I have a new found respect for Neil Barrett’s work after meeting him. While he’s never produced ‘look-at-me-internet-attention' grabbing clothes, he does enough to move his brand on, each and every season, and was a pioneer of the ‘athleisure’ trend which has filtered into the various echelons of menswear.
Left - Neil Barrett & his new 'Muse'!
I didn’t fully appreciate his designs until I saw them in the display which is currently on in Harvey Nichols new #Project109 menswear exhibition space. This are designs which could be easily dismissed as simple or minimal, but on closer inspection there's a hell of a lot more going on.
Harvey Nichols has asked Neil to look at his archive and display and reproduce favourite pieces from his collections from the past ten years. He says he saves every look from each of the four collections he produces every year, so that’s some serious storage facility.
After working for Gucci, Prada and establishing his own eponymous brand in 1999, he continued the minimal menswear aesthetic, but more recently started to introduce signature Barrett designs such as the chevron sweatshirt and lightning bolt.
‘ORIGINALS: Vol #1’ is a re-edition of 12 original designs, including the iconic buffalo jackets, leather-detailed coats and T-Shirts, jacquard suiting, colour-blocked shirts, and the double-bonded sweatshirts.
About to show his SS17 collection in Milan, Neil said he was inspired by his childhood in the 1970s in Devon, so the shapes and colours of items relate to items he used to wear then, but reimagined for now with his same attention to detail, design and modern fabrics.
Go visit - Harvey Nichols Project 109
Below - An example of the exhibit from Neil Barrett's archive
Have you ever been to the beach and been too scared for a pair of trunks and instead opted for a pair of boring swim shorts? Or, are you one of those boys worried about tan lines?
Left - The unzipped 'Meander' short
Well, there’s something new in the world of men’s swimwear thanks to the Swedish brand, Panos Emporio. The new ‘Meander’ swim short is designed by Swedish beach and swimwear designer, Panos Papadopoulos, who has, for the last 30 years, developed new swimwear trends.
Meander’s design was created out of a real problem that Panos had himself. He didn’t want tan lines without changing shorts.
How does it work? Guys can open up the sides of Meander with hidden zippers. The fabric rolls up, smoothly fastens with push bottoms in the front and the back and , voila, becomes an elegant shorter brief.
Right - Here's the science bit
By opening up the zippers, you also get full mobility for beach and water sports. With Meander, men no longer need to choose and get the best of both worlds: a sleek design and a tan without stripes on the thighs.
If you're feeling shy, roll down, and I bet by the end of the holiday it will be trunks all the way!
Below - Feeling overdressed?! Not a problem
Oh, what a night! TheChicGeek celebrated his 7th birthday in style with ginger themed festivities. Blogging years are a bit like dog years, but he doesn't look a day older than when he started! Seven full-on years have made him into the true chic geek he is today.
Held at the Farah store on Covent Garden's Earlham Street, the great and good of London's fashion crowd came out to wish him 'Happy Birthday'. Here's his scrapbook from the night. (He doesn't remember that much!)
Left - TheChicGeek is ready to get this party started!
Left - Jagermeister & ginger beer kept everybody's thirst quenched
Left - One night only! DJs B&Q
Left - Happy Birthday ChicGeek!! Seven candles for seven blog years.
Left - TheChicGeek's bespoke ginger cake
Right - TheChicGeek doesn't usually eat in public, but he couldn't resist a slice of his ginger birthday cake. Delicious!
TheChicGeek weekly magazine vlog includes celebrating his 7th birthday party with a ginger themed party at the Farah store in Covent Garden plus the new summer rooftop opened at John Lewis, Louis Vuitton has an exhibition running until the middle of June of commissions and objects from their archives, The Perfume Society launched their 'Discovery Box' in time for Father's Day plus a review of Natura Siberica, a grooming range made from ingredients from Siberia. If Vladimir Putin used a grooming range it would be this...
This week's video includes reviews of grooming products with sun protection, dinner with Dominic West, bumping into Carolyn Massey at her new role at Next and the must-have glittery beard.
Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear at the Victoria & Albert Museum displays more than 200 examples of men’s and women’s underwear from about 1750 to the present day.
Left - An example of 18th century men's underclothes. I'm guessing this just feel off, eventually!
In particular, it investigates how underwear design combines the practical and personal with the sensory and fashionable, in the process both protecting and enhancing the body.
Right - Not so much underwear, but Michelangelo's David's Victorian modesty leaf
TheChicGeek says, “Situated in the centre of the V&A’s fashion room, this exhibition starts with a room explaining the different constructs and changes in time of men’s and women’s undergarments up to the present day. Ultimately, underwear is there for support and keeping your clothes clean. Sexuality and feeling attractive does play a part, but this room is a clinical look at the architecture of underwear. Men’s examples included 18th century underclothes, underwear in those days meant anything worn next to the skin, Jockey Y-Fronts from the 1950s and Aussiebum's bulge enhancing pants.
Left - 1950s Jockey Y-Fronts & David Beckham for H&M
"Upstairs there was a loose idea of connecting fashion to underwear. What resulted was a disjointed collection of random items including loungewear and corseted outerwear. While nice, it didn’t really pick out the key points or moments in fashion that involved underwear or underwear gravitating into outerwear. Where was the famous Jean Paul Gaultier conical bodice of the late 80s or the 90s Dolce & Gabbana dresses with the bra straps? The exhibition needs a little more sex, there was no Bruce Weber for Calvin Klein images from the 1980s which pioneered the objection of men or the hyper-sexual male images that we’ve seen over the last two decades from the likes of Tom Ford or DSquared. While the underwear is here, the body that goes into them seems to have been forgotten and the two definitely go together."
Until 12th March 2017
TheChicGeek says, “Finally, Harvey Nichols has put its hands in its pockets and spent on its flagship store. Luckily, for us boys, it’s the menswear department that gets the first big overhaul. Working from the bottom up, Harvey Nichol’s new menswear department has been completely redesigned and what was and still is a difficult space has been given a fresh look while sorting out the flow and differing levels.
Left - The suiting/tailoring room
The 28,000 sq. ft. department, on two floors, has moved away from the that mini-airport concession look and given itself set rooms to cater for different customers and needs. Knowing they are limited on space, Harvey Nichols, is being clever by putting brands together on product rather than in set areas. So, if you want a formal suit, then all the formal suits are together. Accessories are scatted within the rooms and work together with the clothes rather than being stuck in defined areas away from each other. This is all about time and ease which, when selling to men, is a massive USP.
Right - The new 'Concierge'
There’s a new ‘concierge’, aka personal shopping service, in a separate area downstairs with generous changing rooms, some big enough for a whole family with their own sound systems and there’s no minimum spend.
As for the design, it feels designed, but not trying to hard, which is hard to pull off. It’s not trying to be ‘expensive’ or ‘exclusive’, it feels relaxed, welcoming and inclusive. There are lots of little touches like a set of stuffed birds and toy water guns which creates personality and lowers the serious factor.
Left - The only turkey I spotted
The white marble is there, the polished copper is there, plus a few mid-century modern pieces of furniture, yet it feels fresh and very ‘2016’, which I think is cool. It feels likes the kind of warm space you’d want to spend time in and revisit. As fashion becomes more mixed and broken down to item rather than price and branding, this feels like the future direction of retail and I'd be surprised if they don't see a massive increase in sales.
Harvey Nichols needed this badly and I’m pleased they’ve got what they deserved. It’s good. Go take a look.”