Christopher Fisher, Head Buyer, oki-ni
"Oversized floral prints on short-sleeve lightweight shirts are a staple forsummer – relaxed beachwear from the catwalks was heavily influenced by the 90s, with references including Baz Luhrmann’s iconic Romeo and Juliet. Junya Watanabe is one of the new brands joining oki-ni this season and his pieces carry much kudos for their wearer!"
Left - Junya Watanabe - Black Flower-Print Short-Sleeved Shirt - £320
"Every guy should own a pair of crisp white low-top sneakers – the term versatile is an understatement. Common Projects has been the go-to luxury brand for many a season now. The ‘Achilles’ Low has a clean, minimal silhouette and is crafted in Italy from the finest leather".
Left - Common Projects - White Premium Achilles Low Sneakers - £248
"Wide-legged, loose fit trousers are not going anywhere soon. This pair from Maison Margiela are a prefect starter pair – not too oversized, they have a neat turn-up that will rest nicely on a pair of sneakers".
Left - Maison Margiela - Natural Wide-Leg Cotton Trousers - £410
"Let’s face it – it’s still freezing outside. Layering is the key to getting through this cold snap. This panelled sweatshirt from kolor is perfect for now, but will also take you nicely into spring when paired with some wide-leg navy shorts (see Marni)".
Left - Kolor - Grey Panelled Sweatshirt - £389
"I am a keen runner, so I was really excited to bring Satisfy to oki-ni, this season. Satisfy is a brand for both serious and not-so-serious runners –their products are designed, prototyped and tested in their studio in Paris. The technical fabrications used are insane and not one detail is overlooked (The product looks super-slick too)".
Below - Satsify - Black Packable Windbreaker - £305
The Mole Clinic has opened their third outpost in Moorgate in the City of London. Skin cancer is one of our most common cancers. Detected early, it is easily removed. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is extremely difficult to treat, but if caught early it is 100% survivable.
The MOLE Clinic is the UK’s leading independent and award-winning centre for screening and diagnosis of skin cancer which identifies any abnormal moles which may be at risk. There are two types of moles we should be keeping an eye on as a precaution against skin cancer and these are ‘visually abnormal’ and ‘new or changing moles’.
Left - The price for the MOLECheck is £135. For more information visit www.themoleclinic.co.uk
The Mole Clinic offers Skin Cancer Screening, Digital Mole Mapping and Cosmetic Mole Removal.
The MOLECheck normally takes around 45 minutes, although it can vary depending on the number of moles the patient has. It starts with a specialist nurse recording any risk factors that the client may have for skin cancer. Then she will be checking all of the visible moles and freckles on your body from ‘head to toe’. If any abnormal moles are identified then you will have the option to have the mole quickly diagnosed for skin cancer with their TELEDerm service, a non-invasive technique which captures highly magnified images of moles and offers previously unseen views beneath the moles surface to identify cancerous changes.
The nurse will also advise the patient on appropriate preventative steps that should be taken and how the main signs of skin cancer be spotted. The MOLECheck is recommended annually for most adults, however those in a high risk group for skin cancer may wish to consider to have a check every six months.
TheChicGeek says, “I’ve wanted to try The Mole Clinic for ages. I have skin cancer in my family and being a ginger I only have to look out of the window to get sunburnt. I’m careful, but I was burnt as a child. I’m not particularly moley, more freckles, but I think it’s important to learn what to look out for.
While improving, dermatology in the UK has been patchy at best and it’s good to speak to those who know what to look for.
During the MOLEcheck you meet a nurse, she asks a few questions about family history and also lifestyle, like whether you use sun beds or have been sunburnt before. You then strip off - wear your best underpants - and the nurse examines you from top to toe and even between your toes. It wasn't as hi-tech as I thought it was going to be, but it doesn't need to be if you're in the hands of somebody who knows what they are looking for. She’ll ask you about anything that stands out. Looking at moles is a bit like picking mushrooms: most look harmless enough, but only a trained eye can spot a deadly one or spot the difference. If unsure, ask the advice of an expert, hence the USP of the MOLECheck.
