Monday, March 30, 2009

RUN DON'T WALK to Rue La La For Their Nicole Miller Bridal Sale! Seriously, GO!

So, despite my previous run-in with a HORBS Nicole Miller "special evening gown" that I thought might make a dece wedding dress (I thought wrong), I tried on several ACTUAL Nicole Miller wedding dresses this weekend at Michelle in Brooklyn Heights. My Michelle experience was great, and I really liked two of the Nicole Miller dresses I tried on. I'm not going to go with either dress because they're too "big" and "cupcakey" on me, but they did feel wonderful on, and if I wanted a big dress, I'd go that route for sure, and I'd be happy to buy from Michelle.

BUT, actually I probably wouldn't because is having a Nicole Miller bridal sale for like the next few MINUTES or something, and one of the very dresses I tried on -- the silk faille mermaid with beaded details -- on is available. Originally $2600, available at RueLaLa in sizes 0 - 16 for $650 (!!!!!!!!). SERIOUSLY! GO! GO NOW! (You need an invite to log in -- lemme know in the comments if you need me to invite you!)

($650, Nicole Miller Bridal,

Brian Atwood Atrocity

I usually really like Brian Atwood heels (and will admit to ALMOST ALWAYS thinking of RYAN Atwood from The O.C. [RIP]), but these are both EVERY color too many and every shade of wrong:
(Apprx $574 USD, Brian Atwood,
I'm counting the SECONDS until they show up on Mariah Carey's feet.

Sad panda.

Reflect Forward with Massey

If you happen to find yourself in London in the month of April you should certainly make a trip to Clerkenwell to catch Reflect Forward. Craft Central’s Reflect Forward initiative offers designer makers the chance to research and show a new body of work and next month one of our favourite designers, Carolyn Massey showcases her craft next month. During our interview with the lady herself we mentioned she had been announced as the first ever fashion designer to be awarded the Reflect Forward award and April sees her showcasing her talent for a wider audience.

"Carolyn's proposal to research historical garments whilst creating a cutting edge contemporary look sat really well with the Reflect Forward aim to enable designers to use museum collections as starting points for creating bold and fascinating new work."
Kate Osborn, Craft Central.

Fresh from LFW, the exhibition will showcase Massey's AW09 collection. Inspired by the Museum of London and National Army Museum, the collection saw her revive seemingly forgotten historic details and silhouettes. The exhibition pulls together the research and development that went in to the collection and offers an exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ peek. I was fortunate enough to visit the designer at her studio last month where I could see the collection up close and the beauty really is in the details. At the time I wished more people could see the collection in this manner and now is your chance.

A closer look at the knits and accessories from Massey's aw09 collection.

After having a good nosey around her workspace it was clear that Massey is at her happiest when researching something she has found, either an old picture or an actual garment. By taking elements from pieces she has seen and found whilst combining them with her vision for menswear she create something new. This exhibition is guaranteed to be a delight. With free admission, the exhibition will be open to the public from 1-25 April and if you are in London during this period it would a crime not to go.

Private buying season is officially open.

This weekend I escaped London and found some cool sunshine on the Kentish coast (one of the reasons for the little holiday from posting). Before I left this fair city and after I had a few post work cocktails I swung by Omar Kashoura's and Carola Euler's private buying evening held at Cube where I could stake my claim for pieces from their aw09 collections. You might have caught my twitter updates but if not, I will elaborate on my Friday evening. Did I mention it was payday...? After a couple of well mixed mojitos and with a glass of wine in my hand I was like a fat kid in a sweet shop ordering quarter after quarter of treats and delights. In this instance the kid had grown up and was ordering the 'bridal piece' of Euler's collection (as proclaimed by Euler herself), two shirts by Euler and a cardigan and a shirt from Kashoura.

The shirt with armour like shoulder detailing and the wedding dress, the trench both by Carola Euler

On the train back to the coast, a little purchaser's guilt did creep in but I soon snapped myself out of it because my choices were the right ones and will fit in in and add to my wardrobe very nicely indeed. The art of my wardrobe building continues in earnest and I have to assure you that my purchases well extremely well thought out despite the consumer bravado brought on by the drink. I have been on the hunt for a grey trench coat for the last few months and as soon as I encountered this one over on BUCK my hunt was over. As for the white shirt, it is a classic which Euler has masterfully updated with her sculptural details. In all honesty, I could have quite happily walked away with both complete collections but I was strong willed and selected carefully.

