Martin Franklin – Foxhall London – Textual Conversation

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 19.59.29No don’t worry, I know there are times my spelling and grammar leave a lot to be desired, but its OK put the red marking pen away, on this occasion. Today’s subject is , Martin Franklin, the man behind the, relatively, new brand Foxhall London, although only founded in 2010 after seeing a gap in the market for a new kind of British menswear targeted to 30-45 year old guys living a modern metropolitan life. And so Foxhall was developed to offer these men an edited contemporary wardrobe, with a full category offering, covering contemporary tailoring through to technical urban outerwear and wardrobe essential items such as selvedge denim, great T-shirts, fitted shirting, classic knitwear and robust, stylish accessories.

Inspired by sports and outdoors brands, functional details with consideration for urban life were considered and incorporated into key outerwear items.  The collection has developed a sharp tailored look, and designed to be easy to understand and wear – items that form the foundation of a modern man’s wardrobe.

The name FOXHALL comes from the London Borough of Vauxhall and is probably best explained by Franklin himself,           “It’s a much earlier spelling of Vauxhall, the area of London that is amazingly not famous for the spectacular Pleasure Gardens found there for 250 years from the 17th to 19th centuries. Having lived in the area for quite a few years, I learnt more about them and they were an amazing centre of urban recreation – with spectacular energy, a diversity of people, a certain hedonism – everything that makes London such a great city today. I realised 350 years on not much has changed, and because Foxhall celebrates London’s urban fabric, I thought the Pleasure Gardens were a great inspiration for the brand story”.

For Summer 2013, the brand’s collection continues on its tip of offering contemporary ready to wear and accessories in the brand’s signature style. Key developments include summer separates; creating iconic staple designs which will continually evolve with the seasons to provide trademark capsule collections.

Inspired by the various pursuits of the urban lifestyle, each design is created with attention to detail providing form and function in equal measure. Consideration towards transitional design is encompassed within the collection, creating an easy to wear day to night wardrobe. Trends include the development of light outerwear, the Wren ¾ length raincoat and Catesby technical blazer are offered in performance Teflon-coated cotton, whilst high summer sees the introduction of style essentials: jersey shorts, pure cotton fitted vests and the new utility cargo shorts.

The first store opened at 20 Earlham St, Seven Dials Covent Garden, in August 2012 with the Autumn/Winter 2012 Collection. The webstore, foxhalllondon.com, opened for business in October, and ships Foxhall merchandise globally. Anyway enough of me, what has he got to say;

In your words, describe the collection? What was the inspiration for it? What are the key pieces in it?

It’s the complete urban wardrobe. The inspiration behind the label was the plain navy crewneck T – I didn’t know where to find a good one that was neither £20 nor £80 – rather somewhere in-between.  I asked all my friends and they didn’t know either.  I developed the idea and realised that menswear was missing a contemporary mid-price brand focusing on beautifully made wardrobe essentials fitted to a lean, body-conscious silhouette. The key pieces in our SS13 collection are the Catesby Technical Blazer – it’s a style you won’t find anywhere else, it uses technical Teflon-coated cotton with sealed-seams so it weathers wind and rain well, and it has a great sleek look that can dress smart or casual.  Then the Mayhew Light – a half-lined tailored cotton jacket, which is a perfect summer weight, which can be paired with the Symes tailored smart short – to make a very elegant summer short suit.  And finally the Bentham Light hooded cotton zip-through – a fitted, lightweight summer top in great colours that will be a comfortable holiday essential.  Those three themes comprise the Foxhall collection essentially – Urban Technical wear, Sleek Tailoring and luxe Jerseywear. The urban wardrobe covered. 

 

If you could collaborate with one brand (Who you currently aren’t) who would it be and why?

We’re into our second season and feel confident each design has been thoroughly considered. We are definitely keen to introduce, longer term, brand extensions including footwear, eyewear, technical sportswear etc. and will want to collaborate with the leading companies in their field. It’s more about working with these experts than specific brands but we’re definitely keen to align with these longer term.

 

Favourite hotel in the world?