Anything unusual the nurse will take a picture of and send to a doctor at the clinic for a second opinion. I received the full, confidential report the next day and the doctor recommended I seek 'Urgent Referral’ for a mole that I hadn’t noticed on my lower back. Looking a bit like Halley’s Comet, it is irregular in shape and colour which are the signs to be aware of. You can choose to continue the private healthcare with The Mole Clinic, or, like I did, take the report to your GP who can refer you to a specialist. As a suspected cancer you receive an appointment within 2 weeks. Hopefully, it’s nothing, but without this check I wouldn’t have been aware of it.
It’s also worth noting that not all skin cancer is connected to moles. Non melanoma cancer is usually a scab that doesn’t heal within 3 months. With my family history and skin type I think I’m more vulnerable to this type of cancer, but always check yourself and monitor anything changing shape or colour. If unsure speak to your doctor or, if you can afford to, use a service like this one.
With summer coming up, while checking yourself please think about protecting yourself too: no sunbeds, avoid blistering and use a high SPF.
The Mole Clinic was a very professional service which I would recommend and I hope checking your moles and skin will become as common and routine as going to the dentist".
Moorgate/Bank: Mon, Wed: 8am – 7pm; Tues,Thurs, Fri: 8am – 5pm, Oxford Circus: Mon, Wed, Fri: 8am – 5pm; Tues,Thurs, Fri: 8am – 7pm, Harrods Pharmacy: Wed: 10am – 7pm
A new men’s grooming brand, Stoer, pronounced 'store', is named after a remote place in the Highlands of Scotland where the founder, Marianne Morrison, spent her formative years.
This technologically advanced collection of ‘skin-smart’ products introduces novel and effective ‘Cosmetic Drone’ technology, a first for the male skincare market.
Left - The ‘STOER Skincare for Men’ collection includes: Foaming Face Wash, Detox Face Scrub, Firm & Protect Moisturising Serum, Energising Eye Serum and Vitamin Power Mask.
Cosmetic drones focus on delivering the brand’s unique Clima 5™ formulation of active ingredients directly into the skin layer where they work best. Each active has been individually sourced from extreme climates in 5 global locations (Mexico, Japan, Scotland, West Africa and the Alps) to underpin the value of protecting the skin against pollution and the elements, whilst rejuvenating, energising and improving skin health.
TheChicGeek says, “The drones are coming! There are 5 initial products in the STOER range, with 2 more to follow. It’s interesting they’ve launched without a moisturiser, but I think this is down to a production issue rather than a deliberate absence. A moisturiser with SPF 30 is to follow, as it says so on the back of the serum.
I’ve not heard of ‘Cosmetic Drone’ technology before, but it makes sense if your trying to get the right product to the right place rather than relying solely on skin penetration. According to the information, each active is entrapped in a unique microscopic ‘Cosmetic Drone’ capsule to deliver the actives to a deeper layer of the skin. This revolutionary system targets specific cells and releases the active ingredients where needed.
I always think a new range lives and dies on its moisturiser, but I’ll have to pass judgement another day. I tried the serum and eye serum, which both have a nice lavender scent. This is particularly relaxing when applying in the evening, just before bed.
I used the serum like you would a moisturiser and applied the eye serum after. The eye serum definitely had that blowing-in-your-eyes effect which means something positive is happening. The serum and eye serum are light and disappear quickly and you’re not conscious you’re wearing it. It’s non greasy and oily and leaves the skin feeling nourished for the day.
The other products: face wash, face scrub and power mask are pretty standard: easily applied and washed off.
While not cheap, these are reasonably priced. If you didn't want to buy all of them I would go for the serum and eye serum: some men are willing to pay for new technology, especially if it delivers results quickly. STOER seems like a welcome edition to the men’s grooming market and, as we've been told, drones are in our futures, we may as well get used to them in our skincare and medicines."
Available at Harvey Nichols from £24 from 11th March
You can never have enough rainbows in your life. Paul Smith’s SS17 collection was a confection of coloured stripes and rainbows as a continuation of the love and peace themes that take him back to his shaggy-haired youth.
This mesh T-shirt is perfect for the summer with a design looks like a floor pattern by the artist Jim Lambie. Peace out!
