21 June 2017

SS18 Favourites: London

Spring/Summer 2018

Spring/Summer 2018

I thought it would be quite fun to get my gut reactions down to the menswear shows this month - starting right here in London.

My two favourite collections were by Kiko Kostadinov and Matthew Miller. I know a lot of people are raving about Craig Green this season, but while I think that it was beautifully composed, it just did not resonate with me. I find myself hugely informed by emotional reactions, although I can usually reconcile that with a broader appreciation of craft and skill once I am able to see and try pieces on in person. Ultimately when it comes to menswear I cannot help but frame my perspective through the lens of what I would personally like to wear or, even, could imagine myself enjoying were my wardrobe different. These two shows managed to tap into where I find myself lately, with the macabre duality and surgical functionality of Kostadinov's collection, and the stylised rebellion of Miller's. I think that a personal connection is always important for me, and where I think that I enjoy fashion the most, because then it tends to feel like you are almost having some manner of dialogue or understanding with that designer. I suppose like any art form it is about how you happen to experience that work, and so for me, these two were collections that I really enjoyed.

With Kostadinov's collection I find myself drawn to the night-time uniforms, with his takes on boiler suits, and even the neon pieces, more than the day-time tailoring, although the double-breasted black jacket I have posted looks incredible. His collection, "Funny How Secrets Travel", was inspired by the idea of evil acts and excessive violence having become forms of entertainment, with the most obvious reference in styling being to that of Manhunter's Francis Dolarhyde (1986). I enjoyed the idea of his character taking on a more functional approach to his uniform as night descended and he partook in whatever ultra-violent fodder for our movie screens and Twitter feeds. This collection also apparently marks the first time a designer has collaborated with Asics for an all new shoe (as opposed to simply creating a new colourway), with his GEL-ASKR 1 model, that I am really excited to get my hands on...in black, because I am not quite ready for any neon in my wardrobe yet.

Miller's collection was for me in parts a small reminder of what Helmut Lang could be if they had a stronger design team. It is actually a topic I am hoping to delve into further with the next podcast episode, which will be coming out soon hopefully. Finding the original Helmut bulletproof-style vest in my size for a decent price these days is rather tricky, so I might be tempted to try out one of Miller's pieces and see how that goes. Anyhow I enjoyed that more practical side to the collection once again with the multi-pocket vests and jackets, and the sling detailing. I tend to carry quite a lot with me, so it is always nice to have a practical layout of pockets, although I have recently bought myself a bum bag (I think Americans call them a fanny pack?) to wear across my body. I do think that the collection was missing a sense of rawness that would have helped take it to the next level, but even so it was styled well and overall a strong collection. I may not personally go for that sleeker tailoring, but it worked well and I think that the womenswear offerings really helped to round out the collection. Personally I would be interested to see where he could have taken this collection given another few months, but all the same, some really solid pieces.

What were your favourite shows from London?


3 April 2017

Spring Sunshine

"New Moon"
Vogue Germany (April 2017)
Photographer: Sarah Moon
Model: Sophie Katherine Jones
Editor: Patti Wilson

The Spring sunshine has finally come to London. We have had some nice sunny days as of late, and it has been enjoyable seeing trees and plants coming back to life on my short walks. There seems to be new activity and new blooms almost every time I go out, which makes me smile (and happens to provide material for my daily Instagram posts). I am happy that I can now sit outdoors comfortably for long periods of time and read. In between reading I often find myself taking my glasses off and just sitting there with my eyes closed and face turned towards the sun. My health is improving slowly but surely, and that is a really comforting fact, although I still have a lot of work to do. As busy as things get, always remember to take pleasure in the small things, they are what help bring you back to life.


14 March 2017

Episode 05 - Supremacist Fashion

Episode 05
"Supremacist Fashion"

I hope you enjoy the latest episode of my podcast, "Supremacist Fashion". In this episode I talk about the Supreme business model, which I think is the fashion system taken to its absurd conclusion. I also talk about the power and role of Instagram in fashion today, and why attention is the most valuable commodity out there. I also decided to explore ideas of branding and authenticity through the lens of the Supreme x Louis Vuitton collaboration. Please do listen and share with anyone you think might enjoy the podcast. 

Here's to all the hypebeasts. Stay wavy son.


10 February 2017

A Black Perfume

What does the colour black smell like? Whenever I read a book, I usually find myself imagining what the wardrobe of each character looks like (past whatever descriptions the author has given). What shoes are they wearing? What is their favourite piece of clothing? What makes up the majority of their wardrobe? A surprising number of actors say that their character development begins with the shoes - once you know what footwear your character would wear, you are able to quite literally stand in their shoes. This gives you a feel for what their physical presence would be, both when standing and when in movement. The body and the mind are connected, so in understanding how your character feels on their feet, how steady they are, how they are able to move, you also gain some insight into their ways of being. Of course in film or theatre the clothes of the character are there for you see, and indeed, costume design is an incredibly important part of film. It situates us within the narrative and imagined period, and also gives us insight into the roles and positions of each character.

