If you go down to the woods today you're sure of a big surprise...
TheChicGeek has been putting his best festive foot forward and decorating the trees in the forest. In an abstract Christmas jumper, cosy snood and sturdy boots, TheChicGeek knows less is more definitely more when it comes to casual Christmas attire.
Credits - Jumper - Paul Smith, Watch - Swatch, Trousers - New Look, Boots - Aigle, Snood - Johnstons of Elgin, Long-Johns - ABOUT, Tobacco Absolute Body Wash - Molton Brown, Face Masks - Kiehl's, Shampoo & Conditioner - Mojo Hair
Shot by Robin Forster on OlympusPEN
More images below
Perfectly timed to get the serious business of Christmas shopping underway, join me at the Fossil flagship store, Oxford Street - (between John Lewis & House of Fraser) - on Thursday 10th December, from 6pm - 9pm for an exclusive shopping event.
With a special 10% discount and free engraving and embossing on the night, treat someone you love this festive season with the perfect gift from Fossil.
Right - The curious pairing of TheChicGeek & Fashion Foie Gras. Join us next thursday night
The first 25 guests through the door will receive a special exclusive 'curious' goodie bag and with live DJ, fun photobooth and festive refreshments, it's not to be missed!
When: Thursday 10th December from 6pm - 9pm.
Where: Fossil, 330 Oxford Street, W1C 1JE
Don’t forget to RSVP! See you there!
#Sponsored by Fossil
A recent wrap on the Evening Standard’s ES Magazine by fashion portal, Lyst, got me thinking about how fashion is currently being bought and marketed. Armed with streams of data on sales and searches, the company fine tunes its offering to predict what you want before you even know it yourself selling from different retailers and sites in one place.
Left - Recent advert for Lyst
The advert says things like - “This week on Lyst: New York men spending 25% more on rubber-soled sneakers than New York women on high heels”.
Is this kind of information really useful? While any additional information empowers buyers and retailers to think about what is selling and what to buy again, it has be remembered that fashion isn’t a logical beast.
You can’t solely predict and buy fashion on previous sales and best-sellers. It’s a bit like trying to please a search engine, how can people search for something they don’t even know they want yet or actually exists? It’s the digital equivalent of the chicken and the egg.
Right - Can algorithms predict fashion?
Annoyingly, as fashion becomes more saturated and speeds up, the number of major changes and ideas seems to be slowing. Is it these types of buying patterns and data information that is stalling fashion? Are retailers being too cautious in order to maintain sales and offer more guaranteed return on sales?
Algorithms will never be able to replace instinct. Fashion is about instinct, a gut feeling. It’s about influential people - be they celebrities, designers, best friends - asking themselves “what do I want now?” or “I want that!”.
This starts the wave of influence along the chain across brands, designers and people which then results in the trends and then, hopefully, end sales for the retailers.
As fashion becomes more competitive and saturated it will be those with the instinct to go in their own direction who will really standout.
The final part of his lumberjack series, TheChicGeek goes rogue and starts to resemble an axe wielding killer, albeit a stylish one.
Copy his look, but keep it simple, remember, you want to be able to see the wood for the trees!
Get involved - #LumberGEEK
Credits - Coat - Aigle, Check Cardigan - Scotch & Soda, Shirt - Paul Smith, Watch - Swatch, Trousers - Maison Kitsuné, Wellington Boots - Aigle, Bag - Porter
Shot by Robin Forster on OlympusPEN
More images below
Taking its inspiration from the simple elegance of fine tailoring – and with an eye firmly on the details – this woody and aromatic fragrance is the very embodiment of Paul Smith: effortless, contemporary, surprising and eminently wearable.
Left - Two icons of British style - TheChicGeek & Paul Smith
“Essential is for the man who demands the same things from his fragrance as he does from his clothing,” says Paul Smith. “He’s gentlemanly but contemporary at the same time. He knows who he is and is confident with his sense of style, which is classic with a hint of surprise and a sometimes sense of humour.”
Right - Paul Smith - Essential - EDT - 100ml - £38
A contemporary take on a traditional woody aromatic fragrance Paul Smith Essential opens with a crisp, clean ozonic accord and an invigorating burst of yuzu fruit before a trio of intensely aromatic notes (rosemary, clary sage and lavender) emerge to give Essential its distinct and deliciously herbal character. These, in turn, give way to a warm, masculine and woody base while musk gives Essential an irresistible, sensual edge.
TheChicGeek says, “This is a commercial men's fragrance and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Paul Smith wouldn’t have the size of business he has without making wearable clothes that appeal to a large sector of men and the same goes for his fragrances.
Essential is a classic men’s fougére - meaning lavender based - scent which is fresh, clean and wearable. Paul says he always puts patchouli into his scents as it reminds him of unpacking textiles from India because they add patchouli leaves as a type of repellent. Hopefully it won’t have the same effect with this!
Within an increasingly crowded men's fragrance market the majority of men would be happy to accept a gift with Paul Smith’s name on it, just don’t expect this to be that memorable."
An oldie, but a goodie, Ludwig Reiter is an Austrian shoe brand founded in 1885. The first Ludwig Reiter, a master shoemaker from Bohemia, established a workshop in Vienna. In the 1920s, Ludwig Reiter II transformed the firm into a small shoe factory.
Left - Founder, the first Ludwig Reiter
In the 1960s, Ludwig Reiter III, expanded the company, making it one of Austria’s most renowned shoe producers. In 2011, the company moved into the renovated Süssenbrunn Manor in Vienna. There some 60 employees produce around 30,000 pairs of shoes annually.
