthusiast, or more recent re-treads of such classic looks being rehashed as “heritage”. Extending London’s menswear runways’ current love affair with the boys from the blackstuff, at Kenzo in Paris yesterday the workwear/industrial aesthetic was blown up to new proportions with a three-dimensional sense of fun typical of Humberto Leon and Carol Lim’s vision. Balanced by a solid palette of greys, black and brown, accented with acid lime (shouting as loudly as hazard tape) and orchid purples, familiar shapes such as tough steelworker bombers, factory-floor shirt-jackets and straight legged pants were given an avant-garde twist. Of particular note were the tailored … Read More »

Eyes down at the Men’s collections, AW14: focus on footwear

Posted on 17th January, by Colin Chapman in Catwalk review, London Collections: Men, Shoes. No Comments

As a confirmed shoe obsessive my camera lens is often to be found pointing at floor level when attending fashion shows and presentations, even when footwear isn’t the intended focus. At the recent London shows there were two strong themes evident, which have continued on into the Milan and Paris collections.

Firstly there was a definite element of fashion following the austerity agenda with simple, utilitarian shoes on display, apparently reflecting the uniforms of working men (quite literally on the wet pavements at Topman Design). And secondly, we saw the continuing influence of trainers and sportswear details in high-fashion footwear.

However, this being fashion, looks can be deceiving, so apparently straightforward shapes like simple workaday oxfords turned out to have a subtle, metallic sheen (as at Common) or were high-gloss with elements of bright colour at the sole … Read More »

Ratty threads: what I loved about Kit Neale AW14

Posted on 16th January, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men. No Comments

For the two previous seasons of LCM I’ve had the pleasure of dropping into the Kit Neale studio to get an insight into the brand’s inspirations as designers and to see the collection come together, becoming addicted in the process to the Kit Neale pop-art-coloured view of the world. Conflicting schedules meant previews didn’t happen for me this season so I had the quite different excitement of seeing the collection fresh out of the box. For AW14, inspiration shifted (via a quick shunt up the Old Kent Road) from the world of Peckham chicken shops and weave salons to the terminally-in-demise Elephant & Castle shopping centre. Displayed on piles of iconic debris, … Read More »

Rakish progress: 5 things I loved about E.Tautz AW14

Posted on 16th January, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

There was always a sense of history and storytelling in E.Tautz, from the intimate days when Patrick talked us through the collection to more recent shows in the vast space of The Old Sorting Office. In that more intimate past the story was often in the fabrication itself and needed to be interpreted or, better still, touched for the specialness of the pieces to be really understood. Backstories of the home knitters, the mills, the history of a fabric like Ventile were an essential part of the E.Tautz DNA then but recent collections have had a more wide-screen appeal, both in the presentation on a big stage and the literal impact of the clothing. A commenter on my Guardian-published round-up last week … Read More »

Sunglasses at night: 5 things I loved about Casely-Hayford AW14

Posted on 14th January, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

To say the Casely-Hayford runway show was anticipated would be an understatement. Not since Agi & Sam’s transitional MAN show has The Old Sorting Office venue felt like such a stadium: a home crowd eager to be entertained by beloved sons (and fathers).  And we were not  to be disappointed. When I spoke to Charlie back in November there was understandable apprehension about their runway debut but last week the execution was perfect. All the trademark Casely-Hayford qualities were there: elegant tailoring, an inherent understanding of current street demeanor, sporty details, confident colour and above all, a sense of London menswear’s past and present glories coming together under a single flag. When asked about the scene and designers who might appeal to those who don’t live … Read More »

London, home of menswear competition: only a few days left to enter!

Posted on 13th January, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

It was a delight to return from my travels in the exotic East recently and discover this great campaign doing the rounds. Sponsored by Mayor Boris in the run up to LC:M last week it recognises the growth in the British menswear industry (“predicted to overtake womenswear sales by 2016″) and its contribution to the overall economy.

I wouldn’t normally promote competitions here but this one feels exceptional: including images shot by our friend Jonathan Daniel-Price (of GarconJon and 100 Days 100 Beards fame) featuring most-photographed-man-at-LCM ever, Mr Daniel Kennedy. The judging panel and prizes are pretty exceptional too. But be quick about it, you only have until this Friday to enter.

1st prize – a made-to-measure 3 piece suit from Read More »

Matthew Miller AW14: 5 things I loved about The Politics of Me

Posted on 11th January, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

In terms of sheer desirability, Matthew Miller‘s show on Tuesday was a standout of LC:M this season for me. Minimal shapes, great fabrications and head to toe somber colours underpinned by anarchic intentions made the collection irresistable. Added to that, the visceral excitement of hearing James Murphy’s remix of David Bowie’s Love is Lost, with it’s halting hand claps intro booming out over the sound system at the venue sent chills that were definitely multiplying as the androgynous, rebellious looks strode out.

Taking the notion of personal politics to heart, here are 5 things I particularly loved about this collection.

1. The gorgeous, textured fabrics inviting the touch as well as the eye, emphasised the clean shapes of the clothing against the body.
2. The somber yet natural note of forest green, perfected in the biker … Read More »

London Collections Men AW14: in review

Posted on 11th January, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

London Collections: Men ended on Wednesday, concluding the busiest schedule yet. Here are my favourite themes that emerged during the week.

Forest green
While black is most definitely back, forest green and charcoal kept the mood sombre but provided slightly gentler, more natural alternatives at the shows this week. Matthew Miller showed deepest forest green to its best advantage on Tuesday but the muted colour was also seen at Oliver Spencer, Common, and YMC.

Bold lines
Strong, graphical lines – often scaled up to cover the width of garments – filled runways with moving modernist canvases. Seen at E.Tautz and Casely-Hayford but also present at Nicomede Talavera (a designer showing for the first time at talent incubator Fashion East‘s presentations) … Read More »

LC:M incoming: exploring inspiration with Baartmans and Siegel

Posted on 3rd January, by Colin Chapman in Designer profiles, menswear. 1 Comment

Next up in my previews with London designers presenting next week is Baartmans and Siegel. Amber and Wouter kindly took some time out from polishing what is always one of the capital’s most desirable collections to speak to me about their inspiration and some of the unique flavours we can expect this season.

SL: What was your inspiration for Baartmans and Siegel AW14?

B&S: This season we are looking at the feeling of “stealth” and its masculine-evoking energy. Ice, bleak climates and layered silhouettes.The blurred dark depths of internal male emotion – all those blurred shadows and dark patches of your mind that generate the urge for tactile, insular comfor. A man seeking out sensory nourishment.

Wishing to continue our exploration and signature homage to the broad spectrum of navy and inky tones that belong to menswear, we have included many of … Read More »

LC:M incoming: exploring inspiration with Lou Dalton

Posted on 3rd January, by Colin Chapman in Designer profiles, menswear. No Comments

London Collections: Men is back on Monday, making a rudely early start to the fashion year. Which means that while most of the the nation was sleeping off a holiday hangover, designers have been back at work for some time already, perfecting their menswear collections with barely a Chocolate Orange to compensate their pain.

Taking time out from their final preparations, the creators of some of London’s most coveted menswear gave me insights into what we might see next week. First up is Sharpened Lead staple, Lou Dalton.

SL: What was your inspiration for Lou Dalton AW14?

LD:A raw young farm hand, innocent and bleak, working the land.

SL: Describe the vibe of the collection in five choice words. … Read More »

Fashion book news: SOON IS NOW TheInstaPaper – #edit2 and Yohji’s 10 Years of Y-3

Posted on 21st November, by Colin Chapman in Book releases, menswear. 1 Comment

Fashion and social media have an intimate relationship: from bloggers storming the front row at fashion shows, to taste influencers being sponsored by premier league brands, to designers documenting their design processes through the new medium of instantly-shared
photography journals.

Launching this week the very particularly-titled SOON IS NOW TheInstaPaper-#edit2 is a publication that aims to bridge the gap between traditional and digital media working with fifteen artists who are engaged in documenting their world through instant photography. Included in the fifteen are Humberto Leon from the talent-sourcing New York based global boutique Opening Ceremony and London artist and ‘contemporary shaman’ Matthew Stone, whose work regularly features in high-end fashion publications such as GQ Style.

The book is based entirely on Instagram photos, documenting the “instant” visual movement by turning it … Read More »

Dazed release ‘shoppable videos’ styled by Kit Neale and Charlie Casely-Hayford

Posted on 18th November, by Colin Chapman in Casely-Hayford, Film and fashion, menswear. No Comments

Just released are these ‘shoppable videos’ styled by Sharpened Lead favourites Kit Neale and Charlie Casely-Hayford produced in collaboration with Dazed and Confused magazine and featuring clothing by Italian menswear brand Antony Morato.

I’m quite blown away by the technology (provided by wireWax) – the next logical step on from those shoppable tabloid stories, but applied to the visions of of Kit and Charlie, actually something quite beautiful. Film is definitely evolving as an obvious vehicle for fashion stories, not only is … Read More »

Hello My name is Paul Smith: exhibition review

Posted on 17th November, by Colin Chapman in Designer profiles, menswear. No Comments

On Friday, the exhibition Hello My Name is Paul Smith opened at The Design Museum on London’s South Bank and I was lucky enough to be there. A press release I’d seen showed images of the creative chaos of Smith’s office, apparently moved wholesale into the stark focus of The Design Museum’s white space, consisting of countless inspirational objects, art works and bits of stuff. Aside from this, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would there be actual clothes? Or, being The Design Museum, would there be a contrary focus on Paul Smith’s non-fashion work: from vehicles to furniture and other objects? As it turns out, his fashion work is reviewed as a whole: from the origins of Smith’s’ global business in a single, modest Nottingham shop space, to the scale of … Read More »

LC:M schedule announcement: Casely-Hayford’s runway show and Kit Neale moves on to NewGen Men.

Posted on 14th November, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Last week the schedule for the next London Collections: Men in January was announced, making it clear which designers will show and when, as design studios across the capital prepare to spend the Christmas break feverishly completing collections for the menswear showcase.

January’s schedule features some fixtures, like Lou Dalton, a designer moving to the next level who will once again present the first show of the London season, but there are also some interesting and exciting additions to the line-up like father-son partnership Casely-Hayford and Swedish brand Common. London’s globabl status as a capital of fashion innovation is reflected in initiatives like Read More »

Grenson men’s lab at Liberty

Posted on 29th October, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

English shoemaker Grenson has brought it’s ‘Lab’,complete with white-coated assistants, to the men’s shoe department at Liberty, in response to demand following the highly acclaimed shoe-design lab for women at the department store last year. If any further proof were needed that the appetite for men’s shoes has already caught up with women’s (I for one don’t need convincing) this might be it.

Displayed across a suitably stark white counter, the Lab lets you choose from soles, laces, eyelets and of course, the leathers for your dream shoes. While there’s the freedom to make a self-identifed pig’s ear of it should you wish, classy examples are on display to guide your eye towards wise combinations and luxurious pairings (I have my eye on the black leather and suede brogues with chunky black soles … Read More »

Cherchbi x Marwood travel bag, a classy collaboration

Posted on 25th October, by Colin Chapman in Accessories, menswear. No Comments

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 »

Menswear Sample Sales: London and New York

Posted on 22nd October, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Acquiring some exclusive, one-off items by some of London’s finest youngest menswear designers is quite honestly something I’d usually keep hush-hush, especially when the names involved include staunch Sharpened Lead favourites James Long, Martine Rose, Lou Dalton, Sibling and Christopher Shannon. For reasons beyond my control, I’m not able to make it myself tomorrow or Thursday, so make me proud fashion followers: elbows at the ready.

Compounding my misery (and for the benefit of my New York readers), how about the option of attending Duckie Brown’s fourth ever sample sale in 12 years?

Yohji Yamamoto at LN-CC: music for runways

Posted on 23rd September, by Colin Chapman in Collection review, Designer profiles, menswear. No Comments

A big part of the experience of attending fashion shows is the music. Sometimes it’s because the choice is so unexpected and brilliant (like Marc Jacobs using the theme music to Jaws at his latest women’s show for example) or because a whole genre or era emerges as the soundtrack to an entire week of shows in a city (hip hop at the recent men’s shows in New York, post punk and early rave at the most recent LC:M). Fashion shows are fleeting, despite the huge number of people involved, the sets, the lighting and a cast of beautiful models, it’s the music that brings it all together.

Records of these rarified occasions do exist though, and in an attempt to open up one such archive, LN-CC, (Late Night Chameleon Cafe), the unique online store with a … Read More »

Closing the file on New York Fashion Week SS14: some final thoughts

Posted on 14th September, by Colin Chapman in menswear, New York, New York Fashion Week. No Comments

New York fashion week ended Thursday with an apocalyptic-looking Marc Jacobs show featuring a spectacular set, cut-and-paste period looks, kooky home-cut hair and the theme music from Jaws – all in all a vision worthy of Tim Burton and quite brilliant. But by then I was already back in London attending the launch of the ICA’s amazing Off site exhibition to welcome myself home. So, as I close the file on the New York menswear shows for SS14 I attended last week, here are a few thoughts and images that didn’t make it into either the Guardian round up or my Duckie piece.

Duckie Brown

Duckie is always the best experience for me at NYFW: reliably confrontational and … Read More »

Menswear at New York fashion week reviewed

Posted on 12th September, by Colin Chapman in New York, New York Fashion Week. 1 Comment

My round up from The Guardian earlier this week, in case you missed it there or aren’t a Guardian visitor.

New York fashion week concludes soon and the more interesting menswear shows this week demonstrated that beneath the city’s reputation for understatement beats a less conventional heart

Duckie Brown

Duckie Brown are New York’s premier menswear experimentalists, and on Friday among the most surprising pieces in their collection were skirts and aprons inspired by sportswear and uniforms, shown alongside classic shapes such as bomber jackets and shorts. The idea of men in skirts still provokes strong reactions, which is why bolder menswear designers continue to return to it.

This collection was grounded in solid colours reminiscent of uniforms – navy, grey and khaki – and paired up with the solid heft of the … Read More »

New York Fashion Week SS14: Duckie Brown review

Posted on 6th September, by Colin Chapman in New York, New York Fashion Week. 4 Comments

Boys keep swinging: Duckie Brown’s SS14 collection doesn’t skirt around the issue of what men can wear.

Duckie Brown today played up to their reputation for being New York’s premier experimentalists in the form of menswear. And playing is the right word to use, not in the sense of being pointlessly frivolous but in the idea of a childlike refusal to accept rules as rules and to continuously test boundaries, especially when it comes to what can be worn and by whom. In the opening moments, a spoken word soundtrack, voiced by children, expressed the arbitrariness of male and female dress codes and their impact on aspirations and identities, a sentiment later underlined by the lyrics of some driving adult-vocalled hip hop.

Backstage before the show, Read More »

Lookbook review: Peter Jensen SS14 menswear, Q&A

Posted on 5th September, by Colin Chapman in Collection review, menswear. No Comments

Peter Jensen‘s collection for next Spring/Summer is inspired by fallen Hollywood star and socialite Paulette Goddard and her milieu, including one Andy Warhol. The women’s resort collection was photographed alongside the SS14 menswear, including some stunning images of a young Goddard-like socialite and her friend Mr Warhol, admirably played here by young models. The menswear is made up of simple separates bridging the gap between downtown daywear and clothes for that upscale loft party later. The colour palette spans Pop Art brights and strong monochromes (reminiscent of Andy’s screenprints).

“I like the idea of this chic old lady sitting smoking at Studio 54, dressed in Pop Art colours, telling everybody how rich she is and that she used to be a famous movie star.” 

Intrigued by those lookbook images I asked Peter … Read More »

New York Fashion Week SS14: still set to inspire

Posted on 30th August, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

I’m off to New York next week for fashion week, where I’ll be posting from the most exciting menswear shows around the city.

New York’s men’s shows may not fit into a few neat days like London’s collections, there’s a lot of preppy conformity to filter out and the inevitable September humidity to deal with, but half the inspiration of being in a city like New York at any time, never mind fashion week, is experiencing what the well dressed are wearing. New Yorkers are expert at dressing for extremes, adept at wearing the right thing for those long sweaty summers as well as layering up for some seriously cold winters.

There may not be quite the bargains to be had of the 90’s, when Manhattan streets were packed with Brit shoppers wheeling empty suitcases towards then little-known outlet stores, but at … Read More »

Inky pleasures: OTHER collaborates with Lee Jeans on a new denim range

Posted on 7th August, by Colin Chapman in menswear. 1 Comment

Just before the launch of their collaboration with LEE Jeans later this week, I caught up with Matthew Murphy, co-designer of OTHER (with Chloe Struyk). Formerly knowns as B Store, OTHER is a fashion brand, a physical boutique on London’s Kingly Street in W1 and a web store. OTHER produces its own-label range of unisex, utility-influenced clothing and accessories, which it sells alongside expertly selected pieces from independent designers, including Sharpened Lead favourites Marwood and Berthold. Regardless of their current name, the team are no strangers to collaboration, B-Store previously worked with Liberty, fusing Liberty’s print heritage with OTHER’s relaxed but contemporary approach to shape and form.

The new collection with LEE combines some of the classics from … Read More »

Menswear campaigns roundup AW13: Michael Pitt in Rag & Bone and Kenzo’s stunt riders on film

Posted on 25th July, by Colin Chapman in Campaigns, menswear. No Comments

From time to time I like to take a look at some of the more interesting menswear campaigns out there, here are a couple that have caught my eye recently.

