You know times are tough when you have to sell your Jeff Koons dog. This is the predicament Amy Adams, the lead in Tom Ford’s latest film, Nocturnal Animals, finds herself in as her relationship falls apart.
Left - How many redheads can Tom Ford get into one film?! The lead, Amy Adams
An art dealer, this perfect redhead lives in her perfect Neutra-style house with her perfect looking husband (Armie Hammer). All very 'Tom Ford' so far.
I was never a big fan of Tom Ford’s first film, A Single Man. While it looked beautiful, I didn’t really care about the characters and, ultimately, that’s what a good storyteller will make you do. The film was more a long commercial, while Nocturnal Animals has less fashion, isn’t so design obsessed and is divided into two opposite parts: a warm, violent, poor, rural Texan story and a cold, harsh, rich and clinically urban story and leaves you wanting more.
There are three main storylines running throughout the film albeit with a slightly confusing timeline, but Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal hold it all together.
Right - Michael Shannon as the police officer & Jake Gyllenhaal as the witness
For somebody with Tom Ford’s taste you’d think he’d exercise more subtly. The art is big-hitters like Koons or Damien Hirst, the Republican mum has Margaret Thatcher hair and one of the main jarring moments, a wanky art gallery assistant is wearing something that felt more Ab. Fab 'fashion' than believable and her flippant attitude really rammed home the vacuous point. None of these things really add anything. But, these are minor points. What the film majors in is suspense, in spades. It’s the suspense that draws you in and nervously keeps you there. The Texan bulk of the film is of the raw Steinbeck variety that is scary in its lawlessness, but doesn’t romanticise it. There are the big Texan vistas, but it is for more a sense of place than a cinematography award.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays the ringleader of a gang who bullies, rapes and murders. Michael Shannon is great as the police officer and Armie Hammer is the ice-cold husband. The soundtrack is great and the shaky film style adds to the thrill. There are a couple of Tom Ford fashion and beauty moments, but it feels like decoration, which it should, rather than the main gist of the film.
This is good. I’m not sure if it's a great film, I’d have to see it again to decide that, but, I’d definitely give it the chance.
As menswear has become more streamlined, fitted and influenced by sports it was inevitable, particularly with its rise in popularity, that cycling would start to play its part off the track.
Designer, Paul Smith, is a renowned cycling fan and references always appear on his catwalk or collections. The zipped funnel neck, fitted cycle-inspired knit is a key piece this season and has been appearing all over menswear, both designer and the high-street.
Left - Paul Smith AW16
This example by Ted Baker from House of Fraser is the perfect thickness for winter and can be worn easily under tailored jackets or coats. A rich, deep grey, it will dress down a suit or dress up a pair of jeans or tailored sports trousers. Comfortable, sporty and always a winner, it's the Bradley Wiggins of knitwear!
Far Left & Below - Ted Baker 'Pinball' Funnel Neck Jumper - £109 from House of Fraser
Fashion has been saturated for a while now. The industry has accepted this and is trying to accommodate and change while saving face and putting on a positive new one.
We’ve seen a massive growth in retailers offering people choice, both online and offline, since the beginning of this century. Nearly two decades later, people don't need anymore stuff and the want, that seldom matched with the need, especially in fashion terms, has also waned, especially when you feel like you’re not seeing anything new.
How many things in your wardrobe still have the tags on or are in their boxes? You’re not a shopaholic or a hoarder, you’re an average person who has more than they need and is showing the middle aged spread of affordable clothes and easy availabiity.
We’re facing an obesity crisis in our consumption and it’s starting to make people feel gluttonous and suffocated with stuff: baggage, quite literally.
I think the average person could probably go a whole year (okay, easily 6 months) without buying anything new for their wardrobe and outwardly showing it. A retail detox, if you will, which is a cleanse of overconsumption and quantity over quality.
You’d often see people outside of Primark having their Pretty Woman moment with armfuls of brown paper carrier bags, but even that sight seems to be scarcer.
It’s a great thing that people can buy what they want when they want it. Clothes have never been so cheap, but the novelty is over and people are seeking alternatives.
Next recently revealed bad sales figures, which probably means the same for retailers such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Debenhams. They cited people spending their money on eating out, travel and experiences and not clothes. Debenhams is focussing more of its shop space on food and restaurants and for good reason and I expect other retailers to follow suit.
Over in America large numbers of department stores are being shut and shopping malls are replacing them with a different mix away from retail.
