Barena Venice print linen shorts top menswear productsThese were some of my favourite pieces from the SS19 trade shows. First seen at Pitti in Florence and then later in Copenhagen on the Barena, the Venice-based fashion brand, stand, they hadn’t disappeared out of my head and I was itching for them to drop. 

Featuring a stunning print of Venice, one of the most beautiful and individual cities in the world, they are stylish, oversized linen garments which you could wear separately or all together for that complete Peggy Guggenheim look.

Left & Below - Barena - BERMUDA (Shorts) AGRO SCHIAVON UNICO - €195, CAMICIA (Shirt) SOLANA MARTINO UNICO - €235

Barena Venice print linen shorts top menswear products

Barena Venice print linen shorts top menswear products

Published in Fashion

Barcelona top menswear brands Mans Concept

Barcelona top menswear brands Mans ConceptMy first visit to this beautiful city’s fashion week; its new remit of hosting international talent, and nearly half of the shows dedicated to menswear, makes this a place to watch for nascent menswear brands. Here are TheChicGeek’s highlights:

Mans Concept & Menswear

One of Barcelona’s emerging menswear stars, Mans Concept & Menswear - it's a mouthful - is designer, Jaime Álvarez’s brand. Born in Seville, he studied fashion at IED Madrid and graduated in 2017. This was a journey to India featuring florals, exaggerated lapels and knitted tank tops. An Indian colour palette of fuschia, marigold yellow and green gave this a summery feel with the highlights being delicate leaf cutouts in soft tailoring.

Both Left - Mans Concept & Menswear took a trip to India

Barcelona top menswear brands Umit Benan

Umit Benan

Invited Turkish designer, Benan, looked to religion as a leveller of people: once their shoes are taken off in the mosque everybody is equal. He launched his eponymous line in 2009 and won the 1st edition of Who’s on Next/Uomo contest the year after at Pitti Uomo. This collection featured long trench coats to the floor, even coming in reflective gold, thuggish looking bleached corduroy and knitted under-looking clothes. Tailoring was prominent with evening wear and overcoats and quilted jackets and trousers injected the AW19 protective element.

Right - Umit Benan

Barcelona top menswear brands Jnorig

Jnorig

Javier Girón studied at the Instituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Barcelona and upon graduating he moved to Los Angeles to work alongside Jeremy Scott, Creative Director at Moschino. He returned to Barcelona in 2016, to establish his high-end menswear brand. This was a slick sportswear collection featuring collegiate lettering in a monochrome palette. It’s hard to get this kind of aesthetic to look high-end, but here it looked considered, stylish and well fabricated. 

Left - Jnorig AW19

Barcelona top menswear brands Pablo Erroz

Pablo Erroz

Pablo Erroz founded his ready-to-wear fashion brand for men and women in 2010. Entirely made in Spain, this was a collection with a touch of the Gallaghers with the 90s round coloured lensed glasses. Stripes and the Spanish leather work was there in a light, wearable collection with nautical ropes, florals and sequins.

Right - Liam or Noel?! All made in Spain, Pablo Erroz

 

Barcelona top menswear brands Rubén Galarreta

Rubén Galarreta

Spain’s own youthful and unashamed take on Versace hyped fashion, the Rubén Galarreta brand launched in 2014. Featuring the perfect balance between haute couture and sportswear, the vibrant prints, transparent fabrics, hand-embroidered pieces and unique accessories aren’t for those who want to blend into the crowd. Elasticated side cut outs on trousers, the Chinese Lucky Cat waving motif and transparent underwear makes for a sexualised and provocative male for AW19. This is underwear as outerwear.

Left - Strapped in for AW19 - Rubén Galarreta

Disclosure - TheChicGeek travelled to Barcelona thanks to 080 Barcelona Fashion Week

Published in Fashion

Y Project Pitti Uomo Glenn Martens AW19 menswearIt was most likely those wrinkly Ugg boots, looking like an oversized Shar-Pei, that garnered Y/Project its recent and biggest amount of attention. The Paris based label, headed by Belgian designer, Glenn Martens, has been lumped in with that Off-White/Balenciaga cool wave of recent years. Martens, 35, has been at Y/Project for the past 5 years, taking over from founder, Yohan Serfaty, when he died in 2013. His first assistant, Martens, was an Interior Architecture graduate and an alumni from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. 

