It should be remembered that the term exclusive, long touted by fashion brands in the positive sense of the word, is the opposite of inclusive. The opposite, to exclude, becomes a negative: a pushing away and a physical wall between the them and us.
Left - The LV Series 3 Sticker Wall - Take home a sticker of an item you probably can't afford
Luxury brands tread a fine line between wanting the masses to buy en masse - they have to in order to sustain these giant businesses - while keeping this positive form of exclusivity.
As brands find it increasingly difficult to differentiate themselves in a crowded market, both in physicality and ideas, some are using that muscle to ‘educate’ the consumer and let them into this ‘exclusive’ world.
French brand, Louis Vuitton just opened a new, month long exhibition, opposite Australia House on The Strand, entitled LV Series 3, to showcase the thought processes their womenswear designer, Nicholas Ghesquière, had behind their current AW15 collection.
Like many of these things, it is a risk. You either leave with the brand going up higher or lower in your expectations. Obviously, the brand, spending huge sums of money, wants the former.
Rather than a wow, it wasn’t quite clear what you were looking at and then, unfortunately, you ask yourself, do I really care?
Brands have to be careful not to believe in their own myth and hype. They have to remember who put them there. Some of these things can have a touch of the Marie Antoinettes: the great unwashed allowed in, on their terms, to look, but not touch.
People are giving up their precious free time and making a journey to see these things featuring perspex boxes housing £5000 bags with the pretention that you should feel privileged that they are even allowing you in to see something you’ll never be able to afford.
I understand brands want and need to put their product on a pedestal in order to make it feel special, but it also needs to feel inclusive. If people are taking time out of their busy lives to frequent these things it needs to be on par or better than a museum show or don’t bother at all. These things are beautifully made and while there are two artisans demonstrating and making product inside the exhibit, you leave feeling like you don't know anymore than when you first went in.
It could be that I'm not a fan of Ghesquière's, but I went in wanting to be wowed and educated on why he's been given the top job at the world's biggest luxury goods company. It fell flat on that front. I left feeling that luxury brands need to remember that it’s important not to patronise if they want us to carry on patronising.
Let’s stop and reflect at the new Gucci for just one second. From what is a complete 180 degree u-turn of the brand their current customer is used to, they are doing exactly the right thing by distancing themselves from the tacky, status driven brand it had become.
Left & Below - Gucci Cruise SS16
In fashion we love a reinvention especially when you have the one person - whom you trust - take over all aspects of the business from design to stores to advertising to branding.
As ‘designer’ fashion becomes more unaffordable and high-street fashion gets better and cheaper, the chasm between the two keeps getting wider.
Consumers, the world over, are waking up and many can no longer justify the price of designer goods when it is so far from something they are reasonably happy with particularly when it comes to clothing.
Designer brands need to give us something we would find nowhere else. These need to be the ultimate new ‘vintage’ finds that make them feel like a discovery rather than something seen from Shanghai to Bond Street on every gormless tourist.
Gucci’s new Creative Director, Alessandro Michele said recently, “I think in the imagination of each of us, there is the idea of having a beautiful wardrobe of unique pieces.”
Okay, we’re not that naive to think Gucci are making only one of each item, but it certainly feels that way and that’s the clever thing.
Lots of international designer brands have been too busy chasing the volume and forgetting about the special. There is certainly the margins on these products to add something different and while Gucci will lose a lot of customers, they will certainly gain a select, influential and niche few.
Whether this can sustain the world’s second biggest luxury brand will have to be seen, but they are certainly making some beautiful and interesting things, again.
Drawing inspiration from classic 90s apparel - must be the This Is England influence already! British designer Christopher Shannon continues to reimagine menswear for his new collaboration with River Island.
Left - One of Shannon's sketches for the new collaboration
Known for his sports/streetwear, Shannon, has labelled this collection “Call The Cops”. He commented, "The brand has always been based in British culture, I think it’s good to keep connected with that and high street collaborations help us in achieving that goal".
The 11 piece collection launches in selected UK stores and online, with prices ranging from £30-120.
TheChicGeek was given an exclusive preview. Here are his favourite pieces from the new collection:
Right - Love Sweatshirt - £45
Left - Joggers - £45
Left - Bum Bag In Teddy Fur - £25
Left - T-Shirt - £30
Available 21st September
Okay, okay, for you discerning fashion gents out there this does have something of the Neil Barrett's about it, albeit with more colour. (He's moved onto lightning strikes anyway!)
Valentino are knocking it out of the park at the moment. They've lucked out on their Creative Directors, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, who are creating both commercial and beautiful items while keep all the different layers of fashion consumers happy.
