I think Loewe’s Puzzle Bag is the main influence here. The box shape is practical and distinctive, especially worn across the body. It looks like you're carrying a Box Brownie camera, while in fact the box shape is useful for your phone charger and any other bits you want to carry.
For the cash option, I recently discovered Indian brand, Nappa Dori, stumbling across their store in Covent Garden. The Nappa Dori name literally translated means 'leather and thread’ in Urdu. Founded in 2010 in Delhi by Gautam Sinha, a NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi) graduate in Fashion Design, he had an epiphany that compelled him to discard conventional fashion design and explore the world of Indian leather and artisanal craftsmanship.
Left & Right - Nappa Dori - Nordic Brick Bag - £181.10
Nappa Dori supports Harmony House, a day shelter for destitute children in India that provides free food, shelter, clothing, education and medical care to the under privileged. As well as the flagship store in London, they are seven stores in India spread across Delhi, Gurgaon & Bombay.
While for the cash option, designer, Eudon Choi, has this square bag with a similar handle to the Puzzle in this handsome green colour.
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Below - Eudon Choi - Cardena Dark Green Leather Box Bag - £385 from Harvey Nichols
News in, Jigsaw is closing its Bluebird concept. After 15 years, the majority of those spent at the quiet end of the Kings Road in Chelsea, it recently moved more central to the prime site of the refurbished ‘Carriage Hall’ on Covent Garden’s Floral Street.
Left - Inside Jigsaw's Shop At Bluebird, Carriage Hall, Floral Street closing this week
Named after the art-deco car garage it was once housed in, it relocated in May 2018 and was part of the landlord Capco’s relaunch of Floral Street alongside the first central London outpost of Petersham Nurseries.
Stocking a mix of designer labels and maison objets, after just over 18 months in this location, The Shop at Bluebird, to give it its full title, is closing its doors for good this week.
A concept store without a concept, its short spell on Floral Street clearly illustrates how a once thriving, premium fashion street in a central location is struggling to pull in the shoppers. The store will turn into a larger Jigsaw store format.
Right - Discrete sign advertising the brands on Floral Street
Floral Street, a charming cobbled street just off the busy James Street, has been a fashion destination since the late 1970s. A pioneer of the area, Paul Smith opened his first store in London at 44 Floral Street in 1979. Over the next 20 years, Floral Street became one of the coolest fashion streets in London. Agnès B, Nicole Farhi, Jones, a cult designer menswear retailer, and Jigsaw Menswear were just some of the stores to make this street blossom. It’s slightly off-the-main-drag location was part of its charm.
Today, many tourists and shoppers walk straight past to the busy market area with its plethora of beauty brands or upwards to the more high-street Long Acre. Peer down Floral Street and it doesn’t look like much is there.
Floral Street isn’t alone, the same thing has happened to South Molton Street in Mayfair. On a map they geographically look as central and in the mix as anything else, but they, seemingly, get so easily passed by. Since the millennium these streets have gradually lost their appeal and declined.
Even Browns, the main pull of South Molton Street is moving. It has occupied its collection of small stores since 1970 and is now moving out. Running from Bond Street Tube station, on the corner of Oxford Street, diagonally down towards Brook Street, South Molton Street has long been a stylish cut through. Today, it has become more synonymous with people giving out free mini samples of soap than chic retail destination.
Browns is closing its collection of awkward stores to move around to a new, singular location on Brook Street. Now owned by online giant Farfetch, Brown’s new store will open this summer in time to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
While not being able to comment on the reason they are moving out, Holli Rogers, CEO of Browns and CFO of Farfetch, says “it really is telling that we found this incredible location to be our new home as we also look to celebrate our 50th anniversary. It was important that we stayed in the heart of Mayfair bringing our clients on this exciting journey, whilst honouring the path we’ve been on and looking to the future of Browns as a pioneer of luxury multi-brand retail with a technology viewpoint. Being in one dedicated space, we are excited to be able to offer a vital and engaging customer experience that draws on the store of the future technology whilst also playing homage to the history and story of both the location and fundamentally Browns.”
Left - Paul Smith's original London shop opened in 1979
So what will become of South Molton Street as even more empty shops pile up? Landlord Grosvenor is proposing investment in a ‘South Molton Triangle’ as the delayed Elizabeth Line finally opens in summer 2021 bringing many hundreds of thousands of more people into the area. But, they’ll need to entice them to venture down South Molton Street and not lose them to Oxford Street.
Right - Landlord advertising Kent & Curwen's Floral Street on the busier James Street
Bounded by Davies Street, Brook Street and South Molton Street and well-known as the home of Grays Antiques Market, this part of Mayfair was always a pedestrianised break from busy Oxford Street.
Grosvenor launched a public consultation in the summer of 2018, no doubt expecting the new underground station and line to be finished sooner. Simon Harding-Roots, executive director, Grosvenor Britain and Ireland, said at the time, “Our proposals are at a very early stage and we want to encourage feedback on how new investment could best serve the community above and beyond the opportunity to better manage increased pedestrian numbers. It is important to us that local voices are incorporated into the planning submission we will ultimately make.”
“The West End is currently ill-equipped to cope with the levels of pedestrian traffic we already see every day, let alone the arrival of thousands of extra visitors expected from the Elizabeth Line. Many of Mayfair’s pavements are too narrow, routes were built for a different era and, perhaps counter intuitively, there are not enough services for those living in and visiting the area.
“We recognise the potential of the South Molton Triangle to address a number of the issues the local community faces. By proposing new investment here, we will be able to better protect and enhance the character and simple enjoyment of living and working in one of the most desirable places in London and the West End.”
