Finaest.com Founder, Luca Catalano
"Cordone shirts are really well known for the superior, high-quality fabrics and vestability. This shirt is a style staple yet offers a peculiar sleeve stitching that sets it apart. Shirtmakers Cordone construct their shirts by stitching the first two parts of the body, front and back, and then re-attaching the sleeves to guarantee the best fit possible. I love mixing up different styles to mirror my personality and this versatile Cordone shirt in jeans paired with a jacket is real must have for me this season".
"I always add a silk pochette to my look because it gives a punch of colour to winter greys, browns, blues and blacks, rendering the look instantly chic. Serà fine silk pocket handkerchiefs originate from the Italian Como Silk Textiles region, known for its artisan handcrafted pieces for those true style aficionados".
Left - Serà - Fine Silk Pocket Handkerchief - £38.34
"I can’t forget my favourite A/W wardrobe staple, a Maglia umbrella. Handcrafted through 100 different phases, I chose this umbrella in particular because its bamboo handle that adds a sophisticated, playful air. A man has to distinguish himself through details like this umbrella".
Left - Maglia - Lord Blue & Red Pinstripe With Bamboo Handle - £205.62
"Miserocchi is one of my preferred shoe brands because they are so comfortable, entirely made by hand, and created in the finest supple leathers on the market. My A/W wardrobe cannot be without a pair of Miserocchi ankle boots because not only do they keep my feet warm, but I don’t have to renounce comfort and style.
Interesting side-note: Each pair requires at least two and a half hours of artisan craftsmanship, using only the finest Tuscan leather. The true artisan value lies in the fact that the shoemaker ‘feels’ and ‘regulates’ each stitch of every boot to ensure the most tailored elegant fit".
Above - Miserocchi - Brown Camel Leather Ankle Boots - £132.43
"Because each item that makes up my look has to quintessentially hold both a special story and be made out of the best materials on the market. This hat from Cappelificio Biellese does not disappoint…. and not only! I am really into this blue print. I think a blue hat is a must have in everyman’s winter wardrobe".
Left - Cappellificio Beillese - Gingham Jockey Cap - £62.03
It was Prince who once sang about a raspberry beret and while he was admiring the wearer, going in through the out door, this season he should be one sporting himself.
Left - Gucci catwalk AW15
Seen on the catwalk at Gucci, it’s the beret’s simplicity that really makes it appealing for the cold weather season.
Left - Gucci - £160
A stylish alternative to the beanie or bobble hat, here are a few suggestions, but they can be picked up, relatively cheaply, on eBay and Amazon.
From the French word béret, it is a simple flat woollen cap traditionally worn by peasants. It was adopted by revolutionaries and artists and adds that romantic feeling to any look. Just remember, you want to look studious not like a New York Guardian Angel!
Left - Picasso
Above- Lock & Co - Basque Beret - £85
Below - Che Guevara
Here to launch their Woolmark Prize winning men’s collection at Harvey Nichols, TheChicGeek grabbed design duo, Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow of American fashion label, Public School, for a couple of minutes to talk Made in the USA, DKNY and state schools
Left - Not your average public schoolboys! Dao-Yi & Maxwell of Public School
Winners of the inaugural International Woolmark Menswear Prize, Public School has been gaining attention over the last few seasons and has been tasked with the makeover of American fashion giant DKNY. The winning Woolmark collection is in their signature black and features machine body-conscious hoodies, sweaters and leggings and is available Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge and Matchesfashion.com.
Where did the name Public School come from? “It’s from the idea of New York being a melting pot. Public School is about not being an intimidating designer name: we wanted to make it something everybody could get into it,” says Maxwell.
Do they realise that public school means something completely different in the UK? I suggested they renamed the label ‘State School’, “We need to change the labels here!” laughs Maxwell.
So, they’ve just taken over at DKNY, will they be doing the menswear and what can we expect?
“No, just women’s. As for men’s, they’re exiting the business. Maybe in a couple of years it will return,” says Dao.
Right - The new Woolmark Prize winning men's knitwear on display at Harvey Nichols London
How would they sum up Public School for those not familiar with the label?
“It’s a men’s and women’s designer collection based out of New York and also the production is done in New York City. It’s around this idea of convergence and mixing,” Dao says.
How do they find production in the USA and doesn’t it make selling in Europe prohibitively expensive?
“Production is difficult in general. But, it’s easier for a company of our size, now, which is small, to keep production in the US,” says Dao.
“We have to get creative. Give a retailer discount if they can buy more to off-set the difference,” says Maxwell.
