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
Friday, 16 February 2018 17:17

ChicGeek Comment Preppy With A Small ‘p’

Brooks Brothers 200th anniversary preppy with a small p

Brooks Brothers 200th anniversary preppy with a small p

Fashion doesn’t happen in isolation. Large corporations can influence fashion and push their aesthetic through with the help of wads of cash. This, sometimes, makes the companies bigger and more money and so the cycle continues. But, a shift can often beach the whale and sportswear has thrown the preppy baby out with the bath water. Apologises. 

I’ve written about the troubles with preppy before, Read more hereusually focussing on Ralph Lauren as the flag bearer, quite literally, of the look and its reluctance to change or evolve to suit the current taste in comfort and dress down.

Left - Brooks Brothers' 200th Anniversary Show at Pitti Uomo 93

That was a while ago, and with people soon to get bored of looking like a charity shop reject or a retro sportsperson, it’s inevitable that it will return. 

So, we move to Florence for the 93rd edition of Pitti Uomo. Brooks Brothers is one of the chosen brands to show and they are celebrating their 200th year. Which, for any retailer, let alone an American one, is something to be very proud of.

Under the painted ceiling of the Palazzo Vecchio, a deep presidential blue curtain pulled back to reveal an orchestra playing ‘Empire State Of Mind’. So far, so good. Out came the models in various guises of preppy, yet it had been styled to mute their greatest hits. Cable knits over jackets and suit jackets tucked into trousers, it looked like a collection embarrassed to brushed with the preppy magic.

Brooks Brothers can lay claim to dressing presidents and charting the evolution of American style over the last 200 years. This should have been preppy so good that you’d bounce out of the show and be googling ‘John F Kennedy Jnr’ before you hit the cobbles of Florence’s Piazza della Signoria.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the case. This should have been a celebration of America’s 20th century power and the handsome, dashing evolution of that dressed style into preppy and the history of American fashion.

Brands like Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren need to push in order to return to fashion favour. There’s no point in sitting back and waiting for the tide to come back in on your style. Push preppy, push suiting, push people looking like they give a shit. There was was no fight here.

Preppy isn’t fully dead, it just needs to be really good. There are new American brands like Rowing Blazers, and British brand, Drake’s, is a perfect example. They manage to make preppy feel artistic, creative and beautiful. It’s the colours, the prints and the detail that makes you want to explore the fun and exaggerated side of preppy and, shock horror, put a tie on! Maybe.

Published in Fashion
Tuesday, 16 January 2018 14:20

Trend The Slouchy Norfolk Jacket

Menswear Trend AW18 Norfolk Jacket Oliver Spencer

Straight off the back of London’s LFWM and a look around Florence’s Pitti Uomo, the smarter jacket shape for AW18 is what I’m calling the ‘Slouchy Norfolk’. 

It’s a longer jacket with a distinctive waist, and rather than the rigid and thick tweed of the Edwardians, this is more relaxed, unstructured and modern. 

Menswear Trend AW18 Norfolk Jacket Hansen Garments Pitti UomoOliver Spencer showed his with matching trousers in a handsome micro checked fabric, while Danish brand, Hansen Garments, featured the Norfolk’s signature waist belt and multiple pockets in a soft flecked material.

You’ll be able to wear this as a light coat and, also, instead of a smarter jacket during autumn and early winter.

Far Left - Oliver Spencer AW18

Left - Denmark’s Hansen Garments

Below - Classic Hunting Norfolk Jackets

Menswear Trend AW18 Norfolk Jacket

 

Published in Fashion
Tuesday, 10 October 2017 13:16

HotList The Floral Silk Shirt

Ossie Clark Menswear Silk Shirt Pretty Green

This is so ChicGeek. I saw this shirt at Pitti Uomo in January. While it was a little bit nippy for silk in Florence, it didn’t get above zero, this dreamy Ossie Clark style shirt stood out on the Pretty Green stand. Women have for so long enjoyed Celia Birtwell’s - Ossie’s former wife - prints on his vintage dresses and this printed shirt is pure 70s Ossie Clark, especially in silk.

This is romantic menswear. The menswear of front men, rock stars and part of the new decorated trend in menswear. Crafted from smooth silk, it’s not going to be cheap, and patterned with hand painted florals, it is cut in a slim fit and detailed with lustrous mother-of-pearl buttons. This is definitely an open-neck-letting-it-all-hang-out-type shirt.

It’s yet to hit Pretty Green online and in-store. I’m waiting with bated breath.

News just in, it's a bargain £130.

Ossie Clark Menswear Silk Shirt Pretty Green

Published in Fashion
Thursday, 05 October 2017 15:49

Label To Know The Cords & Co

The Cords & Co Swedish Corduory company

It was with serendipity, just as the first AW17 shows were coming through, that I walked past the The Cords & Co. stand at Pitti Uomo in January last. I won’t bore with the fashion clichés of corduroy being the cloth of kings or geography teachers, but what you do need to know is that it’s everywhere and the main trend story for AW17.

Left - The Cords & Co aiming to be “the world’s first corduroy brand”

Giving themselves the title of “the world’s first corduroy brand”, this new Swedish brand is hoping to be to corduroy what Levi’s is to denim and you wonder why nobody has tried this before. They probably have, but not within the last couple of decades in my memory.

The Cords & Co Swedish Corduory company red jacket

The Cords & Co is going big, planning to open 6 flagship stores in New York, Paris, London, Los Angeles and Stockholm, - doesn’t say where the sixth one is?! - as well as a global online shop and plus wholesale partners. 

Right - The Cords & Co - Cut Poppy Red - £180

“The Cords & Co is created by a passionate group of people united by a shared love of corduroy. By exploring new ways to work with corduroy in our Stockholm design Studio, highlighting its long but little known history, and working closely with a carefully curated group of collaborative partners and cultural tastemakers in each of our flagship city locations around the world, we’re excited to share our unique story of a fabric everyone has a connection to, yet no other brand has dedicated themselves entirely to it,” says Omar Varts, CEO.  

It’s about time corduroy got some love. A practical yet smart material, it’s an easy option especially in the simple styles The Cords & Co. are offering. The best look is matching you jacket to your trousers to give you a 70s casual jean-suit feel.

The brand's images are a bit disappointing for a launch, keeping it too simple and I just hope they give the stores more life and branding as corduroy is ripe for personality and Scooby Doo adventures.

www.thecords.co.uk

Below - The Cords & Co - Trousers - £125

The Cords & Co Swedish Corduory company

Published in Labels To Know
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