No longer simply 'underwear', Selfridges unveils its new giant 'Bodywear' department. Basically meaning underwear, swimwear and every onesie inbetween, Selfridges says their vision is 'to offer a totally unique Bodywear destination defined chiefly by its breadth of offer, showcasing brands from entry-level price points to international designer labels'.
Left - Follow the label! - Exclusive underwear brand Under
Inclusive of underwear, swimwear, sleepwear and socks, the concept compliments the store's fashion collections - typified by their democratic offer - and ranges from pairs of socks from Happy Socks at £8 to £915 silk dressing gowns from Derek Rose.
With the department expanding by twenty per cent to 8,500 square feet on the store's first floor, the new concept sees Selfridges' capacity and investment into the category increase by over thirty per cent.
A dedicated space for pop-up initiatives, exclusive collaborations and the most exciting new brands ensures a year-round programme of retail innovation. Anita Barr, Director of Menswear at Selfridges, says "At the core of our strategy is an intent to take real ownership of specific categories - and to create spaces and experiences with real authority. In the new Bodywear concept, we're working with some of the most recognisable fashion brands in the world - which is an integral part of the Selfridges experience - but have worked hard to source some of the most exciting new labels to counteract that core offer with something more unexpected."
The focal point of the underwear space is a 28m curved wall which, holding over 9,000 units across the biggest premium luxury brands, is the longest underwear wall in Europe - with sales projections of 335 pairs to be sold every day. New brands to store for launch are contemporary brand Under (UK exclusive), Versace (department store exclusive), Dior, Scheisser, MEN and Max Holliday.
Right - Ready to rumble? Versace
New swimwear brands for SS13 include Dior, Franks, Sundek and Versace. With 350 swimwear options available at any one time and prices range from £30 (Aussiebum) to £375 (Vilebrequin).
Selfridges' nightwear offer is housed together in one easy-to-shop location for the first time. Prices range from £40 (Hugo Boss) to £915 (Derek Rose) across 250 options available at any one time. Over 550 options of socks are available too.
TheChicGeek says "This is another example of how big the men's bodywear market has become. Underwear and swimwear has become a major category in men's fashion and even if nobody sees it, guys know that nice underwear makes them feel good. The choice and options just keep growing and while men continue to become more body conscious, the rise and expansion of the bodywear market is mirroring this."
Swimwear has become a menswear category in its own right. It used to be a case of wearing last year's faded pair until the drawstring or elastic gave in. Now, there is unlimited choice and the price points just keep going up and up. One label that has caught our eye, as we go into spring, is Robinson Les Bains. It treads that fine line between quality, sexy and appropriate; as this is, probably, the most naked we're going to be in public all year.
Started in 2007 by Christophe Vérot, a fashion veteran who has held many positions in the industry, having worked in public relations for Balenciaga, Viktor & rolf and Hermes and in sales for Dior Homme, Louis Vuitton, YSL and Kris Van Assche. His first collection was inspired by the university sport teams' uniforms worn by American students in the 50s and 60s. Each year the Robinson les Bains man discovers a new destination that inspires the theme for the season.
TheChicGeek says "Obviously the price reflects this, but the quality is here. The super-lightweight PES fabric compliments the body.
There are 10 different short shapes and 8 different trunks - we would recommend sticking to the trunks and there are varying lengths to suit all body shapes. The branding is really good, it has a touch of the Monclers.
I particularly like the Toile de Jouy prints and the style names like Monte Carlo and Capri, bring to mind long sunny days and that aching want for going on holiday."
Above - Oxford Court Short-Length Swim Shorts - £130
Christopher Kane is something of the great white hope of fashion. He recently sold 51 per cent of his business to mega-fashion-conglomerate PPR - owners of Gucci, McQueen, McCartney, so expect to see expanded menswear and accessories from him very soon.
It's about time fashion started investing in the next generation of brands as this is where the innovation will be. These are the brands who will make new history, new classics and are busy developing their design signatures. Christopher Kane has always known how to brush, quite literally here, his collections with his creative eye. From the first constellation T-Shirts, which are still being copied now, to tie-dye and engine parts, we now have these brush strokes. One part Howard Hodgkin, one part abstraction, this is fun way of buying into the Kane brand.
