Tuesday, 02 January 2018 18:07

The Chic Geek Style Awards 2017

Happy New Year, Chic Geeks. What a crazy year. Things all went a bit Back To The Future II with our Trumpian dystopia, jaffa cakes got reduced from 12 to 10 in a box - the tragedy! - and online started to really eat into, and effect, traditional retail models. 

It feels like we’re in an in-between period, right now, looking to the past, while waiting for the future. Prepare yourself, it’s definitely coming. Here’s a bit of TheChicGeek looking back, rewarding and remembering the past year. 

Join in on social media with #TheChicGeekAwards 

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards Balenciaga Brand of Year 2017

Best Label of 2017 Balenciaga

You had me at ‘rubber car mat skirt’. Anybody who can make a blue leather Ikea bag, at £1800, desirable, is on to something. Demna Gvasalia, the Georgian fashion designer, has made looking drab and unglamorous an art form. While not a massive fan of Vetements - his own label - Balenciaga still has some of the luxury polish left which makes something desirable. ‘Interesting’ could be the word, but what he does with this label is make you think about what you are looking at. It makes you question what you like and what you don’t, and that has to be interesting, no?

Left - Balenciaga Lookbook SS18 Glamour!

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards Martine Rose Menswear Brand of Year 2017

Best New Label of 2017 Martine Rose

Before you scream 'it’s not new' at me, I know, but this year Martine Rose broke through. After 10 years on the margins, and, I’ll be honest, I never really quite got it, everything changed and fashion turned towards her style. 

She also started working at Balenciaga, above, and, used their manufacturing, giving her collections the polish it needed. She's making some of the best items of the season and if you’re into fleeces and cycle shorts, you’ll be in 90s heaven.

Left - Martine Rose SS18 - One of the must-have menswear pieces of the season - more about that later

Below - Boohoo has just launched activewear for men

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards high street brand boohoo man 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best High Street of 2017 Boohoo Man

Manchester based Boohoo has expanded hugely over the last few years. It was founded in 2006 by Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane who previously supplied high street chains such as Primark and New Look. 

Boohoo recently announced plans in June 2017 to build a 600,000 square feet (56,000 m2) warehouse, costing £150m over the next three years, and would offer the capacity to deliver annual sales of £3 billion, alongside their existing Burnley warehouse. 

One of the most successful British online retailers, Boohoo has massive potential and is doing really well in the US. In fashion terms, it’s fast and cheap, and this is the only way to survive and thrive in this market, aimed at 16-24 year olds.

While they nod to the trends, Boohoo makes clothes these people want to wear and while they aren’t all hits, there’s enough choice to be able to make a selection to reflect your personality or the character you want to be that day. Affordable, yes, disposable, yes, but this market is fickle and you’re only as strong as your last product, but there’s plenty here to get excited about and it’s only going to get bigger.

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards La Roche Porsay Anti Shine Mist SPF 50

Best Grooming Product 2017 La Roche-Posay Anthelios Anti-shine Invisible Fresh Mist SPF50

Anything that protects, is easy to use and you’re not conscious of wearing, is the Holy Grail of grooming products. This spray goes on like a light mist and offers a high SPF protection. Sun damage is the biggest factor in visible ageing and anything that makes it simple and quick to add a layer of protection has to a good thing. You’ll actually enjoy using this and it shouldn’t just be restricted to the summer months.

Left - Get one of these for your holiday and then carry on using it - more here

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards Grooming Brand of the year 2017 Perricone MD

Best Grooming Brand 2017 Perricone MD

The best grooming brands are those which make you feel like you’re in a knowledgable and safe pair of hands. Dr Perricone’s MD brand launched this 3-part men's CBx range, this year, containing a face wash, post-shave product and a moisturiser.

The 'CBx' part is a reference to Phytocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are non-psychoactive cannabinoids derived from the cannabis sativa plant - hemp. 

Expensive, but it feels like you’re getting more than fancy packaging here and with a new supplements range out this year - 2018 - and twists on his cult products, I think I’m going to carry on being a big fan. 