All I have to do now is play the waiting game for my garments to be made. This really is a great way to buy clothes because it gives you a chance to speak to the designers themselves and make any slight amendments to your order. For example, unfortunately I am not blessed with Antonio Bracciani's perfect body (see issue nine of Fantastic Man) and garments frequently fit me how I'd like them to fit. Carola noticed this instantly and after looking up and down once more declared me to be in between a small and a medium...a smedium if you will (because I'm closer to a medium. Rather than ordering something that was not quite right, Euler would now make the necessary adjustments to create my perfect trench coat. I might not be blessed with the perfect or ideal body but I have found the perfect way to shop. More updates will follow as and when my orders are finished.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bluefly Bridal Binge! Vera Wang, Bagdley Mischka And More! ROP!

I cannot even BELIEVE how many amazors potential wedding dresses Bluefly is STOCKED with right now. And by wedding dresses, I mean either non-traditional wedding dresses to wear AS your wedding dress or TO a wedding. Do BLUEFLY a favor and GET THEM OFF THEIR HANDS, okay? They're practically PAYING YOU to buy these gems! Also, apparently "just today," you can get 15% off dresses (discount taken at checkout), so DO IT!

($448, Badgley Mischka, Bluefly)
I am feeling SO many emotions about this dress, all of them POSITIVE and overwhelming. It's sorta what I was hoping for with my Nicole Miller fail, but this looks even more fantasticosa! I'm not a fan of the wrap, but no big whoop, right?

($402, Badgley Mischka, Bluefly)

($331, Badgley Mischka, Bluefly)
I'm not usually a fan of pleats like these, but I like the structured bib. Cool for alt-bridesmaids dresses!

($501, Amsale, Bluefly)
I mean, look me in the EYE and TELL me that Amsale's "Duet" gown isn't to DIE! It's simple but commanding and not overwhelming tacky. And that sexy back! LOVE! Also, short ladies, you CAN wear full gowns. And I love that this is full but not like the width of a sedan. This width is perfect for a shortie like myself.

($125, Vera Wang, Bluefly)
Definitely not for me, but if you're looking for a more traditional wedding gown, um, HI! This Vera Wang is like four cents, relatively speaking. I could see this being really purdy on a tall, thin type.

($331, Vera Wang, Bluefly)
Much better on shorties or tall types!

($400, Vera Wang, Bluefly)
Love the pretty stone color. Nice for a fall/ early winter wedding.

($324, Vera Wang, Bluefly)

($221, BCBG Max Azria, Bluefly)
EEE. Love the black-on-white detailing!

($301, Adam, Bluefly)
Wooden beads aren't so me, but this is still a super gorj beach wedding dress!

($169, BCGB Max Azria, Bluefly)
Not so me, but still really stunning -- especially that open back.

($220, BCBG Max Azria, Bluefly)
One of my favorite -- love the champagne-ness.

Hayden-Harnett Gets Ripped Off

Check it out: Copycats have discovered our fave local small fashion label. In a major, major way. Observe:

On the left you have Hayden-Harnett's extremely cute Iskia link wedge sandal; on the right you have Shoes for Lovely People's (admittedly, also cute) version. Hayden-Harnett is hoppin' mad, justifiably. The H-H originals are only $100 more though. I'd kinda rather spend the extra dough — or wait for one of 'em to go on sale.

Luckily, they have loyal eagle-eyed fashion fans, who also spotted this travesty:

On the left, H-H's awesome Havana hobo, of which I have one (which I LOVE). On the right, a crappy fake-leather version by Bandolino, available at Herzberger (whatever that is), identical down to the tiny studs on the zipper pull. Horbzburger. (Though I kinda dig the turquoise color.) One's $500; one's $66. The Havana is supersoft and lovely — if you don't have a spare $500 laying around, wait for a sample sale. It's worth it.

Picture Postcard: Season Jumping

Image fron Fiber & Fellow's AW09 lookbook, modelled by Thom Gastelum and shot by Alan Gastelum. Thanks Dapperkid.

