Wednesday, 11 April 2018 09:37

Hot List The Leather Denim Shirt

Leather denim shirt menswear hot list Tod's

Denim is having a bit of downtime while it decides where it wants to go after skinny. But, just because denim maybe having a rest, it doesn’t mean leather is. 

I saw this a few months ago and at first glance, it’s a classic blue denim shirt, but, on touching and closer inspection, it’s printed leather. Admittedly, that bumps the price up massively - it’s quite an investment - but who else do you know who will be wearing a leather denim shirt?

This is the ultimate in luxury casual.

Left & Below - Tod’s - Leather Shirt - £2650

Leather denim shirt menswear hot list Tod's

Thursday, 05 April 2018 10:29

Hot List Chemistry Teacher Shades

Men's sunglasses clear Gentle Monster Korea AfixThere was an American brand - Brashy Studio - who got a lot of online flak, recently, for selling safety glasses as a fashion accessory and charging $25 for the privilege. They cost £1.42 at B&Q BTW.

But, they were definitely onto something as clear frames and light lenses are the way to go this summer. I saw this pair from Korean brand Gentle Monster, who are set to open a store in London shortly, and there’s something one part chemistry teacher and one part Gucci catwalk that I love about them.

While they have that safety glasses vibe they’re far cooler than that and the lenses have full UV protection. Experiment!

Left & Below - Gentle Monster - Afix 02 - $310

Men's sunglasses clear Gentle Monster Korea Afix

More SS18 eyewear inspo? Try The Hamburglar Sunglasses here

Tuesday, 03 April 2018 16:40

Hot List The 70s Webbed Loafers

Men's shoes snaffle loafers Russell Bromley webbed 1970s Gucci fashionSnaffle loafers are one of the rare fashion items that can, legitimately, be called ‘timeless’. They bob along on the waves of shoe trends and come in and out when the time suits. They’re definitely something you should never throw away.

The most famous are Gucci, obvs, but it’s actually cooler and less basic to sniff out a cheaper alternative. Read more here

Russell & Bromley has this pair called ‘Mercury’. I really like the brown, orange and beige webbing underneath the snaffle. It gives them a vintage/70s edge. Made from calf leather in Tuscany, these aren’t the cheapest, but they’ll certainly authentically Italian. 

You can wear these with anything, just don’t smother the shoe with trouser. Keep your ankles visible both socked and unsocked.

Left & Below - Russell & Bromley - Mercury - £235

Men's shoes snaffle loafers Russell Bromley webbed 1970s Gucci fashion

Space Odyssey menswear Undercover Pitti Uomo Florence 50th anniversary

Space Odyssey menswear Undercover Pitti Uomo Florence 50th anniversaryI’m not sure whether I’m early or late writing this. One of the highlights of Pitti Uomo 93 in January, and the entire menswear season, was the AW18 Undercover show. I wanted to write something about it at the time, but I’ve been playing catch-up ever since. 

Far Left - A still from the film, Left - Undercover AW18

The Leopolda Station in Florence was transformed into an homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey. 2001: A Space Odyssey is a timeless inspiration for pretty much everybody, but I’d never seen it done this literally before. 

The scene in which the astronauts wear their coloured suits was the finale of the collection and looked as though they had just stepped out of the film.

The 1968 science fiction film, produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, is now 50 years old and is still a masterpiece of sci-fi cinema. 

  

 

Space Odyssey menswear Undercover Pitti Uomo Florence 50th anniversary

Space Odyssey menswear Undercover Pitti Uomo Florence 50th anniversary

I hadn’t seen an Undercover show before and I didn’t know that much about the label. Founded in 1993 by Jun Takahashi, it began showing in Paris in 2002. For this season, it was a guest of Pitti Uomo in Florence.

Left - Both Undercover AW18

That naughty computer HAL 9000 was up to his tricks and played a prominent part in the collection in the form of bags and accessorises. There were full fleece suits, a simple idea, but not seen before, and something I will mention again later in the season. Stills from the film covered outerwear, but it is the final group of figures, in full, colour-coordinating outfits, that you should emulate. 