Tough choice – probably between the Sukothai in Bangkok, the Raffles in Phnom Penh or the Oberoi in Agra.  Hotels that stand out need an exotic location, a concierge who can read you perfectly, a bar with its own atmosphere, a no-holds-barred breakfast and a pool area that feels like an event in itself – and each of those hotels delivers in all areas.

 

If you could live anywhere where would it be & Why ?

London is unquestionably top of the list. After arriving back from anywhere in the world, London is always a good place to land and call home. It’s the capital of the world for almost everything that’s important to me.

 

How did you get into the industry, what was your big break?

I got into the industry because I decided to leave Procter&Gamble. I had learnt how to build a brand, and wanted to build my own.  I saw the gap in the menswear market based on my own shopping experience, and felt that would be a good place to start. My big break, I think any entrepreneur would agree, was when my investors confirmed their interest in being involved with the project and the first day of the store opening was equally momentous– that’s when it became real.

 

What do you have to do after this conversation?

Finish the financial projections for our next 2-year business plan.  But, given it’s such a spectacular sunny day in London and they’re never to be taken for granted, I would like to be meeting a few people for long cocktails somewhere outside and park like.

 

What piece of clothing would you relegate to Room 101 ?

The chunky collegiate graphic hoodie. It’s been so remorselessly imitated and cheapened a thousand different ways. 

 

What piece of clothing should everyman have in his wardrobe?

At least 3 good white shirts – in smart, casual and summer variations. When it’s a quality piece it makes anything you wear with it look sharp. I have around 15 in my wardrobe but it’s the Foxhall ones that I wear the most now. 

 

What piece of style advice do you live by?

Buy expensive shoes.  Never gone wrong with that.

 

Who is your style icon ? Why?

Probably Vidal Sassoon.  He was so elegant in what we wore, and always dressed so effortlessly appropriately – I remember meeting with him on P&G Sassoon business on a cool-ish November morning in LA and he had just come from the gym and he looked so urbane – a fitted taupe leather biker, casual shirt and jeans – expensive and elegant but understated and casual – like he had made an effort, but not a big effort – as though it happened quite naturally, which for him I suppose it did. For me that’s the best kind of style.

 

Tell us something no one else knows?

My first-ever fashion week experiences were in 2001 in London and New York when Sassoon was still a big sponsor. I was really nervous about what to wear and what would be considered fashionable enough for fashion week. After much deliberation I just went for black from head to toe, and it totally worked. It didn’t stand out or make a bold statement but it worked, and I felt confidently a part of everything. That was the useful lesson that fashion week taught me.

 

 

FOXHALL LONDON SUMMER 2013 COLLECTION

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Are you a Fendi Fan – Fan di Fendi Pour Homme, The New Men’s Fragrance

FAN DI FENDI POUR HOMMEThere are Fashion Houses and there are Fashion Houses and Fendi is a house and rule all to themselves, since 1925 Fendi has always been on the cutting edge of Italian style and experimentation. They have always embraced the idea of luxurious craftsmanship and contemporary innovation. A family at the core of the house, founded by Adele and Edoardo Fendi and passed into the care of their five daughters, who had the foresight to start to collaborate with a young man called Karl Lagerfeld, you may have heard of him, back in 1965. The rest they say is history !

Silva Fendi, the Creative Director of Menswear, Accessories and Childrenswear for the house wanted to complete the chic and carefree live of the Fendi man, with a fragrance which would reflect him and his embodiment of style and charm. The scent itself, is a bracing freshness of Tangerine from the offset, this is accompanied by Bergamot. Then a fresh and aromatic top note with Basil sets the tone in turn it is spiced with Rose Hips and Cardamom. This is completed with vibrant Geranium before melting into the powerful woody tonalities of Cedar from Texas.

For a racy and stylish scent of this nature, Fendi searched for a man to embody the true meaning of Fan di Fendi Pour Homme. They needed a man, a man of talent, whose style is world class and who shared a real synergy with Fendi. For this they opted for Mark Ronson, a recognised renaissance man who’s not only award winning but whose work stretches from artists as diverse as Bruno Mars, Rufus Wainwright, Duran Duran, the Late Amy Winehouse and the Royal Ballet. Whose family like the Fendi’s are both talented and creative.

