Review 
Guerlain men's fragrance cool L'Homme Idéal tried testedThe latest instalment of Guerlain’s L'Homme Idéal series, this ‘Cool’ release has ‘re-orchestrated’ the almond olfactory centre with coolness around three accords; the effervescence of top notes of bergamot and orange mingled with the freshness of mint. Patchouli and vetiver are the base notes.

TheChicGeek says, “This is the first of Guerlain’s L'Homme Idéal fragrances I’ve tried. (There are 4 in total). I’m not getting much of the almond centre, there's a slight warmed frangipane note when on the skin, but there’s plenty of the aquatic mint. 

From the majority of mass fragrance brands this would be just another generic cool and fresh fragrance, but, Guerlain has a pedigree which takes it up a notch. While the name isn’t memorable - Ideal Home, anybody?! - and the fragrance isn’t very distinctive, it still has a decent quality for a reasonable price.

I really like the matt grey sides of the bottle and engineered top. It looks classy while in a pretty standard and classic shape. If you want something minty, fresh and easy for summer, then this could be it.”

Left - Guerlain - L’Home Idéal Cool - 50ml - £56

Disclosure - A sample was provided by Guerlain

London stores best Bond Street McQueen AlexanderWhile the majority of UK cities are struggling to deal with the implosion of their high-streets, London is a juggernaut that keeps people spending. Thanks to tourist dollars and and an increasingly high-spending visitor, Bond Street, arguably London’s premier luxury shopping street, has seen a raft of new openings hoping to tap into London as the global retail destination. From Alexander McQueen to Loewe, this historical street has seen glorious new retail spaces tailored to this exclusive location open to entice more money from shoppers.

Left - Alexander McQueen's new three storey store

The Office for National Statistics has just released the final International Passenger Survey (IPS) results covering 2018 and it’s still looking good for London. While the number of visits to the UK in 2018 fell slightly (-3%) - 2017 was a record - to 37.9 million, the data from the last 10 months shows visitors spending huge amounts and are visiting Bond Street, in particular.

Data from Global Blue, a tourism shopping tax refund company headquartered in Nyon, Switzerland, shows that the average spend on Bond Street among international visitors increased by 4% year-on-year from January to October 2018. International shoppers spent a huge average of £1,341 per transaction during this time.

London stores best Bond Street Celine Hedi Slimane

Global Blue has also just opened its first VIP Globe Shopper Lounge on Albemarle Street in Mayfair, just a stone’s throw from Bond Street. According to their figures, the top spenders were visitors from the UAE, Qatar and Hong Kong. UAE shoppers spent £2,074 per transaction, up 19% year-on-year. Qatari shoppers spent £1,964 per transaction (up 7%), while Hong Kong shoppers spent £1,837 per transaction (up 15%).

Interestingly, the biggest increase was seen amongst Indonesian visitors, averaging £1,551 per transaction, up 20% compared to 2017. 

Right - Staircase in the new Celine menswear store

Paris is London’s closest luxury shopping competition and the 'yellow vests’ or Gilet Jaunes protests have been affecting its attractiveness and is putting off visitors. "We lost between one and two growth points in 2018 due to the yellow vests," said Mathieu Grac, Global Blue's vice president of intelligence strategy. 

The weakness of the pound is making shopping in London more attractive and better value for money. The Chinese, in particular, have always chosen Paris over London, but this could be starting to change with new stats show record breaking results for the end of 2018 for London. Visits to the UK from China in this period were up 52% to 94,000 – the 9th consecutive record quarter for visits. These visitors spent £160 million in the UK between October and December 2018 – 30% up compared to the same period in 2017. In total there were a record 391,000 visits from China to the UK in 2018, up 16% on 2017. 

Overall, UK visitor spend in 2019 is forecast to be £24.9B, up 7.8%, on a forecast of 38.8m visitors.

While many designer brands are closing stores and trimming their global retail network, others are realising that in order to stay ahead, you need to invest heavily in the world’s finest locations. The days of copy-cat, identikit stores are over and brands know they need to make something unique for its location.

London stores best Bond Street Casa Loewe

Proving this point is the new ‘Casa Loewe’. The Spanish brand, Loewe, owned by LVMH, and famous for its puzzle bags, has opened a three storey boutique designed in the vision of creative director, Jonathan Anderson. Like an art gallery with clothes, but with a personality and warmth, the London store features work by a selection of internationally renowned artists, including three oak sculptures by Ernst Gamperl (winner of the LOEWE FOUNDATION Craft Prize in 2017) alongside 15 photographs by Alair Gomes, the ‘Vulcano Table’ by Anthea Hamilton, a long- standing LOEWE collaborator, William Turnbull’s 1956 sculpture ‘Idol 4’ and Grayson Perry’s ‘Mum and Dad’ vase.