Left & Below - Paul Smith - Men’s Multi-Colour Mesh Stripe T-Shirt - £260
This tank top is kinda amazing. The deep V is back, (check out TheChicGeek's favourite cricket sweaters - here) in knitwear, this season, and this mongrel-type confection of clashing colours and stripes is the perfect bad taste piece for the season. Prada's knitwear is really strong at the moment - the rainbow cardigan from AW16 - here - was a favourite, and this just continues the lust. Wear with sportswear. Clash.
Left & Below - Prada - Intarsia Wool Vest - £655 from MRPORTER.COM
In last week’s Evening Standard, Hatton Garden jeweller, Sam Hunter, brother of director, Sophie Hunter, wife of Benedict Cumberbatch, said, “People are bored of the little blue boxes, extortionate prices and minimal design that is now completely characterless,” he went on “It’s the name you’re paying for and nothing else… It’s fine if the piece is exquisite, but they’re producing less and less of those!”
He was, of course, talking about the American jeweller, Tiffany & Co., but he could have easily have been describing the majority of modern luxury brands.
There was a time when you wanted everybody to know your brand. There was a time when success was built on brand awareness. There was a time when consumers wanted you to know the brand they were wearing in order to convey status, but times change and this awareness and ultimately saturation has breed predictability and boredom.
For example, I was recently in Berlin. I walked past their fanciest department store, KaDeWe, and in the windows were great looking clothes. I always like to try and guess the designers and then, like a museum piece, look at the labels on the glass. I didn’t recognise a single one of them. In the past you would dismiss this as being a second rate store or inferior because the ‘big labels' weren’t there, but instead it was far more interesting and refreshing.
Inside was another story. The usual luxury shop-in-shops: Bottega Veneta, Valentino, Gucci, acres of marble and the same look, the world over, but the element of the unknown is what will get people off their sofas and into stores.
It’s much more exciting, today, to not recognise a label and go purely on quality and design. It’s a sign of good taste and a good eye rather than blindly buying a ‘name’. It's also a sign of confidence. But, it’s hard to stay unknown forever and why shouldn’t brands that are good be celebrated, but it’s the level to which they are exposed and rely solely on the name or label that I have a problem with.
A good example would be the Italian brand, Slowear, soon to open another store on London’s Marylebone High Street, they are understated and their multiple labels - Incotex, Montedoro, Zanone - aren’t household names and don't seem to want to be. Slowear, while not cheap, offers better quality, fit and value than clothes at twice the price. This isn't about being a contrarian and always different and obscure. It's about brands that have a humility, aren't a vehicle for a designer's ego and are understated with a ‘we’re too busy making great clothes-to-focus-solely-on-the-label’ attitude which makes it very democratic and far more interesting.
Go seek out the unknown. I've never heard of them. Tell me more.
So, Raf Simons unveiled his first full collection for Calvin Klein. As about exciting as New York fashion gets, it was an accomplished - of course it was, he's had plenty of experience - collection which, no doubt, Americans are breathlessly hailing as the 'New Look'. but it just looked like yet another Raf Simons collection. Where was the sex?
From Left - Bruce Weber advert for Calvin Klein underwear (1982), FW17 Calvin Klein Collection
Raf Simons showed his own eponymous menswear collection, the week before, with the same leg-warmers-as-sleeves idea he put on the catwalk here. This Calvin Klein Collection was wearably different, yet without any of the minimal sex appeal that Calvin Klein was built upon. Who could forget Kate Moss' nipples in that sheer, simple dress circa '93?
Raf Simons should have added athleticism to the collection in the casting of the models to differentiate between his and this collection. Maybe that'll be coming in future advertising, but if Raf Simons is going to connect and drive sales with the masses who have never heard of him and probably don't care about him, then it needs sex.
Fashion has a strange relationship with sex, but Calvin Klein pioneered the objectification of men and their bodies in advertising through the 80s and 90s. What looks quite tame, today, was revolutionary at the time and the first time men and women really looked at men's bodies.
But, whether it's the 80s or, as Instagram proves, today, people will never tire of looking at firm and worked out men's bodies. Ultimately, as always, sex sells and that's what the new Calvin Klein needs.