First up, pictures have emerged of US actor Michael Pitt in Rag & Bone‘s menswear campaign for AW13. In these stills taken from the upcoming video (set for September release) Pitt is seen driving around downtown Manhattan wearing a selection of Rag & Bone’s Autumn/Winter outerwear including a beautiful shearling collar coat, and (as even The Daily Mail were excited to report) trashing his own guitar in the middle of a New York City street. He’s one of the few people of his stature who could carry off such a stunt with any sense of authenticity (the man is friends with Patti Smith after … Read More »

Summer footwear: YMC and Raf Simons for Adidas

Posted on 16th July, by Colin Chapman in AW12, menswear, Shoes. No Comments

At the recent menswear shows I caught a glimpse of some of the more adventurous summer footwear heading our way next year: glossy winkle pickers at Jonathan Saunders, bright suede espadrilles at Mr Hare, and endless variations on high-tech, luxury trainers and printed pumps. Colourful monkstrap shoes are also set to be popular.

Summer footwear for men can be a challenge: no one really wants to (or should) be wearing sticky flip-flops on their daily commute, sandals often divide opinion and preppy boat shoes and loafers are just looking a bit tired. With all that in mind, here are a couple of my current summer favourites: a smart sandal and a high-tech, futuristic trainer.

The sandals are from British brand Read More »

In review: backstage at E.Tautz SS14

Posted on 1st July, by Colin Chapman in Collection review, London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

It’s not often I let the pictures do the talking (in fact, I’d argue that menswear currently has way too much much image sharing and not enough good writing), but reviewing these backstage pics from the E.Tautz SS14 show a couple of weeks ago now, I’m struck by the way the images tell the story in their own right.

While focusing on the hair and make up by Toni & Guy and the Vidal Sassoon teams, the photos here also show the build up to the boys getting into their first outfits. I’ve been backstage at an E.Tautz show before and am always impressed by Patrick‘s calm … Read More »

Five things you should know about Lou Dalton’s SS14 show at LC:M

Posted on 21st June, by Colin Chapman in menswear. 1 Comment

Lou Dalton opened London Collections: Men again this season, this time with a new, less-fitted spin on her tailored sportswear aesthetic. Inspired by the rootless life of a young nomad, the collection is filled with intriguing details from this story, part RAF aviation field, part artist studio.

1.The music was, once again, brilliant. The Smiths How Soon is Now? and the original 12” version of Bauhaus’s Bela Lugosi’s Dead in particular, with its eerie, twitchy rhythms, established a darker, more somber mood for Lou’s show this season. Jim Stanton of Horsemeat Disco crafted the soundtrack, with his usual flair for pressing just the right emotional buttons.

2.She redefined the shorts suit. I often find the combination of a blazer and shorts can look prissy, but something about the ‘pyjama jacket’ overshirt … Read More »

It’s more than just clothes: LC:M SS14 on my mind

Posted on 20th June, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men. 1 Comment

During the packed schedule at three days of London Collections: Men, it’s easy for things to start to blur but certain experiences stay with you. And it’s not just about the clothes. The spectacle and theatre of catwalk and installations creates powerful moments when music, space, lighting and a load of beautiful-looking people are brought together for a few dazzling minutes. Here are some of the things I’m mulling over now the shows and presentations are over.

LC:M is memorable for more than what is presented on the catwalk. With hundreds of stylish buyers, journalists, editors and bloggers on show for three days, it’s a perfect opportunity to see what men in the industry are actually wearing. One note I picked up on was a certain relaxed, less buttoned-up approach to dressing (lets ignore the truckloads of pocket squares for now), … Read More »

LC:M SS14, In the studio with Kit Neale

Posted on 15th June, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men, menswear, On the Radar, Studio Visit. 1 Comment

Last season I met up with Kit Neale, in his studio off Kingsland Road in central East London, to discuss his then upcoming collection for Fashion East, one of London’s menswear’s best regarded platforms for emerging fashion talent. Known for his punchy prints, which have incorporated seafood and allotment vegetables amongst other motifs, I was curious to learn whether Kit was at all worried that fashion’s love affair with print had reached its zenith.

Six months later, I’m back in Kit’s studio: there are are fresh moodboards and sketches all over the … Read More »

Lookbook review: Marwood accessories AW13

Posted on 31st May, by Colin Chapman in Accessories, menswear, On the Radar. 2 Comments

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 »

Sharpened Lead joins The Guardian’s fashion bloggers network

Posted on 24th May, by Colin Chapman in menswear. 2 Comments

Back in December I threw my name into a hat with a few other hopeful fashion writers to be considered for The Guardian’s proposed fashion blogging network, their aim being to bring some new voices to their fashion coverage. I’m pleased to announce that I was selected, and the network was officially launched this week.

There are lots of great writers onboard, covering topics from academic studies on dress and clothing culture, to beauty. On the menswear front, I am joined by David of Greyfox blog. David has written a very eloquent post recently, putting forward his hopes and reasons for wanting to be part of The Guardian’s plans. It’s worth a read, and I can only … Read More »

Agi & Sam’s collection for Topman: presenting “The Owls”

Posted on 11th May, by Colin Chapman in Collection review, menswear, On the Radar. No Comments

Designers Agi & Sam whose collections have generated huge excitement during the last two London menswear weeks, are about to release a 20 piece collection for Topman.  The collection takes the idea of a kit for an imaginary football team: “The Owls” as a starting point, but goes beyond sportswear to includes shirting and tailoring in a mix of strong, blocked colours and the designers’ signature all over digital prints. Whilst I personally, may be entirely immune to the charms of football, I am very excited about design talent like Agi & Sam and what they say about London’s buoyant menswear scene.

I like to think that there are many out there who’ve now picked up on the buzz about the … Read More »

Lookbook review: Peter Jensen’s Arne Jacobsen-inspired menswear

Posted on 8th May, by Colin Chapman in Collection review, menswear. 1 Comment

Fashion and furniture aren’t usually spoken about in the same breath,  which is surprising as an interest in clothing and accessories often translates into the priorities you have for your living space. Just think about photographer Todd Selby‘s excursions into the stylish homes of global creatives, Backyard Bill‘s glimpses into the enviable living spots of Brooklyn’s fashion types and what they both tell us about how those people live now. Half a century ago, the focus was on then modern designers like Charles and Ray Eames as exemplars of a stylish way of living. Picking up this theme, London-based designer Peter Jensen has taken inspiration from fellow Dane, architect and designer Arne Jacobsen, he of the classic Egg, Swan and … Read More »

Springwatch: spring bombers in high tec fabrics

Posted on 26th April, by Colin Chapman in menswear, Wishlist. No Comments

Spring just might be in the air, and as ever, the first sunny days of the year encouraged sun deprived Londoners to shed layers and crack open the summer wardrobe early. Having invested in at least two pairs of summer shorts myself, I can understand that enthusiasm, but age and wisdom make me a little more hesitant. There’s a lot to be said for intra seasonal dressing, and Spring is a great time to hedge your bets, dipping toes into summer lightness and colour, without fully exposing those pasty limbs just yet.

It’s not that often I do a shopping post but right now I’m all about two items: the bomber jacket and finding a great pair of trainers for the summer. The bomber jacket has recently been redefined. One of those classic shapes you probably didn’t ever think about but … Read More »

Holdall & Co: fine English folios for town and country

Posted on 24th April, by Colin Chapman in Accessories, Luggage, menswear. No Comments

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.

Perry Ellis by Duckie Brown SS13 Campaign

Posted on 8th March, by Colin Chapman in Collection review, menswear. No Comments

With fashion’s time machine set on AW13, it’s been all about winter recently, both in terms of the view out of the window and what we’re aspiring to wear in a year’s time. So it’s easy to forget that we’ve yet to experience Spring/Summer 13 and I’m now looking forward to putting to the test some of my predictions and advanced purchases as the days gradually get longer.

Hostem Bespoke at The Chalk Room – Spring 2013

Posted on 20th February, by Colin Chapman in Designer profiles, Fashion launch. No Comments

One of the joys of being involved in men’s fashion is being able to have meaningful conversations with people about clothes that go well beyond a personal shopping agenda. And this morning at the launch of Hostem’s Bespoke offering there was much to learn and discuss with some of London’s most talented artisan menswear designers, including Sharpened Lead favourite Casely Hayford and master shoemaker Sebastian Tarek.

Through the pioneering Redchurch Street boutique, Casely-Hayford are offering made-to-measure suits and shirts, with prices (for a suit) starting at an approachable £1200. As Charlie was keen to remind us, the benefit of something made to measure is that it will be created to accommodate the quirks of an individual body (we all have them, … Read More »

NYFW, in the wings with Daniel Silver and Steven Cox of Duckie Brown

Posted on 14th February, by Colin Chapman in Collection review, Designer profiles, menswear, Studio Visit. No Comments

At the start of New York Fashion Week I caught up with Daniel Silver and Steven Cox as they were preparing to present first their own Duckie Brown line and then a few days later, their Perry Ellis by Duckie Brown collection. As ever, it’s a fascinating insight into the world of Duckie Brown.

Words with Daniel on the eve of Duckie Brown’s show in New York.

Words with Steven on the eve of Perry Ellis by Duckie Brown in New York.

Read my Duckie Brown collection review here, Perry Ellis will follow shortly.

NYFW, AW13 Duckie Brown: turning ‘outerwear’ inside out

Posted on 14th February, by Colin Chapman in Catwalk review, menswear. No Comments

A week ago today Duckie Brown presented their AW13 collection in New York. Whilst posters around the city suggested a potential print-fest, perhaps a wintry take on the ‘bruised roses‘ of SS12, what emerged was a brilliantly executed reversal of expectation with a a play on the whole concept of ‘outerwear’ and layering.

Whilst Daniel had hinted that the collection would be “tough again – poofy lad”, Steven‘s summing up: “changing layering around and using heavy wool for linings and light fabric for the outer shell…no shirts but underneath coats instead of shirts … Read More »

NYFW AW13: in the wings with Steven Cox of Duckie Brown

Posted on 12th February, by Colin Chapman in Designer profiles, menswear, Studio Visit. No Comments

In New York later this afternoon, Duckie Brown will present their second collection for Perry Ellis. Whilst PE might be little known to Brits (aside from vaguely remembered billboard ads from that New York trip), as I’ve informed before, the brand is a mainstay at the more MOR department stores in the States. And last season, the Duckies blew the dust off Perry Ellis with a spirited re-visioning of the brand’s familiar khaki and signature polka dots.

Having already posted Daniel Silver‘s thoughts on the eve of their signature line’s show last Thursday, here are partner Steven’s responses in … Read More »

NYFW AW13: in the wings with Duckie Brown

Posted on 7th February, by Colin Chapman in Collection review, Designer profiles, menswear, Studio Visit. No Comments

Later today, Duckie Brown will present their AW13 Collection. Always a highlight of New York Fashion Week for me, I love how their uncompromising vision of menswear confronts the more ‘buttoned up’ notions of masculinity being presented elsewhere in the City. With not one but two collections to prepare (their menswear line for Perry Ellis will be shown next week), not to mention their ongoing collaboration with shoemakers Florsheim, you could say the Duckies are busy. Here are some reminders of recent collections, interspersed with some questions I managed to fire at the guys in the last week. And to heighten the suspense, those intriguing posters from around town and the ‘Duckyl’ flyer for today’s show.

Your last Duckie collection (SS13) was described as being quite “tough” with lots of … Read More »

A whole month of menswear: my AW13 wish list

Posted on 1st February, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men, menswear, Wishlist. No Comments

In less than a Manhattan minute, the menswear shows will be happening in New York, bringing a month of men’s fashion to a close. And what a month it’s been! Even if you didn’t get to attend the shows in person, in 2013 you could sit ‘front row’ in the comfort of your own living room with the major presentations (Prada, Louis Vuitton etc) being streamed live, and unprecedented coverage in the press and digital media. For designers, now is when the real work starts: selling their cherished designs to the buyers that matter and getting the right press.

A good moment then, to pause and sift through it all. And with personal orders events cropping up as designers return to London, it’s time to make some decisions.

Martine Rose, AW13: look back in detail

Posted on 1st February, by Colin Chapman in Catwalk review, Collection review, London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

In fashion terms, London Collections Men AW13 is already history. Perception of what we saw here in early January has shifted and re-positioned itself around the wider context of menswear globally, now that Milan, Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen and (imminently) New York have had their say. But the real work for designers has only just started in terms of sales and production, and there’s still the big question (for those not involved in stocking a boutique or planning editorial shoots for later in the year at least) of what to wear NOW, with a seasonal climate shift approaching.

It’s also a great time to pick over images from the shows for missed or forgotten moments. By now, the photos themselves have significance as a record of an ‘event’. As well as the clothes themselves: who was there? were they looking bored/scared/intrigued? The … Read More »

Meadham Kirchhoff men’s AW13: bin bags and Byronic dandies

Posted on 20th January, by Colin Chapman in Catwalk review, Collection review, London Collections: Men. 1 Comment

“It’s finished,” said the bouncer on the door at Meadham Kirchhoff’s AW13 menswear presentation, “You missed it by 30 seconds.” “Can I go and look at the debris?”, I replied, having noticed the stacks of bin bags making up the set, hinting at something quite apocalyptic inside. Flashing an obviously rare smile, he stepped back to let me in.

I was fortunate: the models were still standing in place to facilitate a last-minute photo shoot, the designers themselves passing me on their way out. Meadham Kirchhoff’s presentation last season was my favourite experience at the first London Collections: Men, hence my keenness not to miss the follow up. That mad squat filled with the scent of over-blown blooms, boys with pink hair and visibly alarmed fashion editors keeping … Read More »

Agi and Sam AW13: like classic portraiture come to life in Disney colours

Posted on 17th January, by Colin Chapman in Catwalk review, Collection review, London Collections: Men. 2 Comments

So much has already been said about Agi & Sam‘s collection shown as part of MAN AW13, or more accurately, has been shared. Images of designers Patrick Grant and William R. Green rouged-up and walking in the show, the basset hounds! the Marquess of Bath-alike! all proved infinitely shareable as a delighted crowd were caught up in the infectious buzz and sense of fun and got busy with social media.

But in reviewing the images again now, what strikes me is what an elegant and grown up collection it is. “We tried so hard to mature the collection without losing the fun” said they duo as I offered my congratulations after the show. And that effort really comes across. As a development from last season their use of colour and print is much more precise, the overall … Read More »

In review: the colours of London Collections, Men

Posted on 16th January, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

Next up in my visual scrapbook from the recent London Collections for men the theme is colour. Once again my intention isn’t to draw attention to trends necessarily, but simply to take a slice of the visual experience of the shows as being about colour. From ‘warm your hands’ orange to soft pastels, bottomless black vinyl and everything in-between, here are some of my favourite colour moments from AW13.

Details at foot of page.

Images: 1 and 2: Agi & Sam, 3: Topman Design, 4: Jonathan Saunders, 5: Xander Zhou, 6: Meadham Kirchhoff, 7: J.W. Anderson, 8: Sibling, 9: Lou Dalton.

E.Tautz, AW13: revisioning the fabric of Scotland

Posted on 16th January, by Colin Chapman in Catwalk review, Collection review, London Collections: Men. No Comments

Patrick Grant’s little talks at the start of each E.Tautz collection are one of the givens of the menswear season in London, bringing a touch of intimacy and old-school charm to the experience of attending a fashion show. Whilst the echoing blank canvas of The Sorting Office space made such a verbal introduction impossible this time, the austerity of the space meant that the AW13 collection was left to create its own sense of drama and occasion. The pacing was unique in the Collections, no straight-out-of-Hackney-Wick striding here, instead there was time for the models (and us) to breathe between looks. A stirring soundtrack – Ultravox’s Vienna was particularly poignant – added to the sense of spaciousness.

LC:M in review: Installations and Performance at the London Menswear Shows

Posted on 15th January, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

In the midst of reviewing the LC:M shows, especially going through the thousands of photos on my hard drive, certain themes start to emerge. Some trends, yes, but also ways of thinking about the visual experience of being there. So, alongside analysis of shows I particularly enjoyed, I’ve decided to share with you a series of primarily visual scrapbooks from the latest Collections in London.

My first theme is Installations and Performance. Since London’s Menswear Day evolved into a fully fledged Week one thing has remained clear: London really shines in terms of how men’s fashion is presented at installations and in more performance-driven shows. Most people are familiar with the idea of a runway show and backstage footage is now a staple in the media. It also doesn’t take much imagination to envisage what happens at a fashion trade show: … Read More »

Lou Dalton, AW13: raw terrain and Local Heroes

Posted on 13th January, by Colin Chapman in Catwalk review, Collection review, menswear. 3 Comments

Almost a week ago, Lou Dalton opened London Collections Men: AW13, presenting her collection to an attentive crowd primed for a week of looking at fashion for men. Whilst being the opening act will never be an easy gig, Lou is a perfect choice for this particular role. From the very first look, there was an air of calm accomplishment about her work and under her steady hand, London Collections: Men AW13 was starting out pitch perfect.

It feels right to be reviewing this collection now. By the end of the week of looking at beautiful garments on striking looking men, there is a sense of blur. As much as you want to see more, there is an element of visual fatigue, so going back to the start now feels right.

