The first fragrance in Beaufort London’s new ‘Revenants’ fragrance series is Iron Duke. A tribute to Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke Of Wellington (1769 – 1852), perfumer Julie Dunkley has created a strikingly powerful fragrance with animalic depths – an apparition of the celebrated horseman, warrior politician and sartorial pioneer.
TheChicGeek says, “I’ve become a fan of Beaufort London fragrances - read more here - and this is the start of a new collection based on the ghosts of great British figures. This is inspired by Wellington and his horse - Copenhagen - and the Duke’s penchant for brandy and drinking.
Beaufort London haven’t revealed the individual notes, which actually makes it more fun. I got a top of boozy cough mixture then the warm, leathery, animalic body of the horse. There’s some spice in there, yet it’s warm, sexy and leathery. It’s dirty, but has a modern naturalness to it, like a honey or something.
It’s keenly priced at £95, especially being a high concentration eau de perfume (30%), and the image on the bottle is by Leo’s - Beaufort Founder - friend, tattooist Robert Gisbourne-Ashby.
This is wearably animalic. If you want something even dirtier and grubbier then try Peau De Bête.”
Left - Beaufort London - Iron Duke - 50ml - £95
This is the only suit you’ll need this season because it’s ticking a lot of boxes. Green, tick. Pink details, tick. Retro, tick. Comfortable, tick.
You should probably know by now I’m crazy about forest green and also Fila’s vintage inspired sportswear ATM. This perfectly combines the two and is exclusive to Urban Outfitters.
Wear together or separately. It won’t hang around, so get moving.
Left & Below - FILA Johnson Forest and Pink Velour Tracksuit Top - £65 FILA - Johnson Forest and Pink Track Pants - £6
See more "Prawn Cocktail" inspired menswear here
Beverly Hills Formula’s Professional White range offers a brand new advanced formula for superior whitening results using clinically proven ingredients to help remove surface and deep stains without harming the enamel.
Oral hygiene experts, Beverly Hills Formula, have been working on the ground-breaking new whitening formulation for over two years and it’s currently only available in the UK.
Black Pearl works by using activated charcoal combined with professional whitening ingredient Phthalimido-Peroxy-Caproic Acid (PAP) to help remove surface and deep stains without harming the enamel and is safe for daily use.
Chris Dodd, CEO of Beverly Hills Formula which has been established for over 20 years, said: “We are very excited about our new Professional White range which has taken over two years in development, but it’s been well worth it because we believe we’ve created the best teeth whitening products which aren’t harmful to enamel and are aimed at consumers who expect superior results from a whitening toothpaste.”
TheChicGeek says, “If I got a smile like one of those “Housewives” I’d probably blind everybody when I opened my mouth. My goal isn’t ice white, it’s more a subtle British ivory, if you get my drift!
I’m always a bit sceptical about “whitening” toothpastes and I’m firmly in the camp of “this won’t do anything, but it can’t hurt”.
This is the first jet black toothpaste I’ve used. It isn’t difficult to rinse and there are no traces of it left after using, ie grey gums. I really enjoyed using this. I’m not sure if my teeth look whiter, but I definitely feel like my gums are better and my teeth feel really clean. This feels like a quality product.”
Above - Beverly Hills Formula Black Pearl Professional White Toothpaste - £10.99
Nobody does ginger like TheChicGeek, so, with 2017 officially the year of the #Gingervidual, it would be rude for him not to show you how it’s done!
Stone’s Ginger Wine is encouraging the nation to declare their love for everything ginger - thought we already knew that?! Embracing the ‘spirit of ginger’, a Gingervidual is someone who stands up for what they believe in and isn’t afraid to be different. Gingerviduals don't conform to the norm, and they don't follow trends, they create them.
Picture the scene: on a beach, somewhere in the Caribbean, things getting tropical with a jug of cocktail on the go. And relax! (Even if you are just sitting in your back garden in Croydon. FML!).
So, enjoy the last rays of Summer and try one of Stone's Ginger Wine's cocktails created by one of London’s leading expert mixologists.
Here’s the recipe for The #Gingervidual
- 50ml Stones G.W
- 10ml Elderflower cordial
Pour the ingredients into a highball, add some ice cubed, stir and top with soda
water. Garnish with cucumber strips and raspberries.