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Basel World Watch Fair 2013 – by Leo Parker

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 14.56.37For those of you who have no idea what or where The Basel World Watch fair is, its essentially the stand-out event in the luxury watch calendar and any watchmaker worth their salt – the likes of Rolex, Breitling, TAG Heuer and Hublot – see it as the ideal platform to showcase exactly what they have got in store over the next twelve months.

Now with the 2013 Fair a distant, but fantastic, memory, we have the opportunity to look back at the event and unveil some of the finest, most luxurious and, quite frankly, jaw-dropping timepieces that were showcased at this year’s celebrity packed event.

All the world’s biggest watchmakers came out to play at BaselWorld 2013 with the likes of Rolex, TAG Heuer, Breitling and Hublot truly showcased why they are considered the world’s most revered and prestigious watchmakers.

The event had plenty of buzz about it prior to its commencement and, it’s safe to say, it definitely didn’t disappoint on any level with some breath taking luxury watches being unveiled to an eager throng of consumers who were lucky enough to score tickets to the event.

Switzerland is the spiritual home of watchmaking so it’s no surprise that the world’s leading names wait for BaselWorld to show off what they’ve had up their sleeves and will be releasing over the next few months. Courtesy of the chaps over at The Watch Gallery, we have some exclusive photos from this year’s BaselWorld event and prepare to be blown away by a horological master class from the likes of TAG Heuer, Hublot and Rolex.

So, let’s stop talking about BaselWorld and start looking at some of the watches that were unveiled at the event – safe to say, they were all pretty amazing.

TAG Heuer MikroPendulum Watch:

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TAG Heuer MikroPendulum Watch

TAG Heuer Carrera Collection:

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887 41mm

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887 41mm

TAG Heuer Carrera Jack Heuer Edition

TAG Heuer Carrera Jack Heuer Edition

 

Hublot Masterpiece MP-05 LaFerrari Watch:

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Hublot Masterpiece MP-05 LaFerrari

Hublot Masterpiece MP-05 LaFerrari

 

 

Rolex Stand:

Rolex stand at BaselWorld 2013 – 1230 square metres, six weeks to construct

Rolex stand at BaselWorld 2013 – 1230 square metres, six weeks to construct

Rolex GMT Master II

Rolex GMT Master II

 

Rolex 36mm Day Date with Crocodile Strap

Rolex 36mm Day Date with Crocodile Strap

 

Rolex 50th Anniversary Daytona Platinum watch

Rolex 50th Anniversary Daytona Platinum watch

 

Zenith Stand:

 

Austrian daredevil, Felix Baumgartner, helping to launch new range of Zenith Pilot watches

Austrian daredevil, Felix Baumgartner, helping to launch new range of Zenith Pilot watches

 

The watch worn by Baumgartner during descent to earth

The watch worn by Baumgartner during descent to earth

 

As you can see, BaselWorld 2013 has seen some spectacular timepieces unveiled and some of the best are showcased above. With such an exceptional array of watches showcased at the event, excitement is already high over what the world’s leading watchmakers have got in store for BaselWorld 2014.

 

There’s so much more to a pair of Dr Martens

 

From Cow to Boot

From Cow to Boot

Fancy a trip to the Dr Martens factory, to see a pair being made ? Yes I know, this may sound like Chinese water torture to some people but believe you me, you’ll never take shoes for granted or look at them in the same cavalier manner ever again ! So as I was saying I was LUCKY enough to take a little jaunt upt North, to Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. Not only the home to British footwear but the home to Dr Marten – land otherwise known as the Cobbs Lane Factory. After a brief history of the iconic DM footwear and how the Made in England range and a couple of bespoke collaborations are still created at the unique Cobb’s Lane factory, which has been producing footwear for the Griggs family since 1901. It is the home of the original Dr. Martens boot. Within these modest factory walls work a close knit family of people steeped in traditional shoe-making methods.

In and amongst the noisy industrial backdrop of pristinely preserved machinery is the unmistakable smell of freshly cut leather, here the familiar form of a Dr. Martens shoe or boot begins to take shape. The process takes the boot through various highly skilled stages of the creation process until its final arrival – laced up and spotless – in a box … ready for a life which no two pairs will have the same life experience (See the images below to see the process in action).