Above - Dr Perricone's first men's range - read more here

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards men's fragrance of the year Tom Ford Fucking Fabulous

Fragrance of the Year 2017 Tom Ford’s Fucking Fabulous

Picture the scene: Tom Ford walks into Esteé Lauder’s New York headquarters. He’s here to talk about the future of his cosmetics and fragrance business. It gets to new fragrance names. We have a new ‘oud this’, ‘something leather’ that, it’s all very predictable, and then, suddenly, somebody suggests, how about ‘Fucking Fabulous’? The room laughs. We all say it, don't we?!

The execs at Esteé Lauder look at each other, want to carry on laughing and then move over the joke. But, Tom’s feeling cheeky and he wants the name to stick. 

No other brand would do it and that’s the power of having your name, and the power that goes with it, on the product. Nobody is going to question Mr Ford. What he says goes and this is why many fashion companies struggle. It’s all bit beige, a bit done by committee, nobody is willing to stick their neck out. Especially in conservative America. 

Okay, so I’ve made this story up. But, this will be the fragrance people will remember from 2017. It’s just a shame the actually scent doesn’t live up to the name and is a cult for more than its name. If this had a memorable and individual scent it would be unstoppable. I just love how they have to blank out the f-word on the adverts.

Above - More than a name? Fucking Fabulous by Tom Ford 

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards Most Stylish TV Programme The Deuce 2017

Most Stylish Programme 2017 The Deuce

If you know me, you’ll know I love a bit of 70s style. Think the pimps from ‘Live & Let Die’, and you’ll get an idea about the wardrobe for The Deuce. James Franco, annoyingly, and unnecessarily, plays twins in this, but Maggie Gyllenhaal steals the show. It’s a mix of mafia, prostitutes, pimps and punters in this grimy yet quite glamourous take on bankrupt 70s New York.

Left - The Deuce's pimps getting pimped

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards Topman Stranger Things Menswear Collaboration 2017

Best Menswear Collaboration 2017 Topman X Stranger Things

The right product, at the right time, driven by a massively popular Netflix series made this a big success for Topman and Topshop. It’s been a tough year for Topman and they need to think clever in order to take on the ASOSs and Boohoos of this digital world. Think ringer tees and washed denim in a collection of early 80s teen-wear.

Left - Taking a trip to Hawkin

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards Christopher Bailey Special Award Menswear Brand of Year 2017

Special ChicGeek Award 2017 - Christopher Bailey

Bailey is Burberry and Burberry is Bailey. The giant luxury goods company we see today has been created thanks to his creative design, direction and his attention to detail. This doesn’t mean it can’t change, it just means, in my opinion, it will never be as good.

For many years, Burberry was flying high. It tightened up its licensing and became a must-have for the newly rich Chinese. 

It’s hit the buffers recently, so it’s probably time for something new, but some of those Bailey/Burberry collections were some of the best of their time. Leather sleeves on jackets? Yes, Mr Bailey. He made heritage Britishness modern and exportable and gave it a gloss that made you proud that Burberry was British. Read more here

Left - 2018 is the year Burberry waves goodbye to Christopher Bailey, what will he do next?

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards 2017 Jeff Koons Louis Vuitton Turkey Bags Da Vinci

Turkey of 2017

Jeff Koons for Louis Vuitton was a double take when it first appeared on Twitter. What looked like a collection of bags straight from the back of a Chinese counterfeit operation, was, in fact, a collaboration with one of the world’s most successful artists. This tacky collection hijacked some of the world’s greatest artists and their most famous paintings and then emblazoned their name all over it: as if you were too dumb to recognise them. If you need a gold “DA VINCI” on your Mona Lisa then this collection was for you.

Left - Never actually seen one on the street, maybe rarer than the real thing?!

What are your thoughts? #TheChicGeekAwards

Published in Fashion
Tuesday, 05 December 2017 16:23

How To Warm Your AW17 Arms (On A Budget!)

Arm Warmers Men's Accessorises Raf Simons

Looking online, it appears they’re a sell out. Yes, a sell out! Raf Simons’ AW17 arm-warmers, those accessorises we never knew we needed, and making us think differently about our forearms, aren’t available online anymore.