Can be served in a carafe or jug for sharing. Same method: 250ml Stones GW, 50ml of elderflower cordial, top with soda water.
Are the wheels coming off at Topman? From zero to hero, Topman is the poster boy of how brands, thanks to fashion and the sponsorship of fashion weeks, can go from uncool to cool in little over a decade, but, has their run of dominance on the men’s high-street come to an end?
Topman recently had a clear out of the top brass and creative. Gordon Richardson, who served as Topman's head designer for the past 17 years, has been pushed out along with many others within the Arcadia group. This is usually a sign of trying to stop the rot and starting something new.
Left - Will you be buying your tracksuit from Topman this season?
Taveta Investments, Arcadia’s parent company, doesn't break out individual figures for their brands, but financial figures released in June 2017 showed a 16 per cent drop in profits for the year to August 2016. Taveta Investments, indicated that annual profits plummeted to £211 million, while sales dropped 2.5 per cent to just over £2 billion. Taveta Investments, derived £1.7bn of revenue from the UK in 2016. That marked a fall from £2.2bn a year earlier, although up to £370m of that related to discontinued operations such as BHS, which was sold in 2015.
That’s a huge drop of £500 million or £130 million, if you take out BHS. That’s still a lot of clothes not sold.
So, what do we think has happened at Topman? Is it a case of these runs can’t go on forever and or is it something more serious?
One things for certain, it’s much more competitive than when Topman started out on its journey. Whether selling fashion or basics, there is much more choice, both offline and online.
Did they over expand? We know that Australia has struggled, with their franchise partner going into receivership recently, and the big push into America hasn’t really stuck as they don't seem to understand how fashionable us Brits are. American teens, in many cities, have nowhere to wear this kind of stuff.
Right - Has Topman peaked and how can they get their spark back?
Did it get too expensive? With labels like ‘Topman Design’ pushing the upper price points there is a perception that Topman was expensive, especially when compared to other high-street retailers. I’ve spoken to mums of teenage boys who say they leave Topman until last on a shopping trip as it’s usually the more expensive.
Topman’s buyers never committed to ‘Topman Design’. We had the shows, we had the collections, but when it hit the stores or online it was very bitty. They’d only make the trousers of a suit, for example, or items that didn’t really go with each other and the pricing was into three figures.
I think Topman has fallen into that gap of not being fashionable enough and not being cheap enough on basics and is falling into the void in the middle. They’ve lost the energy to ASOS, Boohoo and New Look.
I think there was a case of Topman believing their own hype too. You can’t afford to be arrogant in fashion and thinking you’re the coolest kid on the block, because things move fast and this will quickly bite you on the arse. The campaigns were a little too editorial and not relatable enough.
Fashions have changed too. Topman practically owned the skinny, three-piece suit and was selling volumes of a more expensive product. Now, the kids want sportswear and retro looking basics. It’s not the go-to place anymore. It’s lost its USP.
What are they doing? They’ve hired David Hagglund, known within fashion circles for founding a Stockholm-based creative agency which includes H&M and Hugo Boss as clients. He was also art director at Vogue Paris. David Hagglund is replacing Ms Phelan - Topshop head creative - and Mr Richardson in a 'newly created position' of creative director across both Topman and Topshop. Is combining Topman and Topshop a good idea? Or is this further cost cutting? It’s interesting they’ve given this important job to an Art Director type and it’ll be interesting to see whether Topman will get as much focus as Topshop. I doubt it.
The danger is, as they wobble they go safer, which is the wrong direction. Admittedly, Australia is having problems and America isn’t as fashionable as Europe, but young men want fashion and know it. Brands like ASOS and Boohoo are really pushing it, New Look has got a hell of a lot better and newness is the drug on the high-street.
Topman Design became a bit formulaic and they need to commit to it or scrap it. I think they’re going to find it hard to get that spark back. It’s very hard to do when you’ve lost it, but they’ve done it once before, so why not again.
There’s the juxtaposition between men’s basic and fashion led clothing. Basics are so competitive and difficult to make money from unless you’re doing huge volumes and buying basics from Topman is, well, a bit basic. Maybe they should leave that to Primark and Uniqlo and stick to making fashion.
I think they need to think more inclusive and not try to be too cool without losing the trends. Look what happened to American Apparel when they tried that achingly cool model. You need to be the coolest of the mainstream and, especially in Britain, have fun with it.
