MR PORTER is pleased to launch DRKSHDW by Rick Owens. DRKSHDW by Rick Owens originated as a denim capsule in 2005 and has since evolved into a full extension of the main label. Designed by the same team and made in the same Italian factory, the line takes a more minimalist approach, while still retaining that dark, avant-garde aesthetic.
Left - Jason Fleece-Back Cotton-Jersey Zip-Up Hoodie - £455
Prices ranges from £190 - £845
Another year, another crop of prestigious ChicGeek Awards. Fashion years are longer than dog years, crammed full of so much celebrity, business and unpredictability, it feels like a never-ending rollercoaster of stylish ups and downs.
And, what a stylish year 2015 was. This was the year the Apple Watch arrived, Gucci became cool again and the British high-street took over the world. Here’s what TheChicGeek rated for 2015:
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Best Label of 2015 - GUCCI
Creative directors of fashion brands get replaced all the time. They come and go quicker than many football managers, but without as much drama! Historical Italian house, Gucci, was crying out for a fresh injection of ideas for a very long time, but it’s the speed and quality of the turnaround that has made it TheChicGeek’s Label of the Year.
Thanks to Alessandro Michele, the new Creative Director, it completed an 180 degree turnaround into the ultimate geek-chic look of fantasy dressing within one and a half seasons. Gone was the obviously sexual to something that is sophisticated, clever and interesting.
When you’re the world’s second largest luxury goods company and you decide to change this drastically, it has a huge global influence. I was just pleasantly surprised how radical and comprehensive it has been.
His first collection (AW15) of androgyny had many of us thinking "we’ve seen this before", but it’s the subsequent Cruise collections, campaigns and store refurbishments that has cemented this new look of vintage maximalism.
Gucci has become the buzziest label of late and looks set to continue its dominance. Unfortunately, high-street menswear isn’t copying it straight away, but expect to see details and influences in the coming few months. You can always add a simple grosgrain ribbon to your silk shirt!
A double GG belt buckle hasn’t been this cool since the 90s, but this one is in a more delicate font finished in vintage brass.
Gucci has added much needed excitement back into fashion, but there are so many ideas in each collection I’m scared there aren’t enough ideas to go around. Let’s just hope it doesn’t run out of steam anytime soon. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
Best New Label of 2015 - DANIEL W. FLETCHER
Selling designer menswear is a difficult business. Men with deep enough pockets are traditionally conservative and those with the will often don’t have the way. So, any new designer menswear label that appears has to be admired.
A new menswear label that caught my eye was Daniel W. Fletcher. Originally from Chester, the brand was founded shortly after Daniel finished at Central Saint Martins, this year, after studying Fashion Design: Menswear, and his graduate collection was picked up by Opening Ceremony who will be the exclusive stockist of a capsule of 8 pieces from this first SS16 collection.
The collection - Peckham Pony Club - is a reaction to the gentrification and re-development of urban space in London. The writings of Ruth Glass and witnessing first hand the gentrification of London neighbourhoods inspired a collection which aims to capture the essence of the urban gentry which Glass defined.
Peckham, in South-East London, provided a backdrop for a collection which reflects the mix of cultures and styles as a result of socio-economic change, whilst highlighting the effects of regeneration schemes and the displacement of long term residents.
Featuring shaved mink collars, silk pyjama shirts and stretch leggings in a palette of baby blue, white and black, it has a retro-futurism quality with humorous touches with the ‘Peckham Pony Club’ branding. I’m wearing a look in a forthcoming OOTD and it sure beats all those Peckham hipsters in their Barbour jackets.
Best High Street of 2015 - NEW LOOK
After a few false starts, this was the year New Look’s menswear finally made it into the pantheon of men’s British high-street retailers. Menswear became a new focus of their business with 4 standalone men’s stores opening across the UK and another 20 are planned for the new year.
The collections became more trend lead and sophisticated with some of the best suede pieces I’d seen this season regardless of price point.
