Friday, 02 December 2016 16:17

ChicGeek Men’s Lurex Partywear 2016

Menswear Lurex Knitwear Polo JosephFirst things first, what exactly is Lurex? Lurex is a type of yarn or fabric which incorporates a glittering metallic thread. It gives the knit a sort of Christmasy makeover which is on just the right side of glittery.

It’s perfect for this time of year, under artificial lights or candles, and adds an element of reflective fun to a suit or evening wear.

I remember Prada produced a collection with lots of lurex in AW 2011 , below, and showed how it could look fresh and interesting in knitwear and accessories. I ended up buying a knitted tie. Lurex on men shows an element of confidence in the wearer and somebody you instantly gravitate to at a party. Get involved!

Here is a selection of what is available this season: 

Prada lurex AW 2011 menswearFar Left - Joseph - Lurex Merinos Polo - £195

Left - Vintage - Prada AW 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lurex ASOS menswear ChristmasLeft - ASOS - Knitted Metallic T-Shirt - £25

tank top gucci lurex menswearLeft - Gucci - Lurex Jacquard Tank Top - £440 from LN-CC

Below - Balenciaga - Men’s Slip-on Lurex - £325

Balenciaga lurex trainers sneakers

AMI knitwear lurex menswear style bloggerLeft - AMI - Men’s Round Neck Pull In Lurex - £235

Topman lurex knitwear 2016 the chic geekLeft - Topman - Lurex Top - £20

 

Monday, 28 November 2016 17:18

ChicGeek Comment Stella McCartney Menswear

Stella McCartney menswear swallowsIt’s hard and premature to judge a brand on their first collection. It takes around 2 or 3, ideally, to be able to assess properly and get a median point of view or an idea on whether you like it or not and want to commit, i.e. buy. The fashion set usually rush to rave, if it's good, or sit back, offer non-committal politeness and hope they advertise, if it isn't.Stella McCartney Chloe Melons Menswear

Far Left - Stella McCartney swallow print shirt - £485, Left - Twisting her melons! Chloe, circa Spring 2001, when Stella McCartney was the chief designer

I, unfortunately, couldn’t make the launch of Stella McCartney’s new menswear collection, so I’m judging on the SS17 lookbook and the couple of pieces they had at the recent matchesfashion.com press day.

Stella McCartney is a feminine label and because I’ve known this has been coming for a while, I’ve got my head around that being in the neck of the garment.

If you had asked me a few months ago what this was going to look like, I would have said something like Roland Mouret’s now defunct Mr. men’s collection: all dark, navy suits, safe and quality basics modelled on Stella's very stylish husband, Alasdhair Willis, who is in charge at Hunter.

Surprisingly, it’s a big collection that isn’t playing safe and is offering something for ‘members’ and ‘non-members’. It's just the entrance fee that many may have a problem with!

It’s expensive, which makes sense because of the womenswear positioning. Is the target customer the male to the female customer or the partner of the female Stella customer? If he's the male equivalent, he'll want to buy his own clothes. If he's the partner, you'd be a confident woman taking quite a risk taking this lot home. Zipper trousers, anybody?!

What we have is something that looks like West London’s version of East London. It's all a bit 'popping out for a pint of milk and a packet of fags on Primrose Hill', which is Stella McCartney's set. When I saw the swallow shirt, pictured, it brought to mind one of Stella McCartney's Chloe tops with bananas on from her time at the French fashion house.

menswear Stella McCartney chic geek reviewnon members stella mccartney menswearIt's a tough time to launch menswear. Many well established brands are finding it difficult to shift fashion at these prices. It needs to be the best or special, or both. Kering, McCartney's parent company, obviously want her to expand. First kid's, now men's. 

This could falter by falling in the gap between not being fashion enough for those who want serious, standout pieces and not being wearable enough for those men with deep enough pockets to afford it. Let's see how this develops.

You can pre-order the SS17 collection now.

Left - Stella McCartney - Bonded technical trench coat - £1605

Stella McCartney tomorrow backpack menswear

Right - Will you join Stella McCartney's menswear club?

 

 

 

 

Right - The kind of bag most brands giveaway for free. Yours for £290 - Stella McCartney - Tomorrow Print Backpack

 Below - Stella recreated the famous Beatles crossing at Abbey Road, London for the launch of her new men's collection. Grooming by AvedaAbbey Road Stella McCartney Beatles Menswear

 

Coach Regent Street Dinosaur RexyYou walk into the new Coach store on Regent Street and the first thing to confront you is Rexy, Coach’s T-Rex dinosaur. This isn’t the replacement for Dippy the Diplodocus, the Natural History Museum’s famous dinosaur, which is going on a regional tour, but it’s just as magnetic.

Left - Putting the sexy into Rexy!

The new store is impressive. It feels like a one-off. Coach has always been a perfectly acceptable, mid-market and luxury with a small l, brand. 

moving handbags coach regent streetRight - The handbags move around the Heath Robinson-type contraption

But, with this new store they’ve really stepped it up a gear. It shows a Creative Director - Stuart Vevers - putting himself into the brand and being allowed to do so. What they’ve done is thought about injecting personality and identity rather than focus solely on ‘luxury’. 
So many brands get fixated on luxury and forget about identity and personality. For some, it’s all about the Carrara marble and shiny finishes and they’ve started to look soulless, empty and, ultimately, boring. 