The City-boy formality of the opening looks … Read More »

Round up: London Collections Men, AW13

Posted on 11th January, by Colin Chapman in Catwalk review, Collection review, London Collections: Men. 1 Comment

The second London Collections: Men finished on Wednesday, with a Peter Werth x Nutter’s show where the models broke out into Northern Soul dance moves. It seemed a fitting ending to three days of fashion shows, installations, presentations and events that not only seemed more confident, cumulatively, but also possessed a collective sense of fun. Whether it was a ruddy-cheeked Patrick Grant walking the Agi&Sam runway with accompanying basset hound, Sibling’s ‘knit monsters’ in giant mittens, boys in flying saucers at Fashion East or the thigh-flashing peplum-shorts for men at JW Anderson, London’s fashion statement to the world seemed to be: don’t take everything so seriously. But alongside the British sense of humour, there was the equally typical love of provocation running through many shows, either as direct statements at Matthew Miller and YMC, or in the more general sense of … Read More »

LCM: AW13, Baartmans and Siegel in the studio

Posted on 9th January, by Colin Chapman in Collection review, London Collections: Men, menswear, Studio Visit. No Comments

It’s not often I feel overwhelmed after leaving a designer’s studio but my visit to Baartmans and Siegel before Christmas left me reeling slightly from all the luxury and the amazing materials I’d touched. Maybe it had something to do with Amber insisting I try much of the collection on, which meant I felt the weight, the comfort and the sheer sensual pleasure of wearing such beautiful clothes and connecting with them off the rail.

I love meeting designers who are very inspired by what they do, and Baartmans and Siegel are clearly very inspired. For designers whose backgrounds span Marc Jacobs and Viktor and Rolf they remain affable, approachable and clearly in love with their craft. The details of our chat ranged from scratch and sniff cherry fragrance to Amber’s love of Jeff Bridges, and the fashion-y pleasures of a perfect gliding zip, quality buttons and the production of yak wool.

LC:M, AW13: in the wings with Baartmans and Siegel

Posted on 4th January, by Colin Chapman in Designer profiles, London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

My final anticipatory post for LC:M is a departure from the Q&A and studio visits I’ve been working on since early December. It’s not that I didn’t visit the lovely Amber Siegel and Wouter Baartmans in their Hackney studio, but I was so overexcited about being given the opportunity to actually try on the collection that a Q&A format really wouldn’t do justice to that sensual experience now. So this is a post in two halves, first up here’s a little insight into their inspirations for AW13. A post with detailed pics of my favourite pieces from the studio visit is still to come, once the collection is no longer under wraps.

And of course I’ll be poring over the presentation pics and sharing that experience with you after Wednesday.

For now, it’s all … Read More »

LC:M, AW13: in the wings with Martine Rose

Posted on 4th January, by Colin Chapman in Designer profiles, London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

With LC:M almost upon us, it’s time for my final posts with some of London’s brightest and most anticipated menswear talent. Next up is Martine Rose, who can always be relied upon to bring a cerebral approach, very much balanced by a grittier awareness of street culture.  This season we’ve been advised to get to our seats for Martine’s presentation in good time as the presentation will be “a performance.” The intriguing playing card invite suggests both regal finery and roguish gambling knaves.

















Here’s what Martine had to say when we caught up:

SL: Could you give me a few choice phrases to describe your inspirations for this collection?

MR: Sovereignty, status, ghetto kings. It started after I came back from Jamaica in the summer, I was so inspired by the rasta community there, even in … Read More »

LC:M, AW13: in the wings with Patrick Grant of E.Tautz

Posted on 27th December, by Colin Chapman in Designer profiles, London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

For many of London’s menswear designers, Christmas 2012 will be remembered more for a lot of hard work than traditional festive over-indulgence. In a festive tribute to their renewed efforts today, I’m picking up where I left off as well, with my series of tasters for LC:M, AW13.

Today’s post features a brief chat with Patrick Grant, of E.Tautz, always one of the most anticipated London menswear shows.

Photo of Patrick Grant by Jonathan Daniel Pryce from his recommended 100 Days 100 Beards project and book.

SL: Could you give me a few choice phrases to describe your inspirations for this collection?

PG: Crofters cottages, not hanging out your washing on a Sunday, bad sixties wallpaper, rusty old cars.

SL: Last time we met, you were saying that the … Read More »

LC:M AW13, in the wings with Lou Dalton

Posted on 21st December, by Colin Chapman in Designer profiles, London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

For many London’s menswear designers, Christmas 2012 will be remembered more for a lot of hard work than traditional festive over-indulgence. Over the last 2 weeks, I grabbed time with some of London’s brightest and most anticipated menswear talent to get a taster of what they’re planning for the next round of London Collections: Men. Despite frantic scenes involving whirring sewing machines, overheated steam irons, and missing invites, as ever, London’s menswear talent were gracious enough to let me peek inside their studios.

Next up is Sharpened Lead favourite and hard grafter, Lou Dalton who as tradition has it, kicks off a week’s events with the opening show of the week.

SL: Could you give me a few choice phrases to describe your inspirations for this collection?
LD: The Shetland Isles, The Film “Local Hero”,a couple of scenes from “Ryans … Read More »

Marwood ties: remembering summer

Posted on 21st December, by Colin Chapman in Accessories, Video post. No Comments

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.

The selection used here is from the Split Screen AW12 collection, and … Read More »

London Collections: Men, 2013. In the studio with Kit Neale

Posted on 10th December, by Colin Chapman in Designer profiles, London Collections: Men, menswear, Studio Visit. No Comments

As anticipation starts to build for the second London Collections: Men in January, I will be speaking to some of the talent that makes London menswear so exciting, bringing you designer and industry insider insights from behind the collections.

Here I speak to Kit Neale, about his Michael Clark fixation, and the showroom/studio space he’s just opened off Hackney Road.

SL: Tell me about the showroom space…

Kit Neale: We’ve been here about 3 weeks, we moved from Hackney, the depths of Hackney. Menswear is so different from womenswear, men want to have that rapport I think; womenswear like the ‘mystique’ of it all.  The decision was to set up a space, have a rapport and be able to set the tone for the brand, visually, and … Read More »

Questions for Raimund Berthold: SS13

Posted on 27th November, by Colin Chapman in Collection review, Designer profiles, London Collections: Men, menswear. No Comments

I’d previously passed over Raimund Berthold’s designs as being not really for me, so I was therefore surprised to be so taken with the Berthold SS13 collection. Raimund’s earlier experiments with shape and form and use of ‘sculptural’ materials such as neoprene now look very prescient, given Balenciaga’s recent use of the same material.

Having overdosed on print and colour in recent seasons, suddenly the idea of monochome clothing that still makes a statement through playful, unconventional form is very appealing to me. So, I caught up with Raimund last week, for a Q&A session about the new collection. Below are Raimund’s witty, yet insightful ripostes to my questions and shots of the collection itself.

SL: SS13 looks very fresh, exuberant and youthful. What was your overall aim with this collection? Any specific starting points or inspirations for SS13?

RB: My aim was … Read More »

Jigsaw: coming back stronger with SS13

Posted on 22nd November, by Colin Chapman in Collection review. 4 Comments

I’m not a huge one for the high street. But Jigsaw Menswear is one high street brand I have fond memories of. I say memories because at some point in the blurry early noughties, the brand disappeared, leaving only the womenswear line. But now it’s back, and after a lacklustre start last Spring that left me reminiscing about it’s former boldness of touch, the SS13 men’s collection I saw yesterday is a more fitting return to form.

Bernstock Speirs, 30: part of the fabric of London’s fashion story

Posted on 15th November, by Colin Chapman in Accessories. No Comments

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 »

H&M x Margiela: my edit of the collection

Posted on 10th November, by Colin Chapman in Collection review. No Comments

I have to confess to taking a while to get up to speed with this HM x Margiela collaboration. For the Marni one, I glided into the pre-launch event, having already selected the items of interest from the lookbook, like a Stepford Wife on rollerskates. This time around, it’s taken a while for any sense of anticipation about the collection to develop. Which is ironic, as the collection looks much more comprehensive. And I think that the ‘basics as luxury’ aesthetic of the House of Margiela will make a lot of sense once harnessed to the mass production power of H&M. In any case, I’m heading off on a rural retreat to celebrate my birthday this week, leaving the rest of you to fight it out on Regent Street.

100 Days,100 Beards, The Book Launch

Posted on 1st November, by Colin Chapman in Mens Grooming, menswear. No Comments

Over the summer I became acquainted with a very personable young photographer and fellow blogger, Mr Jonathan Daniel Pryce of Another Garcon. Jonathan’s project 100 Days, 100 Beards has subsequently taken off with such meteoric force that one can only assume that he has captured the beard zeitgeist at just the right moment.

As I type, I’m preparing myself to attend the launch party for Jonathan’s book. At this moment in time, it’s great to see that such blog projects can still evolve into meaningful, covetable books, given the potential for mediocrity out there. It’s also great that this is a specifically menswear blogging phenomenon, something to be celebrated amongst our select crew. As a long-term beard ‘fancier’ myself, this is a project I could well relate to, especially … Read More »

Autumn Look Around: violet, wings and the Argan trial

Posted on 29th October, by Colin Chapman in Mens Grooming, menswear. No Comments

It’s been a while. Something about those lengthy show reports and photo gallery editing after LFW/NYFW left me feeling a little drained by the fashion machine. So in a spirit of free-wheeling adventure, I’ll be posting a series of less formal Look Arounds, beyond the scope of the usual fashion searchlights, especially as London Collections: Men round 2 is not until January.

Inspirational image: Stephen Hardingham for The Wing Assignment
First up, this inspiring image by Stephen Hardingham has many of the qualities I’m relating to in menswear right now. The genius combination of feathers and tweed, in a disarming take on the pocket square, suggests timelessness, visual surprise and eccentricity. Though worthy of a fashion editorial, Stephen’s photo was one of the pieces chosen to be exhibited as part of The Wing Assignment, … Read More »

Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewis: AW12

Posted on 24th September, by Colin Chapman in AW12. No Comments

I’m very excited to be able to share with you these lovely colour images from the new season collection by Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewis. This is one high street partnership that continues to produce great product and really should be a blueprint for how these associations run.It’s clear that John Lewis gives Joe the freedom to use the materials of his choice to an exacting finish, and combined with his eye for a classic yet edgy cut, the result is a brilliant showcase of enduring British style and quality.

NYFW, SS13: General Idea’s psychedelic lumberjacks

Posted on 19th September, by Colin Chapman in New York Fashion Week. No Comments

I have to admit to my heart sinking slightly when reading the title of General Idea’s show at Eyebeam studio in New York during NYFW: The Last Lumberjack. But I should have trusted that Korean designer Bumsuk Choi’s creative vision would be far more interesting than just another encounter with American heritagewear. From the first look, involving a revitalised camo fabric shot through with neon green, this was a collection that tantalised the eye with colour.

And then I spotted the shoes… chunky, outdoorsy hiking boots and tough looking trainer hybrids, again with neon highlights. Not dissimilar to the neon colours used by Prada in the more outré (and little photographed) end of their recent golfing-inspired footwear line, the bright pinks, oranges and neon yellow make these sturdy looking shoes instantly modern, urban and relevant. Styling throughout focused on the combination … Read More »

NYFW, SS13: Perry Ellis by Duckie Brown

Posted on 13th September, by Colin Chapman in New York Fashion Week. No Comments

On Tuesday, Duckie Brown presented their first Perry Ellis by Duckie Brown collection in New York. Always ones to clear the air, Steven and Daniel’s quickfire statement about the show was a clarification: “We haven’t re-created Perry Ellis, we’ve invented a new men’s wear collection.” We stand corrected. Nevertheless, expectations were high, as Perry, the familiar khakis-and-button-downs American brand, was given the Duckie Brown tailspin.Going up! Expectations were high for the Perry Ellis by Duckie Brown debut.

The hats! A table full of the minimal beauties.

Of course, the hats are the first thing to mention. Part riding hat, part baseball cap, in a velvety taupe, they gave uniformity to the collection, being worn by every model. Collection-wise, this baseline colour of tan-taupe was given subtle variations … Read More »

Siki Im SS13: Ghost Ranch

Posted on 13th September, by Colin Chapman in New York Fashion Week. 1 Comment

As a former architect, it is perhaps not surprising that Siki Im was at pains last week to point out that his SS13 collection Ghost Ranch, named after the isolated desert sanctuary of artist Georgia O’Keefe, was inspired by Keefe’s home and life there rather than by her output as an artist. Im is known for bringing the conceptual to New York menswear, so the pedantic emphasis on the exact source of his inspiration is also fitting. What this meant in terms of the collection, is that alongside his trademark black and white pieces, colours such as slate and bone were used, suggestive of the arid landscape of the burnt American plains.

The fabrics, from crisp cotton shirting through loose knits, leather and wool, reflected the harshness and purity of the desert landscape. The napes of models’s necks … Read More »

Duckie Brown SS13: Blue Collars,Tough Pleasures

Posted on 8th September, by Colin Chapman in New York Fashion Week. No Comments

The Duckies said they were in a ‘tougher, laddish mood’ this season and the bleached denim looks which opened their Duckie Pleasures show in New York on Thursday, confirmed this. Bleached workwear jackets paired with matching jeans had a English post-punk sensibility, and model faces, familiar from London, added an authentic sense of toughness. The workwear jackets led to a more familiar jean jacket in dark denim. In some looks, models wore leather belt loops, draped over both shoulders, as if in preparation for some arcane form of saddlery.

Bleached denim workwear jackets and utilitarian blazers opened the show. Unslung overall straps were a feature throughout.

Leading to dark denim: shoulder straps and high-contrast cream Florsheim Oxfords in full effect.

I said, tough, right? Denim Harrington and a (literal) blue collar stance.

It’s a sign … Read More »

50 shades of anything but grey: Duckie Brown SS13 approaches

Posted on 5th September, by Colin Chapman in Designer profiles. No Comments

Duckie Brown show their mainline collection tomorrow, and there’s definitely a sense of anticipation building, not just to see what they will come up with in their show tomorrow, but also for the debut of their Perry Ellis by Duckie Brown line showing on Monday. Part of the drip-feed of teasing details this week was this video on GQ, offering the briefest glimpse of the Perry by Duckie collaboration.

New York Fashion Week Diary: SS13

Posted on 5th September, by Colin Chapman in 2013, New York Fashion Week. No Comments

Designers Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow presented a subversive and very European spin on classic layers at Milk on Sunday. The blazers, signature biker jackets, mesh layers and and big kudos for the solid-colour white and navy Doc Marten shoes.

Public School, presentation Sunday 9 September

One of the strongest looks, all white, featuring layered hems and a beautiful padded biker gilet.

The New York Time’s Bruce Pask gets the designer walk-through treatment from Dao-Yi Chow.

The collision of the facial tattoo trend and it-boy model in one person doesn’t detract from this strong tailored jacket.

Rochambeau, presentation Sunday 9 September
One of the benefits of the scrum of menswear day at Milk studios was being able to sneak into neighbouring presentations. I’m so glad I did when it came to Rochambeau. An impactful presentation inspired by the … Read More »

The Backstory: Omar Kashoura at his studio

Posted on 30th August, by Colin Chapman in 2013, Studio Visit. 1 Comment

Over the summer I’ve been meeting up with designers who presented, in my view, a really exceptional collection during the London Collections: Men weekend in June, to find out the story behind the collection, and the mind that created it.

Omar Kashoura is a designer whose work I’ve admired for some time, as a creator of genuinely elegant clothing for men. Attending one of his presentations for the first time was a definite highlight of the Collections for me, and I’m really thrilled to be including him in this series of conversations.

Anticipating New York Fashion Week: SS13

Posted on 24th August, by Colin Chapman in 2013, New York Fashion Week. No Comments

There’s less than two weeks to go now until New York fashion week, and I’m thrilled to be attending again and in particular to be there for the Duckie Brown show on 6 September.

A year ago I had the great opportunity to interview Steven and Daniel in their studio, and was very impressed by their openness to discuss their work and lives together. The SS12 Duckie collection was beautiful and thought-provoking, epitomised by the ‘bruised rose’ prints on track-suit shapes, drawing a tense line between perceived masculinities. The subsequent Autumn/Winter collection was full of a darker, countercultural introspection. If the invite is anything to go by, SS13 is going to be full … Read More »

The Backstory: a conversation with Lou Dalton in her studio

Posted on 2nd August, by Colin Chapman in Lou Dalton, Studio Visit. No Comments

Next up in my conversations with exceptional designers from London Collections: Men is Lou Dalton. I caught up with Lou at her studio in Spitalfields last week. This was my third opportunity to get up close with her SS13 collection, which I’d first encountered in a showroom, just hours after her show, then, a week before our chat, I’d had the opportunity to try on some of the beautiful tailored pieces featuring panels of sports mesh from SS13 at a private orders night. It’s easy to see why this collection was the perfect opener to The London Collections: Men and went on to be so well received by the international press. The simple lines, solid palette of black, navy, stone and wine and the signature Dalton fusion of tailoring and technical sportswear told a story that was immediately discernible, needing … Read More »

The Backstory: T. Lipop in the studio, SS13

Posted on 24th July, by Colin Chapman in Studio Visit. No Comments

Since London Collections: Men, I’ve been out visiting some of my favourite menswear designers; taking a second look at the SS13 collections and finding out more about the people that created them. T.Lipop caught my eye last season, with a dramatic AW12 presentation at Somerset House, apparently inspired by Scott of the Antarctic, featuring models with frosty beards and brows, in rugged outerwear, sternly gazing out as if from the polar ice floes. As I’m fond of saying, I love a collection with a narrative, a proper story, and T.Lipop struck me as a brand able to spin a good yarn or two.

This time the story is about colour: the brilliant Mexican-Day-of-the-Dead-meets-LA-gang-aesthetic tableau vivant presentation at Fashion East was a definite highlight of my first day there (I went back on Sunday for the now legendary Meadham … Read More »

Re-inspired: looking back at the MAN SS13 show

Posted on 27th June, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men. No Comments

Describing the experience of a (good) fashion show to non-fashion friends I often liken it to the moment the lights dim before an amazing music talent hits the stage, or the moment a great DJ takes over the decks, with the sensation of the raising of the hairs on the back of your neck and that simultaneous warm flush from chest to cheekbone. And of course designers are conscious of this simile and fashion shows are often half about the music.