Left - Raf Simons AW17

That £250 you had burning a hole in your pocket, can be saved, thank god, with a bit of customising and working some magic on leg warmers and socks from eBay.  

Arm Warmers Men's Accessorises Raf Simons

They do sell ‘arm-warmers’ on eBay, but they all seem a bit too short and tight, and actually designed to keep your arms warm. Duh! So, I started to look at large leg warmers, which you’ll be able to pull over your coat's arms.

It’s just trying to find a pair that is loose enough - the online pictures aren't great, but if it goes over an adult's thigh... - to fit over the arms of a coat that is key, and as seen in the Raf Simons show.

Left - Raf Simons - Knit Sleeves -  £244

I went for the black 'Referee' socks, which I'm going to cut the feet out of and then loosely sew around the cut.

They cost me just over £2, including postage, and are a good way to jazz up an old coat, especially with men's fashion weeks coming up. 

I think they would look best on a classic long wool coat, in a dark colour, like we saw on the catwalk. I have a perfect one from Jigsaw.

So, at just over a pound an arm, and 100 times cheaper than the originals, get covering those forearms. What have you got to lose?!

Arm Warmers Men's Accessorises Raf Simons

Arm Warmers Men's Accessorises Raf Simons

Arm Warmers Men's Accessorises Raf Simons

Arm Warmers Men's Accessorises Raf Simons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Left - eBay - A selection of Girls/Ladies Referee Socks & Leg-Warmers from around £1.15

Right - Raf Simons AW17

Published in How To
Monday, 04 December 2017 15:37

Tried & Tested Koeptys by Nejma

Review Nejma Koeptys Booba French rapper men's fragrance The Chic Geek men's grooming expert

The first fragrance for men from Nejma, Koeptys - from the latin coeptis, meaning project or endeavour - is a collaboration between the brand, master perfumer, Alice Lavenat, and French rap phenomenon, Booba - no, me neither!

Booba is the most downloaded music artist in French history and is said to have been closely involved with the whole creative process.

Left - Koeptys - 100ml EDP - £130. Exclusive to Selfridges

Koeptys opens with notes of incense, cinnamon and pepper before revealing a floral woody heart. Pure vanilla and patchouli inject power and sensuality to the base of this highly aromatic and addictive scent. 

The alternating upper and lower case letters highlight the word ‘key’ and are a reference to the street culture that has been a major influence on Booba’s life and music.

TheChicGeek says, “When I first saw this I wanted to try it. I know nothing about Booba, but the name and font was giving me Egyptian hieroglyphic vibes and I was intrigued.

Review Nejma Koeptys Booba French rapper men's fragrance The Chic Geek men's grooming expert

Nejma is known for centring their fragrances around oud, but it definitely doesn’t feature here. What starts off as something wet and metallic, and what you think could be the same predictable men’s scent, quickly whooshes into something more floral and much more interesting. It has a big feminine slant with the base of vanilla, but isn’t sickly and doesn’t dominate.

The woody floral centre dominates and is warm yet green and this fragrance is definitely something that twists and turns depending on whether it is on your skin,  clothes and your mood.”

Right - French Rap Star, Booba, with whom the fragrance is a collaboration

Published in Grooming
Tuesday, 28 November 2017 10:52

Hot List The Navy Velour Tracksuit

Navy Velour Menswear Tracksuit David Gandy Autograph Marks & Spencer

The velour tracksuit has taken some serious shit in the past. The images of Guy Ritchie, during his “Madge” days, being press ganged into one still resonates strongly and not in the right way. Juicy Couture was built on this tracksuit and look what happened to that.

That’s enough of the negativity. It takes a certain confidence to pull off a velour tracksuit. It’s one part Ugg boots and fake tan with a Michael Kors bag, another part tongue-in-cheek casual. It’s gone full circle and, now, it’s kinda cool.

M&S has this handsome navy number in its David Gandy range. All you’ll be left to do is surgically detach yourself from the sofa this Christmas.

