Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Man About Paris Part 1



Above: I'd been wanting to pay homage to 31 Rue Cambon for years. And after loving the few menswear pieces that Dover Street Market had in their Chanel special collection last year, I was also really looking forward to seeing the new collection as it's usually the only place in the world that sells any of it. They don't even have it on show: I had to ask for a discreet wardobe door to be opened and they closed it as soon as I finished trying things on. After I left and just as I was taking some exterior shots of the house, Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour popped into frame...

When I gave my blog the rather grand title Man About World I did it semi tongue-in-cheek but also to refer to the globe-trotter-like way that I spend some years. Working as a factual TV producer/director I’m used to grabbing my carry-on luggage and a camera kit and being handed an itinerary which tells me to jump straight in a cab to the airport and just has a list of hire car references and hotel bookings for some city or country I’ve never been to or maybe even never heard of before.


It’s pretty ironic then that is the first time I’ve made use of my passport since starting the blog a full fashion season ago. Since then it’s been more Man About London than anything else. Anyway, today I arrived in Paris. Yes, it’s Paris fashion week and I'll be going to a few shows and showrooms but what actually brought me here was a long-standing need to reconnect with my nearest neighbouring capital and one of the most important fashion cities after a 14 year absence…

After getting settled into my friend’s flat and shoving an amazing steak frites down my eager gullet, I headed out for a stroll starting at Les Halles and ending several kilometres and a few hours later at L’Etoile Arc du Triomphe.


These are some of the things I saw and thoughts I had along the way…



Above: Anna made a point of pointing out something from the grass green tweed collection.




Above: 31 Rue Cambon, home of the strongest name in fashion
Below: Upstairs, where about 400 people work in the offices and put the haute couture together in the ateliers.



Above: The window of Colette. Mannequins wear layered shear silk crepe covering other fabrics and the same fabric thought over their faces. The lace face covering and layers are still around, as seen by Lady Gaga in her red lace outfit which she accepted an MTV award in recently. But we’ve seen so much sheer and translucent finishes on the catwalk in the last few weeks (from menswear designer Tim Soar’s ripstop nylon in London to Versace’s transparent minis) that I think the flat translucent fabrics will takeover in a major way over the next 3-6 months. Both is these were trends I was interested in back at Graduate Fashion Week in June.


Below: I love the line given by belting men's jackets at the moment. From Thom Browne's 70s safari-inspired wide belts in the fabric which matched jacket to these thin leather ones styled by the visual merchandiser at Kenzo, it's a directional look which is smart yet fun.





Above and below: inventive window displays at Lanvin





Above: Braided black leather jacket in the window but sold out at Zara Champs-Elysees and allegedly every other branch...now will they learn to take a few more risks on statement pieces like this or do they still believe men want to hide away in ill-fitting blandness?

Below: A great men's cape in Givenchy...but then you know I love capes already...



Below: I can't take off these rough cotton drop-crotch chinos from All Saints since I bought them last week. The loose on top, tapered aesthetic which probably started with Nichloas Guesquierre's jodhpurs for women 4 seasons ago has finally filtered down this far and is giving men an alternative to the skinnies and straight legs which have been most guys uniform since Slimane at Dior about 4 years ago.



On the slate...



Monday, 28 September 2009

Trend report: Women's Geometric and Crystalline Jewellery



Above: Irregular crystalline wrist pieces and oversized earings still managed to make a big impression despite the extreme prints and shapes on the Belle Sauvage catwalk.

Women fighting back: the story so far...

As I've mentioned here before, a lot of people have spent the last 9 months complaining that womenswear is not as exciting as menswear this year. Now it seems people designing women's clothes are coming to a consensus that the best way to fight back and create interest is through exciting accessories.

As men borrow more and more from womenswear - the long dress-shape knits form many designers but best executed by Rick Owens this season, Topman's long-awaited expansion which has allowed them to begin to appeal to the more experimental among us, the creatives behind women's fashion and the girls themselves are grabbing extreme accessories as totem protectors of the femininity. This is the last in a series of three posts, from material shot during London Fashion Week and before, focusing on specific women's accessories trends which I'm excited about right now.



Above: I've been shooting these geometric necklaces for a while now but this is a particularly nice example from designer Lucy Huchings, represented by Robinson Pfeffer and modelled by one of their agents in 180 The Strand last week.
Below: This fashion journalist's bright clothes and explosive neckpiece was a welcome respite to all the dark uniforms most people at LFW were wearing.