Dearest EJ

I am always left in a confused and over stimulated sartorial state because of the fashion season cycle. We have now entered the season of the autumn/winter look book just as we get excited about the prospect of dressing for Spring and my sartorial thoughts are already wooed by images for the following season. In reality I couldn't be happier in waving goodbye to the short days, the cold and the rain and dressing accordingly but when I'm presented with images as beautiful as the one above, I'm left in no man's land. Do you recall the trailers for that truly bad Hayden 'I can't act' Christensen film Jumper... I kind of feel like that and I'm jumping through seasons. Out of a large pile of AW09 look none have had such an impact on me as the above image taken from Fiber & Fellow's AW09 look book. The label have continued their modern take on classic tailoring and Americana and set it in the great outdoors. The whole collection which mixes streetstyle and preppy looks expertly is complimented by the photography and the setting. Now, even though a large part of me longs for the sunshine a significant chunk of me longs for crisp leaves and a chill in the air... part of me wants to go to the beach at the height of summer and the rest of me wants to explore the great outdoors during September with a full beard. All of this is not helped that I will be going to both Carola Euler's and Omar Kashoura's private buying evenings this week where I'll be able to order pieces from their AW09 collection but won't be able to get my hands on them until September... I don't know if I am coming or going anymore.

Who knows what I will wear tomorrow...


Hola Steve!

I hear you man, though at the moment it feels like we're getting at least three seasons in the space of an hour. I thought that it was time to get out a whole different collection of clothes, but it looks like my winter coats are still required. Still, as I've been saying to you all week... patience!


p.s. that beard looks like one the boyf grew when on his archaeological dig. This model has much better hair though.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

FashionBinge's MAJOR Ankle Boot Binge!

What with fuggo flip-flops and whatnot entering store windows for the summer season (even though I've been wearing my sleeping-bag-with-arms super-duper warm coat for the past week), it is time to STOCK UP on cute ankle boots or booties or whatever you want to call them to wear with skinny jeans, leggings, tights and skirts, or whatevs. Cheyck up on all of these great booties on SALE!

($148, Free People)
Don't LOVE the bow, but I don't hate it. Since it's monotone, it's still conspicuous enough.

($164, Jeffrey Campbell, Nordstrom)
Normally I'd say these are too too much, what with the cut-outs and the studs, but in black I think they work. I'd do it.

($200, Casadei,
Everyone always freaks out over Louboutin, but PLEASE give Casadei some love, okay? They were all over the red carpet at the Oscars. They're usually three times as much, but these are just $200. Woot!

($135, Shane And Shawn,
These are KINDA bad but could work on the right girl... or guy.

($135, Helle Comfort,
Kinda wack but they could be gorgeous on. And they've even got the word "comfort" built right in!

($184, Claudia Ciuti, Nordstrom)
Not a HUGE fan of open-toed shoes, but I do like these.

($152, Diesel,
I have absolutely no use for a pair of white booties, but if I did need a pair, I'd get these.

($49, Newport News)

($68, Arden B.)
Sorta springy.

($412, Casadei, Endless)
Two-tone patent leather, and suede on the vamp! Studs and metallics, blah blah, these are a few of my favorite things!! All at once! On ONE shoe! Woo!

Style Salvage Speaks to... Richard Gray from 10

Alongside the seemingly untouchable Fantastic Man, 10 Men is one of those magazines that we wait impatiently for each season and gets Steve so excited when it is available in the local newsagent. It is the only fashion magazine which, while providing strong fashion editorials, features and interviews, makes us chuckle to ourselves on public transport (inciting strange looks from fellow commuters). The cause of our mirth is Richard Gray who, as 10's Fashion Features Director, provides more than his fair share of content for each issue. We had grins like a pair of Cheshire cats when Richard dropped us a lovely email to thank us for our recent Magazine in the Spotlight post where he commented "truth is it brought a bit of a tear to the old glass eye and lump to the goitre" so we grasped the opportunity to interview him with all four hands...we appreciate that some of the references might be lost in translation but we hope you enjoy it nevertheless because we certainly did....