Photos from fashion shows also tell some great stories, not always intentional. One of the outcomes of digital photography is the incredible detail in which the totality of a scene is captured, most of which you were probably unaware of at the time, in the struggle to photograph, Tweet, look and/or all of these at the same time, whilst trying … Read More »

Sibling: a (white) riot of print, regal embroidery and swagger

Posted on 25th June, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men, Sibling. No Comments

Sibling‘s show on the middle day of London Collections: Men weekend was everything the Revolution-proclaiming invite suggested: spirited, anarchic, a riot of oversized sequins, balaclavas and print. Brilliantly styled by Katie Grand and soundtracked by London punk anthems (including If the Kids and White Riot) the show was a literal eye-opener, and the final lineup of models in sequinned masks and pom-pom headdresses was like the assembly of some particularly glamourous tribe for regal inspection. I couldn’t wait to have a closer look myself, and the collection was conveniently displayed in the basement showroom below.

We know Sibling can do regal from that glorious red lion sweater from a few seasons ago, and … Read More »

Baartmans and Siegel, laciness, transparency and shimmer… for men

Posted on 23rd June, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men. 1 Comment

Perhaps ironically, as dreams of yet another English summer dissolved into mist and drizzle, London Collections: men last weekend delivered up an endless stream of wearable summer clothing for SS13, all fit for a proper heatwave. Few collections were as beautiful as that by Baartmans and Siegel, shown on Sunday. Within minutes of arriving at the presentation in fact, I’d heard the word ‘beautiful’ mentioned several times, uttered either as an overall reaction to the clothes on show, or used in a question to me, in expectation of my agreement. But this was no gushy, fashion darling reaction, but a genuine response to one of the most cohesive and desirable collections of the whole weekend.

The relaxed sporty shapes (some grey marl sweatpants appeared, a few drawstring waistbands) were as prevalent here as in other shows across town, and transparency, delicacy … Read More »

Go to hell: the evolution of the printed trouser trend

Posted on 21st June, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men. No Comments

The trend for loud printed trousers emerging on the street and in presentations, is being tipped in the fashion media as being the next big trend to break. As ever with fashion, there has been a snowball effect with this one, albeit a very colourful snowball. And given the seasonal nature of fashion, there’s no obvious place to go for printed pants yet, as those appearing in designer collections being previewed now won’t be available until next spring.

Whilst everyone seems to be crediting Burberry Prorsum‘s prescience in producing this summer’s Ikat trouser, I think the credit is more deservedly due to Prada for opening the flood gates to really LOUD trousers. Prada SS12 features some really acid bright, floral, golf inspired pants – designed to give any minimalist severe anxiety attacks. By the time I’d picked up … Read More »

Lou Dalton, brooding underdogs inspire a perfectly edited collection

Posted on 20th June, by Colin Chapman in 2013, London Collections: Men, Lou Dalton. No Comments

It’s reached that point in the week after the menswear shows when reportage needs to switch over into analysis. As atmospheric as the shows can be, at some point it’s necessary to start to filter, retaining only the really memorable and striking. Which makes it an ideal moment to talk about Lou Dalton‘s collection for Spring/Summer 13. This was a perfectly edited collection: simple shapes, a handful of great colours and materials, no fuss, no ephemeral fluff or unnecessary detail. Which feels exactly right for menswear. As Lou hinted at in our pre-collection interview a couple of weeks ago, the collection was inspired by the underdog. This struck me as a continuing theme in Lou’s work; in previous collections we’ve seen looks inspired by Romany cardsharks and by young men piecing together … Read More »

Omar Kashoura, desert colours for Dharma Bums

Posted on 18th June, by Colin Chapman in 2013, London Collections: Men. 1 Comment

When it comes to fashion, I do love a story. A narrative that draws everything together and sets both a tone for viewing the clothes as well as a sense of when and how they should be worn. And Omar Kashoura is one of the best fashion storytellers out there. Continuing his exploration of The Beats, Kashoura’s setting this time was Black Rock Desert and yesterday he got all the details right in a collection full of the dramatic colours of the desert: from the evocative, hand written invite on monogrammed notepaper stating simply “Meet me at Christopher’s at 10:00 Hours”, to the scent of burning, fragrant wood at the show itself. It was a supremely elegant collection: recognisably Kashoura but moving the story forward in the same manner as a gifted writer might.  As a self … Read More »

Meadham Kirchhoff: drunk on perfume, Wall Flowers and Pepto Bismol

Posted on 17th June, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men. 1 Comment

Fashion, at least partly, is meant to be fun. Meadham Kirchhoff‘s brilliant show-cum-performance-art-installation today was a great reminder of that. It was one of the main things I wanted to attend during this London Collections: Men weekend and as an event it really didn’t disappoint. A somewhat show-weary and tetchy crowd were eventually filtered through the entrance to 3 Carlton Gardens and up the sweeping staircase to be confronted by a heavy, floral fragrance (later revealed to be Hammam Bouquet by Penhaligon’s) wafting across two rooms. Here, louche, lithe boys lounged around on mattresses: some masked, others with handwritten facial ‘tattoos’, all wearing the heady mix of colour, fabrics and texture that Meadham Kirchhoff are renowned for. In the presence of a large crowd complete with the likes of … Read More »

Martine Rose: defying the material

Posted on 16th June, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men. No Comments

It felt like the whole of London was put under the scrutinising eye of the fashion world yesterday, and no one more so than the recipients of London’s various fashion talent funding schemes, such as second-time New Gen Men winner, Martine Rose. Last time we spoke, Martine  hinted that her collection would continue some familiar themes whilst introducing some ‘surprises’. Presented to a packed house with models’ faces entirely obscured by embroidered masks, all focus was placed on the form and structure of the clothes themselves. Inspired by a specific Bernini sculpture that seemingly defies the ‘material in which it is made’, there was a definite sense that the clothes here were sculpted onto the body, especially the bleached denim; oversized but then refitted to the scale of the … Read More »

London’s finest interviewed: E.Tautz

Posted on 8th June, by Colin Chapman in E.Tautz, London Collections: Men. No Comments

With less than a week to go now until the launch of London Collections: Men, it seems very fitting to be posting about the house of E.Tautz and it’s designer, Patrick Grant. Last season I witnessed Patrick backstage, remarkably calm whilst models took their final walks (hairclips still in place) and this sense of quiet yet purposeful confidence is a great sentiment I think to be carrying forward as next week’s schedule kicks in. E.Tautz would inevitably end up on any list I drew up of the best of London menswear, and has long been championed by me here because of the unique mix of history with a thoroughly modern approach to designing clothes for men. Patrick’s singular vision … Read More »

London’s finest interviewed: Marwood

Posted on 7th June, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men. 2 Comments

Menswear, as anyone will tell you, is all about the details, so in a break from talking to designers in the throes of creating full ensembles of clothing for the catwalk, I spoke with Becky French of Marwood, designer of a truly beautiful range of accessories. One of the great pleasures of Menswear Day (as was) has always been experiencing new talent at firsthand in the Fashion East: Men installations at Somerset House. It was there that I first met Becky and fell in love with the delicate lace bow ties she was then presenting and knew I had to own one. An order was soon placed, coinciding in our most popular post to date. Since then, I’ve continued to be seduced by Becky’s designs, which seem to transcend … Read More »

London’s finest interviewed: Sibling

Posted on 3rd June, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men, Sibling. 2 Comments

Bringing us up to a rather appropriate number 3 in my series of interview-ettes with London’s fashion design talent, is dynamic knitwear design trio Sibling. Their collections have consistently been a highlight in my visits to menswear day over the last few seasons. Possessing a delicious sense of subversion, the knitwear designers are VERY London. Not only do they produce beautiful knitwear, but their work is presented with an impact worthy of a gallery. Recent installations have included dodgem cars, Paris Texas inspired prison visit booths, and accompanying films. With decades of experience between them, Sibling are literally knitted into London’s fashion culture right now.

1. SL: Congratulations on winning the New Gen Men catwalk sponsorship. What does this mean to you as a team? What difference will it make?

CM: Well today it means: no … Read More »

London’s finest interviewed: Martine Rose

Posted on 1st June, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men. 4 Comments

As part of my countdown to London Collections: Men I’ve been speaking to some of my favourite designers in London this week, capturing a quick snapshot of their thoughts leading up to the big event. Next in line is the amazing Martine Rose, fresh from the excitement of seeing Jake Shears rocking a head-to-toe Rose look on The Graham Norton show last week. Martine’s last collection brought a real sense of London rich street style heritage, especially through the revisioned MA1 flight jackets. To me that deep counter-cultural history is what makes fashion from our capital so unique. International visitors, new to the London shows, could find no better place to orient themselves than Martine’s work.

Four questions for Martine Rose

1. SL: Congratulations on winning the New Gen Men catwalk sponsorship. What does this … Read More »

London’s finest interviewed: Lou Dalton

Posted on 31st May, by Colin Chapman in 2013, London Collections: Men, Lou Dalton. 5 Comments

As part of my countdown to the Collections: Men I’ve been speaking to some of my favourite designers in London this week, capturing a quick snapshot of their thoughts leading up to the big event. First up is Sharpened Lead standard Lou Dalton. Lou recently won NewGen Men funding allowing her to develop her  established salon presentation into a fully-fledged catwalk show. Lou’s last collection presentation was a triumph, not just for beatiful clothes, but in fusing a real narrative with rousing music and some rather special hats.

Four questions for Lou Dalton:

1. SL: Congratulations on the recent NewGen Men sponsorship: what difference does it make to you? What is the impact of such sponsorship?

LD: A huge difference, I have a very tight cashflow, which although we are now gaining momentum is getting slightly healthier it still … Read More »

The London Collections: Men, it’s a tribal affair

Posted on 31st May, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men. No Comments

With just two weeks to go, I thought I’d share some of my hopes and excitement about the newly extended menswear ‘week’ in London. Leading men’s fashion editors like New York Times’ T Magazine’s Bruce Pask are coming to town, to attend not only the shows but a rather glittering array of parties and launches, hosted by the likes of Prince Charles and Tom FordMenswear day: London Fashion Week‘s little brother has come of age it seems, and the eyes of the world will be bearing down on us, or at least those who care anything about fashion for men.

With mens fashion featured for a full week, including an intensive 3-day weekend of menswear only events, the spread is wider than the singular Menswear Day of the last few seasons. In true London style, … Read More »

London events: David David presents an evening with Gary Card, and more

Posted on 25th April, by Colin Chapman in Event, London Fashion Week. No Comments

It’s been a week of announcements and invitations: most importantly the schedule for the first ever London Fashion Week for men. Billed as London Collections: Men, and actually happening over a weekend, it’s been announced that alongside the usual sterling selection of British menswear talent (and the rest) a few international colossi have deigned to visit our rainy shores. On this, much more to come but at least one name on the schedule has me considering blood money to get within the walls of said show.

Less monolithic but no less exciting, a lot of smaller events have been announcing themselves in my Inbox this week. I don’t normally feature events for the sake of it but as at least two of these are fashion related, so bear with.

Thursday 26 April

1. David David … Read More »

Final Spring Shoe Watch: Grenson

Posted on 19th April, by Colin Chapman in menswear, Shoes. No Comments

Wedge or ripple, Sir? And no, I’m not asking you for you choice of summer ice cream, but, in fact, to choose your shoe sole of choice. White Vibram soles are still widely seen on the street but as an acclaimed trend, the black ridged sole has it cornered. And Grenson has both on offer for SS12. Grenson make some of the most comfortable, and well made shoes out there. On trend, but unlikely to get you caught out in a microtrend that finishes badly, they’ve moved into first place in my hunt for something on the sturdier side for those less temperate spring days with a Vibram soled brogue in a beautiful, burnished grey.

Spring is definitely here, and with it the final Spring Shoe Watch of the season. I have to confess … Read More »

Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewis SS12

Posted on 12th April, by Colin Chapman in Casely-Hayford, menswear. No Comments

There are collaborations, and there are collaborations. Whilst the recent Marni x H&M link up was a rare example of high fashion working successfully with a global mega chain (mostly to do with rigorous quality control I imagine), many such collaborations end up as high end badly translated via cheap materials. It’s always a pleasure therefore to see the latest Joe Casely-Hayford collection in their ongoing relationship with John Lewis.

John Lewis holds a special place in British hearts as a vanguard of good service and quality products (if a little conservative) whilst Joe Casely-Hayford, stands for design excellence and beautiful materials, harking back to a time when fashion was less talked about but was no less cherished by those in the know. Result? Beautifully cut pieces in impressive fabrics, at accessible prices. What I love most about this partnership is Joe’s playful take on John Lewis’s traditionalism. It’s like the best pieces from the John Lewis stockroom have been disassembled and put back together with a touch of Savile Row precision and an eye for British materials. In previous collections, quilting, layering and waxed fabrics have been the stand-out approaches.

In this collection the double-breasted shorts suit and the bold, African-inspired Liberty-print shirt capture the spirit for me. Shorts suits regularly appear on the high street, but I’ve yet to find one that’s well made enough to not look awkward. In Joe’s hands the fabrication looks substantial. A shorts suit needs to have the same presence as a regular suit, but with the lower part of the trousers missing. Too often from the high street its a pair of casual shorts with a hastily-assembled jacket in a flimsy material. And regarding the shirts, surely I don’t need to say too much about print right now? The fusion here of Liberty heritage with a very African sense of pattern speaks volumes about the Casely-Hayford genius for mixing it up. Can I suggest when you next visit John Lewis you merge a trip to the kitchenware department to buy the muffin tin of your dreams with a generous look at the Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewis collection? It’s redefining what high street collaborations are all about.

Anticipation: some thoughts on the Marni x H&M Collaboration

Posted on 7th March, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Off to the Marni x H&M launch later tonight. It’s very rare for me to be excited by the prospect of a high street collaboration, but Marni is very much on my radar right now, with Castiglioni’s eye for great print and progressive shapes feeling very right. Having said that, what I’ve seen of the menswear collection at least is light on the signature print (some of those layered, multicoloured and positively hypnogogic oversized polka dots would have been amazing) and I’ll wait to feel the fabrics before I comment on quality. But still, easily the most exciting collaboration that H&M have done so far. Depending on the outcome, I might report back after some firsthand encounters tonight.

Here are a few of my favourite pieces so far, menswear played a very minor role in the, admittedly ravishing, Sofia Coppola-directed promo, so it’s good to see a little more of the detail from the lookbook.

More devilish details: UVU crosses the fashion/extreme sportswear divide

Posted on 1st March, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Of course, having spoken disparagingly about ‘performance gear’ and the kind of manly guff that gets spoken about sportswear in my E.Tautz review, I’ve since come across a brand that seemingly comes from that same world but for once, the aesthetics match up to the hyperbole. Popping into the launch of super high-end sportswear brand UVU at The Royal Geographical Society, yesterday I was very impressed by the ultra-minimalist detailing and amazing fabrications of their centrepiece jacket. In many ways the opposite of the archive-inspired Fujiwara button details I focused on recently, nevertheless, the futuristic bonded detailing and rugged zips on this jacket are an equally elegant form of closure. Mixed up with denim, tailoring and perhaps some tweed or print, this jacket would pass for a super-high-end Japanese designer piece, and will no doubt ‘perform’ brilliantly.

E.Tautz AW12: clothing with substance

Posted on 23rd February, by Colin Chapman in Collection review, menswear. 1 Comment

Backstage at E.Tautz yesterday I was struck by the sense of calm and orderliness. Models in hair clips were being given final instructions on pace and demeanor, outbreaks of Estuary English accent adding grit to the vision the Toni & Guy team had perfected, as though one could suddenly hear the voices of the powdered, coiffed cast of a silent-era military epic. One had a sense of Patrick Grant as captain at the helm of a tight, sleek and exceptionally well groomed company of men, with none of the sense of panic or chaos one imagines backstage.

From the pre-show notes I was already aware that the collection was inspired by the work of Richard Serra, and took other reference points from military cloaks. Freemason’s Hall was the perfect setting for the very dramatic collection, … Read More »

LFW Menswear day scrapbook: February 22, 2012

Posted on 23rd February, by Colin Chapman in 2013, London Fashion Week, menswear. No Comments

Menswear Day is always a sensory overload: with catwalk shows, presentations, installations, chance meetings, not to mention encounters with streetstyle photographers and the bundles of press releases and free papers one inevitably returns home with all jostling for headspace. So, looking back over the day’s events, captured on iPhone, camera and in memory, surprises often surface, alongside clear recollections of what went by. Here are a few of my favourite moments from yesterday, captured at the quieter points in the day.

1. Backstage at the E.Tautz run through, a model in his own clothes but groomed to perfection by Toni & Guy practises his paces.

2. The latest fabrications from Sharpened Lead favourite, Marwood ties. I wasn’t at all surprised to hear that these speckled fabrics have been first to catch the eyes of discerning Fashion Week attendees.

3. The Fashion East installations never fail to surprise and provide specatacle. Here a frosty-looking model at L.Ipop brings a touch of Arctic explorer to the inside of Somerset House.

4. I was very happy to see this Sibling blend of fair isle and leopard print up close after being wowed by Paris Fashion Week photos and have a chat with Cozette about another adventurous video installation from the trio.