Left - Casa Loewe showing Anthea Hamilton's 'Vulcano Table'

It feels a very creative space and is one of the few luxury boutiques on Bond Street to give you this full idea of a lifestyle. The sales assistant I spoke to said Anderson was often in the store talking to them through the product and also making sure things were working correctly. She also said they had a great many Chinese customers.

Further down Bond Street is the new Celine menswear boutique. The first time Celine has done menswear under new creative head, Hedi Slimane, it feels very déjà vu in the Saint Laurent mould and looks like all those other marbled minimal retail palaces from brands such as Neil Barrett or End Clothing in Soho. On the corner of New Bond Street and Grafton street, in the old Boucheron store, it is exactly what fans of Slimane will want and the quality of the clothes do look good. Downstairs is a compact tailoring area and while none of the extra skinny clothes had a price tag on, the raised front doors are automatic, just in-case those super-skinny rockstars don’t have enough strength to open them. Disappointly, this concept will look the same the world over.

Into Old Bond Street, Alexander McQueen has amalgamated all three of their London stores into the large, former DKNY outlet. The three storey boutique is a beautiful, sweeping space by Chilean architect Smiljan Radic, his first retail project. It truly flows with giant glass tubes linking the floors and acres of matt walnut covering every surface including the two spiral staircases.

The ground floor is home to womenswear and the first floor to menswear. The top floor is like a museum, probably hoping to capitalise on the popularity of ‘Savage Beauty’, it illustrates the artistry of the current collections while being dotted with archive pieces. This area will also be used to host a programme of exhibitions and talks aimed specifically at inspiring students. It left me with a renewed respect of the work of the brand which I’ve often dismissed since McQueen’s death. There was a men’s coat, hand embroidered with silver graffiti, on sale for £100,000.

London stores best Bond Street Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney has moved her store from the Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby designed Bruton Street to Old Bond Street. A difficult space, it is linked by a huge metal staircase reminiscent of the tanks at Tate Modern. More concrete and terrazzo, the front ground floor is peppered by giant boulders and moss.  A small glade of silver birches decorate a roof garden and 'Airlabs' technology makes this the first indoor commercial space in London with the cleanest air possible.

The store carries all the brand’s collections including women’s and menswear ready-to-wear, accessories, lingerie, swimwear, kids, eyewear, fragrance and adidas by Stella McCartney. Stella McCartney said, “Old Bond street, it’s probably one of the most prestigious retail locations in the world. And for me being born and bred in London and having our business headquarters there and design studio, it’s an incredible honour for us. This store really tells the story of the World of Stella McCartney; incorporating sustainability, fashion and luxury.” Louis Vuitton’s giant Bond Street store is also being refurbished and will hopefully offer something bespoke to this prestigious location.

Right - Stella McCartney's ground floor showing boulders running through the centre

What this group of shops show is the huge investment still going into physical retail. If you’re going to entice those shoppers, you'll need to offer something original, something they'll want to investigate and explore and ultimately an experience of buying something truly great and memorable. By working and competing as a group, it gives more incentive to brands and people to make this the greatest destination and a positive cycle of openings and continued openings will keep this firmly as one of the most thriving luxury retail destinations in the world.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019 14:39

How To Wear A Milkshake

how to wear a milkshake Nigel Farage Brexit PartyForget flip-flops or 3/4 length cargo shorts, the worst thing to be seen wearing this summer is the milkshake. Engulfing the political canvasing of the European elections recently, everybody from Tommy Robinson to Nigel Farage has been getting the cold bukkake treatment. The traditional egg and flour method of showing political figures what we think has been getting the youthful makeover of a thick and icy McDonald’s milkshake. (Or Five Guys subject to budgets and neighbourhoods).

Is it milkshake weather yet? Expect to see a spike in sales. Showing the generational divide of this election, the milkshake treatment is a sloppy anti-establishment reminder of an expression that goes back centuries. Here’s how to style it in:

how to wear a milkshake Nigel Farage Brexit Party white suit Tom Wolfe

how to wear a milkshake Nigel Farage Brexit Party WHITE SUIT colonel saunders

1. Dress to match. Go for the Colonel Sanders or Tom Wolfe option of milky white tailoring. Let’s just hope you don’t get covered in a chocolate shake.

From Right - Colonel Saunders looking finger licking good, Tom Wolfe in his trademark white tailoring

 

 

 

 

 

how to wear a milkshake Nigel Farage Brexit Party MARGIELA WHITE SNEAKERS

2. Pretend it’s vintage Maison Margiela and the paint effect is all part of the look. Distressingly distressed.

Left - Maison Margiela - 22 Painter Leather Replica Sneaker - £425

how to wear a chocolate milkshake Nigel Farage Brexit Party glastonbury

3. What came first? The egg or the milkshake. Prempt a strike and go for a Tough Mudder or a wet Glastonbury chocolate brown covering.

