If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford bespoke shoes you may have heard of Carréducker before. Founded by James Ducker and Deborah Carré in 2004, Carréducker’s shoes are lovingly handmade in their small workshop near Holborn. These babies cost upwards of £3000 a pair and are usually found in the sartorial home of Gieves & Hawkes at No.1 Savile Row.
Left & Below - Carréducker London - Winkers - £199 in UK sizes 3 – 12
So, for us on a slightly more regular budget, Carréducker, has now launched a new accessible range called Carréducker London.
A Kickstarter success story, they’ve started with a formal slip-on slipper and plan on expanding the brand into many classic men’s styles with further Kickstarter funding.
Using existing pockets of British artisanal manufacturing to make each style, the aim is to build a steady flow of orders, breaking the peaks and troughs, and supporting the skilled local workforce throughout the year. They will make short runs of several different styles and colours, offering customers from around the world the very best of British footwear design and manufacture through their online ‘Shoe Shop’.
The first, Winker, style is made using Designers Guild upholstery fabric. Made in Sheffield in 9 colourways with different fabric finishes, they are leather-lined with a padded sock for comfort and with a leather heel and sole.
TheChicGeek says, "Perfect for adding a dose of laissez-faire attitude to any outfit, the Winker is ideal for Summer and I love the use of the Designers Guild fabrics. I'll be wearing mine with a checked jacket and slim evening trousers."
Left - Coming soon - The ‘Barkan' Desert Boots
TheChicGeek says, “How unruly are your brows?! Trust Tom Ford to come up with a new product category for men’s grooming. The eyebrows are, clearly, now, a thing, well, if you subscribe to the Tom Ford school of grooming, it is. He’s launched a few new products as well - Shave Oil and Exfoliating Energy Scrub - but the most interesting and novel is the ‘Brow Gelcomb’.
“Simply twist the bottom and out comes a dark grey gel on to the comb part of the wand. I was worried - I have ginger brows - that the colour would darken them, but this wasn’t the case and they quickly dried without being sticky or noticeable.
According the blurb, it is 'designed to groom and refine while giving balance and symmetry to a man’s most masculine facial features'. This is for the man who has everything, so, again, that’ll be Tom Ford.
n.b. This doesn’t give permission to overly shape or pluck those furry slugs. Just tidy.”
Left - Tom Ford for Men - Brow Gelcomb - £32
Nothing is as classically masculine and maritime as the colour combination of navy and white. Not one to flinch at a challenge, TheChicGeek decided to take the difficult route of getting to the top. Wearing sporty stripes, chalky whites and the new Sebago Docksides Ariaprenes, this style chameleon looks more like a rock lizard!
Get involved #WhiteOut
Shoes - Navy Sebago Docksides® Ariaprene from Sebago & Size?, Bag - Eastpak, Shorts - Hamilton & Hare, T-Shirt - GAP, Zip Top - Le Coq Sportif, Sweater - G-Star RAW Marc Newson, Blue Jacket - Pepe Jeans, Card Holder - Uri Minkoff, Watch - D1, Neckerchief - Scott Fraser Collection, Sunglasses - Police, Spectacles - Guess, Grooming Tool - Philips 'One Blade', Thickening Conditioner & Hair Fibres - Mr by Jamie Stevens, Fragrance - Davidoff 'Horizon'.
Shot by Robin Forster on Olympus PEN
More images below
The final new landmark for TheChicGeek's epic #FutureIcons adventure with the new BMW i3 Mr Porter limited-edition, the American Embassy in Nine Elms near Battersea is the new home of the American consulate when it moves from Mayfair. Looking the picture of diplomacy, TheChicGeek is wearing a classic lounge suit and club tie, the umbrella is a nod to the typical English weather.
DIPLOMACY - Designed by Kieran Timberlake, the new cube shaped embassy is exceptionally environmentally friendly and features a security moat.
Credits - Suit - Hackett, Tie - Thom Browne, Umbrella - Francesco Maglia, Cufflinks - Alice Made This All from MRPORTER.COM, Shoes - Russell & Bromley, Watch - Daniel Wellington, Socks - Pringle of Scotland, Shirt - Thomas Pink, Black Fragrance - Jaguar 'Pace', Frosted Fragrance - Paul Smith 'Sunshine'
Oliver Brown, owner, Kristian Robson, offers TheChicGeek some expert advice on buying and wearing a top hat
CG - What should you look for in a top hat?