Take it in the neck...or on the wrist

Elsewhere the trend will be for anything as long as it's large but with a further increase of the geometric trend and plastic jewellery. At first glance this clean, techno look goes completely in contrast to the post-apocalyptic trend I've written about previously. In many ways it's everything the earthbound look isn't: colourful, untextured, synthetic and often symmetrical. But what is really fascinating for me is that they actually converge in their loose referencing of tribal motifs and shapes, particularly on the neckpieces.



Above and below: a jewellery tutor from Edinburgh School of Art shows of one of her own geometric designs incorporating plastic and crystals. Shot at Graduate fashion week at Earl's Court in June.






Above: Sister of St Martin's shoe design student Nina shows that, when it comes to accessories this season, for her, more is more.
Below: These colourful designs combine the trend for bright, geometric jewellery with the tribal fashions which are also coming through strong.






Above: Flat, pressed metal pendants are the more wearable way of hitting the geo trend. These were on display during LFW at 180 The Strand but cheaper similars are already on the high street.
Below: If in doubt, put it on your shoulders: a designer at On/Off shows that any trend these days can convert into shoulder details...



On the slate...


Sunday, 27 September 2009

Trend report: Accessorageous...Womens Hats



Above: Little Shilpa! I finally got to check out her one-off pieces at the LFW showrooms. I was blown away by the exciting cultural references with inspiration taken from anything and everything. A full pret-a-porter collection of unisex accessories is also available. Contact Blow PR for details.

Women fighting back: the story so far...

As I've mentioned here before, a lot of people have spent the last 9 months complaining that womenswear is not as exciting as menswear this year. Now it seems people designing women's clothes are coming to a consensus that the best way to fight back and create interest is through exciting accessories.

As men borrow more and more from womenswear - the long dress-shape knits form many designers but best executed by Rick Owens this season, Topman's long-awaited expansion which has allowed them to begin to appeal to the more experimental among us, the creatives behind women's fashion and the girls themselves are grabbing extreme accessories as totem protectors of the femininity. This is the second of three posts, from material shot during London Fashion Week and before, focusing on specific women's accessories trends which I'm excited about right now.

Hats

Something tells me we'll see more and more women wearing hats over the coming seasons. It's another territory currently under-explored by the men and I reckon women and the creatives behind women's fashion will seize on this fact to differentiate them from the blokes wearing women's jackets and guyliner.



Above and below: more out-of-the box headgear from Little Shilpa





Above and below: J Smith Esq's bespoke millinery designs, showing at Somerset house, represented by Blow and produced in Soho, London. Inspired by shipwrecked bodies and washed up treasures, the naturally toned collection makes a heavy use of rope, feathers and shells.



Below: Hat designer and author of the book Fashion Fabulous London, Tracy Rose, shows off one of her own designs. Each she impressed with another extravagant creation.



On the slate...


Saturday, 26 September 2009

Trend report: Accessorageous...Womens footwear



Above: Fresh from her collaborations with Henry Holland, the super talented Atalanta Weller was kind enough to allow me to photograph her samples for SS10.
Below: Some even more dramatic designs made by Atalanta.



Women fighting back: intro

As I've mentioned here before, alot of people have spent the last 9 months complaining that womenswear is not as exciting as menswear this year. Now it seems people designing women's clothes are coming to a consensus that the best way to fight back and create interest is through exciting accessories.

As men borrow more and more from womenswear - the long dress-shape knits form many designers but best executed by Rick Owens this season, Topman's long-awaited expansion which has allowed them to begin to appeal to the more experimental among us, the creatives behind womens fashion and the girls themselves are grabbing extreme accessories as totem protectors of the femininity. This is the first of three posts, from material shot during London Fashion Week and before, focusing on specific women's accessories trends which I'm excited about right now.

Heels

Since these accessories are about women staking their claim to their femininity and their wardrobe it's no surprise that something which has traditionally been a no-go area for men has become the main weapon of choice in this sartorial battle of the sexes. For me, footwear is the most exciting sector of womenswear right now. Similar to the effect of the new CAD programmes used for Frank Ghery's Bilbao Guggenheim which were then simulated by architects all around the globe, it's the one area where technological breakthroughs such as rapid prototyping and centrifugal molding are having a huge effect on the shape of the products and all this is feeding back into the imagination of the designers whether or not they're using those specific techniques. The result is sharp shapes and sculptural forms that blend feminine curves with Zaha Hadid-esque angles.



