12 August 2017

SS18 Favourites: Berluti

Spring/Summer 2018

I have decided to focus on my individual favourites from the Paris shows rather trying to fit them all into a singular post - starting with Berluti…  

I was actually more interested in Haider Ackermann’s second Berluti collection this season than his own eponymous menswear show. Given free reign I think that he is capable of producing amazingly beautiful clothes, but they do have a very narrow scope that can be difficult to incorporate into everyday life. Unless of course your life includes lots of lounging around artfully in old palaces while someone paints your portrait and exotic cats gambol around at your feet, in which case all power to you. Taken as individual pieces, small luxuries that add a sparkle to your wardrobe, it most certainly works well. However I find it difficult to imagine wearing head-to-toe Haider as daily garb without it veering into the territory of costume rather than dress. Admittedly he has been slowly broadening out his offerings, but even so, I have always liked the idea of a more toned down version of Ackermann’s design language and seeing what he is capable of achieving when given a more focused framework.

I enjoy seeing designers at historic fashion houses who already have their own label, because it is interesting to see how they attempt to translate their skills to interpret the house style. Of course it means a lot more work and pressure for the designer, especially with the larger houses, which can have the unfortunate side effect of their own label suffering. It is a challenge that can burn out a lot of designers, but with a supportive structure it can be incredibly successful (even so, there are reports of conglomerates leaving their star designers’ namesake labels to wither). It seems that with the musical chairs fashion has been experiencing as of late it could go either way, but I hope that Ackermann is able to stick around and really leave his mark on Berluti. I think that I liked this collection more in terms of the potential that it offers - that glimpse of where the house is headed that is quite interesting. While I think that this collection, just like his debut offering, was mature and well rounded, I am excited to see how he develops things further. There was a more relaxed sense of luxury in comparison to the previous designer Sartori’s work (who is now artistic designer across the board for Zegna), that I think was a welcome change.

What did you think of Haider's second outing at Berluti?


10 July 2017

Episode 06 - Leave the ticket, take the cannoli

Episode 06
"Leave the ticket, take the cannoli"

In the latest episode of my podcast I discuss some of the issues raised from the explosive Vestoj interview with Lucinda Chambers, who served as Fashion Director at British Vogue for 25 years. The interview was published, pulled the same day, re-uploaded the next day and has now been published in an amended form following legal talk. You can read that amended version here (the original version can still be found online, if you are willing to look - alternatively I have it saved and can send it to anyone who requests). The two main issues I cover are that of the utility of fashion magazines like Vogue, and the problematic relationship between advertisers and publications and why we need greater transparency in fashion journalism and critique.

Hope you enjoy. And please go buy Vestoj.


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.