The Public School Woolmark Collection is available at Harvey Nichols & Matchesfashion.com - Prices - £235 - £740
Designers use the terms 'ombré' and 'degradé' to describe this graduated colour effect, while the high-street just cuts to the chase and opts for 'dip-dye' .
However you want to call it, it looks great in knitwear - as pictured here - and in particular in this grey.
American brand, Vince, is perfect if you're a messy eater, while M&S has the reverse effect, ideal for disguising a bit of belly.
Left - Vince - Wool/Casmere Ombré Pullover - £215 From StyleBop
You’ve probably noticed Gucci getting a lot of Chic Geek love recently. This is new, improved, just keeps on getting better Gucci: a Gucci that hasn't excited us since Tom Ford left the building over a decade ago.
One of the most distinctive items of their new look is the famous GG monogrammed canvas printed over with painted geraniums. Seen on bombers - as in the new Cruise SS16 advertising - here and various accessories.
A real man shouldn't be afraid to carry flowers, especially when they're on his duffle bag. Be the first to get this.
Left & Below - Gucci - GG Blooms Duffle Bag - £1100
It should be remembered that the term exclusive, long touted by fashion brands in the positive sense of the word, is the opposite of inclusive. The opposite, to exclude, becomes a negative: a pushing away and a physical wall between the them and us.
Left - The LV Series 3 Sticker Wall - Take home a sticker of an item you probably can't afford
Luxury brands tread a fine line between wanting the masses to buy en masse - they have to in order to sustain these giant businesses - while keeping this positive form of exclusivity.
As brands find it increasingly difficult to differentiate themselves in a crowded market, both in physicality and ideas, some are using that muscle to ‘educate’ the consumer and let them into this ‘exclusive’ world.
French brand, Louis Vuitton just opened a new, month long exhibition, opposite Australia House on The Strand, entitled LV Series 3, to showcase the thought processes their womenswear designer, Nicholas Ghesquière, had behind their current AW15 collection.
Like many of these things, it is a risk. You either leave with the brand going up higher or lower in your expectations. Obviously, the brand, spending huge sums of money, wants the former.
Rather than a wow, it wasn’t quite clear what you were looking at and then, unfortunately, you ask yourself, do I really care?
Brands have to be careful not to believe in their own myth and hype. They have to remember who put them there. Some of these things can have a touch of the Marie Antoinettes: the great unwashed allowed in, on their terms, to look, but not touch.
People are giving up their precious free time and making a journey to see these things featuring perspex boxes housing £5000 bags with the pretention that you should feel privileged that they are even allowing you in to see something you’ll never be able to afford.
I understand brands want and need to put their product on a pedestal in order to make it feel special, but it also needs to feel inclusive. If people are taking time out of their busy lives to frequent these things it needs to be on par or better than a museum show or don’t bother at all. These things are beautifully made and while there are two artisans demonstrating and making product inside the exhibit, you leave feeling like you don't know anymore than when you first went in.
It could be that I'm not a fan of Ghesquière's, but I went in wanting to be wowed and educated on why he's been given the top job at the world's biggest luxury goods company. It fell flat on that front. I left feeling that luxury brands need to remember that it’s important not to patronise if they want us to carry on patronising.
Let’s stop and reflect at the new Gucci for just one second. From what is a complete 180 degree u-turn of the brand their current customer is used to, they are doing exactly the right thing by distancing themselves from the tacky, status driven brand it had become.
Left & Below - Gucci Cruise SS16
In fashion we love a reinvention especially when you have the one person - whom you trust - take over all aspects of the business from design to stores to advertising to branding.
As ‘designer’ fashion becomes more unaffordable and high-street fashion gets better and cheaper, the chasm between the two keeps getting wider.
Consumers, the world over, are waking up and many can no longer justify the price of designer goods when it is so far from something they are reasonably happy with particularly when it comes to clothing.
Designer brands need to give us something we would find nowhere else. These need to be the ultimate new ‘vintage’ finds that make them feel like a discovery rather than something seen from Shanghai to Bond Street on every gormless tourist.
Gucci’s new Creative Director, Alessandro Michele said recently, “I think in the imagination of each of us, there is the idea of having a beautiful wardrobe of unique pieces.”
Okay, we’re not that naive to think Gucci are making only one of each item, but it certainly feels that way and that’s the clever thing.
Lots of international designer brands have been too busy chasing the volume and forgetting about the special. There is certainly the margins on these products to add something different and while Gucci will lose a lot of customers, they will certainly gain a select, influential and niche few.
Whether this can sustain the world’s second biggest luxury brand will have to be seen, but they are certainly making some beautiful and interesting things, again.