Style Salvage: How did you get into the men's fashion journalism? What excites you most about men's fashion?
Richard Gray: I fell into it - like falling down a big slimy well. In fact, I look a lot like her from The Ring - but I've got more split ends. I studied modern languages not fashion. Verstehen Sie? I like new. And clever. Not things for shopping. Grrr....

SS: Is there an agreed 10 men man/muse, if so who? Who would you say is the target reader?
RG: I think our fella likes lager and Eastenders when Kathy knitted her own jumpers in the kitchen. He also like clothes. And is looking for the 'new tight jean'!

SS: What has been your favourite fashion moment of your life/career so far?
RG: When I lost a stone before Christmas and could fit into my old Comme peg trousers from the first ever men's collection. Cue gasps of admiration from Hactor Castro - who was jelly bags beyond. Ha ha!

SS: If you could go back in time and experience one fashion moment, what would it be?
RG: My mum tells me this story (I think she may have made it up) when her and Aunty Sue watched Top of the Pops in the very early 60s, The Supremes were on and they loved their bib and brace dresses (never seen before then). When they came home from work the next day my Nan said: "Go to your bedroom and look on your beds" And she'd made exact copies of the ones on TV the night before. I love that! My mum said they wore them with boots that following Saturday night and everybody commented when they went dancing. I'd go back to then.

16 back issues of 10 Men...

SS: Aside from the ones you contribute to, what are you your favourite magazines?
RG: I like Mail on Sunday You magazine (seriously) and Fantastic Man and I love Arena Homme Plus.

SS: We love 10's new blog so keep up the great work! Do you read any blogs and if so, what is currently on your blogroll?
RG: is flicking wonderful.

SS: We are sure there are a number of budding fashion journalists reading this. What advice would you have for someone who was looking to get into fashion journalism?
RG: Think. Have I read this, said in this way, before? And break all those rules. Who said an interview needs a conclusion? And why can't the interviewee interview the interviewer (not sure I know what that last one means). Also get a sub - my syntax shocking is...

SS: What is inspiring your own personal style at the moment? Do you have any style icons (long or short term)?
RG: Love this question... ermm... I'm heavily into Doctor Robert from The Blow Monkeys and I look like a lot like that little dwarf man from Fantasy Island (Youtube), so anything he wears.

SS: If you could live in a different era which would you choose to live in and why?
: I'd have lived in the 80s, I hear it was amazing. Parp!

SS: What item of clothing (if any) do you wish men wore more?
RG: I think we should all get naked and oil up - there'd be no wars or owt shit like that.

A look inside Issue 17, our review of which can be read here.

SS: We love your 'Ten people you should meet' feature but is there anyone you are currently desperate to meet?
RG: I'd like to meet Denise Robertson, agony aunt from This Morning - I read on Holy Moly that when she goes back home to Newcastle on the train she orders a G&T and a white wine. I bet she has some crisps too. I'd also like to meet Max Blagg, one of our writers who is the funniest man alive. We try and out do each other in email wars. I never get any flocking work done.

SS: Have you got any recommendation that you'd like to share with our readers?
(shops, hairdressers, designers, websites, bars)
RG: I like all the vintage homeware bits in Liberty and in the sale it's all dirt cheap. I like Bang Bang in Soho too - there's an African fella who goes in there and sells all his old Comme from the 80s. I'm in there buying it all up. It smells a bit like wee - but one suffers for one's art. And I like
The Kings Arms on Poland Street in London, because they're all fatter than me which makes me look thinner. (taps side of nose and winks)

SS: Now this is your chance to ask yourself and answer the one question you wish you had been asked but have never had the opportunity to do so.

RG: I'm a bit scared of this because I don't trust myself. Ermmm... Maybe... 'How many people are in your head at any one time?'
Answer - Today there are about three: one thinks he's down-to-earth and doesn't care about fashion and thinks it's silly. Another one, who could be called Trixie Gray is really thin and plays amateur plastic surgeon when he walks round town and is a right cow. Then the last one is somebody small and quiet who would secretly like to go back home to his mum and work in a shop part time and not be jaded. Basically I'm a fucking freak!