Space Odyssey menswear Z Zegna Pitti Uomo Florence 50th anniversary

So, when shopping for you next cold weather outfit, buy everything in the same primary colour. From parka to padded trousers to matching hat and gloves.

Z Zegna, the sporty side of Zegna, did something similar and it’s easy to find Space Odyssey inspiration in interiors and architecture. Happy birthday, Space Odyssey.

Left - Z Zegna AW18

Below - Achille Salvagni - Spider White Chandelier 

Space Odyssey menswear Achille Salvagni Spider White Chandelier

 

St George's Market Belfast the way shopping centres need to evolve

Shopping centres are morphing to survive. Opening cinemas, restaurants and other attractions to get people out of the house and their tenants happy with more footfall, they are trying to move away from being a one trick shopping pony. This is old news.

But, it’s all so chainy and sanitised; the antithesis of what is cool today. It’s basic.

Left - St George’s Market - Belfast

What’s cool today is start-ups, seasonal produce, artisans, craftspeople, farmer’s markets, Boxparks, ethnic food and passionate and motivated people seeing the whites of their customer’s eyes. 

Shopping centres need to harness this energy and support it.

I’ve often been jealous of the historical, covered markets they have in many Northern towns. This isn’t poncey, Daylesford Organic type markets, but real markets for everybody, offering quality and affordability. Lots of fresh produce and home made products. I know, if I had one closer, I would use it.

I visited Belfast 18 months ago and fell upon St George’s Market. It was a mid-week wednesday in October and the whole place was buzzing. Built between 1890 and 1896, and supported by The National Lottery, the restoration preserved its Victorian heritage, from the authentic stone bricks to its Bangor Blue roof slates and replicas of original Victorian shops. 

As well as restoring an important historical building, the project created a modern market place providing a space to trade and grow for over 170 small local businesses, and supports around 400 jobs each week.

Since its renovation in 1999, St George’s Market has gone from strength to strength, trebling the number of days it trades from one day a week to three. The huge variety and quality of products on offer helps to attract over 600,000 visitors each year. St George’s Market was named the UK's Best Large Indoor Market 2014 by the National Association of British Market Authorities.

There were signs on the doors saying there was a wait-list for stalls. It was a mix of food, arts and crafts, vintage artefacts and unique gifts. Of course, not everything was to the highest taste, but that’s the point of a market, it’s an excitement of discovery and unpredictablity. The opposite of a modern and bland shopping centre. It was thriving and it had an energy that I wanted to spend time in.

Kirkgate Market Leeds the way shopping centres need to evolveI recently visited Centre:MK in Milton Keynes. It’s a busy, 1970s listed shopping centre at the heart of the city. I had a walk around and noticed, huddled under a flyover type structure, was an outside market: little stalls selling vegetables and other types of street market products. 

Shopping centres need to bring this inside, polish it up a bit and expand it. But not sanitise it. These types of markets were often looked down upon, much like Primark was - Read more here - but things change and we need a return to a type of frequent shopping that we’ve been doing for thousands of years. 

Right - Kirkgate Market - Leeds

This is the modern version of an ancient market. Somewhere I can get great bread, home-made chocolates for presents and authentic products from all the nationalities who have made their home in the UK.

I live in Croydon. They opened a Boxpark over a year ago. It’s fantastic. It’s a large food court which feels like you’re trying something new and getting passion in every mouthful. It’s just food and you congregate on large communal tables in the centre after visiting what feels like an unlimited choice of cuisines.

People are just as tired of chain restaurants as they are of chain stores. It’s time for independents. These shopping centres could support whole armies of people itching to start their own enterprise. There are so many people wanting to follow their dreams and try something new without the prohibitive cost of opening a shop or starting a website. These brands are very active on social media and offer newness and a point of difference.

Large towns and highly populated areas could easily sustain a thriving market type concept. The shopping centre needs to be an umbrella rather than a controller. The other shops would benefit from more frequent visitors and the buzz of the shopping centre. This is also how future brands will start.

Remember Marks & Spencer started on a market stall in Leeds after all.