Above and below: One of the many highlights of this year's RCA graduate show was the display of Chau Har Lee's women's footwear. Unsurprisingly she caught a lot of people's attention with her avant garde designs. Following graduation, she won the Its 8 award which will be funding another collection from her and Manolo Blahnik also picked her out for a prize in his award collaboration with the Royal College.





Above and below: Central St Martin's masters student, Nina's designs as worn to the B Store after party at Kettners last week by the designer and her sister...



Below: Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent is producing my favourite internationally available shoe designs right now. Hot on the heals (pardon the pun) of the my favourite shoes of last season - the soon-to-be iconic Cage design, the originality of these AW09 Bandage shoes comes from the inset stiletto which gives a cantilever effect. Available in YSL now.



On the slate...



Thursday, 24 September 2009

London Fashion Week on schedule show: Wintle SS10 Finale Video

video

Here's the finale video from Wintle's SS 2010 collection shown on schedule at Somerset House yesterday, humbly delivered via my Lumix...

I wasn't exactly knocked off my seat by the originality but when given the main references were the last few McQueen summer collections (pastels, dip dye cottons, fine knits, sheers) and Lanvin (two-textured brogues, mauve) their designs were still a delight to see go down the ramp. There'll be more looks from the show in future posts.

In case you're new to this brand, you can get them in one of my favourite South Molton Street stores, Vertice.

London Fashion Week, Vauxhall Fashion Scout Show: Belle Sauvage SS10 Finale Video

video

I loved the Belle Sauvage show this week at Vauxhall Fashion Scout. In fact the only complaint about Virginia Ferreira and Christian Neuman's ranges is that they don't do a high end men's range: only a simpler diffusion line with less detail on the prints.

Expect to see more from their show up here soon. Meanwhile, enjoy the hand-held finale video...

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Scarlett Etienne with a bit of help from Peter Breen and Alexander McQueen



When Scarlett Etienne burst onto the catwalk at Ziad Ghanem's hotly awaited and extremely buzzy show, she excited the crowd in a way that gave the designer's colourful prints and wacky, spiky cut denim a real run for its money. Up till then the mood had been pretty sombre: the models expressionless speed-walks contrasting heavily with the drama of the clothes. But as soon as she appeared Scarlett's magnetic energy shook up the whole audience, waking them from their blase slumber and sending a bolt of lightening through the room!

So I was really glad to bump into her tonight at Stavros Kar's shop, Digitaria's drinks party hosted by Johnny Blueeyes. Without realising this was the live wire I'd seen strut down the ramp a couple of days before and no idea who she was yet a great deal of respect for her outfit I asked her for a few shots. Not only did she let me pap her but we popped across the street and ended up spending the next 15 minutes comparing fashion week notes, our love for McQueen's Faithful line and realising that we were practically old friends having met under slightly more sordid circumstances a few months back at a Japanese bondage festival in Bethnal Green's Resistance Galleries.

Scarlett explained that she's been spinning electro pop/techno disks for 9 or so years now as well as playing live gigs. I'll definitely be campaigning my local MP/promoter mates to get her some slots at my favourite hangouts as soon as possible... But when it comes to style she claims she'd be nothing with Hackney Wick based stylist Peter Breen.



Above: Scarlett out partying in McQueen and chatting with me at the Digitaria store party tonight on Berwick Street.

Below: The gloves and boots, both from McQueen's faithful collection.







Above: First impressions...Scarlett at our first brief encounter at Resistance Galleries Hentai Festival

Below: Gimme the bag Scarlett...you've got far to may already...






Above: OK, so the streets of Soho are dark places...here are Scarlett's/McQueen's Faithful booties in CU.

Below: As I've previously blogged, I love two-in-ones and all convertible clothing right now. So my personal favourite item from the Faithful collection is this clutch with Scarlett's bike glove integrated. FIERCE! And ManAboutWorld's only ever forked out more than £1,000 for a bag with skulls on it...enough said.


Below: Scarlett's stylist Peter doesn't let the side down either. The first time I met him was at a New year's Eve party about 5 years ago. Then he was wearing a rubber duck in his hair. These days he usually keeps things more monochrome...



Credits...

Scarlette Etienne

Alexander McQueen Faithful

Digitaria

Peter Breen

Resistance Gallery

On the slate...more from London Fashion Week