New Look menswear grew up without losing its youthful side and became a bonafide menswear player in what must be the most competitive affordable menswear market in the world.
As if we weren’t spoilt enough with affordable menswear retailers, in 2015 New Look became another great place to find well-fitted, affordable and fashionable menswear.
Best Grooming Product 2015 - GILLETTE FUSION PROGLIDE FLEXBALL RAZOR
Razor brands often herald something ‘new’ with great fanfare when in fact it’s the same old tired concept in a new colour way or they’ve added more blades. Revolutionary.
Gillette, this year, really did come up with something new and it works.
It’s a simple concept really - a sprung ball that can move up, down and sideways following the different contours of the face.
The FlexBall is a little bit like the Dyson of the shaving world allowing for ease of movement and a close, safer shave.
When the hipsters rediscover shaving again they’ll be pleased to know it’s got a lot easier and more comfortable since they last did it thanks to this.
Best Grooming Brand 2015 - KIEHL’S
American grooming brand, Kiehl’s, seemed to have the most innovation this year. Admittedly, a lot of it was unisex, but it still introduced me to facial oils and leave on overnight masks.
Kiehl’s has cornered the market in that pharmacy stroke skincare brand with attractive stores and simple yet recognisable packaging. They’ve expanded yet still managed to keep it cult.
I also particularly liked the Peter Max psychedelic makeover they gave their packaging for Christmas 2015.
Most Stylish Man 2015 - HARRY STYLES
Harry gets an A for effort. A stylist can take a star to water, but they certainly can’t make them drink. Harry took a tall glass of water, this year, with his floral suits from Gucci and silk pyjama shirts from Daniel W. Fletcher (above).
He’s owning that Saint Laurent/Gucci rocker look that is one part timeless and one part contemporary. It’s a tough ask being the new Mick Jagger, but it needs to come easy especially when it comes to the clothes.
He’s been cleverly distancing himself from the rest of One Direction and using his wardrobe and hair to do this. While not every outfit hits the mark, it’s the experimentation and interest that he gets TheChicGeek recognition for.
Best Fragrance 2015 - DUNHILL ICON
This was an early release in the year. dunhill ICON opens with top notes of Italian bergamot and neroli absolute intertwine with a black pepper, fusing the mid notes of cardamom lavender de Provence.
The dunhill brand was given a refresh by new designer John Ray and this was the first fragrance to complement that. The advertising for this matched the advertising for the main brand. The bottle perfectly reflected dunhill’s art-deco heritage while the fragrance was mainstream yet sophisticated and wearable.
It sits up there with Mont Blanc Legend. A modern classic.
Most Stylish Film 2015 - CRIMSON PEAK
Director Guillermo Del Toro’s spooky, gothic thriller Crimson Peak gets TheChicGeek award because of its attention to detail. While the beginning American section is a little bit Titanic, the rest is a visual feast in high-Victorian gothic.
Costume designer, Kate Hawley, fills the film with late Victorian menswear and while it does take a back-seat to the women’s costumes, it adds to the many layers of this visual feast of incest and gory mass murders.
Best Menswear Collaboration 2015 - MONCLER A
Menswear is suffering from something that I can only describe as ‘Collaboration Fatigue’, right now, so this year wasn’t as perky as it once was in the world of collaborations.
One that caught my eye was Moncler A. A Wes Anderson like exaggeration of logos and colours, Moncler A is tie-up with AMI, founded in 2011 by Parisian menswear designer Alexandre Mattiussi.
Playing with the tricolour palette - red, white and blue - of Moncler, Moncler A was a tasteful and handsome take on Moncler’s outerwear classics.
Special ChicGeek Award 2015 - CILLA BLACK
What’s Cilla Black doing on TheChicGeek Awards, you may ask, but she was instrumental in one of the most exciting periods of British menswear.
Savile Row tailor Tommy Nutter and master cutter Edward Sexton teamed up and opened ‘Nutters’ on Savile Row in 1969, and was financially backed by British pop singer Cilla Black and Beatles’ executive Peter Brown.