Right - Maronibratesr Boots - €698
Today, Ludwig Reiter—the only factory for welted shoes in the German-speaking region—is managed by the 4th and 5th generations of the original family.
Keeping to the company’s traditions, a classical Ludwig Reiter shoe is welted using the Goodyear method. This artisan method remains the best way to give the shoe both mobility and stability. In this method the upper leather and the leather insole are first sewn together with a continuous leather band—the welt (single stitching). Only then is the welt connected to the sole (double stitching).
Thus the upper part of the shoe and the outer sole are connected not directly but indirectly, and hence flexibly, with each other. This means the shoe can follow the foot’s complex movement when walking.
Left - An old Ludwig Reiter après ski advert
Brad Pitt is wearing a pair of Ludwig Reiter boots in the film, Inglorious Basterds.
Affordable men’s clothes have got so good, recently, that if you’ve got the eye and the inclination you can pick up some of the best menswear pieces for next to nothing.
Left - TheChicGeek previewing Boohoo's car coat at their press preview last spring
My case in point is Boohoo’s men’s AW15 car coat. Women have had this shape for a long time, now, and it works because it elongates the body, making you look slimmer and taller.
Fast fashion brands, like Boohoo, have to come up with so much new product these days that they are continually innovating themselves rather than looking to designer fashion solely for ideas. This was one of the best men's coat shapes, I've seen, of the season and at a bargain price of 30 whole English pounds!
Below - Available now - £30
Introducing ‘Oxford & Cambridge Body Wash’ the latest luxurious addition to the Czech & Speake bathing range for gentlemen. This gently foaming and richly fragranced formulation is suitable for both showering and bathing and includes including aloe vera to soothe and refresh and Dead Sea salts to regenerate and tone the skin.
The scent contains French citrus and healing English lavender, topped with herbaceous peppermint, rosemary and bergamot, all perfectly balanced on a base of warm oak moss.
TheChicGeek says, “Let’s be honest, men don’t use expensive body washes religiously throughout the year. The volumes they get through, combined with the high cost, makes it more a treat than an everyday occurrence. Hence, why Christmas is the perfect time to spoil yourself.
Now, this is a treat. A very English treat. When in the shower, this smells strongly of dried lavender, it doesn’t smell like the overall scent which develops, and lasts, into a classic and soft fragrance that you almost wish they could do a version for the washing machine, so all your washing could smell this good.
This is perfect for somebody who wants a soft and lasting, but not overpowering body scent."
Left - Czech & Speake - Oxford & Cambridge Body Wash - 300ml - £38
BOSS THE SCENT, the new best-selling fragrance from Hugo Boss, boasts an exclusive heart note ingredient from Africa: the aphrodisiac-like Maninka fruit, evocative of passion fruit and rum.
Spicy ginger opens as a top note and the rousing maninka fruit fuses with lavender to swathe the skin in sensuality on an intense, burnished leather base note. The face of BOSS THE SCENT is Hollywood actor, Theo James - known for starring in the dystopian sci-fi blockbusters, the Divergent series, and for making an unforgettable impression in Downton Abbey.
TheChicGeek has a specially signed bottle of the fragrance signed by Theo James to giveaway.
CLOSING DATE: 28th December 2015 at 11.59pm - Winner(s) will be informed by email!
Knightsbridge based department store, Harvey Nichols, has been busy excavating their basement. Long the home of their menswear offering, this cavernous yet claustrophobic space is, we are told, being completely made over ready for its unveiling in spring 2016.
Left - Harvey Nichols' new store in Birmingham which gives us the direction stylistically of the Knightsbridge store's new men's basement.
So, what’s new? I recently attended a presentation of theirs describing how the new spaces are going to look. Bye, bye shop-in-shops and branded concessions: long the bastion of mega-brands, physically claiming prime spots in-store to be replaced by easily changeable spaces and the mixing of brands.
I'd like to think of it as a more democratic form of shopping: allowing labels to speak to people solely on product alone without the pre-judgement of walking over to a branded section or the muscling out of smaller brands by placing them in the parts of the store these mega-brands don’t want.
The big brands won’t like this. They will sell less. There will now be an equal playing field between them and whichever new brands Harvey Nichols decide to stock. It also allows Harvey Nichols to drop brands faster, regardless of size, to keep pace with the speed of fashion and allowing new brands to bring excitement and interest into their physical store.
People are tired of seeing the same brands everywhere regardless of how expensive they are. It also allows a form of curation rather than simply a mini-mall of the same designer names which you can find the world over.
Harvey Nichols know they can’t compete with the likes of Harrods and Selfridges on menswear floor space, so, they are making theirs more flexible and less static. This is a very clever idea.
Right - More interiors from Harvey Nichols Birmingham. Let's hope London looks this good
In order to survive shops need to become destinations. They need to offer something you can’t find anywhere else: something new, fresh and inspiring. They also have to flow, both visibly and physically, and, ultimately, part time-poor people with their cash.
One of the more interesting ideas they have is putting all the same things together. So, white T-shirts, tuxedos etc., all at different price points, selected by Harvey Nichols, are together with the sales assistants explaining the differences between them all.
Fashion’s big names have long earnt their corners of the big stores, but they sell more and remain powerful because they have the best positions and are, therefore, stuck in a positive cycle which is very hard to break, making retail spaces look the same every time and everywhere. It all becomes quite predictable and menswear buyers and the retailers want something different and exciting while still retaining the spend.
Harvey Nichols is seeing this refresh as an opportunity to try something new. No doubt they’ll be some difficult discussions with brands, but I hope they hold their ground and give these ideas a chance to prove that the customer, now, buys into good product rather than brands. Menswear just got a level playing field!
Opening April 2016