If you're a ChicGeek reader then you're obviously part of the most sophisticated layer and nothing gets more sophisticated than this. Definitely a 'fashion' piece, it still has legs to become something of a timeless classic. The design is said to draw inspiration from the work of Australian artist Esther Stewart. A detectable blue sheepskin collar allows it to venture into deeper winter territory and despite keeping you warm, nothing looks cooler.
Left & Below - Valentino - Panelled Bomber Jacket With Shearling Collar - £1715
TheChicGeek casts his discerning editor’s eye over the new collection from Fossil. From timepieces to bags, jewellery to small leather goods, Fossil has something for everyman this season. Here are TheChicGeek’s top picks and how you should wear them:
1. For something dressier and more grown-up, for the new season, try this Buchanan Chronograph with a smart black leather strap. Team with a suit for work or a fine knit for an evening out.
Left - Buchanan Chronograph Black Leather Watch - £165
2. Apart from adding a quality finish to this backpack, the leather details add a practicality and durability which will only get better with wear. Looks great with a hoodie and jeans.
Right - Estate Backpack - £169
3. Simple, yet effective, this braided leather bracelet is fastened with a generous hook in a copper coloured metal.
Left - Hook Detail Bracelet - £49
4. It is the subtle touches that separate the plain fashionable from the super stylish. This simple Concorde-like pin will look great on the lapel of a dark suit without drawing too much attention.
Right - Paper Airplane Pin - £19
5. Perfect for the huge AW15 shearling/flight jacket trend, this watch blends the best retro qualities with Fossil's famous leather for the most stylish of contemporary aviators. Wear with an oversized knit and leather/sheepskin flight jacket.
Left - Breaker Chronograph Vaccheta Leather Watch - £185
What are you favourite pieces?
Get involved @fossil #CallingAllCurious
See more here
TheChicGeek got the chance to investigate and discover the remastered Fiat 500, this week. At an exclusive event hosted by British singer-songwriter, Ella Eyre, at Potter’s Field Park, next to Tower Bridge, the new FIAT 500 was unveiled and performed with Ella on a giant vinyl record, 15 metres in diameter.
Left - Two badges of style together - Fiat & TheChicGeek
The new FIAT 500 retains the unmistakable look and charm of its predecessor, but with no fewer than 1,800 modifications for 2015.
Right - The new Fiat 500 coordinating very nicely with the sunset
Sebastiano Fedrigo, from FIAT UK, said “You don’t replace an icon - you embrace it and evolve it. The new FIAT 500 has been truly re-mastered and reloaded and what better way to mark the launch with an impressive and memorable event like tonight’s. We are very excited to have worked with such a talented performer and to finally see the new FIAT 500 and Ella Eyre perform together this evening”.
Left - The new Fiat 500 doesn't need The Tower of London in the background to look good
Anyone wishing to keep up with all of the action from the event should follow @FIAT_UK #NewFiat500. The new FIAT 500 will be available in all FIAT showrooms from September 2 starting at £10,890. For more information visit www.fiat.co.uk
Being naturally curious makes TheChicGeek the true geek that he is. He is curious about the new, curious to discover the best and curious enough to try anything once!
Left - What a curious bunch?! On Set - TheChicGeek shooting the new Fossil #CallingAllCurious campaign with the help of a few friends
Well, it's lucky then, that American accessory brand, Fossil, asked TheChicGeek, and a few friends, to take part in their new #CallingAllCurious AW15 campaign.
The current AW15 menswear collection falls under the theme of the ‘Curious Set’. Shot in London, we were tasked with celebrating the curious world of Fossil - its people, products and culture - in a series of images and choosing the product which most represents our personal style.
This season, Fossil has focused on product 'Icons' that have been developed with different colours and finishes. Craftmanship is essential to the collection, bringing attention to unnoticed detail designs in every cut, stitch and bolt.
Right - Marcus from TheChicGeek wearing ‘Estate’ backpack & ‘Grant’ brown leather watch - £125
Representing the concept of accessible cool, Fossil’s identity is anchored in vintage authentic style mixed with a creative spirit and a sense of humour that extends into all its products – watches, jewellery and bags.
From the pick of the new collection, TheChicGeek went for a handsome brown 'Grant' watch with stitched strap and an 'Estate' backpack with stylish and durable leather details and straps in a textured grey finish.
Left - Curious Couple - The Fossil #CallingAllCurious Campaign - womenswear blogger, Fashion Foie Gras, & Marcus from The Chic Geek
Perfect for this curiously new season, it just leaves TheChicGeek curious about how he survived before without them!
See TheChicGeek's Top 5 Fossil Items of the Season - here
So, what makes you curious?
Get involved on social media - #CallingAllCurious @Fossil
WIN TheChicGeek's Fossil watch here
See what makes us all curious in the full @Fossil #CallingAllCurious video below