SS: Finally, tell us what your ten favourite things related to men's style and fashion...
RG: Leggings (dye John Smedley ones black), Wigs! Political things. Un-preppy things. Black socks. Skinheads (over hairstyles in such a big bogging way - toooo predictable). Clean shaven. Sort of pegs worn with black cotton shirts, not designer-y just worn by people who don't know about fashion crap, say, like in an Essex nightclub. Chanel no.5 (j'adore). Black Levi 501s. There's other stuff too.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Magazines in the spotlight: Another Man

These past few weeks we have been well and truly treated by many great publications which I've duly feasted on and my magazine gluttony continued today with a digital flick through of Another Man. Blindman's Circus (welcome back to the blogging fold, we missed you) beat me to the punch when it came to revealing the news that the latest issue is available online. So, if you've not done so already I suggest you go take a look because it is a strong issue. Ian accompanied the post with the wonderful images from Hedi and Mackie's editorial. I have to be honest with you, I was in a state of ennui by the seemingly endless influx of Hedi's black and white photography but this collaboration with Alister Mackie is really something...but the magazine offers so much more than Hedi...

I love the Lightweight Coats spread in the Style Guide because it showcases looks spookily similar to ones which I've been formulating in my own warped mind. As April Showers are merely a few days away, I've been consumed in the hunt for stylish ways to keep dry. Of course some of the best looks featured in the spread are those from Burberry Prorsum but there are plenty of pieces from a well chosen selection of designers which left me salvitating....I am particularly taken with the woven brogues by Fendi (as featured in the two main images).

These two images above and below showcase a selection of pages from my favourite editorial in this issue. The looks are accompanied by oil paintings by Christian Schoeler which work with and compliment the romantic, slightly damaged aesthetic of the shoot. Here Schoeler and Mackie (again) work together and the boundaries of art and fashion melt away and we are left with something quite remarkable. My art historian blogging partner will no doubt see the atmospheric influences of Manet and Valesquez.

When will my magazine feasting end? Is there such a thing as journalism induced obesity? I think I need to lie down because I've overdosed on glossy pages and aspirational imagery...until the next publication then...

Spring - Summer 2009 Trend. Fashionable Overalls.

Fashion tendency keeps gladdening us with new TRENDS. Overall a new fashion trend of Spring - Summer 2009 ! This season an overall is for the all cases. Blue denim overall is for business noon, an overall made from silk is for cocktail party, an overall from variegated silk is for party in your garden. It is a good alternative to dresses. Overalls are as self-sufficient as dresses but look much more defiant than dresses.

See Fashionable Overalls Gallery below. Click image to enlarge.

Summer silk overall Leonard

Green cocktail overall Pucci

Denim everyday overall DKNY

Silk evening overall BCBG

Smart red overall Salvatore Ferragamo

Light summer overall Moschino Cheap & Chic

Chic evening overall Chloe

Monday, March 23, 2009

Beautiful, Unattainable, Covetable, Nonsensical: Alexander McQueen Peacock Jacquard Dress

($3,191, Alexander McQueen, Saks)
The black and gold silk jacquard print is, of course, stunning, and OBVS I'm attracted to ANYTHING with peacock in the name, but WHO wants their ass to look like a hot air balloon:

Why wasn't this a straight A-line dress??? Why? WHY? ANSWER ME, SOMEONE!

Things that are black and gold and make more sense: Laura Mercier's Black Gold eye pencil and Sam Sparro's "Black And Gold" video:

E Tautz over another cup of tea

As you all know I met up with Patrick Grant last week and were talked through the E. Tautz collection. My time with the youngest guvnor on Savile Row did not stop there and I was fortunate enough to ask him a few more questions and it was an absolute pleasure to hear his thoughts on men's fashion. The last post was full of great quotes but my particular favourite was "we've got to the point where we'd rather have ten cheap things than one good thing" and the below picks up on this point. Here we talk about the effect of the recession on buying, the art of wardrobe building and the need for more tailors...

SS: What has the interest from buyers been like given the current economic climate?
PG: Japanese buyers have recently confirmed but there were only five buyers actually invited to the show itself. Budget cuts are an issue but the people who came really liked the collection and went away on the hunt for extra buying funds. We are still waiting on hearing back from a few but we will know in the next week or two, so we will see what happens.
SS: I am always jealous of the offerings available to Japanese consumers, they just have it too good!