Lou Dalton AW12: Clothes for romance and kitchen sink dramas

Posted on 23rd February, by Colin Chapman in London Fashion Week, menswear. No Comments

Pathos isn’t typically an emotion one expects from a show at London Fashion Week but as orchestral strings struck the opening note at Lou Dalton’s show there was an instant sense of heartstrings being tugged too. Here was a story. Which made perfect sense after reading the press release which explains the collection’s inspiration in a simple wartime love story between a conscripted officer and a local land girl. This simple narrative context provided Dalton with an opportunity to mix military and country garments, a combination which perfectly lends itself to her ongoing exploration of traditional English country attire. I loved the idea of a wardrobe begged and borrowed to withstand hardship, assembled through the need for warmth and practicality (an idea reminding me of the E.Tautz mix of sportswear and warm layers from the ‘Cuban Olympians’ collection a few seasons ago) and creating one-off fusions of old and new in the process.

The devil’s in the details: Giuliano Fujiwara, AW12

Posted on 21st February, by Colin Chapman in Collection review, London Fashion Week, menswear. No Comments

One of the pleasures of Fashion Week is the blend of studio and showroom visits and more traditional catwalk shows and presentations that I’m able to attend here in my hometown. Whilst there is undoubted excitement in a catwalk show, and I love the theatre of it all, for appreciation of fine clothing you can’t beat a showroom or better still, design studio. The Showroom Next Door is a fixture on my Fashion Week circuit, and yesterday I dropped by to see the selection for AW12. A few meaty posts are on their way, covering perennial fave Casely-Hayford for example, but for now, here are some details from the collection by Giuliano Fujiwara. In terms of high-end designer fashion, the devil is very much in the details, and this truism was really brought home to me once I started trying on Mr Fujiwara’s collection for AW12 yesterday. I’ve recently become very appreciative of fine buttons, and those seen on the coats here, are of the highest quality, suggesting the elegance of bygone eras. So, consider this a foretaste of Menswear Day tomorrow, a calming opportunity to appreciate fine manufacture at close hand. The beautiful buttons really popped against the camel and scarlet coats, and I loved the contrast between the soft-edged camel blazer, and the raw finish on the camel overcoat.

Duckie Brown AW12: proportion, postpunk and the future of hats

Posted on 16th February, by Colin Chapman in Collection review, menswear, New York Fashion Week. No Comments

When I was invited to the Duckies’ studio back in September last year, I was privileged enough to see some of the sketches for AW12-3 they were working on, and there were rolls of dark fabrics everywhere. At the time, Steven commented that there had “never had so much black” in their studio. Having had these glimpses, it was especially thrilling for me to see the fruition of this in their AW12-3 collection. And whilst they sombre note he’d suggested is definitely there, the collection is also shot through with playfulness, and a youthful sense of countercultural defiance. The coherence and fluency with which this combination was communicated is pure Duckie Brown.

The references that initially hit me came through the styling, especially the hair of certain models; reminiscent of Robert Smith’s iconic birds nest do or possibly The Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie; a kind of introspective English punk, more shuffling indie shoegazer than swaggering Sid.

Opening with lots of black, including a superlative double-breasted blazer, what eventually emerges from the collection is a play on proportion with long, overshirts, wide leg pants and some fantastic fabrication in the heavy woolens, plaids and flannels. Eventually shot through with some gorgeous, unexpected colour in outrageous oversized plaids what was also very evident in this collection is the Duckie facility for designing great hats.

Hats have been in limbo for some time, with familiar shapes such as slouchy beanie, traditional baseball cap or (for the edgier contingent) riding hat; suggesting possibilities but nothing new. The knitted caps and hats presented in this collection meanwhile suggested new, futuristic shapes, neither costumey nor purely street. And out on a limb were the genius, mini-Busbies, echoing the spiky profile of those post-punk hairdos, with a cheeky nod to English military pomp, and the perfect foil to some of the wilder plaids.

In terms of specific garments, the standout pieces for me here are the overshirts, already a global theme for AW12-3, offering the ease of a transitional garment with the playfulness of switching outdoor and indoor fabrics. Overshirts are a staple in the States, as a visit to a good vintage store stocked with Pendleton and Gitman Bros will evidence, and what the Duckies did here is to make it relevant; with some elegant cutting, extending the length beyond the waist and in very contemporary grey-on-grey flannels. Whilst the drop-crotch pants weren’t received well by all viewers, it’s a testament to The Duckie’s expertise that this challenging shape, when seen as part of the flow of the rest of the collection, looks simply elegant, especially when partnered with the somehow formal weightiness of those structured overshirts. And when looked at in the overwhelming sea of preppiness and tradition that American menswear can sometimes seem, an occasional V-sign to the chino has to be welcomed.

One of the delights of Fashion Week in February is being able to futuregaze into next winter whilst staying warm is still a very relevant priority. The Duckie Brown 2012-3 collection makes next winter look very inviting, balancing the proportion play and transitional shapes menswear trends with an expert sense of fabrication and a healthy dose of individualism.

Looking ahead: LFW Menswear day February 2012

Posted on 9th February, by Colin Chapman in London Fashion Week, menswear. No Comments

With less than two weeks to go, it’s definitely time to start thinking about London Fashion Week’s dedicated Menswear Day on 22 February. The day itself has been gathering momentum over the last couple of years, and the recent announcement of a dedicated full three days for menswear in London coming up in June, only adds to the sense of occasion and anticipation. So what to expect and or look forward to on the 22nd? Firstly, in a word: capes. Ahead of us at least in terms of timing, Milan, Paris and Florence (in the form of the Pitti trade event) showed men literally shrugging off the traditional sleeved overcoat to leave arms free for whatever they were intended for (which in Italy inevitably involves a lot of gesticulating). Whether in the form of an actual sleeveless cape (Dolce & Gabbana) or as a regular coat draped across the shoulders (Lanvin) the continental men’s catwalks were full of them, as were the streets surrounding the Pitti event, as the celebrated peacock attendees, strode around with overcoats across shoulders, in the manner of cavaliers rushing off to a duel or liaison. Knitwear as outerwear, often worn over suiting or denim jackets, was another big look on the streets of Florence. I can’t wait to see whether London picks up these particular trends and what the London spin, is, if any. One teasing hint comes from Patrick Grant, whose E.Tautz presentation is always a haute highlight of the day, who lists ‘military cloaks’ amongst the inspirations for his AW2012 collection.

Spring Shoe-watch: Maians, shoes with a squeeze of lemon

Posted on 4th February, by Colin Chapman in menswear, Shoes. 2 Comments

I first came across Maians at Liberty last summer in the form of some delightful canvas loafers, complete with kiltie tassels, in gorgeous candy colours. I fell in love instantly but clearly lots of other Liberty-frequenters had got there first, as the only sizes left were teeny-tiny; somehow in keeping with their candy-coloured theme. Visiting amigos in Barcelona a few weeks later, and spotting the shoes everywhere, it dawned on me that Maians is a Barcelona brand, though I still failed to turn up a pair in my size.

I was therefore thrilled to run into them again at the inaugural Jacket Required a short while later, and to find out more about them from the super-friendly team. I was equally thrilled not only to confirm the Barcelona connection (one of my all-time favourite cities) but to see that the colour range for SS12 includes a range of peach, rusts and yellows; very much my favourite span of colours currently. Their UK rep; Michael, told us that the current collection is inspired by tapas; specifically the colours of key ingredients like saffron and smoky paprika, with materials including oh-so-current raffia, enhancing the natural theme. The peppy lookbook (displayed on iPad) was shot around the kinds of timeless tapas bars that make a trip to Spain such a joy.

I’m particularly enamoured of the saffron and paprika coloured loafers with tassels, but if you really want to air those tired London feet, they also offer the kind of open-weave, ‘riviera’ shoes that in Barcelona suggest old men playing petanca in a shady square. But don’t worry, there’s nothing old mannish about these shoes, particularly with the likes of DJ-du-jour Jamie Jones wearing them.

The accessible pricing of this range of Maians presents a challenge to the shoe addict: make or choice or by them all? I can’t wait to get my hands on at least a couple of pairs and add some pep into my step this summer with a splash of Barça flair. Hopefully with the availability of such natural, hand-made beauties we’ll see fewer flip-flops on our grimy streets.

Spring Shoe-watch: Florsheim by Duckie Brown

Posted on 2nd February, by Colin Chapman in menswear, Shoes. 1 Comment

This afternoon’s pick is the saddle shoe by Florsheim by Duckie Brown, as captured here in the Duckie’s West Village studio back in September. The saddle shoes in question are fourth from the left and right respectively. More detailed pics to follow as the collection hits the stores, consider this an appetiser. Or follow progess on their Facebook page.

Stepping lightly: presenting Armando Cabral

Posted on 24th January, by Colin Chapman in menswear, Shoes. 1 Comment

If there’s one thing that’s likely to put a spring in my step and that says ‘new season’ to me it’s a new pair of shoes. So today sees the start of a series of posts on the best shoes for Spring Summer 2012. To start us off, here is a quick Q&A I did with (relatively new) shoe designer Mr Armando Cabral, some shots of the current season Cabral shoes I’ve been wearing of late, as well as some views of the SS12 collection to whet your appetite for some new season colour. Having just returned from Thailand, colour is something I’ve been craving, after swapping warm smiles, tropical flowers and blue skies for interminably grey London. I’m determined that Spring 2012 will require you to wear sunglasses, at least whilst I’m around.

It turned out that Mr Cabral and I have more than a little in common: birthdays only a few days apart, a love of Portugal (New York resident Armando grew up there) a fondness for exploring Brooklyn, a couple of mutual friends, and what goes almost without saying, a love of beautiful, finely made mens shoes.

Designer profile: Casely-Hayford SS12

Posted on 1st January, by Colin Chapman in Designer profiles, menswear. No Comments

All this thinking about what to wear when the sun returns has got me thinking about some of the most exciting collections I saw in the autumn. So, bucking all fashion industry rules I’m talking about the Spring season just as it’s about to kick in. And of course just before we see what we’ll be wearing next winter on Menswear day in February. Confused? Oh well, with global warming who knows what season we’re in anyway?

I had the pleasure of seeing the Casely-Hayford 2012 collection twice in the fall: once a delightful walkthrough with Mr Charlie Casely-Hayford in person, and once in the refined atmosphere of The Showroom Next Door.

Ending 2011 on a high note: 5 picks for a winter sun holiday

Posted on 31st December, by Colin Chapman in travel. No Comments

It’s been a while. Somewhere between the excitement of London and New York fashion weeks and the slow grind up to the Christmas season, I lost the urge to post. But with the old year about to be kicked aside and a sunny holiday to plan for, I’m feeling very much revitalised and excited about a whole new season and the prospect of seeing some colour again. Yes, I’m off to Thailand for some much needed beach time – yoga, light, cleansing food and no doubt some rooting around for unusual finds during our final weekend in Bangkok.

Under post #2: taking on the ‘final frontier’ of menswear

Posted on 20th November, by Colin Chapman in Designer profiles, Underwear. No Comments

I promised a follow-up post about the Under brand once I’d gotten my hands on some pieces and here it is. The photographs were taken during a recent weekend break for my birthday in Norfolk. I found the luxurious though rugged setting of a converted barn near Blakeney point was the perfect setting to take a closer look at the underwear pieces. If there’s one thing that Under’s approach to underwear has impressed me with, it’s the use of details such as cloth-covered buttons, more usually associated with tailoring that makes the items seem more substantial and like something to really invest in. It’s also recommended attire if The Selby or Backyard Bill ever come round for an ‘at home’ feature, so you can live out that Klondike-goldminer-meets-Brooklynite zeitgeist in the poshest pants around.

If you can’t resist and want to upgrade your underwear right please get in touch here (with Under in the subject title) or via Twitter and I’ll supply you with an exclusive discount code for the Under brand.

Finally, to give you more on an insight into the brand, here is a Q&A I recently completed with brand owner Kieron Hurley.

Brand profile #2: Under, luxury underwear for men

Posted on 28th October, by Colin Chapman in Designer profiles, Underwear. No Comments

Men’s underwear tends to be overlooked in the fashion press with only Fantastic Man um, standing out, when it comes to opinion on what men wear under their trousers. One suspects a certain coyness, certainly on the part of straight males (both journalists and readers), about lingering over details and especially photography of men wearing only a primary layer of clothing. But this menswear writer has no such qualms, and I’m pleased to report a growing interest in fine undergarments for men, and for taking as much care over your pants as those items visible to the wider population.

It’s a few years now since I spotted Schiesser underwear on sale in the old Cloak boutique in SoHo New York, later followed by boxes of the retro-looking fine German underwear brand turning up at Murdock branches in London. The recent popularity of Sunspel, primarily as the source of high-quality under layers (their T-shirts with mesh sleeves for ultimate breathability are now a staple for me) is further evidence of an increased concern for being as well dressed in your bedroom as you expect to be in the office. And now there’s a new kid on the block: Under; a luxury mens underwear range with a twin base in London and Amsterdam.

J.Panther bags: a rugged military luggage range from New York

Posted on 28th October, by Colin Chapman in Accessories, Lable Profile, Luggage, menswear. No Comments

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).

A Child of the Jago: pantomime swagger in the Old East End

Posted on 3rd October, by Colin Chapman in menswear, menswear day. No Comments

Menswear day happened over a week ago, which makes it a perfect time to re-assess. Sometimes, amidst the half-remembered details of a collection seen or after catching up on what you missed in person, new favourites emerge. But I have to say, watching the footage of the A Child of the Jago show at Wilton’s Music Hall back again, only adds to the sentiment that this was one of the finest shows that day.

LFW Menswear Day SS12 reviews #1, E.Tautz

“I don’t NEED to know what the suits are made of”, commented one female (presumed) journalist on the stairs above The Lincoln Room, deep within The Savoy Hotel, “Well I do, replied her colleague, “I have to write about this stuff!”. Given you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that as men we really do care about what we wear, and whilst certain quarters of the fashion press still think of men’s fashion needs in the third person, with men to be passively shopped for and “kept on trend”, luckily the greater part of the audience for the E.Tautz presentation on Wednesday looked to be much more likeminded, sharing an expectation that we were about to see beautiful menswear and to be educated about it by Patrick Grant.

Menswear Day SS12, Sept 21 2011: The Highlights

Posted on 22nd September, by Colin Chapman in E.Tautz, J.W. Anderson, London Fashion Week, menswear, menswear day, trousers. No Comments

Menswear Day at London Fashion Week is always a visual feast, as much for the unparalleled opportunity to see dressed up men of all kinds parading Somerset House and it’s environs, as for anything presented more formally by the designers. Some features will follow on collections I’m particularly excited by for SS12, but here are just a few highlights from yesterday.

Limited edition Sharpened Lead T-shirts available: Be it like mad

Posted on 18th September, by Colin Chapman in Fashion blogging, menswear day, Menswear icons, New York, T Shirts. No Comments

I’ve had some Sharpened Lead T-shirts made up as a little celebration of Fashion weeks in NYC and London. T-shirts have already found their way to good homes in New York (some favourite designers, blogging friends and fashion editors) and now it’s London’s turn in prep for Wednesday’s Menswear day.

The T-shirt is screenprinted on a high-quality unbleached cotton by the lovely White Duck Screenprint people in Bath. The image is one I’ve licensed especially for this limited run of T-shirts, featuring a line drawing of Quentin Crisp, a personal idol of mine. The motto reads: “You first have to find out who you are, then be it like mad”, a saying that I’ve taken very much to heart in recent years and very much sums up my attitude to fashion.

There are still some available, so if you’re interested do drop me a line They will retail for £35.00 +P&P. Only size SMALL available.

Some images of the magical screenprinting process follow:

Bande à part: looking back on a summer trend

Posted on 17th September, by Colin Chapman in Fashion blogging, Menswear pick, Street trends. 2 Comments

I’m aware of what some menswear bloggers think of the whole wrist stacking thing, and whilst I didn’t want to relive high school days either, I liked the summery informality of it. When else might you tie a bit of string round your wrist and it somehow feel significant? I avoided the real summer island tat and instead sent off for a rugged, nautical rope bracelet by American accessories designer Matt Singer. Starting out a dense black, the bracelet apparently fades to a pale blue, like well-worn denim though perhaps it says a lot about the English summer that mine still looks pretty black. The US tradition is to cut off the bracelet on the first day of school, though I’m still far too attached to mine to do that just yet, and a bit of fading would be nice.

NYC menswear boutique posts #1: Surface to Air

Posted on 17th September, by Colin Chapman in Blazers, Film and fashion, Lable Profile, menswear, Menswear icons, New York, T Shirts. 1 Comment

On my first visit to the new Surface to Air boutique during #FNO, a Kanye-esque hip-hop crew turned up complete with double-decker bus sized security guards and gold-plated credit cards to burn. It wasn’t the most conducive atmosphere to shop, though the spectacle was entertaining. I tend to be lukewarm about jeans brands, as they take up so much fashion space with little creativity to show for it. But I’m prepared to give Surface to Air the benefit, after all, the French label used to be a mainstay of my beloved and much missed BBlessing, the LES store that could claim to be my favourite menswear shop in the world. Minimal, savvy and with a dark edge, Surface to Air were a perfect label for BBlessing, a tiny shop that totally celebrated the dark side of Gotham City.

I’ll be your mirror: Bill Cunningham New York

Posted on 13th September, by Colin Chapman in Film and fashion, New York. No Comments

There have been times on this trip when I’ve had a sense of New York being an illusion, a dream from which eventually I will have to wake up. Something about the architecture, the attitude of the people living in this charmed place, the endless possibilities crammed into every block. In a taxi heading over the Williamsburg bridge the other night, the glittering towers of the city spread out before me, I had a sense of New York being a character, anthropmorphised as ‘someone’ you can get to know.

