JOOP! WOW! awakens all the senses with captivating top notes of bergamot, cardamom and violet-leaf. A blend of rich absolutes: irresistibly sensual fir balsam, darkly masculine tonka bean and dangerously warm vanilla surabsolute. The foundation is the supremely woody base, noble combination of distinctive woods, vetiver and cashmeran, a memorable signature, full of masculinity, intensity and texture.
TheChicGeek says, “Joop fragrances became synonymous with toilet attendants in dodgy night spots and as such the brand was tinged with the dreaded ‘naff’ label. It’s never really resonated as a fashion brand here, unlike in Europe, and as such doesn’t have much identity.
Pronounced Joop with a J here, or with a Y on the continent, it wasn’t cool enough for people to look pretentious by saying it properly.
Left - JOOP! WOW - 60ml EDT - £39
Time for a clean slate then. Coty, the brand license owner for fragrance, has made an effort with this one. The scent is good. It’s warm, woody and amber-like without being sticky which often happens at this price point.
There’s masculine favourites of vetiver and tonka bean in there and a few gourmand ingredients such as vanilla and green notes such as geranium.
I just think there’s a disconnect between the name, the fragrance and the imagery and bottle. The image is of a mature (gentle)man, the fragrance is quite grown-up and the bottle looks likes a miniature of whisky, while the name ‘WOW!’ seems more immature, fun and for the younger, social media generation.
I actually like the name WOW! it’s quite pop, but it seems more suited to maybe a Marc Jacobs fragrance then something with the serious and old-fashioned hashtag #thescentthatmakestheman
The simple bottle design doesn’t have any shelf appeal and isn’t gimmicky enough. I think they want the One Million crowd with this one.
The fragrance isn’t wow, but then what is? But, it’s good.”
This bag is the bomb. Actually, Troubadour should call this the ‘Bomb’, as it hasn't got a name.
British accessories brand, Troubadour, produce some great luggage and accessories and has, over the last few years, been growing their range and developing and enhancing their products.
I’ve been watching their progress and they know exactly what their stylish customers want: capacity, functionality, quality and understated branding.
If this was a ‘designer’ bag it would easily have a 1 in front of the number. It’s a giant holdall slash rucksack that could easily hold a week's holiday or trip. Stitch-free straps are injected with technical rubber for comfort and an external side pocket, top flap and internal mesh side pockets complete the design. The fabric body is strengthened by the crossing over leather straps while keeping the weight down.
You’ll look like a chic Action Man and carrying it will be the most stylish workout you’ve ever had. Now, squat!
Left & Below - Troubadour - Fabric + Leather Duffle - £895
London’s men’s fashion week got its Ronseal title, this season, replacing the old London Collections: Men moniker. The change didn’t make any difference to the lack of content and money, unfortunately, but, hopefully, it meant more to the wider public with many still not realising there even was a men’s fashion week in London.
Left - Daniel W Fletcher Presentation
London and Britain, is good at fashion, we’re good at menswear, we should celebrate it and this is the event to do that at. Twice a year, we come together, test the temperature of the industry and move forward in the way fashion always does. There will always be ups and downs and better and worse seasons, but ultimately it’s big business, from luxury to high-street, and we’re one of the best at it. Let’s champion that.
LFWM is just more pointless than previously, yet still necessary. It needs to be done, otherwise other cities will take the focus away from London and London needs to seen as a centre of ideas and fashion.
When we leave Europe, the British Fashion Council need to lobby the government for more funding for an industry that employs so many people and encourages people to visit and shop in the UK. If we’re going to build a successful post-European future we need to focus on areas we are good at. Creativity is one of those areas. Fashion links many of these together and is the energy and catalyst for newness.
When then pedestrianise Oxford Street, fashion weeks should move there into see-through marquees and become inclusive to those interested in it and bankrolling it on the pavements either side.
What’s the opposite to ‘having a moment’? Because this is what menswear is currently facing. It’s not solely a London problem, affecting all the main fashion cities, but as fashion is a business, when it needs to change and save money, things get cut.
There was lots of talk during LFWM about whether this would be the last one, but I think if it was going to disappear it would have done so this season. The doom and gloom of the last LC:M was replaced with an optimism that things can only get better and the acceptance that those big brands, now missing, are gone. It’s okay, nobody died.
This was a medicated fashion week. A fashion week on Prozac. Things weren’t as important as before, so it felt more democratic. The must-have tickets didn’t exist so people were more equal than ever. The have and have-nots of fashion weren’t as separate and it felt more inclusive and less frantic.