SS: The art of wardrobe building is one we love but it certainly goes against the prevailing throwaway consumerism of today; what are your thoughts on this way of consuming?
PG: If you buy well you will still have it when it is sixty years old. I've got plenty of bits of clothing in my wardrobe, particularly knitwear and the odd jacket that I had bought from the likes of Gucci, Prada, Helmut Lang, Dolce & Gabbana to a certain extent and a few others and I've still got the best of those pieces and I still wear them. The only thing that doesn't really last are the trousers. If they had been made in the cloths that we use and in the way we make them they would still be fine. Machine hemmed trousers are always falling apart and it is amazing that no one knows how to sew anything anymore.

SS: That is so true, I've only recently started dabbling with replacing buttons on jackets but the effect and response to it has been so positive and it is so simple.
PG: We should put up a number of how to videos on the website instructing people how to get the most out of their clothes through simple tailoring, how to hem your trousers, how to sew a button on your shirt... We used to do it all the time at school, not particularly well but we did it. We used to shorten our trousers: I remember one of my roommate taking in peoples trousers in because we all wanted trousers that, basically you couldn't put your feet through. Few people are bothered to do that now. Now if a button falls off a shirt it is thrown away.

SS: Can you see this attitude changing in the foreseeable future?
PG: There is group called Slow Fashion at St Martins which I went to the first meeting of and it is so brave of them, I think, because it flies in the face of everyone who basically pays for their existence. The more care that is taken in the creation of your clothes, the more enjoyment you will get out of them and the longer you will get to enjoy that. I think, especially for men, there are fashionable men and stylish men and we are talking more to stylish men than fashion men but of course there is a little overlap. I think even fashionable men have a little space in their wardrobes for certain core pieces. Everyone wears black or grey slim trousers and if you have a really great pair that fit you beautifully, look good, kept their crease really nicely and were going to last twenty years, you might think that £800 isn't really that much... it might feel like a lot but think of the wear you will get out of them.

SS: It seems most people have forgotten about the whole cost per calculation.
PG: I mean I used to pay £1200 for an off the peg suit, this is going back a few years so I have no idea how much they are now but I used to wear them fifteen or twenty times and the trousers would be worn out in the crotch, I even had one and the tip of the lapel wore out.
SS: Ha, what were doing in that jacket?
PG: I have no idea but it was strange. I particularly have a problem with the crotch of trousers because I cycle and have big thighs. Of course we have lightweight cloths here that might not last but we would recommend a customer buy two pairs of trousers with their suit.

SS: You just would not get that service in most ready to wear stores.

PG: What's nice about the way we are coming at it is that the people involved in Tautz basically work at Nortons. We spend our lives dealing with the type of people we are hoping to sell Tautz to because they are the equivalent to our customers here who are unable to come here and have their suits made but we want to give them something of that quality. We cut it in a way we think feels like a good Savile Row suit, it has got shape in it and makes you look different, it's not a skinny, slim suit but a well cut suit and you very rarely see that. There aren't very many well cut suits kicking around this town and we want to give Tautz something of Savile Row about it. We eat, sleep and breathe great quality clothes and everything we do is done with integrity.

SS: Have you noticed a change in peoples attitude towards tailoring over time?

PG: Tailoring is an incredibly efficient way of buying clothes cost wise and you really get what you pay for. At Nortons the first suit we make, we don't actually make any money because we have to sew it, fit it, take it apart, re cut it, sew it, fit it, take it apart... you know, it is only when we've made one and have a pattern for you that we actually start to make some money. You are getting tremendous value for money if you go to a tailor and it just so happens that we are in the middle of a community of the best tailors in the world. Certainly what you get here is expensive tailoring but there tailors... actually, sadly there are almost no tailors left.

The country should be filled with tailors and everyone should be buying their suits from a tailor. I used to go to a little tailor in Liverpool and his suits were less than the Prada suits that I was taking in to be altered. My perception then was that Prada was very cool but the fact is he could have cut me and made a better suit for less money and I would have looked better if I wasn't such an idiot swayed by a label which I was at that time. 'The only name in your suit should be your own' is the old adage and that is a nice way of thinking about it. Most of my early suits came from a tailor in Edinburgh which doesn't exist anymore... in fact there is only one tailor in Edinburgh now. A city of half a million people, a capital city with a financial centre and only one tailor.

