Fashion always surprises and reinterprets. We all have our preconceptions about things and it’s that willingness to change that separates the leaders from the followers. I love it when something you think couldn’t be less cool is presented in a new way that makes it desirable. This is what good designers do.
Far Left - Balenciaga SS17, Left - Striped Cotton-Poplin Cropped Shirt - £285 from Matchesfashion.com
When Georgian designer, Demna Gvasalia, of Vetements fame, started working as Creative Director of Balenciaga, I was a bit sceptical. I thought they - the parent company Kering - were chasing the latest cool wave and it was more about column inches and gimmicks than making great clothes. I’ll put my hands up and say I was wrong and they are making interesting clothes at more realistic prices. It’s also the first time that new designers have brought in some of the DNA of the house into the present.
What he has done is play with proportions and shapes, that at first sight seem comedic, but when they start to sink in become desirable and cool. It feels fresh, which brings me to the easiest way to buy into this collection.
Fashion has got basic, and that’s basic as in #basicbitch. Items you wouldn’t have given a second thought are now at the forefront of menswear thanks to Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga.
Long the wardrobe of the postman or the office dad, the short sleeve shirt, slightly oversized, is the style you should be going for. You want those nerdy triangular sleeves, this isn’t a gun show, and I would team with a pair of tailored sweat pants to stop it looking too dress-down office.
You can opt for the original or find a standard short sleeved shirt in most men’s shops like this like blue version from Esprit.
Left - Esprit - Poplin Shirt With Short Sleeves - £29
Somebody pass me a spanner! Or, should that be my blow torch?! Part of Jigsaw’s new ‘Raw State’ workwear-inspired collection, this jacket is looser than a traditional denim jacket, comes in Italian cotton and garment dyed to this amazing smokey colour that feels authentic enough to be worn by an Okie in the Grapes of Wrath: dustbowl chic, anybody?!
The shape is cropped and sits nicely on the waistband. I tried it on yesterday and it comes up big. Take a size smaller.
Left & Below - Jigsaw - Raw State Welder Jacket - £249
Chances are if you've not already booked your summer break, it's on your mind. If the daily grind's got you down or the thought of another uni lecture or day at work has you reaching to tug the duvet over your head, fret not. Half the fun of taking a trip out into the sun is planning how to look good doing it, so make sure you keep some basic essentials – and a few off-the-cuff favourites – on hand. Here is a guest post on TheChicGeek offering some holiday advice:
We all love cream, light blue and other go-to shades for their subtle ways of accentuating an outfit, but the look for summer 2017 is bold hues. Coverage from Paris Men's Week saw vibrant shades of purple and red featuring massively in line-ups from Coach to Balmain – something to think about as you pack your bags.
Take Some Cues From The 90’s
Bucket hats, wallet chains, even the dreaded centre parting – nineties nostalgia has hit its high point and leading brands are taking note. So, rock a denim jacket, grab yourself a snapback cap and pack that spiky hair gel for that ruffled sensitive boyband look. Sunglasses? Go for Oakley’s-style.
Punk It Up
You can keep it geek-chic while still putting a punk edge into things this summer, which is highlighted as one of the big trends of the season. The beauty here is that it doesn't have to overshadow your look. A skull motif bandanna, a studded belt or the tried and tested chain-on-distressed-jeans combo all give you the edge.
Swimwear That Speaks
Men's swim shorts are a popular choice nowadays, and can be as plain or vibrant as you like. Using them as the foundation of your beach look is the way forward, while styles like this blue pair from the men’s swimwear range at Tu are sure to get you noticed on the beach. Combine a subtle tone on the shorts with a pale, thin-fabric shirt worn loose for that laid-back look. Or, spice it up with those vibrant blues we talked about. Team with either vest tops or tee-shirts for a poolside showstopper that still beats the heat.
Bag Some Style
When you're packing for your getaway, remember that what you're bundling the threads into is just as important. The good news is it doesn't have to be bank-account-breaking stuff here, unless that leather manbag is your absolute must. In fact, with the nineties coming back hard, backpacks are pretty much a go-to, particularly in bright blues or greens that'll make you the Fresh Prince of your holiday destination.
Fast & Loose
Those slim line shirts and tailored cuts give you the sleek physique and sharp silhouette, but for summer 2017, baggy fits are the way forward. As jackets get boxy shoulders and jumpers with sleeves overlapping your knuckles become the norm, expect a similar story in summer. Find either an oversized jacket, a slouchy tunic-style top for the boho vibe or one of those slung-low sleeveless hoodies that are just about everywhere at the moment.
Don't Get It In The Neck
Still got a bandanna or two knocking about since the big bohemian kick a few years back? Don't let them gather dust when they could be a useful tool in your suitcase. A bandanna on the beach is always a classic look for us longer-haired gents, but this season's also seeing some maritime influences. Anchor motifs and sailor stripes are easily found, yet you could just as easily turn that bandanna into a neckerchief and go from there.
Seek Beyond Skinny Jeans
It feels like we've been rocking the skinny jeans since the year dot, but there are some who say they're starting to have had their day. Cargo trousers are making a comeback. If that's not on your radar, aim for some simple chinos or classic wide-hem trousers, although we're not quite back to bootcuts just yet.