Navy Velour Menswear Tracksuit David Gandy Autograph Marks & Spencer

Left - Marks & Spencer - David Gandy For Autograph - Velour Hooded Top - £39.50, Velour Joggers - £29.50

Below - Essex boy, David Gandy, going back to his velour roots

Navy Velour Menswear Tracksuit David Gandy Autograph Marks & Spencer

Published in Fashion
Tuesday, 21 November 2017 13:37

Label To Know Cotton Citizen

Cotton Citizen basic made in LA The Chic Geek menswear

Another California based and made basics brands? Sound familiar? Read about The Death of American Apparel here

This time it’s different. Driven by Founder and Creative Director, Adam Vanunu, Cotton Citizen is about experimenting with colour and mastering the art of garment dying. A curated palette of super saturated, eye-catching coluors are released every season, created exclusively with their exclusive dye house’s capabilities.

Inspired by destinations around the world, Cotton Citizen is designed and produced in Los Angeles. Each Cotton Citizen piece is as unique as the person who wears it. 

An off-shoot of his family’s American Dye House business, which he took over when he was 20, Cotton Citizen launched with a T-shirt line in 2012, sold exclusively at Fred Segal. 

Adam still develops all the dye colours and washes the mens and womenswear collections by hand. He picks the fabric and launders it before he cuts and sews it, just so all the shrinkage gets out. 

Cotton Citizen basic made in LA The Chic Geek menswear

When Cotton Citizen dye, they provide a colour fascinator to the washes so that the colour doesn't bleed or fade and it stays as rich as the first day you got the shirt. 

Everything is made in the U.S. from 100% cotton.

TheChicGeek says, "I really like the vivid oranges and greens with coloured flecks for SS18 and while it is relatively expensive you are paying for the individual attention to each garment."

Left & Right - Cotton Citizen - Sweatshirt - £170, Jogging Trousers - £170 Available at Harvey Nichols

Published in Labels To Know
Monday, 20 November 2017 16:07

Hot List The Made In UK Down Parka

In a post-Brexit world we’re going to have to make more than leather shoes and Scottish cashmere sweaters. UK Plc needs to turn our world class creativity into a German style industry: manufacturing in volume and of the highest quality.

From small acorns mighty English oaks grow, so, when I heard The Shackleton Company was manufacturing their parkas in the UK, I wanted to find out more and see what we are paying for. The majority of the world's down parkas are made in Italy, France, Canada or China, so a UK-made is rather special.  I’ve dissected their new “Discovery Jacket” to show you all the different components and design details, so when the temperature drops we can keep the Union Flag flying high!

men's down parka Shackleton made in UK The Chic Geek menswear top picks

Entirely handmade in Cheshire. The majority of the materials are made in Britain with the odd exception, i.e. zips and zip pullers. The outer shell is Ventile, designed in the UK. The densely woven, 100% cotton uses the world's finest, long staple fibre. Ventile is not coated or laminated and the combination of the dense weave and swelling properties of the fibres, when wet, provides excellent weatherproofing. It's an entirely natural product - windproof, breathable, durable and quiet.

 

Filled with 100% of the finest, pure European goose down, it provides an unsurpassed warmth to weight ratio. It is a by-product of the food industry, in fact, a waste product, if not used for insulation. The highest quality of down, which The Shackleton Company uses, comes from the oldest, free-range birds. Each individual pocket of down is hand filled & stitched. No machinery is used. 

 

The adjustable hood design enables the wearer to create a wrap-around tunnel to protect against extreme cold. The coyote fur hood trim is removable. Tested in Antarctica to minus 20 Degrees centigrade, the coyote is shot as part of a cull program to control popuations in Alaska. The Shackleton Company do not use any farmed or trapped coyote. 

 

Large rubber zip pullers are designed with pimples on the reverse for ease of use with cold hands or whilst wearing gloves.

 

 

 

 

 

men's down parka Shackleton made in UK The Chic Geek menswear top picksFour outer pockets - two chest (zipped) and two fleece-lined, hand-warmer pockets have press stud fastenings for quick access. Four large internal, zipped pockets - two close to body core for extra warmth for storing phone & batteries in extreme cold environments. Internal waist draw cord for a tighter fit - minimising cold air flow, providing extra insulation. Lower draw cord for a tighter fit and extra protection in stormy conditions.

 

Extendable storm wrist cuffs.