Right - Glossier beauty pop-up open until February 9th
These areas need more than simply people management, new pavements and street furniture and it feels like landlords, Capco and Grosvenor, have been focusing on larger and juicer parts of their estates rather than these streets which are more on a Victorian and Georgian scale. At the same time streets like Chiltern Street and areas like Coal Drops Yard have developed and are doing what these locations used to do.
The American beauty brand Glossier recently opened a pop-up on Floral Street, open until February 9th, 2020.
These forgotten about fashion streets were once a destination for those looking for the new cool. Being surrounded by hugely popular shopping areas, there is no reason why they can’t return to this.
These streets need to find a new reason to be and then channel people accordingly. They need to work out and provide what is cool in 2020.
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TheChicGeek is all about pink and green ATM. He's named it 'prawn cocktail & avocado', (you can see more here fresh from the catwalks of Milan) and it has a fun freshness that will see you right into the new year.
There is a lot of baby pink in menswear at the moment, thanks to Kanye and his Yeezy. Don't wear it in his Mad Max style, but team with primary colours, like here, such as blue and green.
Finish the look with quality accessories and plenty of peace & love!
Credits - Full look Paul Smith AW16
Shot by Robin Forster on Olympus PEN
More images & video below
Oh, what a night! TheChicGeek celebrated his 7th birthday in style with ginger themed festivities. Blogging years are a bit like dog years, but he doesn't look a day older than when he started! Seven full-on years have made him into the true chic geek he is today.
Held at the Farah store on Covent Garden's Earlham Street, the great and good of London's fashion crowd came out to wish him 'Happy Birthday'. Here's his scrapbook from the night. (He doesn't remember that much!)
Left - TheChicGeek is ready to get this party started!
Left - Jagermeister & ginger beer kept everybody's thirst quenched
Left - One night only! DJs B&Q
Left - Happy Birthday ChicGeek!! Seven candles for seven blog years.
Left - TheChicGeek's bespoke ginger cake
Right - TheChicGeek doesn't usually eat in public, but he couldn't resist a slice of his ginger birthday cake. Delicious!
If you haven’t heard of American grooming brand, Malin+Goetz, before, where have you been? I remember first seeing their products when I started TheChicGeek. That was over 7 years ago and, now, they are opening two stores in London simultaneously: one on Upper Street in Islington and the other on Covent Garden’s Monmouth Street.
Left - Malin+Goetz's new Islington store. Open now
The brand was founded by Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz 12 years ago in New York’s Chelsea neighbourhood. Over the years, their award winning formulations and iconic packaging have expanded along with their growing portfolio of stores in New York and Los Angeles.
Malin+Goetz products have become synonymous with healthy skin. Every product has been formulated with trusted natural ingredients along with performance focused tech- nologies to deliver exceptional results in the most gentle way – even for the most sensitive skin.
Right - Wake up with zest! Malin+Goetz Bergamot Body Wash - £17
Now, Malin+Goetz open their first London flagships (as well as their first UK e-commerce site www.malinandgoetz.co.uk). Each London shop has its own distinct architectural design. The local firm, Jonathan Tuckey Design has produced two concepts. Islington is in a late Victorian building and features a dynamic shelving grid fabricated from cedar plywood that undulates from horizontal shelving to covering ceiling. A new shop front incorporates a period curved glass entryway, and a stunning green fascia and shop front and also includes an antique apothecary counter from the late 19th Century.
The Monmouth Street’s shop front is imagined as a large scale retail television. Almost becoming a kinetic diorama from the street, you enter the shop from a velvet lined tunnel to discover an elegant dashed shelving system of compressed dark paper supported by dowels on a birch plywood wall. The ceiling is fabricated from seamless reflective material that continues to enhance the concept of retail theatre.
Malin+Goetz Stores - 146 Upper Street, Islington, 6 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden
Left - Malin+Goetz also do candles. Malin+Goetz Tobacco Candle - £37
WIN - Competition!
Look out for the Malin+Goetz stencils appearing on a street near you. If you spot one, take a picture and post it to Instagram using the hashtag #MGUK and tagging @malinandgoetz and you may be chosen to go in store and collect an exclusive Malin+Goetz prize. Good luck!
Right - Don't look up! Look for the Malin+Goetz stencils on the street
TheChicGeek weekly magazine vlog includes celebrating his 7th birthday party with a ginger themed party at the Farah store in Covent Garden plus the new summer rooftop opened at John Lewis, Louis Vuitton has an exhibition running until the middle of June of commissions and objects from their archives, The Perfume Society launched their 'Discovery Box' in time for Father's Day plus a review of Natura Siberica, a grooming range made from ingredients from Siberia. If Vladimir Putin used a grooming range it would be this...
TheChicGeek turns 7, this month, and to celebrate I have joined forces with one of my favourite menswear brands, Farah, for a party at their flagship store. in Earlham Street, Covent Garden.
In the run up to the party, TheChicGeek and Farah will be running a daily competition, for 7 days, to win £200 worth of Farah clothing.
How do I WIN?!!!
All you have to do is visit the store on any of the 7 days (18-24 May), find TheChicGeek’s birthday gift box and have your picture taken with it, posting to Twitter or Instagram, tagging @thechicgeekcouk @farahmenswear and #thechicgeekxfarah for your chance to win.
As well as some great pieces of clothing from Farah, you’ll also win 2 tickets to attend TheChicGeek’s birthday party on the 25 May. Good luck!
* The party is invitation only.
For competition T&Cs visit http://www.farah.co.uk/terms-and-conditions.html