One of the problems I have it predictablity. Designers showing exactly what you think they’re going to show. They don’t move their collections on. I don’t expect a 180 u-turn every season, but as nobody is really buying anything anyway what do they have to lose? They just make you wonder why you turned up. A signature style is fine, but a designer known for tasteful newness will always excel.
Another, is this idea that fashion collections look a certain way. It’s all a bit graduate Fashion Scout, and was new sometime in the Thatcher era. The bong-bong-bong music and po-faced press releases suck the life out of the spectacle and the audience and has the bullshit detector on max. Fashion always needs its wanky, taking-itself-too-seriously label, I get that, but there’s only so much eye rolling one can do.
So, let’s think positive. When things hit rock bottom things can only go up. This half glass full attitude to men’s is what will keep it going. Those big brands disappearing will create room for something new: a vacuum for the future. The future is close, we just need to entertain ourselves until it arrives.
2009 - This look is about proportions. Sami's jacket is cropped to give a full view of his jeans but he doesn't look top heavy. He's played to his strengths and accentuates his slim shape. The fitted nature of the jacket compliments the smaller collar on the white shirt and skinny tie. The checks on the jacket and ticket pocket gives interest and adds a more traditional tweedy touch. The six buttons on the jacket also makes the jacket practical. The patent shoes add an air of evening.
There are currently 3 sheet masks in the Maskorea range including Too Many Late Nights, aimed at younger skin, Instant Glow and Turn Back the Clocks, for more mature skin. They each contain a 3-step treatment experience including natural cleanser, 30 minute sheet mask and overnight moisturiser.
Left - Maskorea - Instant Glow Sheet Mask - £7.99 from Amazon or www.maskoreamasks.com
A unique 3-step product that includes a foaming pre-mask wash, a serum-infused cellulose face mask and a luxurious post-mask anti-ageing night cream to provide a total regime for ultimate results.
TheChicGeek says, “Thanks to Instagram and the American Psycho/Patrick Bateman-type image they have on the wearer, these sheets have become more popular, recently.
There’s not much the Koreans don’t know about skincare so you feel like you’re in a safe pair of hands.
Right - Patrick Bateman or The Chic Geek?!
The mask comes in three parts: a cleanser which is a soft, soapy cleanser, the mask, which is really wet, but that helps it cling to your face - the facial hair parts it struggles with though - and then a gel-like after treatment of anti-ageing night cream.
Men like a one off treatment and this is easy to use and not messy. Some masks, particularly clay types, take ages to wash off and get into your hairline.
You leave the mask on for the 30 mins, so this isn’t a rush job. The anti-ageing night cream is quite tacky and leaves you with the 'Instant Glow' as promised. My skin felt cleaned and fresh. Next time I would shave first and then apply so it sticks to those areas better. This would be a really nice treatment after a day at the beach or a hot day. Put the mask in the fridge and use it extra cold.
Now, where did I leave that chainsaw?!”
I've always been a big fan of Belgian designer, Dries van Noten, but he was very slow to embrace the internet and e-commerce so his collections haven't been as visible as other brands or designers over the last few years.
He's finally got with the programme and this season's collection is beautiful. He's used military embroidery and details to decorate his menswear collection. I particularly like the use of this medal ribbon which looks like a (Gucci) snake from a distance. Because it's medal ribbon it feels masculine and complements this traditional military style trench coat which has the addition of two large and handsome external pockets. This is a great update of a classic coat style.
Left & Below - Dries van Noten - Radley Grosgrain-Trimmed Wool-Blend Trench Coat - £1410 From MrPorter
TheChicGeek says, “I went to a recent event that Kiehl’s had to celebrate Thanksgiving and they had a complimentary barber doing facials and wet shaves. We got to talking about which razors we used, I said I liked Gillette’s Flexball and he said he used a brand called ‘Boldking'. I hadn’t heard of them, I asked what was good, and he said that the razorblades were spaced far apart to stop them clogging, which is one of the biggest bugbears of shaving and razors in general.
I thought nothing of it and then, as what always happens, through the mystery of the internet and a greater power, an advert for Boldking came up on my Instagram feed. The conversation I had with the barber came back and I clicked through to their site and asked them to review one of the razors, which they kindly agreed to.
Boldking was founded in 2013 and is based in Amsterdam with the aim of making shaving enjoyable and affordable again.
Left - A Boldking Starter Set - £12
So, here goes. Firstly, the branding is really good. Gone are the muscles and steamed up mirrors: replaced by cute graphics and chatty instructions. This feels modern, it feels like there’s no pressure to be a certain type of man, it’s simply about shaving and doing a good job.
I think I got sent a deluxe box, but the basic ingredients are the same. A black rubber shaving handle that has a clever suction cup to stick the blade to the mirror or wall. Please note this other shaving brands, this is a great idea: you know where it is, plus the lube strips don’t stick to anything.
