Without wanting to sound like a an OAP complaining about the passing of time, I really can’t believe that we are already at the Spring Summer 2014 shows, when it feels like Summer 2013 is looking increasing looking like a non-starter. Shhh where is the time gone ? As my Father would have said ?
Well no reason to get melancholy, as the third London Collections:Men gets underway. An unusual way to kick proceedings off in the shape of one of the UK’s most trusted names and producer of, probably the best Christmas Ad campaigns in recent years, John Lewis. Yes, it’s not a mistake, it wasn’t an all singing, all dancing Catwalk show, but a more simple and parred down
presentation to Showcase their British made in house brand John Lewis & Co, in front of Aston from JLS, Russell Tovey and
Kimberley Wyatt (Pussycat Doll). Following this, we then had a couple of hours to prepare for what can only be described as an
extravaganza in the shape and form of the opening of the new exclusively menswear store and a preview of their Tailoring line,
oh who, you ask, well only the Italian dynamic duo Domenico Dolce & Stefanio Gabbana ! It was a low key intimate affair… Of
bloody course not, not from these guys, it was full on, full throttle and in the words of Ms Ciccone’s, t-shirt in the Papa don’t preach video, Italians do it better ! All with a little help from Dame Kylie Mingoue of Erinsborough, no less.
Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 11.49.02So with a slightly fussy head it was off into town for the proceeding of the day to commence, with more then a little feeling of, they better appreciate this, at this unholy hour on a Sunday Morning. First port of call was a coffee and a catch up with the always lovely British Esquire team at the John Smedley Presentation. Styled brilliantly by Luke Day, the Smedley brand is going through somewhat of a butterfly transformation, everything about the event seemed in a playful mood, with the models in a school gym backdrop and every colour of the rainbow being present within the range. Something for everyone, one might say.
Then off to the pub, del,l no not literally, on second thoughts, yes literally, as TOPMAN had taken over the Old Crown
Public house and were using at as a much needed pit stop for Press inbetween shows. Seriously, Sir Pip of Arcadia, whoever came up with this brilliant idea needs knighting ! The whole purpose of this visit was to pick up our tickets to the TOPMAN Design show. This season a much shorter and concise show, not to everyone’s taste, but you can’t keep everyone happy all of the time
and if  TOPMAN are anything its brave and willing to try different things. The TREND and really the only trend of the show was Cowboy. I caught up with Gordon Richardson, Design Director, after the show who told me it was all about Destroyed Glamour , finding inspiration in the Robert Altman Classic Western “Nashville” , but on closer inspection there are a number of 1950’s B movie references within the embroidery on the pieces.
Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 11.55.08Now as part of this season’s review of the Mens Fashion Weeks for SS14, I’ve sought the opinions of some of the most well respected and top of their game, minds within Menswear, ohh and all friends and ardent fans of Clothes Make the Man. First up is Menswear Stylist for The Independent, Lee Holmes, who had a soft spot for……
“Richard Nicoll was one of the stand out shows for me as it was both wearable but didn’t lack impact. Prints made up of old school gay porn, snakes and hawks was a winning combination.”
We then moved on to a brand which couldn’t have given us more of a juxtaposition if we’d have tried, Gieves and Hawkes. The Savile Row giant with the enviable address of No 1 Savile Row, under the new Creative direction of Jason Basmajian who also masterfully styled the presentation, gave us a glimpse of what it would be like to embark on a long summer holiday with stops planned in Amalfi, Nairobi, Barbados and Shanghai and what one would wear during the many events and occasions one would experience during such a trip, beat two weeks in Corfu anyday.Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 11.58.07After this pleasurable jaunt, it was back to zig zagging across London to, what in my opinion has to have been one of THE shows during LC:M, Agi & Sam. Although producing probably their most grown up collections to date they never once lost sight of their fun and playful nature which is one of the most enduring qualities of this pairing. Well, this and the fact that Agi’s parents were seat in front of me and seemed the proudest and loveliest of people. They showed us a throughly modern range including ever element within the gambit of a man’s wardrobe but done in their inimitable style. Ohhh plus a sneaky lil cameo endorsement from no less then Sir Paul Smith, who told me himself he was a great admirer of there work.Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 12.02.44Spencer Hart was next to show us his wears for Spring Summer 2014 and what a visual experience is was, full of Eastern promise. The show opened and pretty much closed with offering us an alternative to the traditional tuxedo, teaming a dinner jacket with a traditional Arabic Jalabiya. The casting showcased some of the coolest black models in the industry today, including, Actor Nathan Stewart-Jarrett of Misfits, this begged the question of, why don’t we see more of these guys on the catwalk, but that’s a much bigger kettle of fish then we have time for. Hart teased us with a collection of must have tailoring, making you want to cast off every piece of casual wear you ever possessed.