The film Bill Cunningham New York which we saw last night is one of the ways in which the character of the city can be understood. If you care about fashion, and if you’re reading this I imagine you do, I cannot recommend the film enough. An ego-less Zen-like character, Cunningham has been photographing what people wear in New York, and annually in Paris, since the 1940s. Living in a decrepid Crisp-like single room in Carnegie Hall, Cunningham sets out every day on bicycle, clad in an iconic blue workwear jacket, to capture what people are wearing on the streets, whatever the weather. This film has so much resonance for fashion blogging as a pursuit, although he is very much part of the establishment in some respects, on first name terms with the likes of Anna Wintour, Cunningham remains outside of the system to a great extent, his passion is to capture beauty, not the pursuit of wealth or status. Unspoken cameos by Mordechai Rubenstein and Scott Schuman set the film directly in the context of how fashion is currently consumed and communicated in our complex, connected media world, though Cunningham’s New York Times column remains central.

Fashion’s Night Out New York Sept 2011 – a heady mix of fashion and music

Posted on 12th September, by Colin Chapman in Fashion launch, New York, shopping. No Comments

I’ve never experienced Fashion’s Night Out in London, but here in New York it really is a major happening. Streets thronged with people and events hosted by every major label and fashion retail outlet in the city. This year I made the resolution to restrict events to SOHO, though there was more than enough going on in this one neighbourhood to make the night a busy one. A few highlights: Helmut Lang won hands down as longest queue of the evening, and there was more than a hint of Studio 54 exclusivity going on at the door. Speaking of Studio 54, OAK on Bond Street held a disco-themed party, with limited edition T-shirts featuring the likes of Burt Reynolds in his beefcake pin-up days and an iconic Bianca Jagger astride a white horse at the legendary nightclub. As FNO really isn’t a time to shop, I returned to pick up one of each the next morning. Music is always a highlight of FNO in New York, with artists as diverse as Patti Smith, Courtney Love and indie bands Best Coast and Sun Airway playing in the city that night. Nomi Ruiz DJed the If boutique party before playing with her band Jessica 6 at the launch of Nicola Formichetti’s Nicola pop-up store, though the nearest our weary feet came to dancing was at the Odin party, where indie-dance by the likes of HolyGhost! and The Rapture had the crowd moving.

Profile: Duckie Brown in their studio

Posted on 10th September, by Colin Chapman in Designer profiles. No Comments

For the benefit of newcomers, particularly readers in the UK, Duckie Brown are a menswear label based in New York designed by partners Steven Cox and Daniel Silver. They are noted for a very European, if not specifically English take on menswear, despite being very much a New York phenomenon. Recent collections have been seen to push the boundaries of what is deemed acceptable in terms of American menswear, particularly in the use of colour and fabric and how this might impact on the perceived sexuality of the men who wear it. These themes are explored candidly in the recent film The Guts of Duckie Brown. The partnership also has a very successful and ongoing collaboration with the classic American shoe brand Florsheim.

For all of this and more, one of the main reasons I wanted to attend NYFW this season was to attend the Duckie Brown show. As my flight arrived too late to attend the early-in-the-schedule show on the first afternoon of fashion week, Daniel and Steven were kind enough to invite me to their studio for a chat and to see the collection in person the next morning.

I’d been told that the show was ‘much darker than anything you’d imagine from Duckie Brown’, and on hearing me repeat this, Steven was quick to clarify that one of the factors influencing the outcome of this collection was that his mum had died last week. Needless to say, the Spring collection had been put together during a difficult time for them as individuals and as partners and co-designers of Duckie Brown.

You read it here: cropped, turned-up trousers replace the hated tuck

Posted on 26th August, by Colin Chapman in New York, pants, Street trends, trousers. No Comments

Something has to be done about the tucked into boots look. Even as one of the original tuckers I take no responsibility for it. But as young British men continue to dress (literally) like an All Saints shop window dummy, the trend must die. Don’t get me wrong, compared to some of the trouser outrages of recent decades (trailing, frayed boot cut denim anyone?) the slim jean tucked into boot is merely a miscreant. And I’ve already seen the answer: the slim, cropped trouser with a deep turn-up worn with high, laced-up boots. Remarkably, the wonderful Duckie Brown were prescient enough to show this exact look over 2 years ago in their Fall 2010 collection. I’ve already spotted a few scions of the future wearing it on the streets of E2 (cord over brogued boots seems to be popular option). And it’s one solution to how to wear your cropped, rolled trousers now that the weather’s gone parky and showing your ankles isn’t so appealing.

I suggest you stick to classic pant styles: think flat-fronted with side angled front pockets in solid, earthy colours and have a tailor create a generous turn-up for you. And they really don’t have to be bovver boy, drainpipe tight.

On the radar: Casely-Hayford, L.L.Bean boots & J.Panther bags for autumn

Posted on 25th August, by Colin Chapman in Accessories, menswear. No Comments

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.

Jacket Required: but attitude isn’t, new menswear tradeshow for London strikes an easy pace

Posted on 7th August, by Colin Chapman in Jacket Required, menswear, tradeshow. 1 Comment

Just left this event, which happened right on my doorstep in E2 at Rochelle School, a venue more often associated with the illustrious (and seriously delicious) restaurant Rochelle Canteen. A new London trade show, Jacket Required pulled in a really impressive selection of high end casual menswear labels, from the familiar (Carhartt, Chapman Bags, YMC, Porter, Dockers) to some brands I was very pleased to become acquainted with, notably: Velour, Rascals, Libertine Libertine, Shades of Grey, Vanishing Elephant and Maians, to name just some favourites. Some of these brands are definitely worthy of a post in their own right, and I will be publishing a series of features on some of them in the coming days and weeks, having chatted with respective stallholders at length.

London (and the world) needs more characters like Mr Natty

Posted on 28th July, by Colin Chapman in Mens Grooming. No Comments

I’ve often Tweeted about my friendship with Mr Natty but this is a first post about my good friend and esteemed groomer. I felt that I couldn’t but acknowledge his ascendancy in the world of gentleman’s hairdressing. Go to Albam and you’ll see Mr Natty’s hair products everywhere (if he’s not there in person, manning the traveling ‘gypsy’ barber chair). Matt’s scissors are often behind the slickest magazine shoots. More recent news is the pop up shop he’s just done with Rogue’s Gallery, in Portland, Maine and at no less than Bear Week in Provincetown, from which these great pictures emanate.

Details: kilties

Posted on 21st July, by Colin Chapman in Prada, Shoes. 3 Comments

Given that I hate Golf about as much as I hate anything you may be surprised to hear my enthusiasm for the particular detail, as surfaced via Prada‘s recent SS12 catwalk show. Prada‘s “Golfwear”: loud print cocktail trousers and shoes bearing a strip of fringed leather known in America as a “kiltie” (as opposed to a tassel) were deemed one of the more outre of the season’s menswear looks. Personally, I’m enthralled by the opportunity to wear colour, print and any option to focus on a particular detail on a shoe makes this footwear addict very happy indeed. Of course, in a year’s time there’s every chance that we’ll be stepping out looking more Ronnie Corbett than Prada model and feeling a bit silly with it, but I have faith in Miuccia’s vision.

Dark wave: surfwear and tropical prints take on Gotham City

Posted on 2nd July, by Colin Chapman in LA menswear shopping, menswear, street fashion, Street trends, travel. 3 Comments

I’m aware that some of my trend pieces are a little esoteric for some tastes (like the last post linking together the random trilogy of Aperol cocktails, Burberry Prorsum and Brooklyn electronica). But this is genuinely how things strike me. Whilst I’m as likely as the next guy to notice glaringly obvious street trends, I get more satisfaction in identifying the broader sweep of where fashions comes from. And if it brings together the holy trinity of dance music, menswear and vibrant world cultures, then hell, I want to know about it. So, hang in there, this one requires another leap of faith.

Zeitgeist moment: The taste of bitter orange

Posted on 26th June, by Colin Chapman in Burberry Prorsum, menswear. No Comments

Sometimes it just so happens, that cultural trends coalesce around a central defining thing: a colour, a taste, a word, a mental image. And so it is with the blood orange, that exotic, otherworldly fruit, whose name at least in English, binds together the sensual delights of citrus fruit with the altogether darker sense of the stuff that flows in our veins. The negroni I had at Pollen Street Social Room a few weeks ago, started this chain of thoughts, as a ball of delicate blood orange sorbet melted slowly into bitter Aperol. Perfect! The emergence of Dev Hynes in new guise as Blood Orange and the release of the astounding Sutphin Boulevard single being the next link. The YouTube video of the track reveals it’s inspiration as a heartfelt paen to one of the ‘mothers’ of the original New York vogueing/drag ball houses; how bittersweet!

Menswear icon of the moment #3: Wolfram

Posted on 20th May, by Colin Chapman in David Bowie, Menswear icons, Wolfram. No Comments

A chance sighting of David Bowie on the cover of 100 Years of Menswear got me thinking about how safe and unchallenging menswear has become in recent years. In all the rush to put on outdoorsy, woodsman gear or indeed tread the narrow path of irony around classic preppy looks, we’ve lost the sense of anything vaguely outrageous or challenging. Time was when a stylish man around town might dye his hair bright orange, wear a Dijon mustard yellow suit and wouldn’t be seen dead without a lick of eyeliner. We’ve become very gender specific, and whilst, as a gay man especially, I can appreciate all the coded details of classic mens clothing, there has to be more of a kick to be had in dressing up than in wearing your trousers a bit shorter, and buying your deckshoes a tone or two brighter. Which is where Wolfram comes in. The Vienna-NY based DJ and live performer, has just the right amount of rockstar swagger to personify what I’m talking about, a shift in attitude towards something more individual than bland ‘minimalism’ or preppy pastiche.

Video blog: Marwood lace bow tie, a special commission for Sharpened Lead

Posted on 16th April, by Colin Chapman in Accessories, Blazers, Label Category, Mens Grooming, menswear day, Menswear pick. 2 Comments

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.

Menswear icon of the moment #2: Gordon Matta-Clark

Posted on 7th April, by Colin Chapman in menswear, Menswear icons. No Comments

Inspiration can come from the smallest detail. So it is with a grainy, B&W photo of the artist Gordon Matta-Clark at the current Barbican exhibition, Pioneers of the Downtown Scene, New York 1970s. Matta-Clark made his art from buildings, sometimes from the gaps between them, or by literally slicing them in two. Shot outside Food, the restaurant he co-ran with fellow artists at the heart of New York’s then dangerous, crumbling  SoHo in the late 70s, the photo shows Matta-Clark in iconic SoHo artist mode: in a simple T-shirt, VANS and jeans. No doubt he would hate to be considered an icon of something as vacuous as ‘fashion’ but style transcends that. To me he exudes downtown cool. It is impossible to dress like this today, with such a … Read More »

3 Spring trends: rolled fisherman hats, the satchel, cord shorts

Posted on 4th April, by Colin Chapman in E.Tautz, menswear, Menswear pick, Shorts, street fashion, Street trends. No Comments

Spring is here, usually a cue for the fashion media to turn out every seasonal cliche in the book. I’ve lost patience with such writing. No more hackneyed, Enid Blyton-esque descriptions of whatever that season has to offer, be it mellow autumnal fruitfulness, crisp winter mornings or spring springing. Let’s face it, in the UK at least, seasons aren’t really so dissimilar. Whilst snow in August is unlikely, there’s a general blurring between the four, with a tendency to chill and drear. On that note, some spring trends!

Rolled fisherman hats
Rolled fishermen-esque hats were seen everywhere at the AW 11 shows, sometimes surprisingly so. At E.Tautz, they added a rugged, outdoorsy edge to the ever-haute tailoring. Though none seen were lovelier than the cashmere cable-knit hats by Chauncey at The Showroom Next Door. Despite their prominence in the AW lines, as … Read More »

Menswear icon of the moment #1: Michael Pitt in Boardwalk Empire

Posted on 26th March, by Colin Chapman in Boardwalk Empire, Menswear icons, Michael Pitt, Screen. 1 Comment

I’ve written about Mr Pitt before. There is no human being alive whom I would rather resemble physically. Somewhere between the full lips and soulful blue eyes there’s an inner confidence that suggests Michael Pitt knows exactly who Michael Pitt needs to be, and he is being it like mad. Steve Buscemi’s Nucky Thompson may steal the limelight with his flashy pin-collars and decadently colourful gangsterwear, but it’s Mr Pitt in tonal blue-on-blues that really draw the fashion eye. During the first season of Boardwalk Pitt grows before our eyes from a street urchin in tweed bakerboy cap to a man with a steely sense of confidence and style, born of bitter experience.

The Showroom Next Door: Casely-Hayford, Chauncey, Armando Cabral

Posted on 14th March, by Colin Chapman in Knitwear, London Fashion Week, menswear, menswear day, Shorts, wool. 2 Comments

No London Fashion Week is complete without a visit to the peerless Showroom Next Door. Run with charming hospitality and a killer eye for beautiful, individual clothing by the Dover Street Market-connected Touba Distribution. The selections available during the most recent Fashion Week, in February were particularly strong. Now in a new location, though still within refined Mayfair, a visit to the Showroom combines the exclusivity of a salon with the informality of the best of boutique shopping.

LFW menswear day review #4: Tween

Posted on 10th March, by Colin Chapman in London Fashion Week, menswear, menswear day. No Comments

Tween was an unexpected highlight of menswear day this year. Perking up the fashion weary at literally the closing show of Fashion Week, with a collection that was impressive both in the number of looks and the savvy combination of tailoring with outdoorsy details like quilting and waxed cottons. The elegant menswear on show suggested that the Turkish designer was well attuned to the English context of the show. I hate the term ‘one to watch’ but nevertheless: Gunes Guner Işık is one to watch.

LFW Menswear day reviews #3: George, the Dragon and The Red Lion too: Heraldic knitwear at Sibling

Posted on 6th March, by Colin Chapman in Knitwear, London Fashion Week, menswear, menswear day. 1 Comment

As if Shoreditch’s George & Dragon needed any more legendariness, Sibling’s film for their 6th collection features a cluster of likely lads downing pints at the Hackney Road institution. This time around the knitwear features emblems familiar through pub signage: Red Lions, George & Dragons and, in a typically perverse touch, pandas, a cute take on the Mexican wrestler mask complete with panda ears. With a soundtrack provided by Jerry Bouthier of Boombox fame, including a track by The Fall, Sibling make evident their connections with the coolest corners of London’s fashion circles.

LFW Menswear day reviews #2: E.Tautz

Posted on 2nd March, by Colin Chapman in E.Tautz, London Fashion Week, menswear, menswear day. No Comments

Seven days ago today I was lucky enough to attend the E.Tautz menswear show during London Fashion Week. This season I have deliberately held back from rushing out posts as I wanted to savor what was a joyous day for menswear in London. And the E.Tautz presentation was certainly a highlight worth appreciating over time, as you would wish to linger over a mouthful of good wine before swallowing.

Despite the slight scrum and occasional fashion snarl at the over zealous ROH security staff, we were finally ushered up the plush staircase to the salon-like atmosphere of the aptly named Crush Room. Under the refined light from that now much-photographed chandelier the fashion weary crowd were soothed by piano music and the promise of elegance.

Patrick announced that he would not be talking through each look during this presentation (and judging by … Read More »

LFW Menswear day reviews #1: J.W. Anderson; androgynous insects from Kreuzberg

Posted on 24th February, by Colin Chapman in J.W. Anderson, London Fashion Week, menswear, menswear day. 1 Comment

J.W Anderson, The Fear of Naturalism, mens AW 11 collection

The 9am slot is notoriously difficult, fashion people not being known for a love of morning appointments but J.W. Anderson drop kicked us into the day with a show simmering with subversive elements.

As seats filled, the audio atmospherics popped and fizzed like a forest at dawn, the sound of a legion of insects about to invade. A swirl of cold wintry sound and ‘Eisbaer’, an anthem of the early 80s Neue Deutsche Welle by Swiss band Grauzone, kicked in. Transferring us instantly to the free zone of 1980s Kreuzberg squats, and a time when people reveled in the opportunity to tear things up and start again.

In the notes for this collection Anderson stated that his intention was to. Androgynous insect boys strode out in slim fitting but multi-layered combinations, their overall silhouttes resembling stick insects or mantes. Hair was uniformly short and rigidly groomed, a very Berlin combination of regulation and punk attitude.

Film & fashion: Insouciant, moi? Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine

Posted on 26th January, by Colin Chapman in Film and fashion. No Comments

I like to think I helped popularise use of the word ‘insouciant’. In fashion circles, at least. I picked it up from my interest and studies in film history, where it has typically been used to describe the kind of ‘not acting whilst acting’ of such slouching, shrugging male archetypes as James Dean. I don’t think it was used much in fashion before a couple of years ago, but as with many things, a retweet here, a blogpost or comment there and ‘insouciance’ is everywhere. The word is now mostly in the bargain bin marked, ‘overused’, yet marked for a future revival.

Yet, whilst watching Blue Valentine last night, the startling indie movie now nominated for 2 Oscars, there are few words that could better describe Ryan Gosling’s visual appeal as  bluecollar antihero Dean. … Read More »

Milan, AW11 Menswear live stream reviews #2: Prada

Posted on 17th January, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

In light of subsequent shows such as Burberry Prorsum, where colour itself was a theme, Prada’s menswear AW 2011 collection was seemingly a subdued affair. The first pieces out were black suiting, which though forward looking in cut (wide and boxy over slim cut trousers as we’ve since since at Burberry) were restrained. Of course, as the show progressed, the usual Italian genius for colour revealed itself, notably in the combination of burgundy and black.