Right - "Corbyn, Corbyn, Corbyn" Glastonbury the new political opportunity?

 

 

 

 

 

how to wear a chocolate milkshake LIBIDEX PVC LATEX SUIT4. Get on the shiny PVC/rubber trend. A quick hose down and you’re ready to go.

Left - Libidex - Capone Jacket - £146.97 

5. Who cares? Own it. Wipe your face and move on. You’re a political soldier.

6. Layers. Be a human post-it. Pull it off and start again.

how to wear a chocolate milkshake Nigel Farage Brexit Party MAC CLEAR NO21

7. Opt for a clear mac. Business underneath a see-through mac.

Left - No.21 - Transparent PVC-Effect Raincoat - £525 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

how to wear a chocolate milkshake Nigel Farage Brexit Party LEIGH BOWERY

how to wear a chocolate milkshake Nigel Farage Brexit Party BOY GEORGE

8. Go full on Leigh Bowery. Get that drippy look and make it look like performance art.

From Right - Boy George as Leigh Bowery, Leigh Bowery

If all else fails, make a swift Brexit. Soz. 

Monday, 20 May 2019 17:15

ChicGeek Comment Language, Timothy!

FCUK returns Urban OutfittersIt was the mid-nineties, I’d been shopping on a Saturday afternoon and somehow I’d found myself locked out of my house. I took refuge with the neighbours next door. Surrounded by shopping bags, my older neighbour took umbrage at something written on the side of one of them. In large, bold lettering, the white paper bag read ‘F.C.U.K.’. I thought nothing of it because I’d been a fan of French Connection for a few years and naively thought everybody knew what it stood for. I didn’t think it was rude, he clearly didn’t agree.

Left - French Connection brings back FCUK with Urban Outfitters

This simple shock tactic abbreviation devised by advertising executive Trevor Beattie, having noticed FCHK (French Connection Hong Kong) on an internal memo, was a revolution for French Connection’s marketing campaigns. It really was one of the best and most fashionable upper high street stores at the time and condensing French Connection United Kingdom down to this four letter word in 1997 came to symbolise the division between those who got it and those who didn’t. It was brilliant. The subsequent poster campaign, which read "FCUK fashion", received complaints from the Advertising Standard Authority, MPs and even the Church of England at the time.

Unfortunately, French Connection didn’t know when to let it go. It’s about to come around yet again with a new, exclusive collection with US Urban Outfitters. The FCUK + Urban Outfitters collaboration is taping into 90s nostalgia with a collection ranging in price from $39 to $129 and featuring the FCUK slogan loud and proud.

“Our brand has always been driven by innovation and change,” said Stephen Marks, founder and chairman of French Connection. “When FCUK launched in the ‘90s, it pushed boundaries and was wildly popular with a youth that celebrated individuality and self- expression. The timing is right to bring this back and introduce it to a new generation that shares this attitude and energy.” he said.

FCUK looks comparatively tame today. Fast forward over 20 years and we’re in an age of ‘Fucking Fabulous’ and ‘Bollocks To Brexit’. In a time of ‘alternative facts’ and fake news, people and brands are starting to say it exactly how it is. It feels like there isn’t time for tip-toeing around and the B.S. of previous generations.

Fucking fabulous Tom Ford language in retail products

Tom Ford originally launched his perfume ‘Fucking Fabulous’ as a limited edition for his Spring Summer 2018 catwalk presentation.

Right - Tom Ford saying how we all feel (sometimes)

According to American website Coveteur on how the name came about; “We were sitting in a meeting smelling the fragrance and Tom said, ‘This is fucking fabulous,’” recalls John Demsey, executive group president of the Estee Lauder Companies, which owns Tom Ford Beauty. “I said, ‘Yeah, it is fucking fabulous.’ He said, ‘Well, why not [call it] Fucking Fabulous?’ So we did. It’s a descriptive. Some people talk about fragrance ingredients; we talk about how it smells.”

For the conservative, American beauty giant Estée Lauder to sign this off was a bold move, especially considering how sensitive the middle of America can be.

“Tom Ford is the consummate gentleman. No one cares more about manners than he does,” adds Demsey. “I understand that this could be offensive to people, but it’s been done in a super elegant, high-end way with good taste. There is a very fine line between what’s salacious and what’s pornographic, what’s erotic and what has a sense of humour. Tom is one of those people who has the ability to do both.”

The PR at Tom Ford Beauty told Coveteur when I asked whether there was any resistance to the name: “This was 100% a Tom decision. We don’t negotiate with Tom Ford.”

Tom Ford has the power and track record to get what he wants and there wouldn’t be many brands or designers brave enough or powerful enough for this to make it through to market. ‘Fucking Fabulous’ has become a cult product even though the scent isn’t particularly memorable.