You then clip one of the four cartridges on and you can see the blades are visibly spaced further apart.
Did it clog less? Yes. Razors usually clog around the coarser and thicker areas around the chin and nose. This made shaving easier and faster. You simply shook the razor in the water and everything came out without any banging on the side of the sink.
The negatives. The plastic rubber handle does feel a bit disposable and cheap. The razor was a bit bouncy, again because it’s cheaper, but like all razors, once you got used to it, it was fine.
What do I like? The price is good. A ‘Starter Set; which has 4 cartridges and ‘Aftershave Cream’ is only £12 and that includes free shipping from Holland.
Secondly, it works. Shaving isn’t exactly enjoyable, but it is quicker and less annoying. Think less banging on the sink.
Thirdly, the brand feels cool. It feels contemporary. It also feels honest and caring: they offer a recycling service, but do you have to pay £1.50 for the envelope.
Overall, it’s thumbs up for a small company up against the Goliaths of shaving.
Boldking is only available online through their website www.boldking.com
Jo Malone takes a trip to Namibia and uses the potent sap of the myrrh tree in the latest fragrance in their Cologne Intense range. This species of myrrh grows on mountains in the northern region of the country. In the dry season, the resin from the omumbiri myrrh tree is collected and left to cure in the African air for a few weeks. No tapping ever occurs in the region to ensure a sustainable wild population of these exotic myrrh trees.
TheChicGeek says, “This is very warm and gourmandy - that’s the almond and vanilla. It’s an oriental wood with the myrrh being the focus. It contains classic masculine fragrance ingredients too, such as lavender and tonka bean, but overall it’s the sticky warmth that resonates and tonka bean adds depth with a metallic edge. The myrrh isn’t distinctive, but like amber and oud, these tree resins have the warm depth people look for in modern fragrance”.
Left - Jo Malone - Myrrh & Tonka - 100ml - £105
It's always this side of winter that the parka comes into its own. The default sub-zero style, the parka has become the trusted companion to many a fashionisto. But, there's a new way to wear it:
Go big and don't go home! There’s oversized and then there’s oversized and the designers, this season, have really blown-up the parka. Wear it big, wear it slouchy and if anybody asks, say "Demna made it for me!".
If you can't afford a Raf Simons, buy a generously filled high-street version a couple of sizes bigger. You can thank me later.
Left - Raf Simons - Men’s Oversized Down Quilted Jacket In Black & Yellow From LN-CC
Right - Balenciaga FW16
Left - Parka London - ‘Lever’ Oversized Fishtail Parka
Left - Vetements - Red Canada Goose Edition Down Parka From SSense
Happy New Year, Chic Geeks. What a year. Fashion years are a bit like dog years, so much happens and so much is forgotten about, while other things, unpredictably, have such an impact and filter out into the mainstream. Here's what I can remember from 2016. Tweet me your thoughts on #TheChicGeekAwards
Best Label of 2016 - Loewe
There weren’t many labels to rival Gucci this year, and while I (still) love it, I wanted to recognise something else. J W Anderson creates ‘fashion’ which is becoming harder and harder to find these days. Being the head of the Spanish label, Loewe, pronounced Loo-wavay, it has allowed his ideas to be polished with their skills in leather goods and skins.
He has created a clean high-fashion label out of Loewe, it’s almost like a male Celine, but with touches of humour and seasonal difference which gives it life without being too gimmicky and themed. If only we could afford it. He’s done such a good job here it wouldn’t be a surprise if he got the top job at Louis Vuitton, eventually.
Best New Label of 2016 - Gosha Rubchinskiy
‘Designing’ since 2008, this Russian designer is part of the non-fashion, sportswear trend that infiltrated the po-faced - read East London - side of fashion, this year. While he didn’t create anything new, he subverted like a professional and hit the sweet spot when it came to pricing the designer market. There’s a real market for affordable designer clothes and the Comme backed Gosha is cleaning up with his sweatshirts and skater style pieces. We’re spending more time in the gym and this is being reflected in our clothes and this is where it meets high-fashion with a side order of 80s charity shop.
Best High Street of 2016 - ASOS
With annual sales now standing at £1.4bn, ASOS is the ‘high-street’ giant of the internet. It’s obviously doing something right and it wins TheChicGeek Award for best high-street for its pure experimentation and ridiculousness. From Yeezy inspired Mad Max looking outfits to Gucci pussy-bow shirts, ASOS has the depth of choice at a price everybody can afford.
Where once the high-street copied designers, now, due to the sheer volume of product needed, they come up with their own ideas and run with it. Just don’t buy the ‘Super Skinny Fit’. Sequinned trousers, anybody?