AW11 Menswear live stream reviews #1: Burberry Prorsum

Posted on 17th January, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

I’ve had a post in the wings recently with the portentous title of ‘Hopes for Menswear 2011′ as well as some more fluid ideas for trend/detail pieces. What was really on my mind was a desire to see something genuinely modern if not futuristic after a few years of obsession with ‘heritage’. And curiously, Christopher Bailey’s collection for AW11 streamed on Saturday, brought many of these tendencies together in one show. I’ve heard rumbles that this collection wasn’t brilliantly received and if that’s the case I’m happy to take my corner for what I see as a glorious combination of classic details given a vigorous, modern spin by means of a clever colour palette and some interesting materials.

Previous owners: vintage shopping in Palm Springs

Posted on 25th November, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Going blog crazy here, and missing valuable poolside lounging time I’ll have you know. This one brings me BANG up to date, with my West Coast trip so far and then the lounger beckons. With an aging ‘Gay Grey’ population, Palm Springs has legendary vintage shopping. The link being that when an aging resident eventually leave the desert town affectionately known as ‘God’s waiting room’ for that sunlounger in the clouds what’s left behind is often a wardrobe made up of amazing items from decades long since past. I’ve made two such notable purchases since being here. The first a trio of grosgrain ribbon belts with solid brass loops (as seen [see pic below] rather hilariously on the cover of Palm Springs Living) and an amazing, multicoloured boucle sweater by someone called Jhane Barnes. I hope the former owners of … Read More »

Abbott Kinney Blv part II: Stronghold, Milkmade, Spade

Posted on 25th November, by Colin Chapman in LA menswear shopping, menswear. 1 Comment

I’m slowly getting through the backlog of fashion and shopping related experiences from my first 2 weeks on the West Coast. And I have a lot more to say about Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Following my post on the lovely C’est beau pop shop here’s just a flavour of some of the menswear delights on this boulevard of boho dreams:

Milkmade, men’s and women’s fashion with it’s finger very much on the pulse of high-end American workwear. Think denim ties by The Hillside and those Pendleton saddle blanket backpacks. A bit like Shoreditch’s Present  but set in Venice Beach sunshine.

Speaking of heritage/classic American workwear. The Stronghold makes an immediate statement, from the amazing building itself, signage to the shop interior. On stepping over the threshold one is spun back … Read More »

Venice Beach: C’est Beau, a pop-up shop on Abbott Kinney Blv

Posted on 24th November, by Colin Chapman in LA menswear shopping, menswear. No Comments

I’d been tipped off that Abbot Kinney boulevard in Venice was the best place for indie shopping in the LA area and I wasn’t to be disappointed. In fact, it reminded me a lot of the boutique shopping neighbourhoods I like most in NY: Nolita, Williamsburg and the LES but with a surf-y, Californian flavour.

Size really does matter: true attention to detail at E.Tautz SS11

Posted on 5th November, by Colin Chapman in menswear. 2 Comments

Having missed both the Barney’s trunk display in NY and what sounded like a great presentation on LFW Menswear day here back in September, I was delighted to have the opportunity to have a personal talk through the E.Tautz SS11 collection by Patrick Grant himself at their 9 Savile Row address a couple of weeks ago.

Despite having taken a transatlantic flight the night before, Patrick was impeccably groomed as ever, in a dark grey suit from the first E.Tautz collection, black knitted tie and tasselled loafers.

My first impressions from the rack of the E.Tautz line for next spring was that it’s a more casual, approachable collection with a colour theme involving lots of blue. This lighter take on English dressing was confirmed by Patrick, who explained that some of the more structured, fitted pieces had been edited out of this … Read More »

Menswear Trend: The military jacket

Posted on 3rd October, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Sometimes trends take a LONG time to come around, and since my 18-months ago Brandish post about Italian ‘Sartorialist’ men using military jackets as a stylish cover for their suits, the trend has become a familiar item in womenswear and come back to hit us as a definite menswear street current.

The head of Isabella Blow: Sue Webster and Tim Noble

Posted on 3rd October, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

On a day of culture in town yesterday we happened upon this startling image of the late, great Isabella Blow by the artists Sue Webster and Tim Noble. Whilst the eerily juxtaposed taxidermy evokes Ms Blow’s penchant for dramatic hats (as well as a definite suggestion of death and decay), the shadow on the wall casts a lifelike image of her profile, like a Victorian silhouette. Eerie, Wildean and very brilliant.

At the National Portrait Gallery now

Piece from the New York times on the work

A. Sauvage: The Art of DE

Posted on 3rd October, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Closing the day’s presentations (at least for me) at LFW’s menswear day was a film presentation by the idiosyncratic designer Adrien Sauvage. Living between London and Berlin, the still-youthful former stylist now creates (usually monochrome) collections and walks a very deliberate line through Savile Row traditions armed with a very current sense of humour, not dissimilar to that employed at E.Tautz. You can now catch the film over at Nowness or from Monday on the A. Sauvage site itself.

10 trends for LFW Menswear Day, 2010

Posted on 22nd September, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

I’m finding it really hard to separate what I saw in London today and in New York over a week ago, in terms of what we may be wearing when the light returns to us next Spring. Add to that, the distraction of current streetwear trends, spottted between Shoreditch and Williamsburg, especially in our globally-warmed times..

But here goes: 10 trends from London’s Menswear Day, 22 September 2010

1. The Great Outdoors: Waxed, outdoor, wipeclean, waterproof fabrics (from Carolyn Massey’s extended cagoule pockets, to Lou Dalton’s Anglo-trad waxing), if you’re going to get wet, be waterproof.

2. Statement Sweaters: A crossover trend from womenswear (hello Henry Holland’s cutie giraffes and foxy foxes). From Carolyn’s jazzy Deco stripe, to Sibling’s Pop Art Punk to Tigersushi Furs’ colourful tigers. It’s like graphic sweaters never happened.

3. Shorts with jackets: In other, words, the short trouser lives to see another season of Alexis Petridis-flouting urban retaliation. Men got hot legs living in the big city. And short trousers need not mean schoolboy. Seen at Lou Dalton and Carolyn Massey and just about everywhere else.

4. Visible layers: the old ‘playing with proportion chestnut’. This doesn’t just mean not tucking in your shirt, though long T-shirts worn with shorter sweaters are a definite trend. Seen at: Carolyn Massey (and at Duckie Brown in NY).

5. Backpacks and camping. Also a trend for A/W. But let’s face it, aren’t you more likely to be carrying stuff somewhere meaningful outdoors when the sun’s shining? Brownie points for detail at Carolyn Massey, where the rucksacks looked positively sombre (and at Patrik Ervell, NY, where the straps were of woven horsehair).

6. Military details. Again, this is a current trend likely to be still aflame come the Spring/Summer. Olive greens, military khakis. Basically: raid your local Army Surplus store and, where possible; customise, wear stuff inside out and generally subvert it’s regulated purpose. Olive green waxed jacket seen at Lou Dalton, military pockets/cargo at Casely Hayford, and a trend that will run and run, a bit like plaid.

7. Biker. Ah, yes. Are we just working through the entire back catalogue of classic Americana? Best seen when it’s not actually in leather: Casely Hayford faux denim, Sibling knitwear etc.

8. Mustard, brick, rust, peach. Let’s just drag the colour slider over to the reds and yellows section. Colours of earth and mud. From Carolyn Massey’s Colman’s mustard waterproofs to James Long’s oil print spillages.

9. Elasticated hems. Blouson! Add an 80s touch to any outfit. See New Power Studio’s sportswear.

10. Eclectic, patchwork madness. Yes, that IS a theme. From Lou Dalton’s carefully placed, ethnic panelling, to James Long’s inky colour explosions, to the doily-clad chaos of J.W Anderson it’s partly about extravagant mixture. Long and short. Patterned and plain. Functional and exotic. It’s a long way from considered urbanity or preppy uniformity. Let’s get messy!

Bubbling under: encroaching darkness (ASOS Black, NY’s Oak), and the likelihood of a spin-off trend of raised soles once Prada’s ‘platform’ men’s shoes hit the expensivo racks next Spring . OK, this was about LONDON right? but we’re a badly defended island as far as fashion influence goes (and long may that continue).

Sibling:Twins have more fun. LFW menswear day

Posted on 22nd September, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Sidestepping a rather frenzied doorway to the Navy Boardrooms at Somerset House, where an over-running E.Tautz was about to happen, the Sibling presentation in the adjacent Portico Rooms was a haven of relative tranquility, albeit a slightly demented one. Knitwear. Lots of it and in the maddest, Pop Art meets punk graphics colour collision since Jamie Reid met Linder.

Lou Dalton, Romany ruffians at Menswear Day, LFW

Posted on 22nd September, by Colin Chapman in menswear. 2 Comments

Lou Dalton must have drawn the short straw to have the 9am slot for her menswear show today, but good fortune was definitely on her side in what turned out to be a really cohesive collection full of wearable pieces featuring lots of rich details. Taking the nomadic lifestyle of the Romany people as a theme, this allowed for a mix of utilitarian functionality mixed with a roguish magpie’s eye for combination and colourful details.

Colour, noise, outrage: LFW day 3, 19 September 2010

Posted on 19th September, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

So LFW officially started for me today, with a packed show at Charlie le Mindu. The hairstylist/wigmaker turned catwalk designer fully lived up to his outrageous reputation in a show featuring naked models, rubber hats, and lots of references to old Hollywood, including of course the iconic Hollywood sign, here represented as a hat made from shiny purple vinyl letters.

Of course, as a menswear blogger I was just as interested in what the men in the crowd were wearing. In the line outside the club- kid-heavy crowd were mostly wearing black, a gothic theme I’d already noted in New York at events like the Oak street party. The ankle flashing/hem rolling mega trend shows no sign of slacking, despite the chilly weather. I was approached by a fashion student type for a pic of my Toile de jouy Opening Ceremony … Read More »

NYFW: Boutique picks and the buzz about Duckie and Patrik

Posted on 13th September, by Colin Chapman in menswear, New York. No Comments

So, my jaunt to New York for at least some of fashion week has come to an abrupt end and I’m left wondering where my next cup of Stumptown coffee is coming from. I did a quick whizz around my beloved downtown menswear boutiques (summed up below) yesterday afternoon, and had my eyes and ears open for the buzz on the street about the best of the menswear shows (Patrik Ervell and Duckie Brown it seeems).

So firstly, those boutiques. I’d been quite distraught that my very favourite spot, BBlessing, has closed down, but I have to say I was very impressed with Odin, on Lafayette, which even seems to have inherited BB’s signature emblem of a raven for itself. The spacious, menswear-only store features current favourites like Gitman … Read More »

New York Report II: Fashion’s Night Out 10 Sept 2010

Posted on 11th September, by Colin Chapman in Fashion blogging, menswear, New York. No Comments

New York was crazy last night! Even if you chose to stay in your hotel room and live vicariously through the Twitter/blogger spheres (which my exhausted feet tell me I didn’t) the sheer range of events and the numbers of people involved would be truly staggering. From Iggy Pop on stage at the POP (geddit?) party at Don Hill’s, to Karen Elson at Balenciaga to the roadblocked Opening Ceremony French-themed fleamarket at the Ace hotel and various downtown block parties, Manhattan was gridlocked with fashion people schlepping from hotspot to hotspot across the island.

Outside the Ace hotel, Opening Ceremony

My personal experience was a mix of hits and misses: next year I will come much more prepared with a strict schedule that doesn’t rely so much on scarce taxis.

Highlight for me was the Opening Ceremony event at the … Read More »

New York Report I: Evolving influence, the IFB conference

Posted on 11th September, by Colin Chapman in Fashion blogging. No Comments

A few initial thoughts about the IFB conference, Evolving Influence which was one of the reasons I came to New York this week.

What I will take away from the event is that individualism is key when it comes to blogging fashion. Hell, I didn’t need to come to New York to work that out but there was something about the uniqueness of the individals up on stage and the point being made that what brands value about bloggers and their audience is something different from traditional media: an engagement that is truly personal and without the baggage of being a recognised news brand or print publication with all the overheads associated with those.

LA-based Photo Blogger Rumi Neely and her rather … Read More »

Autumn’s theme: the lyrical American West

Posted on 6th September, by Colin Chapman in Knitwear, menswear, winter, wool. No Comments

I like to have a theme when putting clothes together for a new season of the year and this autumn is no different. I’ve been trying to pin a name to the items I’ve been buying, ‘Academic’ was close. Annie Hall era Woody Allen is an influence but that didn’t quite describe what I had in mind (although the Walden print T-shirt by superlative bookish T-shirt dons Out of Print definitely fits with the Academia slant). I’m definitely not saying Preppy (though that’s an influence I will always hold dear) as I’m feeling quite English and, anyway, I’ve read far too much Bret Easton Ellis to have any illusions about Ivy League education.

What brought it all together was stepping into the Riflemaker gallery, one of my favourite art … Read More »

E.Tautz Postcard Project and a NYC trunk display

Posted on 5th September, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Given how excited I was to get involved in the E.Tautz Postcard Project, I’ve been a little amiss in announcing it here on the blog. When I met Patrick Grant a few months back between collections, he mentioned that not only was the E.Tautz site being relaunched but that he was planning a special project whereby style commentators would be invited to send in postcards, preferably of the tactile variety, but with the purpose of being emailed to subscribers to the site – and invited me to take part. I was instantly attracted to the idea, being a fan of vintage photography and a lover of correspondence of all types. It brought to mind thoughts of Mail Art and the fun and danger that counter cultural types such as Genesis P. Orridge, William S. Burroughs and Joe Orton had with things you can post in their respective times.

Evolving Influence – Fashion bloggers big day (and night) out, New York City 9 Sept 2010

Posted on 5th September, by Colin Chapman in menswear, New York. No Comments

I’m very pleased and excited to be attending the Independent Fashion Bloggers event, Evolving Influence in New York in a few days time.

Street trend: jacquard sweaters

Posted on 15th July, by Colin Chapman in Knitwear, menswear, wool. 1 Comment

The word I really want to use is jacquard. One of those strange fashion words I am familiar with, probably having spent too much time browsing mail order catalogues and reading my mum’s magazines as a child, it has a sense of naff midle-Englishness about it, a bit like an old sit com. Bouclé is a similar word, as is the colour fawn.

But I digress from the point of this post; I spotted a young man yesterday wearing the most beautiful sweater as he stood before me in the queue at the local organic store. With a vibrant pattern of reds, oranges, rusts and deep blues and a highly textured knitted texture, what was most enviable about it was that it was the perfect cover up for a summer evening. The slightly open weave allowed for breeze whilst the weight and quality of the knit – I’d guess at a combination of cotton and silk – suggested warmth but without any sense of heaviness, after all he was wearing shorts and deck shoes so this was no winter warmer. And as I gazed enviously at his knit I realised that I’d seen a number of sweaters with similar patterned qualities around recently. To my mind this means a street trend.

Tetro: beyond time in Buenos Aires

Posted on 26th June, by Colin Chapman in Film and fashion, menswear. No Comments

Yesterday I went to see Francis Ford Coppola’s Tetro, a moody, largely black and white film set in Buenos Aires. Its been released here to lukewarm reviews with the usual suggestions of ‘flawed brilliance’ that directors of long-ago iconic movies generally face. Personally I loved it as it brought back memories of Rumblefish, another black and white movie by Coppola, that also has family relationships between men at its core.

From a fashion perspective it’s not a menswear epic but there are enough details to keep fashion eyes focused. Little-known though vaguely recognisable (to me) Alden Ehrenreich arrives wearing fetching sailor whites (though, comically, it turns out he’s actually a waiter on a cruise ship!) and is probably the style focus of the film. Crisp white underwear, a nice vintage watch and a notable … Read More »

Prada SS11: Milanesi in platforms

Posted on 26th June, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Part II in my reviews of recently streamed menswear shows is Prada SS11. I have to say watching it again has only added to my excitement about the phenomenon that is mens fashion right now, and for me it surpassed the Jil Sander show as I will actually be buying items from the Prada collection. Everything about this show is genius. The soundtrack has lots of resonance for me – a genius mashup of Bela Lugosi’s Dead by Bauhaus with Jeanne Moreau’s vocal from the soundtrack of the film Querelle (both seminal pieces of media from my youth!).

Jil Sander menswear at Pitti: Acid thunder

Posted on 17th June, by Colin Chapman in menswear. 3 Comments

Following a tip off from Fantastic Man’s @charlie_porter I just watched the Jil Sander show at Pitti Uomo in Florence online. I’m still amazed by the democracy that such a step as broadcasting catwalk shows over the internet evidences. Now THIS is the type of live event I do want to watch. Real-time tweeting with menswear Twitter stalwarts Steve @StyleSalvage (who was there in person) and London designer @johnhlittle, added to the sense of live-ness. And the clothes? I loved the confidence with colour. Raf Simons has definitely moved on from his days of Gothic gloom and post-punk hardness. The cinched-back jackets, rolled sleeves and long, belted suit jackets were a playful take on shape and structure but the most outstanding element was those COLOURS. Sometimes layered in single-colour pieces, othertimes it was an acid flash(back) – the cinched belts on the jacket reverse, the acid coloured shoe soles. This colour frenzy though was grounded by the contrast with simple white shirt/black tie/black jacket and some really strong, youthful suiting in a lovely deep blue. That’s if anything could be said to be grounded with the incredible Madchester-era, acidic house music pumping away throughout. If there was one item I’d want to beg, borrow or steal it would be the acid striped sweater: thick vertical lines in modernist colours taking a detour towards the top of the sweater into a neat, square angle.

Paint It White – Maison Martin Margiela 20, Somerset House, London

Posted on 14th June, by Colin Chapman in menswear. 2 Comments

My overriding thought on visiting the Margiela  20 Year retrospective show at Somerset House was of how familiar everything seemed, as though Margiela’s influence has been everywhere in the last 20 years, and of course it has. Fashion labels and retail environments from APC to Muji owe something to Monsieur Margiela.