KR - Black antique silk top hats are considered the height of beauty and elegance because of their impressive shine, shape and lightness, which is second to none. The modern versions, such as a fur felt in black and grey are bulkier than the antique style, though they do last very well. The 'Ascot Top Hat' and its taller counterpart the 'Hetherington Ascot Top Hat' are the closest alternative to an original silk top hat, but finished with ‘melusine’ fabric, they don't have the same impressive shine, look and lightness as an antique silk top hat.
Antique silk top hats are largely found in black, but can also be brown or grey which is often referred to as ‘white’ even though they are in fact grey. Whilst black is sometimes thought of as more formal, any colour can be worn to finish a morning suit or tails, and worn to all occasions.
If you’re looking for Royal Ascot top hats and have access to the Royal Enclosure, the dress code requires gentlemen to wear black or grey top hats without adornments such as coloured ribbons. The dress code is less restrictive within the Queen Anne and Windsor enclosures, however you’re welcome to adhere to the Royal Enclosure dress codes if you so wish.
CG- What’s the best way to get your correct size?
KR - We would always recommend a fitting with a top hat specialist. It’s very important to get the fit perfect so that the hat is secure enough that it’s not going to move or fall off, but not too tight that it leaves a mark when you take it off. The top hat should sit flat on your hear, not titled forward or backwards and sit ½ an inch above the ear.
CG - Is there any advice on proportions/height of the hat for the wearer?
KR - The shape and height of antique silk top hats evolved somewhat over the years, with the crowns gradually becoming taller in height and the brims narrower. The most common shape of antique silk top hats is the ‘bell-shape’ which has slightly curved sides, but there are also examples such as the ‘stove-pipe’ which has straight sides and is particularly tall. The shape you opt for is a personal choice, for example if you have a smaller head you may want to opt for a crown that’s lower in height to keep everything in proportion.
CG - Anything else in regards to style tips, maintenance etc.?
KR - The top hat must sit flat on your head, not tilted forwards or backwards.
To clean your hat, any dust on an antique or modern top hat can removed by lightly brushing it with a pure bristle brush; when dusting an antique silk top hat it’s important to brush in the direction of the nap to keep it smooth. You can treat it with steam if needed or bring it into the shop to have it cleaned.
Antique silk top hats were designed to be buffed and this will need to be carried out from time to time to keep their polished appearance. Using a velvet pad, sweep over the surface in the direction of the nap a few times until the hat’s deep, glossy shine is reinstated.
If you need to dry your top hat, for example because you were caught in the rain, it’s important you let the hat dry in a naturally warm and airy environment - never over direct heat such as a radiator which could distort the shape of the hat.
With a view to storage, we recommend you keep your top hat in a box, away from moths, and cover the whole hat in silk to protect it. The hat should fit comfortably in the bucket or box so it doesn’t move around too much during transportation, but must also be tall enough so the edges of the hat do not rub and cause wear to the crown.
Swiss grooming brand, Cellmen, is the only cellular skincare brand specifically designed for men’s skin. The 'UltraCell Intensive' is a 12 day intensive treatment which works to re-energise the skin using active stabilised bio-integral cells that work in harmony with our own skin cells. As a result, skin is left detoxified, lifted, refined, revitalised and firmed. It is recommended as an intensive skin treatment 2 to 3 times a year.
TheChicGeek says, "Firstly, this is one of the most expensive products I’ve ever tried. £335 for 12 days!! The packaging certainly reflected this, with 12 individual glass phials all securely sealed with a pipette to apply.
After the second day, I had to send an e-mail to the PR to ask if I’d actually been sent the proper product and not a dummy filled with water. The product has no smell and the consistency of water, which made me wonder whether it was simply water?? When you’re pipetting the product onto your face and watching it run down your chin, it's difficult not to think somebody is playing a trick on you.
The kind PR offered to send a sample she had on her desk, which, when it arrived, was exactly the same. I carried on using each phial, fully, for the full 12 days, barely able to look at myself in the mirror!
I’m not really sure what to think. There was no difference to anything, other than I felt I’d washed my face twice before bed. Could this be the Vetements of grooming products?!"