Best Grooming Product 2016 - Boldking Razor
The razor market is dominated by the big players who out discount each other to monopolise the supermarket and pharmacy. They do innovate, but slowly, so it was nice to hear of a small player thinking differently.
The big difference here is the blades are further apart to prevent clogging, which, if you have thick, coarse hair, will happen a lot. Plus the razor comes with a suction cup to put on your mirror or sink, out of the way. Simply yet effective.
The branding is really good. Gone are the muscles and steamed up mirrors: replaced by cute graphics and chatty instructions. This feels modern, it feels like there’s no pressure to be a certain type of man, it’s simply about shaving and doing a good job. Time to start shaving again. Hello, Boldking. More here
Best Grooming Brand 2016 - Buly
Parisian brand, Buly, takes you back to a fantasy time of apothecaries and Renaissance snake oil salesmen where there’s a tortoiseshell comb for every part of your body. Where things have more meaning than is obvious, at first, and time-honoured traditions are bottled and squeezed into metal tubes and glass jars. This brand is all about the packaging which is always a big thing when it comes to grooming and beauty products.
I’ve tried the toothpaste - orange, clove and ginger - and the shaving cream - read more here
They add a difference and excitement to the grooming routine and the products work. They’re not cheap, but they’re special and feel like a historical treat.
Fragrance of the Year 2016 - Dunhill Icon Absolute
2016 was a bit of a disappointment from mainstream fragrance brands. The power of the fashion brand has waned and their offerings don’t feel as special or as premium as they once did. People are moving towards niche and specialised fragrance houses which offer something of quality, but at a higher price, usually.
Fashion brands and their licensees are too quick to release and they don’t commit to the fragrances they produce and thus fall by the wayside very quickly. I wanted to choose something more mainstream. Technically, this came out in 2015, but I only discovered it, this year. Even though Dunhill Icon won TheChicGeek Award last year, this Absolute version is completely different in a good way.
The top notes are bergamot and black pepper, middle notes are saffron, black rose and jasmine and base notes are agarwood (oud), tobacco leaf and leather. It smells really exotic and rich and warm and keeps you coming back for more. It doesn’t really last, but that’s okay, it’s not ridiculously expensive. I’ve smelt this on a few people over the year and it’s instantly recognisable. This really is rather good if you like something rich and intoxicating.
Most Stylish Programme 2016 - Deutschland ‘83
Forget the shoulder pads and power dressing, Deutschland ’83, was a lesson in Eastern European sportswear and military dressing. It was the great pop soundtrack of 80s classics that got us channelling our East Berlin realness and Vetements irony that made us want to stay firmly behind the wall.
Best Menswear Collaboration 2016 - Craig Green X Bjorn Borg
Affordability seems to be the word of 2016. Collaborations needs to tap a new market or appeal to those priced out. That’s why H&M always seem to do so well. Craig Green teamed up with Bjorn Borg this year to produce a collection that didn’t meet in the middle, it just gave the great unwashed Craig Green at a price they could afford. His samurai favourites were here in a capsule collection of unisex pieces. Doubles your market, natch!
Special ChicGeek Award 2016 - Dover Street Market
While the world tipped towards online, and the high-street continued to try to pile it high and sell it cheap, Dover Street Market moved.
It became what it should have always been. It got a proper retail space and had a flow and order to it. It’s dedication to designers and their visions will make Dover Street Market the hardcore venue and destination for devotees of the catwalk and its silliness. This is serious fashion for those who can’t see the humour in it all, but mock what you will, it’s nice that a Dover Street Market as good as this one exists in London.
Most Stylish Man of 2016 - Jared Leto
If you’re going to be a ‘style icon’ you need to take risks. We can all do a Thom Sweeney three piece suit with a horseshoe waistcoat and look the part, but it’s those little touches and breaking-out-of-the-mould outfits that gets TheChicGeek nod.
I’ve never been a fan of Jared Leto, not really sure why, but since he became Alessandro Michele’s dress-up doll, he’s really committed, with both GG logoed feet, to the Gucci renaissance. Some have been hits, other misses, but it’s definitely not safe and hats off to him.
Turkey of 2016
We got a lesson in how not to launch a website this year with Condé Nast’s style.com. The much delayed and anticipated site was supposed to use their expertise and kudos in the luxury market to rival Net-a-Porter and matchesfashion.com by using the power of their magazine brands and offering a new take on curated commerce. What we got was a quiet launch of something that didn’t have much content, was a shopping portal and didn’t offer anything new in a saturated luxury market. It will be interesting to see whether they further commit to this or quietly shelve it and put it down to experience. Read more here
What are your thoughts? #TheChicGeekAwards