 

Internal patch -  “I hold that a man should strive to the uttermost for his life’s set prize”. Poet, Robert Browning, quote, engraved on Shackleton’s gravestone in South Georgia.

 

Left & Above - The Shackleton Company - Discovery Jacket - £1575

Published in Fashion
Friday, 03 November 2017 17:22

ChicGeek Comment HM X Erdem The Verdict

Menswear Erdem H&M expert verdict The Chic Geek

Arguably the biggest fashion collaboration of the year, every year, H&M are masters of creating hype and buzz with whomever they choose to tie-up with. This year was the turn of British/Canadian designer, Erdem Moralioglu, just don’t ask me to say his full name, so they stuck to just “Erdem”, luckily, and they approached things differently.

Left - Short Sleeved Shirt - £69.99

Usually you don’t get to see the full collection with prices before the big reveal, and often the collection is a seen as a “greatest hits” type homage to the brand rather than bang-on-the-fashion of the season or what customers are currently buying.

H&M held a preview fashion show in L.A. a couple of weeks ago to selected press, they released images and prices of the full collection and they held a preview shopping evening for press and the public the evening before it hits stores, this week, at the glamourous and spookily beautiful Freemasons' Hall in Covent Garden.

Menswear Erdem H&M

Erdem has never sold menswear before so it was a first, and his floral signature is definitely in vogue, ATM, thanks to Gucci. This collection is basically H&M’s nod to Gucci’s current aesthetic and hedges their bets with a public who may not know the Erdem name or care.

The queues for Freemasons' Hall was full of London’s fashion folk. Once inside it was a frenetic grab for items people came specifically to buy. There was no time for browsing.

Right - If you missed or couldn’t afford the Burberry Tudor ruffle neck white shirt, here’s Erdem’s version - £49.99 

When you see designer, Christopher Kane, amongst the hubbub of rails and elbows, you feel it won’t take much for his name to be in the running for next year’s collab. (Which would be very good BTW).

Menswear Erdem H&M expert verdict The Chic Geek

After the initial buying panic, the coats and tailoring didn’t seem to be very popular. It was the silk and floral pieces that people wanted and they quickly disappeared. Silk pieces seem to be very much in demand right now - See my favourite from Pretty Green - here - and checking on H&M's UK website you can’t even view the Erdem, page.

This is the right collection at the right time. People are going to be bored of this Gucci look pretty soon, so they’ve timed this collaboration right. The florals aren’t particularly standout, so don’t scream "Erdem X HM". They’re not that memorable which will work in their favour and, let's be really honest, men can never have enough floral silk pyjama sets!

Read ChicGeek Comment Erdem X H&M Menswear here

Left - Pyjama Top - £79.99

Published in Fashion
Wednesday, 01 November 2017 10:55

Buyer's Guide AW17 Harvey Nichols

Danielle Grantham, Menswear Buyer, Harvey Nichols 

Top Menswear AW17 Harvey Nichols Saturdays NYC

“This season, we’ve introduced New York label Saturdays NYC to our casualwear offer. Look to this brand for effortlessly cool lifestyle pieces to upgrade your weekend wardrobe. A parka is always an essential autumn/winter investment and this olive cotton one from the brand is no exception.”

Left - Saturdays NYC – Olive Cotton Parka - £530

Top Menswear AW17 Harvey Nichols APC sweater“Logomania isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Buy into this trend with Parisian cool brand A.P.C that is renowned for its simple yet stylish staples. Paying homage to the brand’s first collection; this white flocked T-shirt is part of the Hiver 87 capsule collection celebrating the brand’s 30th anniversary and will undoubtedly be a future classic.”

Left - A.P.C – White Flocked Cotton T-shirt - £80

Top Menswear AW17 Harvey Nichols Private White VC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Manchester based brand Private White VC nails luxury casualwear. All its collections are sourced and handmade in England, creating contemporary classics designed to last for years to come. This season, their rich ochre corduroy shirt ticks two key autumn/winter trends in one.”