Christopher Kane - Ingredients-Print Swim Shorts - £180
Swimwear brand Love Brand & Co. has joined Elephant Family, the UK's biggest funder for the endangered Asian elephant. Founded by Mark Shand, brother of The Duchess of Cornwall, the charity exists to save this iconic animal from extinction in the wild, along with tigers, orangutans and all the other animals who share their habitat.
'Trunks for Trunks', the debut collection by Love Brand & Co., features 15 fun and imaginative colourways with a donation of 5% of Love Brand's gross profits going to Elephant Family.
Men's block colour shorts from £118 / Men's print from £128
A bright corner of holiday sunshine has appeared between Savile Row and Regent Street. Swim short brand, Orlebar Brown has opened a store on the corner of Vigo and Sackville Street, W1. Expanding far beyond the smart swim short, Orlebar Brown sells everything you'll need for your holiday wardrobe: towels, T-shirts, hoodies, accessories, you name it, in a rainbow of bold colours and prints.
The 540sq ft store carries the Classic, Editions, Sport and Accessory collections as well as the special fifth anniversary Editions in collaboration with Getty Images and the Blue Marine Foundation to celebrate, capture and preserve the oceans.
Adam Brown, Founder of Orlebar Brown said, 'Vigo and Sackville Street is a much sought after location and the perfect fit for our rapidly growing brand. It’s been a busy few years since we launched in the UK and we look forward to establishing further stores in Central London over the next 12 months.’
Let's talk swimwear. Okay, so we have the typical floral/patterned variety, the smart Orlebar Brown type, we know not go anywhere near trunks or anything too clingy. We also know that those long 'boarders' look ridiculous and it's best to show a bit of leg, always above the knee.
We always go on about proportion, so judge the short to look in proportion to your width and height. If not sure, go mid-length just on the thigh.
What is new though, and something different to try, is the swim short that looks a bit like a nylon running short. It's cut shorter and has a slightly sexy, retro quality about it. It makes a change from the 'Dad' short and you don't need the body of a Maximuscle dumbbell to look good in it. In fact, it may be the reverse, probably looks better on the slimmer shape.
Gant by Michael Bastian - Hippo Swim Shorts - $148
Marc by Marc Jacobs - Two-Tone Swim Shorts - £135
American Apparel - Nylon Taffeta Swim Trunk - £20
Acne - Vector Swim Shorts - £105
The swimwear police are out in full force at Alton Towers, Staffordshire where they have announced a ban on Speedos or skimpy swimwear for men. The Copacabana it isn't. A spokesperson for Alton Towers said "We feel this small brief style is not appropriate for a family venue so we are advising male bathers to wear more protective swimwear such as shorts." It gets worse, "The resort is also considering introducing mandatory bikini waxing for men, in a bid to prevent unsightly hair from being on display." not quite sure how they are going to police this one.
On a style note, nobody should be wearing 'skimpy' swim wear. Unless you swimming competitively, leave the Speedos in the Olympic pool.
We recommend neat tailored swim shorts - dark colours if you're pale and lighter if you are darker. Our favourite pair is from OrlebarBrown. We love the Classic 'Bulldog' beach short in navy. It's very old-school fifties movie star and looks good on all body shapes. Mid-length, tailored fit with classy fasteners on the sides, and you could easily wear them away from the pool. Pricy but worth it.
There has been a lot of talk in the papers about the return of the Speedo, price comparison website Ciao says there has been a 400 per cent increase in searches for Speedo swimwear in the past six months, compared with the same time last year. This could just mean that Speedo wearers are looking for a bargain or simply that there is a small pool of indecisive Speedo fans searching all over the web. It was only last year that Alton Towers put a ban on them.
I'm a true believer in proportions in men's wear and the Speedo just doesn't work. Even on David Beckham here, who has the body, the proportions are all wrong. And another thing, people shouldn't be confronted by the outline of your genitalia, no matter how proud you are!, when they are trying to relax. Wear Speedos for speed in competitive swimming, for everywhere else it's the mid thigh short.
Stick to shorts - 'Beach Fit' - Click Here