Left - Y/Project's signature waders

This season’s guest designer at Florence’s Pitti Uomo, this was the label’s AW19 show of men’s and womenswear, bringing forward their usual date from Paris.

Forget the museum, it was a night at Florence’s famous Santa Maria Novella monastery, next to the central station and known for its smellies. Guests were given torches as they entered the huge, darkened church and we followed the hundreds of mini flashlights into the cloistered quadrant where the catwalk ran around the four sides with the models ending up like chess pieces in the middle. 

Divine despite the cold, the columns and erect cypresses were silhouetted onto the shaded honey walls as the models took a turn on what has to be one of the longest catwalks ever. One model was hobbling in her lemon yellow stilettos before she’d reached the fourth side and on into the soil centre.

Y Project Pitti Uomo Glenn Martens AW19 menswearWhat we saw was a delight of design. Yes, a designer actually trying to design something and, the majority of times, pulling it off. There’s such a difference between a designer, here, and an editor, the majority of brands, who just reconfigure and fine tune things. The word here was reconstruction. Your eye followed seams and there was an itching want to open it all up and look inside: seeing where things were going to and how they worked. This is the kind of stuff that interests us fashion geeks and isn’t something Zara can easily replicate, and, as such, makes you crave the original.

Right - Y/Project AW19 - First men's bag and shoe collection

This was the debut of the brand’s men’s footwear and bag line, both hand-crafted in Italy.

The signature waders were there, but in rigid, shiny plastic, almost like creased trousers with the shoes attached. There was plenty for the tailoring revivalists. A new tuxedo jacket appeared where the satin label was pulled out to create a 3D effect with the button. This is difficult stuff to get looking right. Fringed scarves resembling Turkish carpets added to accessorises, plus pinstripes and this season’s pattern du jour, tartan.

This was contemporary cool, bit not aching or gimmicky. You could see different age groups in these clothes and wearers enjoying the newness and the details. It felt like the direction we’re headed in. From the deconstructed and harsh reality of recent years, back to a glamour of construction and playing with new ideas while still keeping it real.

This feels like the last of this type of designer we’ll see at Pitti Uomo, as I predict a return to more tailoring and Italian industry brands, but, Martens, lead us into temptation and away from the sportswear grunge to a higher sophistication. Could Martens become the Y/Prophet?

Published in Fashion

Yellow quilted men's coat jacket TopmanYou probably saw my obsession with Space Odyssey 2001 after the Undercover AW18 show at Pitti Uomo in January. See more here Well, I haven’t been able to get Z Zegna’s interpretation of those Kubrick space suits out of my head and this bright yellow one from Topman just jogged my memory.

Yellow quilted men's coat jacket Z Zegna Space Odyssey

So, this winter make like a bold Michelin Man in vibrant primary colours. Yellow is the colour of choice and the matching hat, trousers, gloves, boots, are all purely optional!

Left - Topman - Yellow Puffer Jacket - £70

Right - Z Zegna - £1090

Published in Fashion
Friday, 03 August 2018 13:58

Label To Know The Silted Company

The Silted Company menswear brands to know SS19 surfingI first saw The Silted Company over a year ago at the SS18 SEEK trade show in Berlin. I was taken with the striped 'Cali' shirt for SS18 - pictured - and the liked the idea of a relaxed, surfer brand yet with the slick manufacturing of Italy. Time flew by and I didn’t get a chance to feature them. When I saw them again at this year’s Pitti Uomo in Florence it reminded me what a good, young brand this is. Especially for summer.

Left - SS18 Cali Shirt

The Silted Company menswear brands to know SS19 surfing

The brand is strongly inspired and influenced by the culture of surfing. Their collective is made up of surfers, designers, musicians, photographers and innovative directors, "embracing the curious side of the way of thinking and positive changes in the world”. 

