Thursday, 26 September 2019 22:01

Tried & Tested Jimmy Choo Urban Hero

Review 
Jimmy Choo Urban Hero best rated tried testedJimmy Choo new ‘Urban Hero’ “combines sophistication and sensitivity with a touch of rebellion, an artist at heart; the city at night his canvas.”

Jimmy Choo has cast renowned street artist Jules Dedet, aka L’Atlas, as the face of the fragrance. A woody aromatic designed for Jimmy Choo by Antoine Maisondieu and Marion Costero of Givaudan, it starts with lemon caviar and black pepper. The heart opens with rosewood and vetiver with a drydown of grey amber and leather.

”We wanted to create a modern urban signature, in order to capture the spontaneous nature of street art, using blends of colours and textures, the way that street artists do.” explain Antoine Maisondieu and Marion Costero.

Review 
Jimmy Choo Urban Hero best rated tried tested

TheChicGeek says, “For some reason I had ‘Urban Decay’ in my head for the name of this fragrance. ‘Urban Hero’ isn’t quite so bad. You know how old ‘street art’ is when the artists start to look like somebody’s dad! L’Atlas - no? me neither - is giving Jimmy Choo some urban edge. (I can’t imagine this one getting messy on the railway sidings any evening soon).

This fragrance is about as edgy as a Jaffa Cake. It has a very safe set of masculine ingredients and, while nothing bad, it’s nothing we haven’t seen many times before. Mass fragrance brands need to start taking risks if they’re going to stand out from the crowd. Fragrance saturation is catching up on luxury brands and people aren’t as seduced by the designer name anymore.”

Jimmy Choo - Urban Hero - 100ml - £70 Stockist: The Perfume Shop

Disclosure - A sample product was gifted by Jimmy Choo to review

Wednesday, 25 September 2019 22:18

Exhibition Zandra Rhodes: 50 Years Of Fabulous

Zandra Rhodes 50 years of fabulous fashion textile museum exhibitionA new exhibition celebrating five decades of Zandra Rhodes’ namesake label opens at the Fashion and Textile Museum. Zandra Rhodes: 50 Years of Fabulous is the largest ever exhibition dedicated to the seminal British designer and museum founder.
The main space hosts fifty looks - one from each year of Rhodes’ career; from a 1969 ankle-length kaftan, screen-printed in silk chiffon to a 2018 fan pleated jumpsuit in a dramatic shimmer satin.

Left - Everybody knows her shocking pink hair, Dame Zandra Rhodes

Zandra Rhodes 50 years of fabulous fashion textile museum exhibitionTheChicGeek says, “Dame Zandra is a true fashion artist. She’s everything a great British designer should be; colourful, fun, artistic, creative, generous and a true personality. The shocking fuchsia pink hair has made her a fashion icon and her image and name resonates far outside of fashion circles.

Right - One dress from each of her 50 years

Her peak was in the 1970s, but the quality of her designs and screen printing make many of her dresses timeless despite heavily referencing this decade.

It makes sense to choose one dress for each year, but it always makes things feel quite bitty and random in an exhibition setting. I think it’s better to show the best collections in groups.

The major problem I have is I’ve always thought the Fashion and Textile Museum a drab and awkward space. It’s disappointing that a museum so colourful on the outside feels dark and claustrophobic on the inside. They really need a good retail designer who knows how to dress and light a space to give it a luxe feel. Zandra Rhodes 50 years of fabulous fashion textile museum exhibitionFashion exhibitions should tap into the shopping desire aesthetic and entice you in. (Bit like Dior did at the V&A recently). You only have to look at the YSL Museum in Marrakech to see a small fashion museum working really well. See more here

Left - Designs up to the present day

Zandra Rhodes 50 years of fabulous fashion textile museum exhibitionI know the budgets are bigger, but this space doesn’t do justice to Zandra’s talents and every other exhibition I’ve seen here. 

Here prints, displayed like saris, show her pinnacle as a textile designer, but disappointingly there aren’t any images of celebrities like Princess Diana and Freddie Mercury wearing her designs. There are no fashion shoots or glossy images to make the clothes become real, glamorous and take them out into the world. There is a fashion show reel, but it is easy to walk past.

Right - Freddie giving good Rhodes

Zandra Rhodes 50 years of fabulous fashion textile museum exhibitionUpstairs there are a few costumes from the operas she has designed in San Diego and images from her sketchbooks, which, again, show what an artist she is, but it’s never as fun as the person.

Dame Zandra Rhodes is a legend and to have survived for 50 years, being this creative, is no mean feat. She is somebody definitely worth celebrating.”

