A new exhibition charting the emergence of the modern male wardrobe has opened at the Jewish Museum in Camden, London .
This new exhibition tells the story of men’s fashion and the emergence of the modern male wardrobe – taking visitors on a journey from the tailoring workshops of the mid-19th century to the boutique revolution and mod culture of the Swinging 60s. The story is told through the huge number of Jewish companies who were at the forefront of the major developments and changes in the design, manufacturing and retail of men’s clothing from the mid-19th to late 20th century.
Right - Cecil Gee, who helped bring the 1960s Italian Mod look to London, in his Shaftesbury Avenue store in the 1960s. I love the birdcage
For over 100 years British menswear set trends which led the world – and many of the most influential figures of that period were Jews, from Montague Burton and Moses Moss to Cecil Gee and Michael Fish.
Left & Below - Mr Fish outfit & label on a 'Kipper' tie from his store in Mayfair
TheChicGeek says, “I hadn’t been to the Jewish Museum before and, as far as I know, this is the first exhibition they’ve had dedicated to menswear. It’s a concise and compact exhibition starting with the early mass suit producers such as Burton and Moses Moss up to the colourful Peacock Males of Carnaby Street.
It’s a simple timeline with lots of images and a few films illustrating the processes these manufacturers invented and also giving a feel of the time these things were happening.
I didn’t realise so many of the Carnaby street sixties brands such as Mr Fish, Granny Takes A Trip, Lord John etc. were all Jewish and it’s always a joy to see this colourful chapter in British menswear.
The exhibition is perfectly timed as the Mr Fish label is set to return under new ownership. The original Michael Fish is said to not be very well and he doesn’t have many examples of his own work left, unfortunately. The exhibition does has a couple of pieces, including one of his famous ‘Kipper’ ties, lent by the Victoria & Albert museum. While Jewishness doesn't necessarily have an influence on the product, this is a celebration of the Jewish community's input into British menswear over the last 150 years."
Until 19th June 2016
As simple as it gets. It's either modern or retro modern, but a simple, large elasticated strap is making this shoe style look fresh and contemporary. There's this white, trainer style, from COS, which looks like it just stepped off 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is one part nurse, one part 60s futurism. While this pair from Jimmy Choo's pre-fall 2016 collection, which I spied at their recent press day, is dressy enough for a tuxedo or minimal enough for any business suit. Whether black or white, the future is definitely thick and elasticated!
Left - COS Unisex Sneakers - £89
Below - Jimmy Choo - Prefall 2016
Expectations are never very high when it comes to menswear at the Oscars. Giorgio Armani usually has a monopoly of safety with his sea of black tuxedos and matching bow-ties.
Well, it's the small changes in menswear which really make a difference. By simply changing his self-tie bow-tie from black to white, Ryan Gosling has given men's formalwear a contemporary freshness. While safely in the parameters of acceptability it added an element of difference and style.
Definitely something to think about come prom/party season.
Left - Ryan Gosling in Gucci presenting at the 2016 Oscars
I’m not sure where the Monkey boot got its name, *quick Google* and no decent explanation. They were the standard issue Czechoslovakian army boot of WW2. That's all I can find out.
I’ve been wearing mine all winter and they seem to go with everything. They dress down a smart trouser without looking forced and keep a jean looking smart without looking sloppy.
Their history as a skinhead’s boot of choice doesn’t hurt, plus they’re really comfortable. When I was at the Pitti menswear show in Florence, last summer, they looked fresh and contemporary and there were a lot of brands producing them for this spring season.
There’s something solid and traditional yet also street about the monkey boot. They’re the kind of boot you don't notice at first, but the more you look, the bigger the appreciation. These polished toe cap version from Grenson have a nice contrast between the front and the grained leather and the solid, wedged sole adds a modern touch.
Left & Below - Grenson - Andy - £225
From the frow to standing at the back! TheChicGeek was all over the recent menswear shows at London Collections: Men. Here are the trends that caught his eye:
Copper - That highlight orange has become slightly dirtier and more grown up.
From Far Left - Craig Green, Katie Eary, Hopman Design, Oliver Spencer
Grunge - Nobody’s ever made money from selling grunge, it’s kind of the point, no?
From Far Left - Topman Design, Burberry, J.W. Anderson
Neck Scarves - Double knot it for accessory impact.
Both Margaret Howell
Soft 70s Teddy Bear Hair - Layers, Bowl Cut, or simply ask for an 'Abigail's Party' next time you're at the barbers.
Below From Left - Lou Dalton, Burberry
Cropped Mid-Driff - Not since Mark Owen in the Relight My Fire Video have I been this excited about the male midriff. AW16's new, chilly erogenous zone!
From Far Left - Agi & Sam, Astrid Andersen
Inside Out Sheepskins - You could just turn last year's inside out, but it probably won't look as good!
From Far Left - Coach, James Long, 1205
Sequins - These were dress-down sequins on sportswear and simple tops.
Burberry, James Long
Silk - Menswear bedroom eyes with luxurious plain or printed silks in bedroom shapes.
Below - Katie Eary, Topman Design
The tank top is back. That body-warming symbol of the 70s has returned in our new mood for maximalism. Mr Porter is calling it a 'gilet', but we all know a geek-chic-tastic tank top when we see one.
TheChicGeek says, "It should be fitted, but not 70s tight, it should be long enough in the body to sit nicely on the waistband. Look for ribbing around this area for a better fit. Go for bright patterns and colour and have fun with it. Look in for cheap alternatives in vintage stores or more 'traditional' menswear stores".
Below - Raf Simons - Jacquard-Knit Lambswool- Blend Gilet - £285 MRPORTER.COM
Bottom - Gucci - Jacquard-Knit Camel, Wool & Silk-Blend Gilet - £405 MRPORTER.COM
In a quiet industrial estate, off a nondescript North London suburban street, sits Albion Knitting Co. Not some relic from the 60s or 70s, that, somehow, managed to survive, but a new venture, with state-of-the-art machines, producing for some of fashion’s biggest names, all proudly made in glamourous Haringey.
Left - Welcome to Albion Knitting Co.
I was invited down by American brand, Peter Millar, to see where some, not all, of their knitwear is made. Producing between 5,000 to 10,000 garments, a year, for Peter Millar, the factory opened in 2014 and also produces knitwear for luxury brands such as Chloe, dunhill and Nicole Farhi.
Right - The feature staircase inside the North London factory
Left - The stairs on the staircase features old pieces of knitting hardware
Knitting, washing and finishing takes place here by the 20 strong workforce. An example of skills and production returning to the UK, from abroad, the whole environment is very open and features a stunning metal staircase with steps incorporating old pieces of knitting hardware.
Right - A final AW16 look from Peter Millar
If you haven’t heard of Peter Millar before, the Richemont-owned men’s brand is busy expanding into the UK. Known for golfwear and currently available at Harrods, they have aspirations to take a chunk of Zegna’s market in that stylish, but won’t scare-the-horses-type of mature menswear. Making in London is certainly a start. If the label says 'Made in England' then the Peter Millar garment would have been proudly made by Albion Knitting Co.