I think what we’ll see is, as leases run out, stores will close and they’ll be a renewed focus and growth of online. Topman needs to tighten up its collection and re-educate guys about what they do. As fashion cycles move, they need to aim for a new USP and focus on that. You can't be all things to all people today.
Note - A friend just mentioned on Facebook about the 'Philip Green Effect' and people boycotting his brands due to his handling of the sale of BHS and the hole in the pension fund. This could definitely be having an effect on Topman as many people are aware that he is the owner.
In the modern Orwellian landscape it often feels like it’s a battle of the overly confident male egos. From Trump to Putin to Kim Jong-un, puffing your chest out and beating it hard has become an everyday occurrence. I thought - hoped - we’d left this in the last century, but it feels like we’re reliving the worst of the 20th century, every day.
There’s nothing wrong with being and feeling confident. It’s what gets you ahead, or so we are told. But, a delusional sense of entitlement and pride often ends with many cases of cutting your nose off to spite your face.
Last night, Zegna launched a new collection of premium fragrances. Titled #ElementsofMan, it contains 5 new fragrances named “Talent”, “Integrity”, “Passion”, “Wisdom” and "Strength".
Left - Wisdom, anybody?
While I can see the overall idea, it doesn’t feel very contemporary. Where’s “Vulnerability” & “Sensitivity”?
It feels like the Donald Trump collection of fragrances, which is ironic because Trump’s first fragrance, "Donald Trump, The Fragrance” was produced in partnership with Estée Lauder, who also produce the fragrances for Zegna. Launched in 2004, he also had others, now discontinued, called “Success” and “Empire”.
He’d probably wear all five of these, layered á la Jo Malone, yet he’ll think it was his original idea. More is more when you’re reeking of “Strength” & “Wisdom”, don't you think? No room for "Arrogance"?
It feels like an idea dreamt up between Lauder HQ in “Never Sleeps” New York and Zegna HQ in “Macho” Milan with little thought for the rest of the world. Successful men do wear Zegna’s clothes, you need a certain depth of pocket to be able to afford it, but let’s leave the 80s arrogance to Gordon Gekko.
Right - The full Zegna #Elementsofman line-up
“Talent”, for example, in isolation just seems a little strange. My British modesty and cynicism couldn’t wear a fragrance called “Integrity” without a little smirk.
Zegna is a premium menswear brand and they manufacture the most beautiful Italian clothes and fabrics worn by some of the world's most successful men. I think men today are more complex than these allow. These, at £180 for 50ml, are a premium fragrance offering, it just feels a shame that they’ve handicapped them with their names before you’ve even opened the bottle.
When Banana Republic decided to chuck in the towel, leave the UK and move out of the H&M-owned, old Dickins & Jones flagship building on Regent Street, it made sense, to H&M anyway, to fill it with their own house brands, especially at a time when you could struggle to fill such a large, flagship space.
Left - Upstairs at Arket, Womenswear
The space has been split between Weekday, which already has stores across Europe, and Arket, which is brand new and this is the first one in the world.
The big question is: does the world need anymore H&M brands? It makes sense for the companies. Put your eggs in lots of baskets, aimed at lots of different sectors and consumers, and not only do you have all bases covered, you can weather the ups and downs of fickle consumers better: as one brand is going down, another one can be coming up.
What with COS, & Other Stories, Cheap Monday, Monki, as well at the main H&M brand, they are pushing out, much like the Spanish Zara owner Inditex, with many consumers unaware or past caring about who owns what. It’s the fashion equivalent of a one operator food court.
Anyway, let’s talk about Arket. They’ve gone London grey - Scandinavian pink perhaps?! - with the shop fit. It looks a bit like a stage fit of a shop in “1984”. The top half is empty and looks like a cheap wardrobe carcass waiting for the doors. The floor is Valentino-type grey terrazzo and it is lacking, somewhat, in personality. This looked like the template for every future store and you wouldn't know where you were. Are brands still in that mind set of rolling out the same shopfit the world over? I thought we were done with all that.
Right - Café with a shop attached
The product is good. The knitwear feels substantial and of good quality. So good, in fact, I think you’ll have to buy it two sizes bigger just to get into it. The ground floor is split between men’s at the front and back, homeware in the middle and a café to the side at the back. Upstairs is womenswear and childrenswear.
