The English countryside has a timeless quality reflected in the garments designed for it. While practical, many of these, most notably jackets, have become fashion items and are worn all over the world, in both the countryside and urban places, yet still grounded in our green and pleasant land.
Left - The quilted Prufrock Tweed Country Coat - £425
The British wax jacket is the one the majority of people think of and never shows any sign of waning from popularity. I was recently introduced to the British outdoor brand, English Utopia. Concentrating on wax and tweed country jackets, it has grown over the last couple of years through its attention to detail and British made jackets.
English Utopia currently turns over £650k per annum and has doubled in size every year since its launch in 2013. The label launched in Europe first, via a network of sales agents, and in the US in 2014. The UK launch commenced in 2015 and the label now employs 6 members of staff.
The wax cotton and quilted garments are entirely made in the UK. English Utopia only uses one UK factory, one that Gary - the founder - has had a manufacturing relationship with for over 20 years. All of the woollen garments are made in Lithuania in a family run factory that’s Scottish owned. This particular factory is a specialist at combining natural fibre garment manufacturing with technical /performance expertise.
Founder, Gary Newbold, ‘the Leicester lad’, as he calls himself, is a self-taught designer who left school with ‘nowt’. Long before Wiggins and co captured the cycling zeitgeist, Gary represented team GB becoming a pro cyclist at the age of 18. He competed in sportives including the legendary Milk Race Tour of Britain and lived in France for eight years.
Upon hanging up his wheels at the age of 28, he dabbled in a bit of pattern cutting and in put himself through night school to secure a place at York University. He honed his freelance design talents before landing the top creative job at Barbour in 2000.
Gary has steered the creative vision for renowned heritage brands including Farlows of Pall Mall, and Kneissl (the world’s oldest Ski brand) where in 2009 he was appointment Head of Design. In 2001 he joined John Partridge, where he helped resurrect the label, a perennial favourite of HRH The Prince of Wales.
He still cycles 25 miles to work, though these days he’s swapped Lycra for English Utopia waxed cotton.
The English Utopia name is an amalgamation of his two passions. Firstly, his love of what it means to enjoy the English landscape – from the Cotswolds to Cornwall and Glastonbury to Glyndebourne – English Utopia is a brand firmly rooted in the countryside. Secondly as a designer, the initial vision for a collection is often distorted during the production and marketing process. This ‘utopia’, the original sentiment behind a creation, is something he does his utmost to preserve.
The balloon logo was inspired by seeing them in the summer months air balloons taking off from York races, near his studio. But in addition to this beautiful spectacle, for Gary the balloon symbolises creative freedom. In an age of corporate restraint where there isn’t a place for the unmeasurable, allowing ideas the space ‘see where they go’ is a precious thing.
The company is based in the Yorkshire town of Harrogate and draws inspiration in its designs from the surrounding countryside.
Right - Gary Newbold
This isn't flower-power in the traditional hippie sense. This is flower-power in the Jared-Leto-at-the-Oscars way. Oversized corsages worn with confidence and a modern masculinity. We've got the all new singing and dancing Gucci to thank for these floral flourishes. For SS16, things are bold and colourful. These are perfect for something different for a prom or an evening wear look. Wear where a bow-tie or neck tie would be, or add in your button hole. Who said menswear wasn't fun?!
Left - Jared Leto in Gucci at the 2016 Oscars
Left - The peacock male, Gucci's SS16 advertising campaign
Below - The corsage on the Gucci SS16 catwalk
How to make your own flower-power corsage:
1. Look for a large silk headed flower. I found some good ones in the local pound shop. Go for a dark colour, if you want masculine, or bright, fuchsia pink, if you really want to stand out.
2. Use pliers to snip off the flower head from the wire stem.
3. Find a piece of ribbon, long enough to tie around your neck. Use a ribbon from a carrier bag, if you can find one, or buy a small length.
4. Snip, using a pair of scissors, a small hole in the middle of the ribbon.
5. Push the stem of the flower through and, using a glue gun, generously secure the end to the ribbon.
Voila! You're red carpet ready!
Left - One TheChicGeek made earlier!
See how TheChicGeek styles his here
Left - dunhill SS16
Right - Bally SS16
Newly launched, The Great British Grooming Co. aims to fulfil all our hirsute needs with their full range of beard focussed grooming products.
Designed to be at the very core of the modern man’s grooming regime, The Great British Grooming Co. is a capsule beard grooming collection blended with the hydrating, nourishing and skin boosting properties of argan oil. Promising to take beards from grizzly to groomed in minutes, products include Beard Balm, Beard Thickening Serum, Beard Wash and Beard Oil.
CLOSING DATE: 15th April 2016 at 11.59pm - Winner(s) will be informed by email!
One part David Bowie, one part Alessandro Michele's Gucci, Peacock Geek is the new expression in menswear. Exotic, flamboyant, colourful: it's a whole geek world of adjectives.
It references the past while looking boldly to the future. Be brave, more is definitely more.
It's time to experiment. Get involved #PeacockGeek
Credits - Jacket - Moss Bros, Earring (Used as brooch) - River Island, Shirt - Moss Bros, T-Shirt - ASOS, Bomber Jacket - Scotch & Soda, Watch - Maurice Lacroix, Socks - Item m6, Sandals - Jones Bootmaker, Sunglasses - Sunday Somewhere, Cummerbund - Liberty of London fabric, Beard Balm - The Great British Grooming Co., MAX LS Power V Lifting Lotion - Lab Series
More images below
WIN Givenchy's Gentlemen Only Parisian Break & Givenchy Parfums Sports Holdall
One lucky ChicGeek reader has the chance to win a 100ml bottle of Givenchy’s new limited-edition Gentlemen Only ‘Parisian Break’ fragrance plus a navy and black Givenchy Parfums holdall bag.