Until 26 January 2020

Left - Zandra's textiles full displayed

 

 

 

 

H&M Third Party Branded Goods selling

To be a retailer today you need many fingers in many pies. Think a centipede Paul Hollywood and you’re getting some idea. So, it was with interest to hear the latest announcement from the world’s second largest fashion retailer, H&M. They’ve decided to start a pilot selling products from external brands.

While they have sold third party brands in some of their more premium chains before, it’s a first for the mother brand. H&M’s main, eponymous brand has been neglected and struggled as the company’s strategy was to roll out retail chains such as Arket, Weekday and &Other Stories.

The bottom end of the market is tough with margins continually squeezed. H&M’s huge undersold inventory, an undeveloped online offering and falling profits - for the eighth quarter in a row the Swedish fashion chain reported a decreasing profit, despite having recently achieved turnover growth - has taken its toll on this retail behemoth.

Left - Swedish fast-fashion giant is piloting a new strategy

It needs a new strategy and has clearly been watching the likes of ASOS and Zalando be all things to all people and expand rapidly.

A company spokesman said “The H&M brand will now develop our offer of external brands. The purpose is to complement our offer with external brands to add excitement and energy and we see great opportunities for growth and to find new customers,”.

You can charge more for branded product without the need to hold large amounts of stock. It also widens you target market, especially amongst men who still like branded items. While it’s not clear which brands will be sold, it’s likely to be dominated by sportswear. This is an area that has seen huge growth with the likes of JD Sports smashing their earnings. JD Sports’ last half-year revenues jumped 47% to £2.7 billion on the back of a 10% surge in like-for-like sales. Sportswear has higher margins and appeals to more age demographics.

One of the more traditional high-street retailers to make this third party brand strategy work is Next. Its ‘LABEL’ concept is now turning over £350 million in yearly sales with huge growth seen over the last few years. Brands such as River Island, adidas, Boss, Superdry and Fat Face sit alongside beauty and home. It’s the contemporary department store.

In their latest financial statement, they say they “continue to develop the business through the addition of new brands, increasing the breadth of offer with existing brands and (from early this year) offering items stocked in our partners’ warehouses through Platform Plus"

"‘Platform Plus’ allows our customers to order un-stocked items directly from our partners’ warehouses to be delivered through our network.

“In March this year we started selling items in this way with three of our partner brands. These items are offered to customers on a 48-hour delivery promise. Items are injected into our warehouse and then delivered through our courier and store network. For example, a Platform Plus item ordered on a Monday, is transferred to our warehouse by Tuesday and delivered to the customer on Wednesday.” they say.

“When customers order Platform Plus items with other items stocked in a Next warehouse (available in 24 hours) they can choose to receive one consolidated delivery, offered in 48 hours. Alternatively, customers can choose to split their delivery and have stocked items delivered in 24 hours. There is no additional charge for the split delivery. Currently, 50% are choosing to consolidate their order.”

Next says Platform Plus is more than a marketplace. “Platform Plus differs from many marketplaces because, rather than despatching parcels directly to consumers from third-party warehouses, items are inducted into our distribution network. The advantages of operating in this way are: We can consolidate orders into one delivery which can materially reduce distribution costs. Items can be delivered through stores which currently receive 50% of all our Online orders and we have visibility and control of all orders through our own trusted networks and tracking systems. This allows us to ensure quality of service and in the event of any delivery issues or queries, customers have one point of contact.

It seems to be working for Next with full price LABEL sales in the first half of this year up +26% and total sales (including markdown sales) up +29%. They expect full price sales in the second half top 2019 to be up around +13%, more in line with their original full year estimate of +15%. The expected slowdown in growth in the second half is mainly due to errors and stock shortages in their Lipsy - owned by Next - ranges which they believe will slowly be corrected.

Next Label Branded Goods selling

For the full year, full price LABEL sales are forecast to be up +19%. Total sales (including markdown sales) are forecast to be up +21% with net margins, after central overheads, forecast to be around 15%. 

In this retail environment this is very impressive. Sales are a combination of wholesale and commission, and although they make lower net margins on commission sales, they encourage their partners to adopt this model because they believe it generates higher sales growth. In the first half of this year commission sales grew by +32% compared to wholesale which grew by +18.5%. It's also less risky.

As of August 2019, they have four clothing brands operating on Platform Plus and plan to add at least ten more later this year, with more to follow in 2020. 

Last month they also agreed a licensing deal with Ted Baker to create and sell Ted Baker children’s products. They intend to launch the first collection in Spring 2020.