“I haven’t had this many requests since Tom first went into business with us ten years ago,” Demsey told Coveteur. “Everyone’s asking me, ‘Aren’t I fucking fabulous?’” he said.

This is a case of saying exactly what people think or what you hope they will think, and so it turns to the forthcoming European Elections. The Liberal Democrats slogan ‘Bollocks To Brexit’ isn’t original to them. People have been using it since the referendum, but they have been brave enough to use it and tap into people’s frustrations. It’s definitely a first for politics to be this brave and out there when it comes to campaign slogans. Some have describe it as “coarse” or “crass”, but it’s a very clear message and is exactly what people need today with so much noise on social media and confusing issues and conflicting arguments. It’s decisive. 

Lib dems Bollocks to Brexit slogans pushing boundaries

Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable has defended titling the party manifesto “Bollocks to Brexit”, after the BBC’s Andrew Marr refused to read out the name on-air. Marr said: “This is the first manifesto whose title I cannot read out on Sunday morning television. Do you not feel a little embarrassed about the coarseness of your main election slogan?” Sir Vince responded: “A few people objected to it. I looked up the etymology of ‘bollocks to Brexit’ and the first thing I read was it was a word with a long and distinguished history going back to the 18th century.”

Left - Liberal Democrats slogan for the European Elections 2019

What was pioneered by French Connection’s FCUK, has been taken and run with by Tom Ford’s 'Fucking Fabulous’ and the Lib Dems' ‘Bollocks To Brexit’ and shows there isn’t time to pussy-foot around to get your message across. For brands and companies, labels, slogans and names like these are a risk, but this bravery, when it pays off, is rewarded with the both positive and negative energy needed to gain attention in today’s crowded and fractured marketing mix. 

Making people feels a little bit uncomfortable and pushing the envelope of polite language and what is deemed acceptable, resonates, leaves a lasting impression and gets people to remember your product. But, it’s a gamble, some will fall fantastically flat. It’s a question of judgement, but the potential gains are worth it. 

It’s the modern version of shouting and waving. Staying safe now means getting lost in the middle somewhere. This is like the classic Ronseal type of marketing, saying exactly what’s on the tin, but, now, it’s just what you would say to those closest to you or in private. Say it like it is.

Monday, 20 May 2019 09:33

#OOTD 121 Country Casuals

Menswear OOTD The Chic Geek Chrome Industries Black Coal Merrell country casuals

Without the rain, there wouldn't be any rainbows, or so the optimists like to tell us. TheChicGeek ventured into the woods, this week, prepared for all weathers in his new, minimal raincoat. The concealed hood, taped seams and internal pockets makes it perfect for a country ramble. There's nothing as timeless as a grey sweatshirt, but add a gold necklace, baseball cap and sporty looking hiking boots and the look becomes just at home in an urban setting as amongst the bluebells. 

Credits - Gifted - Coat - Chrome Industries, Sweatshirt - The Workers Club from Bombinate, Trousers - Spoke, Boots - Merrell, Cap - Perry Ellis, Watch - Kronaby, Not Gifted - Necklace - eBay

Menswear OOTD The Chic Geek Chrome Industries Black Coal Merrell country casuals

Menswear OOTD The Chic Geek Chrome Industries Black Coal Merrell country casuals

Menswear OOTD The Chic Geek Chrome Industries Black Coal Merrell country casuals

Menswear OOTD The Chic Geek Chrome Industries Black Coal Merrell country casuals

Menswear OOTD The Chic Geek Chrome Industries Black Coal Merrell country casuals

Menswear OOTD The Chic Geek Chrome Industries Black Coal Merrell country casuals

menswear product of the week daniel lee bottega veneta 2019 leather black trousersIf you hadn’t already heard it’s time to start buying back into Bottega Veneta. The Italian luxury goods brand known for more weave than Beyoncé, they call it ‘Intrecciato’, has a new Brit designer at the helm, Daniel Lee.

The replacement for Tomas Maier, Lee, 32, was previously director of ready-to-wear at Céline, but a relative unknown. He is a graduate of Central Saint Martins and has worked at Maison Marginal, Balenciaga and Donna Karan, before joining Céline in 2012. 

His first full show of AW19 luxe-grunge caused a frisson when it was shown in February, but the pre-fall collection is available now.

Leather trousers are something that have been bubbling up for a few seasons. They fit into that naff, retro aesthetic pioneered by Balenciaga. These are subtly Bottega with the woven knees and will tell everybody you’re in the know with the hottest label right now. Wear with biker boots and oversized anything.

Left & Below - Bottega Veneta - Trousers In Lamb Satiné - £3825

menswear product of the week daniel lee bottega veneta 2019 leather black trousers