Rexy The Dinosaur Coach bags Regent Street

Left - Coach Regent Street's giant Rexy is going to be auctioned off

The new Coach store has a mechanical track with bags running along it, a giant pink neon dinosaur in the window and special product, downstairs, designed with British tourist badges and travel souvenir symbols. It’s fun without being gimmicky. It feels like somebody has thought about it rather than simply rolling out a format the world over. Yawn.

In contrast, I popped into the new handbag hall in Selfridges. The biggest in the world, when finished, it has all the usual suspects: Valentino, Celine, Balenciaga, Chanel, Burberry, all with their signature shop-fits. It all feels so predictable and formulaic. The only one of interest was Gucci with a mosaic floor featuring their, now, signature wasps. 

Luxury needs personality. It needs a strong individual to lead with instinct and intuition. Brands need to create newness and not just consistency. Coach seems to not only made Rexy sexy, but also fun. It's approachable and welcoming. If brands are going to get us off our sofas, offline and outside, there needs to be something worthy of going out for. 

Friday, 25 November 2016 01:22

ChicGeek Comment Fashion Black Friday

Black Friday Retail CommentI’m a believer that Black Friday is a good way for fashion retailers to get rid of stuff. Let’s be honest, if you haven’t got rid of most of this season’s fashion by the end of November it’s probably going into the sale anyway. Rather than wait until after the Christmas glut and the fatigue that takes the shine off most of these items, it’s a fresh and early sale that can still make the current season look alluring and new-ish. A late mid-season, maybe?

Left - Somewhere in the world there is a sale on

For an important season it is very short. It really only has between September and November to shift fashion. By the time you get to December fashion is dead and it’s all about Christmas. Many brands, now, deliver their new season in November, so again, another reason to mark down on Black Friday and ride the hysteria of, mostly, internet sales.

For some reason, unbeknownst to me, many retailers still think the clock strikes September and we all crave polo necks and thick tweed coats. Autumn is warm, now. Maybe a few more layers, but the idea that it nosedives to below zero the minute summer is over seems old-fashioned or stupid and people don’t want to plan or buy ahead, they want to wear now.

Men like discounts and a bargain and I think there’s enough time between Black Friday and Boxing Day to probably get the sale driven person twice. 

Black Friday may not work for all types of retailers. but, for fashion retailers, it’s another sales opportunity basket to put their eggs in and they need as much help as they can get at the moment.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016 15:01

ChicGeek Comment The Future of Luxury Watches

The Future of Luxury WatchesSomething occurred to me the other day with regards to the watch business. Much like the oil industry which continues to pump out millions of barrels of oil, despite the price falling, in order to fend off or weaken the burgeoning fracking industry, (it’s a lost cause, btw, but what other options are there?) the watch industry is doing much the same thing: pumping out large volumes of product at all different price levels trying to keep themselves desirable and relevant.

Left - Are luxury watches sinking for good?

The smartwatch was a catalyst, and while it hasn’t really dented the traditional watch market, it was already under threat from people using their phones to tell the time and the slightly old-fashioned, pompous and alienating approach many Swiss brands/makers have.

Global Blue’s latest data for the third quarter of 2016 show global spending on watches is down -32%. The UK aside, which is experiencing a blip due to the weakness of the pound, Global Blue’s latest year-to-date data shows that the W&J (Watches & Jewellery) category has been hardest hit by the global luxury spending slowdown. 

The reasons they give are: Chinese are buying fewer watches due to the conspicuous consumption crackdown, higher import duties are a major deterrent, as is the dual effect of less attractive product and lack of price differentials. Plus the landscape is dramatically different now that global shoppers are deterred from visiting Europe due to the persistent perception of reduced safety and threat of terrorism.

Like all industries that experience rapid growth it will inevitably lose momentum and stall. They are trying to offer something special, but in volume, which is an oxymoron. They are also not very transparent at helping consumers know what they are buying and paying big bucks for.

They’ve opened huge flagships to showcase their brands in insulation, so as not to be contaminated by any others, but it’s not sustainable. Recently, Mike France, co-founder of internet watch retailer Christopher Ward, said, when talking about mono-brand watch stores, the “Regent Street model cannot be economically viable”. He said: “Ultimately they will die. Some of them will remain, but most of them will die. At the moment stores are flags for the brands; most of them lose a fortune.”

The volumes the industry are churning out are unsustainable too and has taken the 'luxury' halo off the industry. They are in a damned if they do and damned if they don’t situation. 

Lots of consumers are turned off by the prices and are turning towards the ‘pre owned watches’ or 'second hand watches' market for something different or if they still want a status symbol-type brand at a price that they can afford and justify.

I’ve also heard branded/licensed watches in the mid-market are struggling and many brands and fashion companies which don’t specialise in this area are leaving the category all together.

Luxury watches are at a crossroads. Will we look back in a few years and find it funny that people used to wear lumps of mechanical metal on their wrists? Only time will tell.