Left - Cellmen - UltraCell Intensive (12 phials) - £335
New this month, TheChicGeek is giving you his personalised bottle of Burberry’s new men’s fragrance, Mr Burberry.
A sensual herbal woody eau de toilette, the new Mr Burberry fragrance opens with notes of crisp zesty grapefruit, cut with a seductive base of earthy vetiver and smokey guaiac wood.
CLOSING DATE: 22nd May 2016 at 11.59pm - Winner(s) will be informed by email!
Have electric car, will travel. Continuing his series of #FutureIcons in association with BMW i3, TheChicGeek drove East to see the first of London's new Elizabeth Line which opens in 2018. Dressed to travel in style, TheChicGeek is wearing a navy suit from MRPORTER.COM and silk shirt for when he arrives in warmer climes.
TRAVEL - The only visible Elizabeth Line station, at the moment, is at Canary Wharf in London's Docklands. Designed by Lord Foster, the new station has been built in the dock and features tropical roof gardens and a leisure complex above the new Underground line.
Credits - Suit - Hackett, Watch - Uniform Wares Both from MRPORTER.COM, Checked Shirt - Thomas Pink, Shoes - Russell & Bromley, Wallet - Tumi, Passport Holder - Tumi, Suitcase - Tumi, Hair Clay - Mojo Hair
Following the global success of Aveda best-selling hair care system, Invati, Aveda introduce, Invati Men - a two-step system specifically designed for men to address one of their biggest hair care concerns, thinning.
Powered by naturally-derived ingredient innovation, formulated with a blend of plant actives, Invati Men Solutions for Thinning Hair is designed specifically to meet the unique needs of men. This easy two-step system helps improve the look of thinning hair - 4 out of 5 men say their hair feels stronger and looks thicker.
Left - Invati Men Nourishing Exfoliating Shampoo - 250ml - £25.50, Invati Men Scalp Revitalizer - 125ml - £45
TheChicGeek says, “I’ve used the original Invati and I’m a fan. It even felt thicker than any other shampoo when you were simply massaging it on to your head. The new Invati Men shampoo is naturally thicker in consistency than the original and does the same as before. The second step, which you leave in, is a serum, powered by Amla - an Indian gooseberry, which thickens hair at the root. I put this on wet, as soon as I got out of the shower, really massaging all over, covering the hair fully and leaving it to dry.
“I have thinning hair so anything that makes your hair feel thicker and fuller is welcome. But, with this, it actually felt like it was weighing my hair down. It gave me than beanie-type feeling, like when you’ve being wearing a hat all day. I think the best solution, for me, disappointingly, would be to avoid the serum and just stick to the shampoo.”
Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear at the Victoria & Albert Museum displays more than 200 examples of men’s and women’s underwear from about 1750 to the present day.
Left - An example of 18th century men's underclothes. I'm guessing this just feel off, eventually!
In particular, it investigates how underwear design combines the practical and personal with the sensory and fashionable, in the process both protecting and enhancing the body.
Right - Not so much underwear, but Michelangelo's David's Victorian modesty leaf
TheChicGeek says, “Situated in the centre of the V&A’s fashion room, this exhibition starts with a room explaining the different constructs and changes in time of men’s and women’s undergarments up to the present day. Ultimately, underwear is there for support and keeping your clothes clean. Sexuality and feeling attractive does play a part, but this room is a clinical look at the architecture of underwear. Men’s examples included 18th century underclothes, underwear in those days meant anything worn next to the skin, Jockey Y-Fronts from the 1950s and Aussiebum's bulge enhancing pants.
Left - 1950s Jockey Y-Fronts & David Beckham for H&M
"Upstairs there was a loose idea of connecting fashion to underwear. What resulted was a disjointed collection of random items including loungewear and corseted outerwear. While nice, it didn’t really pick out the key points or moments in fashion that involved underwear or underwear gravitating into outerwear. Where was the famous Jean Paul Gaultier conical bodice of the late 80s or the 90s Dolce & Gabbana dresses with the bra straps? The exhibition needs a little more sex, there was no Bruce Weber for Calvin Klein images from the 1980s which pioneered the objection of men or the hyper-sexual male images that we’ve seen over the last two decades from the likes of Tom Ford or DSquared. While the underwear is here, the body that goes into them seems to have been forgotten and the two definitely go together."
Until 12th March 2017