Right - SS18 Alar Jacket - €195

"Perceiving Endless" is their motto, it contains the past, present and future. 
Born in Emilia Romagna in Northeast Italy, The Silted Company did not immediately taste the world of surfing, but it was their admiration towards the sport and the culture that brought them  to "feel the sea inside”. This label feels young, contemporary and sporty while retaining the quality, which I love, from made in Italy.

 

The Silted Company menswear brands to know SS19 surfingLeft - Preview of SS19

Published in Labels To Know
Monday, 09 July 2018 13:47

Hot List Rivieras Napoles Pablo

Best summer shoes Rivieras

The French give good summer shoe and one of my favourite brands is Rivieras. Specialising in espadrille-type slip-ons, they have a standout modernity, quality and playfulness with their colours and finishes.

Seeing the full stand at the recent Pitti Uomo show was a reminder how nice these shoes are. It’s only when it finally gets hot that you can picture yourself wearing these shoes. I particularly like this ‘Napoles Pablo’ style with its delicate woven mesh and tricolour effect. The quality Spanish construction includes Terrycloth lining and sheepskin inner sole. Wear with chinos and a camp collar shirt.

Best summer shoes RivierasLeft & Below - Rivieras - Napoles Pablo - €110

 

Published in Fashion
Wednesday, 20 June 2018 14:23

Label To Know The Silk Shirt Company

White Shirt Silk The Silk Shirt Company

One of the things I love about Pitti Uomo, the menswear trade show held in Florence twice a year, is the exceptional quality from brands you’ve never heard of. I almost wish I had a shop to sell all these brands, but, disappointingly, you need a very tasteful and trusting customer to make it work, because many consumers are hooked on known brands.

It’s comforting to know that high-quality still exists and is to be found in small and, often, new companies.

Left - The Silk Shirt Company - White Luxury Silk Shirt - £800

White Shirt Silk The Silk Shirt Company Sam Rothstein Robert De Niro Casino

One such company is The Silk Shirt Company. Doing exactly what it says on the label, it was incorporated in January 2016 in London ‘with the intention to produce the finest luxury silk shirts and to establish itself as a top tier luxury clothing brand’.

Left - Feel like a casino owner - Sam Rothstein, Robert De Niro’s character in Casino

You’ll probably already know about my obsession with silk shirts ATM - Read Trend The Return of 'The Sexy Shirt’ and these really do look the business.

Paisley Shirt Silk The Silk Shirt Company

Established by Ajay Valecha, of Indian decent and born and raised in Accra, Ghana, who moved to London in April 2014. The Silk Shirt Company’s shirts are made in Italy with the finest silk from Como. 

There range is currently mostly block colours with a few patterned varieties. They had some beautiful baby blue and pink shorted sleeved shirts for the new SS19 season which are giving me pure Sam Rothstein, Robert De Niro’s character in Casino. They are expensive, but they look it. 

Right - The Silk Shirt Company - Luxury Silk Shirt - £800

www.thesilkshirt.com

Published in Labels To Know

MCM Pitti Uomo SS19

MCM
The German/Korean accessorises juggernaut, MCM, rolled into Florence to showcase its first, full ready-to-wear fashion collection. Driven by the Asian consumer and the power this brings, MCM is finally making in-roads into the European and global luxury goods market.
Two dancers, surrounded by falling precipitation, welcomed us into the darkened show space. Their breakdancing quickly made way for a collection that was strong on festival fashion. Designed by an in-house team, the ’Luft Collection’, meaning air in German, was multifunctional sportswear for the genderless generation.
 
Left - Will MCM's new ready-to-wear collection be cool enough for Glastonbury when it returns next year?
 