Left - Calvin Klein Obsession advertising (1987)
The first jewellery house to move to Place Vendôme in Paris in 1893, Boucheron is one of the magical names in fine jewels. The Boucheron Collection is inspired by travelling and includes six unisex scents: Iris de Syracuse, Néroli d’Ispahan, Tubéreuse de Madras, Vanilla de Zanzibar, Oud de Carthage and Ambre d’Alexandrie. Five perfumers created the six perfumes and include Nathalie Lorson, Christophe Raynaud, Fabrice Pellegrin, Jean-Christophe Hérault and Dominique Ropion.
Left - The Boucheron Collection - 125ml EDT - £175
TheChicGeek says, “Boucheron are quite late to the party on these luxury sets of one note fragrances. Does the world need another luxurious oud or tuberose fragrance? Probably not.
And the packaging and branding, at this price range, all seems to blur into each other.
Obviously tailored for the wealthy, visiting Harrods customer, but then so is the Zegna, Boss and Armani and numerous other versions of these generously boxed sets.
There’s nothing wrong here, but then neither is there anything original. People who want large volumes of expensive fragrance seem to shop at Harrods, but I think even they’re being saturated with these fragrances and none are offering anything new of different: the finest raw ingredients respectfully presented.
They are all unisex, but I would say the most male facing is the fresh neroli or the richer oud. Perfectly enjoyable and passable.
These big boxed fragrance collections are a bit like simple couture clothes: limited distribution and, ultimately, very few people experience it, so really what is the point when nobody can tell the difference? At this price point there are many options to find something individual rather blending in with this crowd”.
The fashion business likes a ‘category’. The more categories the more product and the more money, hopefully. If only it was that easy.
Designers and brands like to enter a category, be it jeans, underwear or sunglasses, usually partnering with a manufacturing expert in that field, and expand their businesses one category at a time. Take Tom Ford for example, he is just about to go into underwear after mastering jeans, sunglasses, beauty and trainers, in no particular order.
Left - N/A Necessary Anywhere socks available at Oki-Ni & Harvey Nichols
Underwear is one of the biggest money spinners for brands. People will pay a premium for somebody else’s name on their waistband - not really sure why - and entire brands like Calvin Klein and Versace are built on their underwear categories. They can charge a premium for something that is cheap to make.
And while the underwear category has matured into a reliable cash cow for many, the sock business seems so much trickier. There aren’t many designers or brands who have owned the category. With the exception of Paul Smith, designers produce the odd sock for collections, but don’t fully enter or develop the category. It wasn't that long ago that Burberry pulled out of the category and they make everything.
It’s interesting how people are willing to spend on underwear, but not on socks. We do have quality sock brands such as the German Falke and the British Panterella and Corgi, but there seems to be a ceiling on the pricing. People think socks should be cheap and when brands like Vetements and Gucci do socks at high prices - think nearing three figures - they seem like one of the most frivolouss purchases you can make and are usually a one-off show piece rather than entering the category.
The branded sock market seems to fall into two categories: sports and colourful office-type socks. There’s definitely a gap for something in between. So, it was at the recent CIFF fashion trade show in Copenhagen that I found N/A from New York.
When I searched ’N/A New York’ I got plenty of Narcotics Anonymous meetings, but it actually stands for ‘Necessary Anywhere’ and is influenced by the ‘everyday grind’. To the British that's walking (thought Americans didn't do that anyway!). They believe it’s vital to get up every day with the aspiration to move ourselves forward.
Founded in 2015 by Nick Lewis with six socks, these premium knit socks marry innovative textures with classic colours and patterns. When people pay for socks they usually go for something colourful and playful, N/A seems to have produced a cool sock which marries sports and fashion. They’re about £15, which, while more than your average three pack, aren’t extortionate. They fit somewhere between your smart socks and your sports socks and could, potentially, signal a new category within this difficult category.
2012 - This could be standard outfit of classic winter items such as the duffle coat and cords but by adding the over sized scarf and matching spectacles it becomes a statement. The purple/bluey colours almost looked blurred in the cold and add to the drama this winter weather look.
Blue Spectacles - Market in Palermo, Duffle Coat - Aquascutum, Scarf - Market in Florence, Cord Trousers - 4OW, Socks - Happy Socks, Brogues - From Italy