For a clue to the answer and to read more about this fragrance.
CLOSING DATE: 5th April 2015 at 11.59pm - Winner(s) will be informed by email!
Expectations are never very high when it comes to menswear at the Oscars. Giorgio Armani usually has a monopoly of safety with his sea of black tuxedos and matching bow-ties.
Well, it's the small changes in menswear which really make a difference. By simply changing his self-tie bow-tie from black to white, Ryan Gosling has given men's formalwear a contemporary freshness. While safely in the parameters of acceptability it added an element of difference and style.
Definitely something to think about come prom/party season.
Left - Ryan Gosling in Gucci presenting at the 2016 Oscars
Head of Menswear, Harvey Nichols, Darren Skey
“This Porter Yoshida Olive Tanker backpack is a necessary addition to complement any look this spring. As well as striking a minimalistic note and hitting on the season’s key colour trend, the bag is crafted in the brand’s signature nylon making it impervious to dirt and water – both a timeless and durable investment piece”.
Left - Porter Yoshida - Olive Tanker Backpack - £310
“I love these black tapered jeans from the extremely wearable and dynamic Stone Island Shadow Project capsule collection. The zipped side with concealed pocket and contrast applique turn-up transform these versatile trousers from an understated outfit component to a stand out, standalone piece”.
Left - Stone Island X Shadow Project - Black Tapered Jeans - £210
“These statement Hender Scheme MIP-2 blush leather trainers are worth investing in for spring. Designer Ryo Kashiwazaki reworks classic sneaker silhouettes in 100% natural raw leather. The high quality handcrafted trainers grow and change with wear, making them unique one-off pieces not to be missed”.
Left - Hender Scheme - MIP-2 Blush Leather Trainers - £780
“Exclusive to Harvey Nichols, John Elliott remains unrivalled in his basics offering. This black cotton sweatshirt perfectly complements the season’s cleaner palate, while still including subtle zip detail and ribbed trims. Layer with an oversized tee to embrace the looser silhouette dominating this season”.
Left - John Elliott - Black Zipped Cotton Sweatshirt - £190
“New and exclusive to Harvey Nichols, Satisfy activewear is, in my opinion, up there with the best of them in the sportswear arena. This packable windbreaker jacket is incredibly light and aesthetically slick as well as being about as technical as you can get. Crafted from ripstop fabric from Switzerland, not only is it wind and water repellent, durable and high-vis, but also complete with inbuilt mapped cooling systems and double hood for maximum rain protection”.
Satisfy - Packable Windbreaker Jacket - £535
I’m not sure where the Monkey boot got its name, *quick Google* and no decent explanation. They were the standard issue Czechoslovakian army boot of WW2. That's all I can find out.
I’ve been wearing mine all winter and they seem to go with everything. They dress down a smart trouser without looking forced and keep a jean looking smart without looking sloppy.
Their history as a skinhead’s boot of choice doesn’t hurt, plus they’re really comfortable. When I was at the Pitti menswear show in Florence, last summer, they looked fresh and contemporary and there were a lot of brands producing them for this spring season.
There’s something solid and traditional yet also street about the monkey boot. They’re the kind of boot you don't notice at first, but the more you look, the bigger the appreciation. These polished toe cap version from Grenson have a nice contrast between the front and the grained leather and the solid, wedged sole adds a modern touch.
Left & Below - Grenson - Andy - £225
This limited-edition fragrance from Givenchy's Gentlemen Only series is an aromatic blend of citrus and woody notes. Featuring lemon, Nepal mint, sage, Haiti vetiver and ambroxan with a scene of Paris’ River Seine on the bottle.
TheChicGeek says, “You’d be mistaken, from the bottle, for thinking this smelt like the Seine. Well, thank goodness, it doesn’t. I’ve been a fan of Givenchy’s Gentlemen Only series, and this, the fourth, is what I would class as a ‘Summer Edition’.
Its fresh, aquatic notes loses some of the warmth of the original though. It has a strong lemon top note uncut with a coolness from the mint. While nothing revolutionary, it does offer a summer freshness without tipping over into annoying marine”.
Left - Givenchy - Gentlemen Only Parisian Break - 100ml - £60.50
Christopher Fisher - Head Buyer at oki-ni
“This suede trucker jacket from Maison Margiela has a beautiful rich texture to it. Demonstrating a workwear-inspired aesthetic whilst nodding to the easy chic of the 70s, it works perfectly with jeans, a classic white T-shirt and a fresh pair of sneakers in the summer and can also be dressed up with one of the season’s printed shirts and tailored trousers for an effortless evening look”.
“Marni's irreverent floral print buzzes with energy and after so many seasons of black and muted tones, this statement style adds a welcome injection of colour to any wardrobe”.
Left - Maison Margiela - Suede Jacket - £1750
Below - Marni - Floral Printed Cotton Shirt - £309
“OAMC draw inspiration from a wide spectrum of sources each season – for SS16, the brand looks to Africa and safari adventuring following a stand-out visit Luke Meier paid to Tanzania in recent years. Technical suiting with breathable perforations and taping is not only practical for temperature regulation but also understatedly stylish”.
Left - OAMC - Jacket - £742
“Souvenir Jackets are a statement piece for SS16 and this one from Valentino is a perfect example. This particular piece has intricate detailed eagle embroidery to the back that can also be seen across other pieces in the collection”.
Left - Valentino - Souvenir Jacket - £1635
“These Stone Island tech swim shorts are woven with a red weft in the fabric which creates an iridescence when caught in the light. Perfect for the beach, home or away”.
Left - Stone Island - Shorts - £95