On another note, people’s houses or living accommodation is getting smaller so there is even less space to store even a regular amount of things.
I’m not sure what the solution is to all of this, but I think technology will play a part and make this all look very last century. Maybe it’s a more disposable, but environmentally conscious one? Drones could deliver newly laundered and ironed clothes that we hire rather than own. It seems so Victorian to wash our clothes, dry them, iron them and waste valuable living space storing them. It’s laborious and time hungry and it could easily be replaced with a new service industry along the lines of Uber or Air BnB.
Maybe it’s a brandless future that just focuses on keeping us covered, protected and warm? The majority of people buy clothes and not fashion anyway and many groups aren’t well catered for at the moment.
I think in the new year we’ll see many brands and retailers contracting or going out of business. A survival of the fittest and what capitalism thrives on. The fashion industry that involves us buying more of what we don't need is eating itself and is starting to feel and look stale. Fashion is having an ouroboros moment and it’s turning people off.
The Chic Geek's latest vlog looks at his favourite grooming brand of the moment, Buly, Tom Ford launches body sprays as a new way to wear fragrance, pimps his old Sperry Topsiders with a Vibram sole and shows you how to do Gucci black tie with a couple of pieces of velvet ribbon. Watch TheChicGeek video below and subscribe to his YouTube channel here
I’ve never really liked the term ‘grooming’. It always felt more reflective of animal lovers than contemporary guys wanting to look their best. More Pets At Home than the modern, touchy-feely man, wouldn’t you say?
Walking past this hoarding on Covent Garden’s Earlham Street (left), a new business called Beast is opening that proclaims to be ‘changing the way men shop for beauty’. I asked the guy outside what was new, and he said it would be a one-stop place with all men’s grooming products in one place.
This isn’t new. The majority of men call it Superdrug or Boots. I'm being facetious. Yes, I know this will be higher-end, but there were previous attempts at this concept with a store on South Molton Street, which I can’t for the life of me remember the name of, and one on Bond Street, which, again, I’ve forgotten the name. They both closed a few years ago.
Many prospective businessmen look at the men’s grooming market as half of the adult population. This is far from the truth. Men’s grooming is a growing niche which seems to have flourished online. For big brands, such as Clinique, men’s represents about 5% of their business, so it’s still pretty small. That being said, the guys who are into it, are really into it, so, while a smaller number, they do splash the cash.
To compete with online this place needs to offer the theatre of retail, something new and great customer service and advice. Recommending products is so individual and subjective and many times guys don’t really need what their needs are, let alone why they need to pay a premium for something.
I’m not judging this place before I've seen it, but the term ‘beauty’ is new and for the first time feels right. The new softer, more confident and emotionally aware male is able to approach looking after themselves without pseudo-macho words to sprinkle their moisturising and eye creams with a pretension of overt masculinity.
Proving this point further, a new beauty and grooming destination for Generation Z and young Millennials is 'Very Good Light'. ‘Refining Male Beauty’, it is a space for guys aged 16-26 to share beauty tips. Founder, David Yi, says it’s “a safe haven and a non-judgemental space for guys to talk about manly things from all spectrums of manhood,”. This feels fresh. It’s a move on from that hard, Men’s Health type language that is all competitive and chest beating. This feels open and inclusive.
Finally, male beauty is here and it feels right.
If Wes Anderson did gym kit then this would be the bottom half. Sports is everywhere at the moment and, if like me, you've grown used to the comfort of spending the summer in shorts and tracksuits it feels like an effort and a step backwards to put on anything else, especially regular, non-elasticated trousers. Oh, how things have changed!
Left - Lacoste FW15
I’m a big fan of what designer, Felipe Oliveira Baptista, is doing for Lacoste in their mainline catwalk collection, which they show in New York. I couldn’t find a good image from the current collection so I used last year's, but I know they do these smart creased track trousers with bold stripes as I saw them in the windows of their Knightsbridge store, yesterday.
I couldn’t find them available on the internet, but Fila do a mean retro tracksuit bottom with that ever so sharp and important crease in their Heritage collection. Go got ‘em.
Left & Below - Fila - Molveno Trackpant - £45
Who mends their shoes today? What a load of cobblers!
Italian shoe sole brand, Vibram, is a bit like the Pirelli tyres of footwear; often cited and name checked by other shoe brands as a sign of quality. They’ve just opened their own version of Kwik-Fit with the ‘Virbam Sole Factor’. A visit to the cobblers has never really been exciting until now…
Left - My pair of rather sad, but still loved, Sperry Topsider boat shoes before their makeover. The sole had discoloured.