The next gem on the agenda was none other then that master of Ladies footwear Jimmy Choo, who are turning their hand to mens shoes. I know what you’re thinking I had the same preconceptions and really had to be coerced into attending, I have no idea what I was letting myself in for, but was more then pleasantly surprised ! Everything from a high tops to a porn penny loafer and don’t get me started on the porn camo or paisley, great shoes with a great sense of humour and all done in the BEST possible taste !

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 12.06.26Finally, to the last designer for the first part of our review of London’s finest, Clive Darby’s RAKE. Inspired by the extravagantly talented gentleman Racer François Cevert, including the wreck of the very car in which Cevert lost his life, which was a little too macabre for my liking. But nothing could prevent my liking of this collection, as cool as the man who acted as muse, highly wearable with lashings of style.

image-3Levi’s Jeans occupy a very privileged place in the apparel Universe. No one can argue that over time no other denim brand has been so historically iconic from their birth by Levi Strauss & Co in 1873, to being the most desired and traded object on the black market in countries behind the iron curtain in the 1980’s and producing some of the most memorable Advertising campaign of any brand from Nick Karman’s  501’s to errr Flat Eric.

Bringing us to today where Levi’s have looked back at their extensive heritage as inspiration for their latest venture of urban running trainers. The Levi’s brand knows that trainers are an essential part of a man’s wardrobe whether he likes to wear them while relaxing in his jeans on the weekend or teaming them up with chinos for a mid-week night out. They’re a go-to item that works no matter what you’re up to.

The Design boffins over at Levi’s have taken classic running style shoes from the eighties and reinterpreted them to instill a strong sense of craftsmanship and refinement for today’s contemporary man.  An interesting eco element of the shoe is the fact that they have shredded old shoes and mixed them with a rubber compound to become a new outsole and in keeping with their denim heritage, while you might normally associate chambray with Levi’s shirts, the new city runners have been lined with this stylish fabric to give them some additional refinement on the inside.

 

 

 

 

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For Summer 2013, there are a number of blockbusters that have people chomping at the bit with excitement and has them waiting in anticipation to sit in a darkened room for 2 and a bit hours. There’s Star Trek 2, The Great Gatsby, Monsters University, The Wolverine, but the one that has the most people all giddy is Superman, Man of Steel ! To mark this movie-llous Summer of film, French Connection who have built up a reputation of promoting film heritage through its product, continues its longstanding collaboration with retro comic book giant DC.

The French Connection Design team were invited to explore the archives of DC Comics, following original design guidelines and producing an exclusive range of T-shirts featuring original artwork  of Kal-El (Superman’s Krypton name) as well as imagery from the new release, giving the range a vintage aesthetic through the use of screen printing.

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Yes, its come round again Father’s Day is this Sunday, well just in case the above banner, courtesy of our kind friends at Marks & Spencer, wasn’t a big enough clue. Hey, you can’t ever say Clothes-Make-the-Man don’t help you out we’ve scoured the internet looking for some of the best gifts around for the Big Man in your life. Gift’s that will have your Pop wiping a tear from his eye and saying things like, “But son you shouldn’t have” and “So much thought must have gone in to that son”. We’ve gone for more unusual gift ideas for this year, no don’t worry no weekend yoga retreats in the middle of nowhere, or chocolate coated crickets, you’re alright. Now if that wasn’t enough M&S have also supplied us with their top ten gift ideas for Dad’s. What more you ask for ?

1) OK first off let’s aim high and you can’t get much higher then the all new and UK’s first Helicopter sightseeing tour. It starts from either the Heliport in London’s Battersea or the Redhill Aerodrome near Gatwick Airport. The route over London follows The River Thames from Putney in the West to Greenwich in the East, climbing to over 1,000ft above the City’s stunning skyline. During the flight passengers will get to see some of the capital’s most historic landmarks including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, The Tower of London, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and new attractions like The Shard.  Famous sporting venues including Wembley, The Emirates (ohh well) and the Olympic Stadium are also visible from the route and last for approximately 20 minutes.

Chris Mann, MD of The London Helicopter says: “We’re thrilled to have launched the first London based helicopter sightseeing service from London’s only Heliport.  Joining the likes of New York, Las Vegas and Cape Town makes us enormously proud.”  PS, Shhhhh for Father’s day any dads taking flights will receive an exclusive goodie bag of gifts.

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2) Always remember there’s nothing wrong with buying socks as a gift, as no man can never have too many socks, well almost. Now it’s not the sock giving, where problems arise, but the actual socks themselves. Now if you’re looking to impress your dear old Dad, your really can’t go wrong with Richmondsocks.com, we’ve mentioned them a couple of time here and they are doing a sterling job in bringing great socks to the great masses.Offering everything and anything any man could possibly want in sock formation from Corgi to Wolsey.