Think Glastonbury for the moneyed, rock ’n’ roll offspring elite who aren’t afraid to be noticed for having money. Lots of straps, pockets and hoods in bright, holographic and reflective fabrics. Your Deliveroo 3M was here, plus ribbon belts and elasticated and Velcro fastenings at the waist and wrists allowing the wearer to quickly adapt to their festival needs.
This is the type of collection British brand, Hunter, has tried to do before, when they dabbled with the catwalk, but the difference is MCM already has this young, hungry consumer. 
I’m not really a fan of MCM’s Benidorm-tan signature colour, but this took a back seat here. This was young and I’m guessing more accessibly priced. 
I can see the holdalls with a large rubber MCM on the bottom proving popular plus the runner-sandal with a breathable a waterproof integrated sock.
This type of collection will grow the brand into the more practical side of summer fashion and make product choice available for those consumers who don’t want anything heavily studded or branded, or both!
 

Roberto Cavalli Menswear SS19

ROBERTO CAVALLI
Pitti Uomo welcomed the continued relaunch of Roberto Cavalli’s menswear and the company really needs this to fly. Now under the creative direction of Paul Surridge, the British designer formerly at Jil Sander and Z Zegna, Cavalli, as a brand, has gone through something of a rocky patch. After moving the HQ from Florence to Milan, under the short lived leadership of Peter Dundas, they let nearly a third of their workforce go. It’s now back to Florence and this was Surridge’s second full collection of menswear. 
 
Right - Blurred digital prints and bad denim at Roberto Cavalli for SS19
 
Up in the hills, outside of Florence, in the refined surrounds of the Florence Charterhouse, this monastic setting saw a collection that ran from white to black with the brand’s famous animalistic signatures in-between.
This was a new, slicker and sporty Cavalli with the animals skins subtly layered rather than trowelled on, like in previous years. Gone was the boho, overly beaded Cavalli and in its place was something for a new customer that continues to buy into ‘designer’ fashion, but wants ease and wearability.
Reptiles, fish, (alien?) skins were jacquarded into fabrics. Leopard print was digital yet blurred and knitwear was finished with broken threads hanging down.
There was a nod to the current bad denim fashion and add the snakeskin boots, which Cavalli should really own, it referenced the Martine Roses and Balenciagas of this world.
One of the standout pieces was a tapestry intarsia coat covered in the Cavalli logo and good luck talisman. A digital watch print added humour and the python soled trainers looked almost aquatic as they breathed past.
As we went into the black and final evening section, bugle beads were applied in constrained vertical lines. It was all very controlled and refined.
I like this new Cavalli, it feels fresher and more contemporary. But, is this is what their current and loyal customer wants? If not, they need to find a new one and fast. Maybe those good luck talisman have a deeper meaning.
Published in Fashion

Space Odyssey menswear Undercover Pitti Uomo Florence 50th anniversary

Space Odyssey menswear Undercover Pitti Uomo Florence 50th anniversaryI’m not sure whether I’m early or late writing this. One of the highlights of Pitti Uomo 93 in January, and the entire menswear season, was the AW18 Undercover show. I wanted to write something about it at the time, but I’ve been playing catch-up ever since. 

Far Left - A still from the film, Left - Undercover AW18

The Leopolda Station in Florence was transformed into an homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey. 2001: A Space Odyssey is a timeless inspiration for pretty much everybody, but I’d never seen it done this literally before. 

The scene in which the astronauts wear their coloured suits was the finale of the collection and looked as though they had just stepped out of the film.

The 1968 science fiction film, produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, is now 50 years old and is still a masterpiece of sci-fi cinema. 

  

 

Space Odyssey menswear Undercover Pitti Uomo Florence 50th anniversary

Space Odyssey menswear Undercover Pitti Uomo Florence 50th anniversary

I hadn’t seen an Undercover show before and I didn’t know that much about the label. Founded in 1993 by Jun Takahashi, it began showing in Paris in 2002. For this season, it was a guest of Pitti Uomo in Florence.

Left - Both Undercover AW18

That naughty computer HAL 9000 was up to his tricks and played a prominent part in the collection in the form of bags and accessorises. There were full fleece suits, a simple idea, but not seen before, and something I will mention again later in the season. Stills from the film covered outerwear, but it is the final group of figures, in full, colour-coordinating outfits, that you should emulate. 