Beyond Big Brands
I've already touched on the brand fatigue that a lot of us are feeling, and although some of the latest runway looks speak of inventive thinking, it's the lesser-known labels catching many of our eyes nowadays. When packing for your sunshine escape, factor in that one daring piece you picked up from the back of beyond to take your look beyond the expected.
The Right Footwear
Whether it's the sandals, the canvas trainers or the full on Doc Martens, make sure that the footwear you choose pairs well with what you're packing. I'd recommend trainers as a good go-to, with bonus points if they lean towards that nineties kick – no pun intended – already mentioned.
What's going in your travel bag this summer?
Holidays are a time for fun and this should be reflected in your wardrobe. It's a time to let go, relax and have a sense of humour while staying on the right side of cool.
Whistles has this towelling palm print shirt and matching swim shorts combo which makes it more than just another Hawaiian style shirt. This means you've thought about it, if only they did a matching bucket hat. Now, that would be a complete outfit! Team with sunglasses, towelling sports socks and sandals or sliders.
Left - Palm Dot Textured Shirt - £65
Below - Whistles x Boardies Swimshorts - £45
The jacket is dead, long live the jacket! Well, not quite. But brands or designers who produce rails and rails of coats and jackets are realising, to their cost, that people don't really need or wear them that often. What we want is something easy and warm that transcends seasons and can be used as a layer.
Enter the 'cardigan bomber'. I've championed this before, but when you find a cashmere one by Johnstons of Elgin, one of the best Scottish knitwear specialists, you know it's going to be good and goes straight to the top of my seasonal Hot List.
Left & Below - Johnstons of Elgin - Cashmere Mens American Navy Zip Cardigan - £425
We’re going to take our warm weather inspiration from Michael Fassbender, today. This is how you want your polo shirt to look this summer. Of course, it helps if you have the body, but a knitted polo shirt with stretch will compliment most body types.
You want it to cling in the right places, so the chest and arms, so go for something fitted, but not too tight. The high-street are doing some great knitted polos at affordable prices or opt for something pricier in a bold colour. Go for a fine knit wool, even in summer, or a silk mix.
Left - Michael Fassbender at SXSW showing us how something so simple can look so good
Here are TheChicGeek’s favourites of the season:
Left - William Lockie for L+M Ecru Fine Knit Cotton Polo - £43 from Trouva
Left - Pretty Green - Stone Fortrose Knitted Polo - £65
Left - Prada - Slim-Fit Jacquard-Knit Wool Polo Shirt - £545 from MRPORTER.COM
Below - Reiss 'Manor' Merino Wool Polo Shirt - £75
Left - Fred Perry - Tipped Knitted Shirt - £70
Left - ASOS - Knitted Short Sleeve Textured Polo In Muscle Fit - £20
Below - River Island - Ecru Knitted Polo Shirt - £20
Left - Pretty Green X John Smedley - Chartham - £135
Left - H&M - Silk-Blend Polo Shirt - £24.99
Below - Peter Werth - SS17
French fashion house, Givenchy, has a new Creative Director. British designer, Clare Waight Keller, was announced as Riccardo Tisci’s replacement last week.
I remember her at Pringle of Scotland, but because of the way the company was run, and never really made any of the interesting pieces, it was hard to judge her menswear. She then went to Chloe, and while I look at womenswear, there wasn’t much noise or attention so I didn't really pay much attention. But, she seems like a good caretaker, at the very least.
Right - Who-bert? Hubert de Givenchy outside his chateau
While not a revolutionary appointment, I think, they - Givenchy (LVMH) , obviously, want to re-feminise the brand, most probably targeted at the women's accessories. Tisci’s aesthetic was severe, harsh and a masculine form of sexuality which probably didn’t resonate with that many women or the type of women Givenchy see as their customer. Kim K, anyone?!
I remember being told that he wasn’t under contract to use Givenchy beauty products in his shows which seems ridiculous when this is the cash cow of the business. There was also a disconnect between the fashion and the beauty side.
The menswear pioneered that designer-sweatshirt-with-a-seasonal-image look and the slide of high-fashion into sportswear. When it was good, it was good, and the menswear had never been on the radar before. Remember when Ozwald Boateng was there for a while?!! Those £500 sweatshirts were jumping off the rails.
So, this leads me to the new menswear, which, excitingly, I don't know what to expect. The first season must be SS18, to be shown in Paris in June. Givenchy is a strange brand in that it has a very strong name, but it is not matched with any identity or imagery. The majority of people wouldn't know who Hubert de Givenchy was from a line-up - Who-bert de Givenchy?! and, apart from Audrey Hepburn, many people wouldn’t know a single item of clothing.
So, what should they do? Well, look at Balenciaga. While a newer ‘old’ brand than Givenchy, this is the first time, under Demna Gvasalia, that its archive has been referenced, but in a way that isn’t backward looking. There’s a link which makes sense when you’re buying a historical name. You want that DNA to move forward and make the label mean something. It gives it a certain weight and grounding yet far from 'archive'.
Givenchy menswear doesn’t really have anything direct to reference, but that’s the exciting part. There must be plenty in the archive to inspire and bring forward and refresh that we don't know about. Givenchy should look back to look forward. It should also ask the new creative director to oversee all aspects of the business and maybe use the odd lipstick in her show.