She introduced the label to her long-standing friends, the Beatles, three of them are wearing Tommy Nutter on the cover of Abbey Road and others within her pop-star circle.
This was and still is the most influential of 1960s tailors and gave rise to the Peacock Revolution and the huge lapelled and flared suits of the 1970s.
Her friendship and financial support of Tommy Nutter left us with one of the most exciting episodes of 20th century menswear. I bet she has left one of the best vintage collections of Tommy Nutter.
Despite being of the ginger persuasion TheChicGeek loves the beach. Armed with his factor 40 and bucket hat, TheChicGeek's beach style is a clash of seaside prints in bold reds and blues.
Spotting a beached dolphin, TheChicGeek does his bit and puts him back into the surf and as a true GEEK, sandals always come with socks.
Credits - Jacket - Casely-Hayford, Shirt - Vilebrequin, Shorts - Vilebrequin, Sunglasses - Retrosuperfuture, Socks - Topman, Jelly Sandals - Hunter Gather, Hat - Umbro, Sun Protection - Clinique, Sea Salt Styling Spray - Murdock
Shot by Robin Forster on #OlympusPEN
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Mark Macdonald, Senior Buyer, End Clothing
“‘Cut & Sew’ on a timeless garment form Japan’s premier retailer.”
Left - Beams Plus – Patchwork M-65 Jacket - £475
“With more than a subtle nod to a certain Mr Smith these are my number one summer sneakers.”
Below - Common Projects - Achilles Retro Low - £275
“Technical flower power that can be worn layered under your summer raincoat or its own with a classic white Tee.”
Left - Nanamica - Ground Jacket - £285
"Our Legacy deliver truly unique shirting season on season. This can be worn and washed repeatedly to see the chambray fade over time."
Below - Our Legacy - 1950s Button Down Shirt - £139
"Paris meets 60’s Psychedelica in an everyday easy to wear stripe number from Comme Shirt."
Left - Comme des Garçons SHIRT - Long Sleeve Printed Insert Border Tee - £119
They say you can read some people like a book, well, wearing Christopher Kane's #SS15 book-leaf sweatshirt, it's literally the case.
TheChicGeek has gone for clean white sneaks and matching sweatshirt in this streetwear look amongst the grime of Factory Lane. Always one to standout, TheChicGeek's monochrome look with flashes of ginger is perfect streetwear, just don't lean against the fence!
Credits - Sweatshirt - Christopher Kane from MatchesFashion.com, White T-Shirt - Porsche Design X adidas, Joggers - Majestic Athletic, Belt - Y3, Trainers - Raf Simons X adidas, Watch - Briston.
Shot by Robin Forster on #OlympusPEN
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Move over Mary Portas! Le Slip Francais is all about home manufacturing: French manufacturing. Founder, Guillaume Gibault, made a bet, in early 2011, with a friend, in a Parisian Café, where he wagered that with an inspiring story and traditional French craftsmanship anything and everything was possible.
Left - Oo La La - Le Slip Francais' Logo
The briefs he imagined, on that fine evening, first saw the light of day a few months later in a small workshop on the banks of the river Drome in the Dordogne which had been producing underwear for the last 60 years. In September 2011, the first consignment of 600 pairs was delivered to Paris in the trunk of a rental car and Le Slip Francais was launched.
Never had the 2,000 villagers of the sleepy commune of Saint-Antoine-Cumond dreamed that their home would soon become the French underwear capital.
Right - Le Slip Francais' colour palette for its underwear and swimwear in based on the three colours of the French flag - Red, White & Blue - Trunks - £25
Three years later with the expansion that followed, partnerships with established brands, two pop-up stores, one store in Paris, Le Slip français celebrated the sale of its 60,000th garment – one of over 120 different lines, created in one of 15 workshops across France.
But, Le Slip Français is much more than a brand of underwear. This dynamic brand fuses French manufacturing tradition and expertise with a modern twist and a sense of humour. The internet has offered them a new way to fund, create, communicate and interact with their brand community worldwide. In achieving this vision they're breathing new life into what had been a declining industry, by creating a brand that is relevant for a new generation of discerning consumers who value quality garments with a genuine story and honest authentic provenance.