From the vinyl tabi footprints leading the way into the exhibition (a tribute to Margiela’s signature cloven-hoofed  footwear) to the whitewashed furniture and domestic objects,  its clear that you are in the presence of a very singular design aesthetic. The absence of any images of Margiela himself (he is missing  even from the silhouette sculpture of the House of Margiela personnel) is, ironically, part of what makes his style so recognisable.

A catwalk video literally invites you in. From then on, the show is presented thematically, almost like a … Read More »

Blazer Glory

Posted on 20th May, by Colin Chapman in Blazers, menswear. No Comments

I love a fashion story, especially one with a happy ending, and God willing, this one will have. I’ve been posting about my interest in blazers a lot lately. Admired at E.Tautz, contemplated at Reiss, but it wasn’t until last weekend that my interest saw some results. A brief visit to Liberty ended up with me purchasing a navy blue APC blazer, or was it? I’ve been doing my research and it turns out I didn’t buy a blazer at all but a sports jacket. Here’s the story line: I turn up to Liberty for a second, confirmatory visit to the APC jacket. I try on, friend oohs and ahs about the fit, the fabric and the lovely, inky shade of navy blue. But whilst I’m being fitted to have the sleeves adjusted for that all-important shirt … Read More »

5 picks for a mercurial British summer

Posted on 11th May, by Colin Chapman in menswear, Menswear pick, pants, Shoes, sweatshirts, T Shirts, trousers. No Comments

With the British summer proving to be as unpredictable as the will-they-won’t-they negotiations that just ended at No. 10, its best to plan for everything and be a man for all seasons. Here are some current favourites from what’s in stores right now. As a new touch, each pick is partnered with suggested reading, viewing or listening. It’s all about the inspiration, right?

There’s a whole lot of grey marl going on out there (unfortunately a bit too much of it in Essex). But I’ve always been a fan of the plain sweatshirt, especially when the shape is right. When you just want a really good look and to stay warm, you can’t go wrong. Plain clothing can also be a very stylish approach to wearing colour, such as a strong red sweatshirt paired with quality blue denim like Read More »

What’s my line?

Posted on 4th May, by Colin Chapman in Fashion blogging. No Comments

After a recent comment that my blog of late is becoming “too industry”, and needs to get back to being “a bit wilder” I decided to get back to basics and pin my flag to the mast again. In the build up to a General Election where the personal freedoms of the last decade and a half are under threat there has never been a better time to express an individual view.

After a post on E.Tautz and last week’s meet up with Patrick Grant it may be assumed that I’m maturing into a perspective where tailoring is key. But for me what someone like Patrick does is all about a passion for quality and turning things on their head so that ‘establishment’ looks become edgy and cool. What people wear on the street and the concepts and ideas they evoke … Read More »

The gentleman behind the brand: Patrick Grant and E.Tautz

Posted on 27th April, by Colin Chapman in Label Category. 5 Comments

Following my post about E. Tautz back in February, label owner Mr Patrick Grant was kind enough to offer me a talk through collections past, present and future (via a  glimpse of the sketches for Spring Summer 11) at their new Savile Row space, yesterday. It’s not every day you meet a Fantastic Man poster boy (see pages 66-73 current issue), but I have to say that Patrick was every bit as affable as Steve at Style Salvage documented in his interview and label profile last month.

What’s more, Patrick proved to be an absolute font of stories and knowledge about the production techniques and origins of the items in his collections. So, as we went through the … Read More »

I Am Love – Tilda’s film defines the colours of summer

Posted on 11th April, by Colin Chapman in Androgeny, Film and fashion. 4 Comments

I saw I Am Love at one of it’s first screenings in the UK on Friday. And was literally blown away, so much so that Dalston actually looked inspiring on the walk home. Looking at stills from the movie sends a shiver up my spine. I’ve long been a fan of Miss Swinton, though at times I find her icy hauteur equally terrifying and beautiful. Not so here, where inner fragility is clear, although there’s also a strength of character that makes her Russian trophy wife a compelling heroine. Visually the film is stunning: acid bright colours dazzle (Swinton has described it as ‘Visconti on acid’), whilst the contrasting environments of sunny Liguria and a snow-bound Milan are celebrated and uncovered. Yellow predominates, from Tilda’s fabulous egg-yolk hair colour through shades of jonquil and chartreuse and … Read More »

Malcolm McLaren Dies: another London iconoclast bites the dust

Posted on 8th April, by Colin Chapman in Uncategorized. No Comments

What is it with 2010? Surely a very strange year so far. Endless winter and now, after McQueen’s death comes news that Mr Malcolm McLaren has died in New York. For me, after being the co-conspirator and originator of SEX with Dame Westwood, his status comes from this track. Deep in Vogue has one of the mightiest basslines ever and introduced vogueing and the word Banjee to London. When my boyfriend was filming the Ballroom scene in New York City a few years back for That Gay Show my contribution was to offer my copy of the original 12″single to sample for the soundtrack. McLaren was a visionary. Literally: someone who could see potential, who could see the future. Again, we’ve lost a unique eye on the world. RIP.

ASOS shorts, for inspiration only

Posted on 31st March, by Colin Chapman in Shorts. No Comments

Absolutely loving these ASOS print shorts. VERY Dries Van Noten and also so much like the batik-print shorts I bought last summer from UNIS in New York that I’m prescribing myself from ordering. Probably. Being limited edition these lovelies are all but sold out.. and if you are a 36 waist you probably shouldn’t be contemplating them. I particularly love the Ikat print with its suggestion of Balinese elegance. Of course, in Britain Summer is a myth, not seen for many years. So you’ll have to wear them elsewhere on your travels. Perfect for stepping over that steaming New York manhole cover and ducking the water hydrant as you stride out for the evening, tote over bronzed shoulder bared in pastel vest en route to that fabulous bar on Elizabeth Street or joining friends on their roof in Williamsburg. Dream on dream on..

Shoes for spring: suede and red rubber

Posted on 21st March, by Colin Chapman in Shoes. 1 Comment

I’ve had a thing about shoes with coloured rubber soles for some time now.  I think it started with some military-esque khaki canvas laceups with solid red rubber soles from YMC. I didn’t buy them but was intrigued by the combination of colour, assumed comfort and the Americana-ness of them. Since then, Fantastic Man suggested suede bucks on one of their daily recommends, and LL Bean subsequently sold out of red-soled bucks before I could have them sent over via my best American girlfriend.

At the top of the range there is New Yorker Mark McNairy’s brilliantly named Red Brick Soul collaborations with the cream of British shoe manufacturers (see pic below). Ironically though, they seem to be only on sale from the most exclusive boutiques overseas.  They might … Read More »

Spring Menswear Trends: hot off the (freezing) streets of London

Posted on 11th March, by Colin Chapman in Accessories, Street trends. No Comments

A few random Spring trends now that the dust has settled on LFW. Given that London is still in the grips of a seemingly never ending Narnia-like winter, the emphasis is still on warmth rather than Spring flesh flashings.

1. Soft-soled shoes, the kind that Grizzly Adams would wear to sneak up on Gentle Ben, are definitely surfacing on London feet. Sold in locations as diverse as Dover Street Market and American workwear/Americana stores. Those blending plaid, soft skins and crepe with obvious overstitching and all manner of olde/Native American fastenings look best. Quoddy and Yuketen have great options, OiPolloi stocks both brands.

2. Big scarves. Even the most laddish of lads have been seen wearing items verging on shawls recently. It seems that the eternal … Read More »

Inspiring sounds from across the Atlantic (again)

Posted on 28th February, by Colin Chapman in Alexander McQueen, House Music. No Comments

Probably my last post of today. A rare (from me) posting of YouTube items.

First of all, in the week that the late, great Lee Alexander McQueen was buried, lest we forget, here is another icon, Ms Patti Smith no-less dedicating her final song to him at a performance during New York Fashion Week

And on to a current obsession. House Music saviors Azari & Ill (even the name is genius) are here to remind us what good, jacking house should sound like. Reckless with your love is already one of my tracks of 2010 and since it was spotlighted in their recent Warm mix, Hungry for the power is too. Genius, genius, genius. If you really want to believe in a 1990s revival then these Toronto guys wrote the book.

GRRR, ich bin ein Berliner

Posted on 28th February, by Colin Chapman in T Shirts. No Comments

With this in mind, I love the knowingness of NY designer John Barrett’s collaboration with (already cool) T-shirt label Rogue’s Gallery. The vintage-looking T’s feature prints of bears and old-school bar signs declaring ‘Munich’ and ‘Berlin’. These aren’t vintage tourist tat, more a nod to the uniform and interests of leather men of old. Capturing a (still current) nostalgia for a very hedonistic, and in some ways naive time, before fashion was communicated with so much irony.

That’s me that is

Posted on 28th February, by Colin Chapman in Fantastic Man. 2 Comments

My Parisian tip for Ramen Noodles with butter finally made it onto the mighty Fantastic Man this week. Such a thrill! Whilst I’d never want to lose the glorious paper version, FM online shows how rapid and skilful the general shift from glossy mags to web has been in the last year. When I worked at the BBC I once described my hopes for the online medium as being the achievement of “the ultimate glossy magazine”. I think we’re there folks.

Tautz by name..

Posted on 27th February, by Colin Chapman in menswear. 2 Comments

British brand E. Tautz benefits from a name that partially describes what it does – as in being taut, the tension between tradition and something more dangerously stylish. With a venerable Savile Row tradition (‘sporting the Tautz’ was a phrase once used to describe it’s styles, worn by the likes of Cary Grant), the brand is one of a generation of W1 tailoring firms re-establishing their relevance.

During LFW they presented a series of looks making their position clear: classic tailoring with elements of British quirkiness. This is real power dressing. Prince of Wales checks, double-breasted blazers and Harris tweeds. Classic dressing can so easily pass over into costume but not here, where the accessories and clear intention make it so relevant for our times.

Percival label launch party

Posted on 12th February, by Colin Chapman in Fashion launch. 1 Comment

Last night was a funny old night to be holding a fashion launch party, on The Day that Alexander McQueen Died, many a fashionisto/a was wiping a tear and feeling a bit subdued. However, the fashion pack attending the Percival launch party in Shoreditch last night was in the main, of a different cut of cloth than the shiny, megabrand-lovers of fashion central. Percival is a new menswear label that mens fashion blog Style Salvage has already whetted our appetites for. Identifiably part of a wave of young, British-centric brands like Folk and Albam, the Percival brand embraces the outdoors but not in a traditional way rather than a Stone Island ‘lets invent the future of techno fabrics’ way. Brushed cotton shirting, anchor-motifed sweaters and woolen trousers (reminiscent of a Hovis ad) were literally there to be stroked, individual garments being hung against the distressed interior with helpful wall-mounted plaques such as ‘trousers’ and ‘waxed mac’ to hand. The said waxed mac (particularly in yellow) is the star piece to my mind: iconic, practical and bringing cheer to traditional British dampness.

Alexander McQueen- and so it goes on

Posted on 12th February, by Colin Chapman in Alexander McQueen. No Comments

This isn’t going to stop for some time. I’m currently reading Patti Smith’s Just Kids, about her lifelong friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe (another great artist who died too young) and just heard that in New York City yesterday she dedicated her performance at the LNA after party to Lee.

Lee ‘Alexander’ McQueen 1969- 2010

Posted on 11th February, by Colin Chapman in Alexander McQueen. 2 Comments

Don’t feel like I can let this day pass without posting a statement about Lee (Alexander) McQueen’s death. It doesn’t matter what I thought when I heard about his passing, what vague associations, or brushes with his presence may have occurred in the past. I’m simply very saddened. He was one of the examples I always gave when asked why I believe fashion matters, and as a contemporary of my own age his presence in this city affected my personal perception of it.

London is a blander, less interesting place without his presence tonight.

From Bangkok streetwear to um, blankets

Posted on 3rd February, by Colin Chapman in socks, winter, wool. No Comments

This is the time of year when fashion sites declare “It’s Spring!” and there’s all sorts of enticement to get you dropping layers. And I’m normally first out of the gate where this is concerned. But lets face it, with snow at Easter not unknown we’re all going to be freezing our bollocks off for some time to come. And with this in mind here is a rare, wooly, winter-themed post from me.

During a recent Cotswolds jaunt I was tipped off to visit the woolen mill/shop in the village of Filkins. Inside you can find blankets galore, many of which sell at places like Liberty at great markups. So, I wandered round the shop draped in a variety of lovely woolen blankets and rugs until I happened across the hunting socks. Thick chunky socks worn just-visible under dirty-suede hiking boots or LLBean blucher moccasins have been one of the highlights of my winter so far. I chose the thickest socks in lilac with yellow and a brick-red with beige.

Thai fisherman pants: the influence continues

Posted on 27th January, by Colin Chapman in pants, Thailand, trousers. 1 Comment

Thai fisherman pants, those wrap-waisted drop crotch comfort pants have  long been beloved by backpackers and Sanctuary afficionados, but they’re also starting to creep into fashion. And no, that’s not just me imagining Thai influences in my post-holiday daze. Last summer saw fisherman-style wrapped shorts at Unconditional (as posted about by me in Brandish) and then there’s these lovelies by Harmon. I’ve only managed to find these Stateside so far, at Oak but please do tell me I’m wrong if you know of a UK stockist. I love the combination of that military-green (SO now!) with the casual wrap style.

A taste of Thai street fashion: Bangkok

Posted on 25th January, by Colin Chapman in Bangkok, shopping, street fashion, Thailand, travel. No Comments

Quick summary of recent travels in Thailand from a shopping/fashion perspective. The photo is an example of Thai street fashion: punky boy in Simpson’s T-shirt with bleached quiff and winklepickers..

All about Aesop

Posted on 17th December, by Colin Chapman in Mens Grooming, Toiletries. 5 Comments

“Blessed” with a seasonally-induced giant zit last weekend, the last thing I felt like doing was browsing skincare products. So, [cue more ironic quotes] “imagine my surprise” when I should find myself in the new Aesop store on Redchurch Street being talked through their products by a charming sales assistant. I swear we were literally sucked in by the super-cool store design, already high on loveliness after a visit to next-door Caravan.

Already a destination for cool antique stores, quirky low-key eateries and (OMG) Jeanette’s boutique, Aesop is a very fitting and quite exciting addition to Redchurch Street, formerly a somewhat scuzzy Shoreditch backstreet.

Once drawn inside I learnt two things: 1. Aesop is an Australian brand, and 2. it’s … Read More »

You’re so Zeitgeist – Winter ’09

Posted on 20th November, by Colin Chapman in Uncategorized. No Comments

1.All-in-one/union suits/combinations

Just ask the lovely people over at Style Salvage, or for that matter, the mighty Fantastic Man. In fact, Mr Adam Kimmel is seen sporting a unijohn of his own design in the latest FM. As winter really kicks in there’s nothing better than wearing a thin layer under everything else. Or add sex appeal by leaving out a layer i.e. wear shorts rather than trousers or a gilet instead of a jacket to provide a flash of long underwear. Personally, I’m dreaming of a sea island cotton version, all slinky warmth and turn-of-the-century luxury.

2. Puffa/inflated/volume/down-filled outerwear

Winter 2009 is so far devoid of huge trends. I’m seeing very little I didn’t see last year. Except for this one. From the cheapo: Uniqlo’s Jil Sander collaboration, to the ultra luxe (Moncler royal blue leather with mink lining … Read More »

Paris: Art Nouveau makes a swirling, curvaceous comeback!

Posted on 20th November, by Colin Chapman in Uncategorized. No Comments

Spent my birthday in Paris this year, which was beyond good. Great food, late Autumn sunshine and that gorgeous, handsome city to explore.

We were also lucky enough to catch an amazing exhibition at the stunning Musee d’Orsay: Art Nouveau Revival, worthy of a visit to Paris in itself. Combining the original Art Nouveau movement in terms of graphic design, architecture and furniture (including the classic, swirly Metropolitain sign) with 60s Psychedelic art, fashion and furniture it brings together two of my favourite ever art movements/conjunctions. This infusion of sheer colour and the sensuous, often explicitly sexual designs in everything from posters to chairs, tables and Verner Panton’s ‘fantasy furniture’ is so very welcome as we enter the greyest season of the year. The exhibition book (cover seen above) would … Read More »


Posted on 3rd November, by Colin Chapman in Film and fashion. 5 Comments

As ever, the moving image is a source of fashion inspiration. And as the past continues to keep us furled in its kid-gloved fist, there’s a steady stream of period inspired visuals to feed our interest.

First up is Tom Ford‘s A Single Man which I saw at the London Film Festival a couple of weeks ago. Predictably gorgeous to look at, from the mid-century interiors in California valley homes to the fashion styling, it also manages to affect and engage emotionally. Of course, starting out with a Christopher Isherwood story means working with the very best quality of raw materials.

Of particular note is an outfit worn by Nicholas Hoult (of Skins fame). An off-white mohair sweater with slash neckline over a Tattersal check shirt (one of my favourites) and WHITE jeans. Given the 50’s setting, there was … Read More »

You’re so Zeitgeist – Autumn ‘09

Posted on 2nd October, by Colin Chapman in Uncategorized. No Comments

I’ve had a post in the wings about autumn colours for a few weeks now, but Fantastic Man have pipped me to it with their monthly Look. Serves me right for being a slow arse non-blogger. And who better to be upstaged by than Mr Porter and the mighty FM? As a Scorpio, this time of year tends to be a watershed for me: a time when things both good and bad come to and end, and I feel strengthened and in sync with the world. In other words, autumn colours have resonance for me, signifying MY time of year.

And, there IS still something to say about autumn colours and menswear. Whilst it might seem like an obvious fashion editorial piece, there is … Read More »

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