Left - Private White VC - Orange Corduroy Shirt - £260

Top Menswear AW17 Harvey Nichols Officine Generale“Elevating our casualwear offer is Officine Generale, champions of classic wardrobe staples, beautifully designed and made out of the finest fabrics, the brand offers core pieces to be worn in everyday life. This brushed blush pink jumper can be worn with tailored pieces or dressed down with jeans and trainers.”

Left - Officine Generale - Shetland Pink Wool Jumper - £235

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Menswear AW17 Harvey Nichols Norse Projects beanie“Danish label Norse Projects is an expert in pared back functional basics for the modern wardrobe spanning across RTW and accessories. This merino wool beanie is undoubtedly an essential purchase for the winter months, it’s so soft that you’ll never want to take it off.”

Left - Norse Projects - Navy Merino Wool Beanie - £50

Published in Buyer's Guides
Tuesday, 31 October 2017 12:21

ChicGeek Comment Ode To Christopher Bailey

Christopher Bailey to leave Burberry tribute

News just in - Burberry president and chief creative officer, Christopher Bailey, who has been with the Burberry brand for 17 years, will stand down from its board in March 2018 and work with CEO Marco Gobbetti and team on a transition period until December 2018.

When Burberry’s renaissance began in the late 1990s, it was the perfect time to turn around a recognisable British name, dust it off and grow it into the new desire for luxury and branded products. We’d witnessed it at Gucci, under Tom Ford, and other languishing brands were thirsty for the same.

Burberry initially started with the Italian designer, Robert Menchetti. That didn’t last long and was soon replaced by an unknown designer, Christopher Bailey. 

Left - Christopher Bailey who turned Burberry into the billion dollar business it is today

Initially, and this was pre-Google, so you can forgive me, I thought it was the same Chris Bailey who had started Jigsaw Menswear and the soon-to-be defunct Uth. A great designer and businessman, I thought it was a perfect fit.

I quickly realised they were different people and I bought a shirt from that first 2001/02 collection. Admittedly, it was in the Harrods sale and it was very expensive, if I remember, and I still have it. It was in a stretch, striped fabric, one I hadn’t seen before, with metal Burberry branded buttons and epaulettes. There was something beautiful yet innovative which became the signature of the new Burberry.

I quickly became fan. Every collection had a strong theme and the pieces were well designed and had that all important desire factor. The brand got bigger, the shows became fancier and major events with Christopher Bailey overseeing every detail, from store fits to the music to the Testino campaigns.

Those Bill & Ben hats, the paisley collection and then there was the coats with the leather arms which are still yet to disappear off the British high-street.

Bailey is one of the greatest Creative Directors of our time. He’s up there with Tom Ford for a progressive and consistent luxury handwriting. Burberry’s growth and success is down to his balance of updating Britishness while respecting the past and knowing exactly what consumers want now.

While the average Burberry customer probably doesn’t know or care who Christopher Bailey is, for us fashion folk, we like to see the whites of the eyes of those designing and leading the brands we look at.

Seventeen years in fashion is a lifetime, especially today, and while “See Now, Buy Now” pushed him into a creative cul-de-sac, Bailey produced some great clothes and images.

I think he’ll probably take a break. Burberry has made him a very rich man. But, it is exciting what this talented man decides to do next. Perhaps he’ll join Angela Ahrendts at Apple, maybe a bigger fashion job such as Louis Vuitton, his own label or maybe something really radical like Amazon. Who knows?

See more Burberry related comment pieces:

Time to Ditch “See Now, Buy Now” here

Choose Your Rip-Off here

Published in Fashion
Monday, 30 October 2017 16:54

Hot List The Fancy Western Shirt

RRL Ralph Lauren western shirt The Chic Geek menswear top picks

As American as apple pie and a lack of gun control, the cowboy shirt is one of the most romantic and masculine of menswear items. This beauty from Ralph Lauren's Double RL label popped off their US website and is constructed from a medium-weight Japanese wool blend fabric with a Concho button at the neck. Chain-stitched embroidery uses ombré threads in a vintage Western–inspired spur motif created exclusively for Double RL.

This is the kind of shirt you'll have forever and keep returning to time and time again. 

Left & Below - RRL - Stretch Wool Western Shirt - $495

RRL Ralph Lauren western shirt The Chic Geek menswear top picks

Published in Fashion
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