Branding is minimal and it’s all very plain and Scandi - can we ever get enough?! - The women’s has more colour and it does flow.
Arket likes a serial number on things. I think the target customer is the trendy mum, she wants clothes for her, her children, a café to sit down in and some little treats in homeware, plus she’ll be buying the menswear too, which is why there are Breton stripes - every woman loves a man in Breton stripes, don't they?
Left - Using brands such as R.M. Williams & Tricker's to elevate the branding & clothes
When this rolls out to the big shopping centres all over the country, depending on how successful it is in London I guess, then she’ll in there with her stroller, smugly mocking the Cath Kidston nappy bags. (If she’s buying the clothes, she’s probably washing them too. I’d like to see how those knits fare).
As for the hubby, there’s nothing he won’t be happy with, there’s nothing not to like.
Like Weekday, there is a sprinkling of other brands: they are using quality shoes like Tricker’s and R.M. Williams to elevate the clothes. The price points are £80 for a jumper and £45 for a pair of good quality long-johns, which to me feels more like a Swedish customer used to paying for quality and not a London or U.K. customer hooked and satisfied on cheap clothing.
There was a very nice Black Watch tartan mac, which won’t hang about for long, and, like all stores, you cherry pick the best pieces and ignore those that are over-priced or not special enough.
What Arket lacks in personality it makes up for in quality. This feels like a store for Millennial milfs and dilfs, which was perfectly illustrated by two dads proudly feeding their babies on the opening night, probably while their wives were busy shopping.
A multi-tasking moisturiser with coffee beans (caffeine), panax ginseng and barley - keeps skin hydrated and healthy, this is said to instantly give your skin a boost of moisture and energy. Help protect your skin from harmful UV rays, while enjoying the flawless-looking finish of the perfecting sheer tint.
TheChicGeek says, “We all need a bit of colour in our life and while I’m not usually one to tint, I thought, why not during the summer months? This is more like a bb cream or foundation type colour and not a fake tan, so it is fairly subtle. It’s a creamy texture with a nice orange-suncream-type scent and a really good, high SPF of 40.
I wasn’t conscious I was wearing this, which is good, and it doesn’t put you on the orange spectrum of fake tan. But it is quite hard to get under any facial hair or stubble.
The moisturising qualities are negligible and it feels fairly matt and dry, but I think it’s worth using for the SPF protection.”
Left - Origins - Energy-Boosting Tinted Moisturizer Ginzing SPF 40 - £30
While the image of Davidoff Cool Water has always been a sparkling, aqua blue wave somewhere exotic like Hawaii or Malibu, you don’t have to go that far to experience the addictive draw of the sea.
Davidoff kindly took me to Cornwall to experience the latest edition to the Cool Water franchise - Wave. TheChicGeek and water don’t usually mix, but there’s something about Cornwall that when the sun comes out, it’s magical.
Famous for its ‘oceanic’ aquatic scent, Davidoff asked renowned perfumers, Francis Kurkdjian, Antoine Lie, and Jean Jacques to collaborate to create Wave. It begins with a bracing surge of the energising, signature marine splash accord and grapefruit notes that mingle with stimulating Sichuan pepper. The middle features birch leaf and juniper, on a masculine base of patchouli and sandalwood.
TheChicGeek says, “This is an easy wearer and that’s why the original Cool Water has remained so popular. A nice update, segue way, call it what you will, I particularly like the botanicals in it. The original ‘marine splash’ is there and while the rest balances around it, it remains a classic aqua cologne. It has a greenish feeling to it that continues the fresh theme without making it feel immature or unsophisticated. Cool Water Wave brings back the memories of the beach, so I'm diving in!”
Below - Surfer Geek
Maybe somewhat lost in translation, ‘Relax Baby Be Cool’ is a fashion label from and made in Estonia.
This shirt, from them, is covered in Sidomukti batik motifs, characteristically bamboo, usually in a combination of black and blue. The design symbolises the inner and outer tranquility of the wearer and was mostly used in traditional ceremonies or official events in the area of Magetan in Indonesia.
The orange piping to highlight the placket is a nice touch, while the black adds a dressy formality which would look good with a pair of black trousers. Roll the sleeves to make it feel more relaxed as this is more than a holiday shirt.
Left & Below - Relax Baby Be Cool - Men’s Long Sleeve Button Up - £110