Albion knitwear made in LondonIn 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.

albion knitting staircase the chic geek menswear knitwearLeft - 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

albion knitting made in haringey the chic geek menswearLeft - 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.

peter millar made in UK knitwear the chic geek menswearRight - 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. 

Tuesday, 09 February 2016 16:01

Splash or Cash? The Apron Shoe

gh bass apron shoe the chic geekIt was on my recent trip to the Pitti men's show in Florence where I got to fully appreciate the sturdy simplicity of the apron style shoe. The apron is the stitched curved detail on the top of the front of the shoe. 

I think it gives them an almost Germanic feel and makes them handsome in their simplicity. Definitely a great alternative to a standard Derby or Oxford shoe and they look great on a thicker sole.

I particularly like this black pair from GH Bass.

Left - GH Bass - Monogram Apron Black Leather - £160

Below - Cheaney - Chiswick Derby - £330

cheaney apron shoes the chic geek

Tuesday, 09 February 2016 10:42

Book Review The Wardrobe of Cecil Beaton

Cecil Beaton Review A Life in FashionCecil Beaton was a true original. From the moment he arrived at Cambridge University in 1922 wearing an evening jacket, red shoes, black-and-white trousers and a large cravat, to his appearance nearly forty years later at Truman Capote’s 1970 Black and White Ball, Beaton expressed unmatched sartorial flamboyance and nonchalance. He held accounts with many Savile Row tailors, bought his hats from Herbert Johnson and Lock & Co and his shirts from Excello in New York. A testament to his stylistic significance, many elements of his wardrobe are today held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and the V&A, London.

Below - Cecil Beaton & David Hockney in the conservatory at Reddish House, 1970

cecil beaton david hockney reddish house

Cecil Beaton Rabbit CoatTheChicGeek says, "This book came at a perfect time as I was already Pinning images of Beaton and his conservatory on my ChicGeek Pinterest page - here - and wanted to know/see more. A confirmed snob, photographer Cecil Beaton is better known for his subjects then for the man himself. Benjamin Wild's does his best with, in what I can only imagine to be, a limited supply amount of information, physical items and photographs. These things just weren't documented as much in those days. You almost want to bring Beaton into the 21st century and gorge yourself on images. I'm sure he'd be one for the selfie, if only to double check himself.

Left - 'Rabbit' coat made by Beaton, 1937

One of the best segments of the book is his reaction to his portraits. Showing his level of vanity, he didn't even like David Hockney's drawings. I'm pretty sure that Francis Bacon would have been a wise investment, if he'd liked it! 

The image of Beaton in his conservatory with David Hockney - above - is one of my all time favourite menswear images. It sums up the eccentric side of the English gentleman.

The book is a quick glimpse of one the 20th century's greatest social climbers and the taste level that allowed him to progress. Starting as one of the early 20th century's 'Bright Young Things' and living and working through a very exciting time in Britain, he seems the type of opinionated character worthy of reading their diary".

mick jagger chic geek cecil beatonThames & Hudson - £29.95 

Right - Beaton, James Fox & Mick Jagger on set of film Performance, 1968

Monday, 08 February 2016 11:12

LC:M Best In Show Grace Wales Bonner

best menswear show lcm the chic geek grace wales bonnergrace wales bonner best show lcm the chic geekA moment. The objective of a fashion show is to convincingly transport the viewer, albeit for a few short minutes, to the place that illustrates everything you want to say about your collection. Recent Central St. Martins graduate, Grace Wales Bonner's journey started the second the African harp began to strum and out strode the models, with glistening faces, in looks that could only be described as somewhere between colonial Africa, the 1970s and modern streetwear.

Featured as part of the Topman sponsored MAN show, during LC:M, Wales Bonner's collection was a beaming dose of heat that brought to mind those sepia style, sunday best pictures of the British Empire. Somewhere in downtown Lagos, circa 1948, somebody was posing with a brass pot plant and portrait of the Queen.

The model's waxed faces made them appear preserved and other worldly, while the clothes were wide and slim in a way only the 1970s can do. Surprisingly fresh and contemporary, tracksuits were delicately decorated with jewels which spoke of her reference highlights and not an obvious note of wealth or bling. But, regardless of the references it looked cool, and that's ultimately what good fashion is.

The standout show of LC:M, for me, Grace Wales Bonner, gave us a perfectly formed escape for a couple of minutes. I can't wait to see what she can give us with a full collection. Roll on SS17.

best menswear show aw16 man top man the chic geekgrace wales bonner aw 16 1970s coat the chic geek

TheChicGeek is very excited to announce his London Collections: Men #LCM social media takeover of great British men’s brand, Jigsaw Menswear.  Follow everything he gets up to during London’s Men’s Fashion Week, wearing Jigsaw Menswear throughout. Check out the stylish new collection here 

Plus an extra special ChicGeek installation is taking place over the weekend in their flagship Duke Street Emporium in London’s Mayfair. Your eyes definitely aren’t deceiving you! Come down and check out what TheChicGeek is wearing from Jigsaw Menswear’s new SS16 collection plus get a #selfie with one of the many ChicGeeks.

Follow TheChicGeek during #LCM on Twitter & Instagram @thechicgeekcouk