Space Odyssey menswear Z Zegna Pitti Uomo Florence 50th anniversary

So, when shopping for you next cold weather outfit, buy everything in the same primary colour. From parka to padded trousers to matching hat and gloves.

Z Zegna, the sporty side of Zegna, did something similar and it’s easy to find Space Odyssey inspiration in interiors and architecture. Happy birthday, Space Odyssey.

Left - Z Zegna AW18

Below - Achille Salvagni - Spider White Chandelier 

Space Odyssey menswear Achille Salvagni Spider White Chandelier

 

Published in Fashion
Thursday, 29 March 2018 12:17

Label To Know CASABLANCA 1942

Raffia summer shoes Casablanca 1942

When I started in this business summer shoe options consisted of cheap flimsy flip-flops or jelly-sandals for those pebbled British beaches. There was little or no choice and there certainly wasn’t any style - even though jelly sandals are kind of bad cool ATM FYI!

Anyway, let me introduce ‘CASABLANCA 1942’ who are making some of the nicest and most beautifully crafted hot weather shoes I’ve seen. Started in May 2014 by Gabriela Ligenza, and inspired by the classic film and the year it was released, the shtick is raffia.

Left - Cesare

Raffia summer shoes Casablanca 1942 made in Morocco

The uppers are made from breathable natural raffia woven in Mogador, Morocco, and then construction takes place in Italy using the finest sustainable leather from French and Italian tanneries.

Right - The raffia comes from the raffia palm tree in Madagascar

The raffia fiber is obtained from the raffia palm tree, commonly found in Madagascar. The leaves of this little tree are cut into parallel lines resulting in the long fibers used in the weaving of the shoes. Unlike straw, raffia is stronger, hard-wearing and will mould to the feet when worn.

Polish-born Gabriela trained as an architect and interior designer at Fine Art Academy in Warsaw. She also designed hats before this venture. Based between London and her design studio south of Florence, Italy, she travels extensively for her inspirations and research. Gabriela has collaborated for the last 20 years with leading accessories and shoe designers for global brands like Salvatore Ferragamo, Bottega Veneta, Prada, Martin Margiela, Missoni, Paul Smith and Stella McCartney to develop hand woven raffia shoes produced using entirely traditional hand weaving techniques, but combining the craft with Italian know how and quality materials. 

Raffia summer shoes Casablanca 1942

The idea for Casablanca 1942 was conceived whilst sitting on a beach under the stars watching the film, Casablanca, with the background sound of the Atlantic and thinking “what would Rick wear in this intense and sweltering city?”

Each pair takes at least a day to make so the shoes are made in limited editions. After all, "true luxury should be not about the price, but in the uniqueness of the product," she says.

Left - Lace Up Trainers £260

Gabriela believes that helping local cooperatives to incorporate external developments and training improves the marketability of the local skills and products, respecting its identity, distinctiveness and preserving sustainability on a grass roots level.

Gabriela says the shoe styles are inspired by “trying to design the perfect summer shoe for my husband so he can get inspired to go on holidays more!”

Raffia summer shoes Casablanca 1942

There are a few thing to know to get the best out of your pair. You may find that the shoes are a bit tight when you wear them the first time, but they will soon give as they moulds to your feet. You might want to wear them with socks for the first time for your own comfort, but they are designed to be worn bare foot in very hot weather. 

Right - Woven Loafers - £228

If you feel that it rubs a bit too much on a certain area, it is recommended that you apply a wet cloth on this part of the shoe while it is on your foot, in order for the raffia to mould to your foot more quickly. 

Raffia, being a natural fiber, will feel very comfortable without socks as the fiber will keep your feet fresh and naturally ventilated. As they become yours, “they are even more special even when they start wearing in and fraying a bit,” says Gabriela.

These are really elegant and artisanal summer shoes and I don't think the photographs do them enough justice after seeing them in person at the recent Pitti Uomo show in Florence.

Available at Harrods in the UK

Published in Labels To Know
Page 1 of 2