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3) Now we all know smoking is not only a social faux pas but a big time no no generally on every possible front, plus with the smoking ban being ever extending, these wonderful luxurious chocolate cigars from the men’s collection of luxury Italian Chocolatier Venchi’s, don’t half do the trick.

SONY DSC4) You know when you see something and you think, thats genius ! Why hasn’t someone thought of that before ? Well, when you see the work of Tommy Sauce, you’ll ask yourself that very question.  Their aim is simple: to provide football fans with something beautiful for their homes. As Andrew and Ben, the brains behind this wonderful idea put it, “Inspired by the vibrant colours, chants and deeply rich history of the national game, we want our work to capture the true passion of football.” Ohhh and the most surprising thing about this gem of a product is the price and thats all I’m saying, see for yourself. Now just to show we are totally impartial here at Clothes Make the Man we’re going to show two of their images, one for the best football team in the world and some other team.

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5) Grooming products are always a winner for Dad no matter what age, as a rule of thumb here at Clothes-Make-the-Man we try and stay clear of clique  grooming gifts and there are no excuses at the moment as their are great gift set about at the moment. If you’re looking for something a little different maybe take a look at I Coloniali. This Italian range of Men’s Skin Treatments contains a unique Calmiskin phytoagent of white willow bark extract to soothe and regenerate skin. Or if your looking for a bargain this Father’s day look no further then Clinique who are offering the below FREE with the purchase of any two or more Skin Supplies for Men products up until Saturday 15th June.

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6) Cufflinks can be perceived as a traditional gift even sometimes a little bit cheesy, but one thing that can never be said about these cufflinks by Rachel Eardley is that they’re Cheesy. She creates beautiful pieces that are handcut from decommissioned coins and finished in sterling silver. These stylish hound cufflinks are handcut from Irish coins and are simple yet stylish.

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7) If Dad is partial to a spot of boys only games night, then this is the perfect gift for him, ensured to leave him lost for words. From Aspinal of London, this exquisitely hand bound by master craftsmen in the finest quality Black Lizard calf leather over a handmade wooden box frame with the interior lavishly lined in Aspinal signature Purple padded suede. Each Leather Poker Chip set comprises of 100 poker chips, five poker die and two decks of ‘Faberge inspired’ playing cards. A genuine item of luxury for the dad who appreciates the finer things in life!

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8) A watch is a timeless gift, see what I did there, that any Father will value, sorry I seem to be sounding like a Hallmark card. Uniform Wares offer great timepieces that encapsulate classic design but couldn’t be more contemporary and are a real investment  without costing an arm and leg. This example is part of the new 152 Series it’s a modern reinterpretation of the classic dress watch and has a refined, ultra-thin silhouette.

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10) Finally, talk about the gift that keeps on giving, this amazing, get ready for it, 85″ S9 Ultra High Definition LED TV by Samsung breaks new boundaries in the world of HD TV. With breath-taking picture quality and concert quality audio, this stunning 85″ screen and unique design delivers an unreal, excitingly immersive experience. As for performance, Smart Evolution – technology unique to Samsung – gives you the world’s first Future Ready UHD TV. Ohhh and you’ll need a spare £35,000.00 OK £34, 999.00 to pay for it. I wonder how they get it in your house ?

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THE MARKS & SPENCER TOP TEN FATHER’S DAY GIFTS

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131 contrastManchester’s Northern Quarter is fast being a hot bed, or even Nest, one might say, for creative, non conformist clothing brands, over the years this area has been a great breeding ground for Music and clubs throughout the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and into the 90’s. The Northern Quarter has seen Dry Bar, Afflecks Palace,  The Happy Mondays, The Hollies, New Order, Herman’s Hermits, The Smiths, The Band on the Wall etc. But in more recent times we’ve seen an influx of clothing brands and shops into the area, the all powerful Oi Polloi, boohoo.com, Elvis Jesus and  the latest being Cuckoos Nest all calling it home.

The latter brand, Cuckoos Nest was first established in 2009 under the premiss of creating easy-to-wear pieces with a unique and unconventional style aimed at trend hungry men, with an appreciation for street wear and the sensibility for avant grade graphic design and print making.

Their surroundings give them a unique perspective and as they reappraise objects and images prevalent in British life, providing a new take on streetwear and fashion focused garments. Graphic design lies at the heart of Cuckoos Nest, with a desire to defy convention and push boundaries. Their surrealist reimagining of classic images gives the guys the ability to interpret the consciousness of many subcultures and genres, as is seen in their Summer 13 collections which gives a real tropical summer vibe, even if the our own Summer 13 don’t ever get off the ground.

Cuckoos Nest Summer 2013

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