Situated on City Road near Old Street Underground station, a previous cobblers has been rebranded as a Vibram resoler.
Right - I went for something that was bold and made the shoes look individual and different
Think of it as upcycling or reinventing rather than repairing an old pair of shoes. A bit like a premiership footballer wrapping their new Bentley, pimp your old, or not so old shoes, with a bold and colourful sole.
My pair of two-tone Sperry Topsiders had seen better days. The sole had become slightly discoloured and yellowed, so I thought I’d bring these along to try the new concept. They’re also a fun summer shoe so I thought I’d go bold and opt for lime green with thick treads. I think you want your shoes to look altered and standout for the right reasons.
The shoes came out as well, if not better, than I expected and they, now, feel like something original rather than another sorry pair of shoes languishing at the bottom of the wardrobe. Bring on next summer!
It's time to reinvent. This is Vibram's first 'Sole Factor' in the UK and they aim to roll out the idea across the UK and Europe.
The Vibram Sole Factor experience is available from £60.
Right - The new chunky Vibram sole has deep treads
Below - The before & after at the Old Street Vibram Sole Factor
When it gets cold we reach for texture: corduroy, cashmere & velvet. These tactile finishes make those freezing days all the more bearable. Savile Row tailor, Richard James, has produced this soft, light grey suit in a thick wale corduroy. The fabric of kings, it looks fresh and contemporary in this light colour and matches the London sky, depressingly!
It's been teamed with a long ombre scarf and cashmere jumper and is the new way to wear winter.
Credits - All Clothes Richard James AW16, Trainers - Russell & Bromley
Shot by Robin Forster on Olympus PEN
More images & video below
It’s great when a collaboration brings a designer to a new audience or offers something that could easily pass as their mainline at a realistic price. This is true of the new Craig Green X Bjorn Borg collection.
You wouldn't necessarily put these two together. So it was either a case of inspired thinking on behalf of Bjorn Borg or a big, fat cheque! Swedish underwear specialists, Bjorn Borg, has teamed up with British menswear designer, Craig Green, to offer a monochrome collection of 18 unisex pieces in Green’s signature micro quilting.
Most of this stuff could easily past muster alongside some of his catwalk pieces, which probably means he’ll be moving on from these ideas pretty soon.
If you’re a fan of his Asian inspired pieces you won’t go far wrong with getting involved here, especially at these prices. I’ve chosen this polo as it’s slightly more wearable. For those in the know, Green likes a circle, most notable his knitted cutout from a couple of seasons ago, so wear this with in-the-know pride.
Left & Below - Craig Green X Bjorn Borg - Men’s Polo Top Cloud Cream - £75
Yasmin Mehmet, Junior Buyer, MRPORTER.COM
“I was so happy when Orslow launched on MR PORTER, last season! The 107 jeans are a special denim, in a slim fit style which is slightly tapered. They have been crafted in Japan, using premium selvedge and the13.5oz denim has been washed specially to give a two year wear look”.
Left - Orslow - 107 Slim-Fit Washed Selvedge Denim Jeans - £255
“Soft, 50’s style looking checks are key for FW16. This overshirt is a really easy way to get this trend across and finished in a beautiful soft cotton flannel and loose fit, gives the perfect look of contemporary cool”
Left - Our Legacy - Checked Cotton-Flannel Overshirt - £150
“One of my favourite brands, who needs no introduction, is A.P.C. The label’s co-designer Louis Wong has created the perfect sophisticated version of one of our more understated trends for FW16 - velvet. Presented in a classic bomber shape in a lovely midnight blue and finished with a dense ribbed trim, this jacket is crafted with quality and will work well teamed with a simple white tee”.
Left - A.P.C. - Louis W Cotton-Velvet Bomber Jacket - £400
“The best tee ever! American based brand Velva Sheen have been crafting a unique tubular knit technique that eliminates side seams making this the perfect fit. I would suggest having several colourways in your wardrobe”.
Left - Velva - Sheen Rolled Slub Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt - £40
“I was trying to get my hands on a pair of Moscot sunglasses for a while, so was pleased when they launched on MR PORTER, this season. The ’Lemtosh’ style is probably their most classic shape and I like the vintage inspired design. This tortoiseshell pair with the green lens is quite unusual but super cool for FW16”.
Left - Moscot - Lemtosh Round-Frame Tortoiseshell Acetate Sunglasses - £250