Left - For Spring-Summer 2015, another French brand, Aigle, has collaborated with Le Slip Français. Drawing inspiration from classic French style 'Breton stripes' the capsule collection has six statement pieces including swim shorts, trunks, espadrilles, T-shirt, a tote bag and iconic Aigle wellington boots. The colour palette of the collection is based on the French tricolour and the whole collection is made in France.
St.Tropez thinks it’s found a man friendly tanning product. This new ‘Gradual Tan In Shower’ product does exactly what it says.
You get in the shower, wash normally, get out and lather the lotion onto wet skin and wait for three minutes before climbing back into the shower and rinsing it off. The colour develops over the next eight hours.
St.Tropez claims the product will not stain the shower or leave marks on towels and will deliver an even, light glow which can be built upon with consecutive applications.
The tanning agent – known as DHA – has been specifically designed to get to work as soon as it comes into contact with wet skin.
Twenty five per cent of men they surveyed said they would be more likely to try self tan if they could get in done in just three minutes.
Left - St.Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower – 200ml - £14.50
TheChicGeek says, “The one thing that had put me off fake or self tanning products before was the smell and mess. This promised to get rid of both those things. It’s very simple. You wash and then climb out of the shower. Then apply.
The 200ml size will certainly last a good few showers. The product didn’t lather up like I imagined, but I was reliably informed this was because of me being in a hard water area. It was still visible enough to see where I was putting it, though.
Once fully covered - it is okay to put it on your face - you should wash your hands and then pat the backs of your hands on the small of your back, so the backs of your hands are still covered.
So, what to do with those 3 mins? Apart from being glad it wasn’t the middle of winter! I cleaned my teeth – 2 mins and flossed which roughly took me to the golden 3 mins. If you leave it longer you just go a darker colour.
Back in the shower and rinse off.
I did 4 showers on 4 days, consecutively. I noticed it more after the first shower than I did the last. As this is a gradual tan I think it is less scary than a radical skin colour change and definitely suited to somebody, like myself, not used to self-tanning.
I would say the colour was subtle - don’t expect to look like you’ve spent too weeks lying on a beach, but it certainly took the edge off the whiteness. It passed the sniff test. There was a slight scent, but very slight and no stains on my towels and bed sheets.
Anything that makes you look and feel healthy without the potential of damaging your skin through UV exposure I’m all for. This is really simple to use and I can see it being popular with guys. Will I continue to use it before my holiday? Yes.”
A family affair, the American knitwear brand, Orley, consists of brothers Matthew and Alex Orley and Matthew's wife, Samantha. Orley is a designer brand that launched with a capsule collection of Italian-made knitwear for A/W 2012 and expanded into a full men's ready-to-wear collection for Spring/Summer 2014.
The spring 2015 collection, pictured, is inspired by the photorealist paintings of Robert Bechtle and Robert Cottingham. Orley is known for its combination of elegant yet youthful, irreverent design with a focus on luxury knitwear and commitment to the highest quality materials and manufacturing. The work of the Orley designers subverts classicism, using proprietary stitch techniques and an idiosyncratic colour palette to create a wholly unique product.
Left - Chaz Plais Sweater - £480 from MatchesFashion.com
In 2014, the Orley designers were finalists for the 2014 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award. Orley was also nominated for the 2014 Fashion Group International Rising Star Award in Menswear.
Right - Brooks Striped Knit Polo - £280 from MatchesFashion.com
In 2015,the Orley designers were nominated for the 2015 CFDA Swarovski Award for Menswear and shortlisted for the 2015 LVMH Prize.
TheChicGeek says "Orley love to use Italian fabrics which gives their knitted polos, their signature product, an authenticity. They are pure 'riviera chic' and have some of that Talented Mr Ripley styling I love so much. Perfect with a pair of shorts or chinos on holiday."