SS: I remember being tempted by a one page ad featured in GQ which called for more tailors.
PG: If you are good at it you can make a good living. The guys who work on this street certainly do but they are bloody good. It is a difficult street and you have to be really good to make a living here but if you are good, you can do very well. Most sewing tailors are self employed and we share with a number of firms. There are some great young tailors who work very hard, there are some old ones to who start at 6am and work right through to 9pm.

SS: It is such a shame that there are so few...
PG: The problem we have is the cost of training people. After years of lobbying by the Savile Row Bespoke Association they have given us £1,000 per apprentice per year but it costs us more like £20,000 so we can only afford one apprentice here at the moment but ideally we could train three people at a time. The biggest file I have in my drawer is full of applications for apprenticeships and we get about one a day. The thing is, we are flat out here and we desperately need more good tailors.

SS: Lastly, there has been a great deal spoken on luxury in the downturn and this must be on your mind as well...
PG: Many people have asked why we would start a new brand in the midst of this economic disaster and for me it doesn't really matter as to when we start but it feels as though people are interested in proper products, quality and integrity... everything we stand for. Whether or not the economic cycle is poor or good should not affect the decision to do this but there is also this belief that these are the type of thing people retreat to when you haven't got a surplus of cash to spend it should be spent on the items you know are worth it and will last. People will continue to want to dress well and wear nice things, which isn't always the same thing. We have seen this with Nortons which has a heavy British based client base and we actually had our best year in eight years last year, we saw a big jump on the year before despite a disastrous US economy and dour forecasts for the British economy. The start of this year has been really strong with this February being better than the last.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Uniqlo Spring

The much anticipated Opening Ceremony for Uniqlo collection was released here in London and beyond earlier this week and I was fortunate enough to snap up a few pieces. As part of the Uniqlo Designer Invitation Project, Opening Ceremony designed a small men's capsule collection for the textile giant from Japan. The collection which features functional separates such as a wrinkle free check shirts (in two colourways), linen cotton trousers, full zip cardigans, and shawl collar anoraks in traditional colours ranging from black to navy to orange. All of which is priced at less than £50 a piece. The collection has fitted in quite nicely with my own vision for Spring...

Fitted cotton full zip cardigan in an exciting blue and lightweight cotton and linen mix trousers which are simply perfect for Spring worn with sheer white shirt by Handmade in England, vintage wool tie and silver hi tops by bstore.

Check shirt and full zip cardigan providing a much needed burst of colour to my wardrobe worn here with jacket and jeans by APC and hi tops by Lanvin.

In my opinion Uniqlo is so far ahead of the opposition that it must be embarrassing for their competitors, at the very least they must be left scratching their heads how the Japanese constantly deliver on style, quality and of course price. The amazing news that Jil Sander has been tempted out of retirement to make her fashion comeback with a collaboration with the chain is almost typical for Uniqlo. The more I think about this though, the more it makes sense; the Uniqlo style aesthetic is not a million miles away from the mistress of minimalism. Sander is apparently looking forward to the challenge of establishing premium quality designs at democratic prices for autumn 09. In addition to overseeing the core men’s and women’s collections, Sander is working on a standalone premium range for autumn 09.

Uniqlo's emphasis on high quality, low cost basics combined with strong advertising and design talent has seen it achieve post record sales here in the UK but it was almost so very different. Over-ambitious expansion and over-reliance on one product (the fleece) nearly ruined the chain in the early noughties. Thankfully, Yanai invested in design talent and an image change with the help of Kashiwa Sato who helped rebrand and reposition the label (for more on this there is an interesting article in CR). The fact that the chain was close to collapse is probably why the expansion has been somewhat cautious. My heart goes out to any reader who does not have a Uniqlo store near them because there is no one else like them on the high street. As reported in Monocle, Yanai is taking the chain to Paris and Singapore and hunting for the big game in the US so here is hoping that you will all have a store a short car journey away... in the meantime, I'll take advantage of the many stores along Oxford Street and will no doubt pick up a few more items for Spring.