In both instances, whether literary or visual, my mind then connects clothing to smell. What would each character smell like? What type of perfume would they wear? What are their favourite smells? If I watch a film, or read a book, I like to imagine what the characters smell like. This is something I also carry across to fashion shows, because each and every season the designer is essentially presenting characters for the runway. I think of it like a theatre performance, with characters for each show, and while I can see what they are wearing, my mind then jumps to imagining what perfume they would wear, if any at all. It is not something I think of straight away, but once I have been looking at a collection for a while, I find myself imagining a backstory for each character and comparing that to what the designer says about the collection. It is actually far easier with some collections than other, depending on the theatricality of the designer in the first place, but I think that it is just a fun way for me to think about things from a different perspective.

How does that apply to my own experiences? Well I also happen to link the clothing I wear to perfumes. While I do not have specific pairing rules, I do find myself drawn more to certain perfumes depending on what I happen to be wearing. I got to thinking whether I could actually find the connective thread running through this habit, which arose quite accidentally, and explore the idea further. I do not think that there is any specific rule of correlation to be found, but I did start thinking more broadly about the link between what I wear in terms of garments and what I wear in terms of perfume. It is always best to start simply, and that is exactly what I did. I am usually dressed in black, with some white outfits slowly creeping into my wardrobe, so I thought to myself - what does black smell like? And if I can find a range of what I consider to be black perfumes, then could I pair them with different black outfits? It would be absolutely impossible for anybody else to decipher the relationship, because it would be entirely built upon my subjective experience, but even so, I liked the idea of it.

So where does one start with finding a black perfume? Most popular designer fragrances usually have a black (evening or extreme) version that is supposedly darker and sold in a darker bottle, but I find that all rather meaningless. Adding a loud note of oud or incense to the composition does not automatically make a perfume black, even if it might make it darker for the most parts. In fact when it comes to a deep, thick, rich oud, I actually find myself picturing a velvety gold or a polished dark carnelian red. And when it comes to incense, I think of either a warm grey-brown mortar (think of a Gothic church), or picture myself standing in shade while looking at afternoon sunlight hitting a sandy desert for as far as the eye can see. Even so, I am fascinated by how perfumers interpret the colour black for perfumes they compose. So I thought I might just explore some of the "black" named perfumes I own.

Brand: Bulgari
Perfume: Black

How it smells: A masterpiece in terms of perfume composition. A solid base of leather, vanilla and amber, with a heavy dose of smoky lapsang souchong and that infamous rubber note. The opening is rather brash with burning rubber and a spicy sandalwood blast. However this quickly mellows with a smoky tea that dances lightly above a warm blend of vanilla and leather. There is some manner of clean musk in there as well that some might happen to be anosmic to, which is probably why the amber and vanilla also feature so heavily, but it helps give a nice powdery warmth.

How I picture it: A blue tinted glass cube with grey smoke inside, displayed in the foyer of some glass and metal skyscraper on a sunny Winter's day.

Colour: Gunmetal grey

Brand: By Kilian
Perfume: Back To Black

How it smells: Smooth, dark, sweet and fruity. A rich honey melts into strong pipe tobacco, with a cherry/raspberry accord that cuts through it all quite nicely. There is also some vanilla there in the background that is livened up with ginger and other spices. You would assume that this would enter gourmand territory with all those berries and spices, but the tobacco means that it steers well clear. A comforting and inviting perfume overall. I do not particularly care for gender divisions in perfume, but this has a definite masculine feel for me. I sometimes think I might be too young to be wearing this, but it just works too well to miss.

How I picture it: A beautifully aged, but neatly polished, brown leather and dark wood chair nestled in a living room filled with a diverse mix of twentieth century art.

Colour: Mahogany brown

Brand: Nasomatto
Perfume: Black Afgano

How it smells: This is apparently based on hashish. I have no experience of hashish, but if this is what it smells like, I guess I can understand why people would try to smoke it. Oddly enough, to me it just smells of lavish mosques. It has a rich earthy smell with lots of smoke and incense. The opening is sharp and in your face, with coffee grounds and an almost green wood, but it smooths out relatively quickly and becomes softer and slightly sweeter. The base is apparently built on oud and incense, but I would say that the oud is drier and more resinous than usual. That almost sickly sweetness you get with a proper oud is not there at all, so it smells dry and dark, rather than warm and sweet. Simultaneously inviting and aloof.

How I picture it: A black velvet hanging with golden embroidery hung inside a newly built mosque.

Colour: Black marble

Do you associate certain colours with smells or certain smells with colours?