Right - Next's Label sales over the last four years

Next, thanks to its Directory, has fine-tuned its delivery and database over many years and is trusted by its customers. H&M, on the other hand, doesn’t quite have the online reputation, but, being able to return to store could be a massive positive for consumers.

It will be interesting to see how fast and big they go with this concept and the brands they decide to stock. Third party branded goods allows for a faster turnover of brands and product, less risk, especially under this commission model, and the subsequent cool and elevation that can rub off on a tired umbrella brand.

Consumers are addicted to newness and H&M needs to try something new. This idea has the potential to work, though it is getting increasingly competitive, it just needs to judge when the sportswear trend will finally end, which brands connect with their customer and what the next big trend will be.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019 11:31

Menswear Product Of The Week The Half Kilt

fashion menswear product of the week COS half kiltSomething in fashion will always come along to push you out of your comfort zone. It’s a good thing. After seeing the SS20 pleated dresses for men at Louis Vuitton - pictured below - I thought I was ready for some pleats. Add in the kilt tradition, plus Dior’s now signature side sash and the timing feels right.

fashion menswear product of the week COS half kiltCOS has this half kilt - a full kilt would probably use too much fabric and be too expensive - but it gives you that Dior side-sash look. 

An Asian man stopped me in the street in this and asked me if it was ‘cultural’. Must be the red hair!

You do really need to get the matching trousers, but it’s something dressy, yet different and would look great at a dinner or smart winter party.

Left, Right & Below Left - COS - Pleated Wool Kilt - £115

Disclosure Trousers & Kilt #Gifted by COS

Below - Dior Men, Below Right - Louis Vuitton SS20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fashion menswear product of the week COS half kilt

fashion menswear product of the week COS half kilt

fashion menswear product of the week COS half kilt

Friday, 20 September 2019 15:41

Label To Know LIHA

Review 
Liha beauty Nigerian tried testedWhat does Cheltenham and Hackney have in common? (This isn’t a joke!) It’s LIHA; a new beauty brand blending together the rich botanical life of West Africa with traditional English aromatherapy and folk remedies.

Left - LIHA founders, Abi & Liha

Founders, Liha (Cheltenham) and Abi (Hackney) met at University in 1998 and have been close ever since. Whilst Abi was travelling the world as a professional athlete, competing in two Olympic games, Liha was setting up an art publishing business.

The Yoruba (Nigerian) tradition making beautifying oils, soaps and lotions from the nuts, tree bark and plants that grew in abundance was a skill that was traditionally learned by all young women. Liha’s mother is an English aromatherapist, so she naturally started to blend the two disciplines together. Whenever Abi would travel she would bring back different ingredients- especially that good Nigerian Shea from her father’s town. Nigerian Shea butter is the ultimate African beauty secret. Used for centuries by people to protect and regenerate the skin, its potency lies in its naturally high concentration of vitamins A and E.

Review 
Liha beauty Nigerian tried testedNatural, organic and vegan, this skincare brand uses coconut and shea as its base layering on the scents such as tuberose, English rose and African palmarosa. Their four staple, multi-purpose products are handmade in small batches in Cheltenham and Hackney. 

Available at net-a-porter.com and lihabeauty.co.uk 

Right - Liha Gold Shea Butter – 120ml - £20

 

Friday, 20 September 2019 12:32

Tried & Tested Moschino Toy Boy

Review 
Moschino Toy Boy best rated tried testedMoschino’s latest men’s fragrance is a spicy, woody amber. Containing top notes of Italian bergamot, pink berries, elemi, Indonesian nutmeg, pear, cloves, heart notes of Neoabsolut Orpur rose, flax flowers, cashmeran, magnolia and base notes: Haiti Orpur vetiver, ambermax and sylkolide.

TheChicGeek says, “Sinitta once sang, ‘He’s my toy boy, toy boy, I’m out with my toy boy, toy boy, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday night,’ well, it kept her busy, and Moschino’s Jeremy Scott is having some serious leather boy fun with his one.

The fragrance is a sparkling rose surrounded by notes I can’t quite put my finger on. There are lots of ingredients here that I don’t recognise. 

Review 
Moschino Toy Boy best rated tried testedIt’s camper than Katy Perry dressed as a chandelier and that makes it all the more interesting. It’s the opposite of the imagery and while a reflection of the bottle, the fragrance feels pink in colour.

I love what Scott does at Moschino and his playfulness was made for fragrances and especially the packaging. The choice of model and styling really works for this.” *puts chaps on*

Left - Moschino Toy Boy - 100 ML  - £85 Exclusive to Selfridges

Right - A look that never gets old - Jhona Burjack in the advert for Toy Boy

Disclosure - A sample product was gifted by Moschino to review


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