A piece of leather goes through a number of stages in the process to the finished article, but its life starts as carefully selected hides are stored in a small pile of just one week’s supply. They are then lifted – one at a time – on to the desk of the Clicker. This has long been one of the most prestigious jobs in a footwear factory. It is the Clicker’s task to cut the single hide into various component parts of the boot’s upper pattern; using just the right strip knife, the expertise lies in creating the minimum amount of waste while ensuring the finest sections of the hide are utilised. His knife also pricks marks in the leather to show where eyelets and seams will later be placed. To succeed to the standard required for a Made in England product, the Clicker needs experience, a steady hand and, above all, an eye for detail.

The thing a pair of Docs is probably most famous for is its air cushioned sole, this is produced using a granular compound that is melted and then injected into a mould which carries the distinctive “DMS” sole pattern and the Resistance Rectangle indicating that the compound is resistant to Oil, Fat, Acid Petrol and Alkali. When the soles have cooled, a felt strip is inserted into the cavity of the insole, followed by a comfort pad, both of which are placed by hand. The sole is then placed against the upper, temporarily joined at the toe and heel by “spotting” a hot blade between the welt and the sole ready for the real moment of inspired creation.

A highly skilled machinist places the upper and sole – which are now loosely sandwiched together – against a heated blade which is kept at 700 degrees centigrade. This blade goes in between the sole and the welted upper, melts the PVC of the sole and seamlessly fuses the two parts of the boot together.

All that is left is to finish the side wall of the sole with the distinctive Dr. Martens grooving, again done with great hand skill as the boot is pushed against a razor sharp spinning blade cut in the form of the instantly recognisable groove, and creating the two toned grooved sole edge.

With the plastic last finally removed, the finished boot gets a hand-polish and lace-up to ensure its all spick and span, before being boxed and readied for shipping to stores, literally around the world.

 

THE DR MARTENS PROCESS FROM START TO FINISH

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What winning jersey will you be wearing – Giro d’Italia or The Tour de France ???

Presentazione nuova maglia Giro d'Italia 2013 disegnata da Paul SmithI think its pretty damn fair to say the two most important races in the cycling calendar are the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, who both this year have something to shout about. Firstly, the Giro, which will be marking their 96th edition, which began in 1909, This year the events organisers, RCS Sport Cycling, have invited Sir Paul Smith, to design the leaders jerseys.

The four jerseys are, the Maglia Rosa is the jersey worn by the leader of the time general classification. The Red Jersey is worn by the leader of the points general classification. The Blue Jersey, is the symbol of the King of the Mountain classification leader and finally the White Jersey is worn by the best young rider in the general classification.

In addition to the British designer’s signature on the jerseys’ collar, the left sleeves will bear the iconic Paul Smith stripes as the hallmark of his work. The race started on 4th May with the Grand Departure in Naples. The riders will then face 21 stages  finishing up on May 26th in Brescia. Paul said recently of this collaboration;

“I started cycling at the age of 12 and raced until I was 18. A bad crash put me in hospital for several months, after which I discovered the world of creativity, design and fashion and started my career, which luckily has progressed to what it is today.

During that period I have always followed cycling and have been privileged to meet many key riders, building friendships with Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, David Millar and many more. I also have a huge collection of jerseys from the 70s right up to current times, often signed by the riders.

With all this in mind, it was an absolute honour and delight to be asked to design the four jerseys for the Giro and I hope that the simple approach that I’ve made is acceptable to you all; putting red piping with the pink, cleaning all of the jerseys up to keep them as simple as possible and adding a little drawing of a cyclist by myself onto the jerseys.” 

Then, we have the other European cycling powerhouse, The Tour de France, this year celebrating its centenary year and French Sports brand Le Coq Sportif have designed a unique jersey specifically for the 100th year of the tour. The 2013 yellow jersey or Maillot Jaune – is a symbol of this great, now international, bike race – brings innovation to the fore. The ever symbolic yellow of the jersey, even brighter this year, features a translucent « Moor’s Head » imprint on the main body of the jersey. This is a first, in recognition of the island – Corsica – which is to host the Grand Départ of the 100th Tour on 29th June.

Another special feature of this year’s race is the grand finish, which is to take place, for the first time, at night, inspiring le coq sportif to incorporate an array of reflective detail in the golden tunic.

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