I didn’t really know very much about Tim Coppens, I actually thought he was American, until I attended his AW17 show in Pitti in Florence. Born in Belgium and graduated from the acclaimed Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, according to his website, he has worked with various prestigious luxury and sports-performance brands before founding his own label in New York. In 2012 he received the Ecco Domani Award for “Best New Menswear Designer”. The following year he was awarded the Fashion Group International Rising Star of the Year. Most recently Coppens was the 2014 winner of the CFDA Swarovski Award for Menswear and a top 10 finalist for the LVMH Prize.
This year he has been nominated for the CFDA “Menswear Designer of the Year” Award and the ANDAM Fashion Award.
His collection was luxury sportswear with retro references and styling. And he knew how to fit a trouser which always puts a designer in my good books. This quilted coat is a very versatility piece, but add shorts and a T-shirt and you're ready for an English summer.
Credits - All clothes Tim Coppens SS17 from Harvey Nichols, Spectacles - Salvatore Ferragamo, Fragrance - Paco Rabanne 'Invictus Intense', Shoes - Tim Little X Grenson, Soothing After Shave Balm & Easy-Glide Shaving Emulsion - Pevonia
When TheChicGeek met Neil Barrett - see here - he was just about to unveil this collection in Milan. He told TheChicGeek he was inspired by his childhood and the 1970s and the collection was a mix of his classic smart sportswear and 70s inspired chevrons and colours.
Neil really knows how to make clothes that flatter. Here we have a classic bomber given movement with the herringbone detail on the arms, a super luxurious knit polo with epaulettes and subtle jacquard trousers with a camo-type design. The look is finished off with smart, white gum sole shoes.
Credits - All clothes Neil Barrett from Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge, Trainers - Tim Little x Grenson, Spectacle - Salvatore Ferragamo, PRO LS All-In-One Face Cleansing Gel - Lab Series, Stress Fix Body Lotion - Aveda,
Shot on Olympus PEN by Robin Forster
More images & video below
Lara Djandji, Men’s International Designers and Accessories Buyer, Harvey Nichols
“Utility remains a key trend for this season with style cues taken from the uniforms of US correctional facilities. This staple khaki shirt by Marni is an essential buy to update your spring wardrobe, featuring a drawstring hem that adds a sportsluxe twist on the classic shirt”.
Left - Marni – Olive Poplin Shirt - £375
“A new brand at Harvey Nichols this season and one to watch, is Qasimi. These textured shorts in a muted blush, tap perfectly into one of our key trends that sees a softer, more relaxed and effortless way of dressing. Pair with a simple white Tee and tailored jacket to embody the brands uniformity and military influences”.
Left - Qasimi - Blush Textured Shell Shorts - £310
‘“Channel Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet this spring with this playful pillar box red Hawaiian shirt from Saint Laurent. Perfect for brightening up your wardrobe and encouraging good vibes”.
Below - Saint Laurent - Red Hawaiian-print Challis Shirt - £530
“These pressed slacks by Wooyoungmi offer a contemporary take on trousers this season, with a wide leg and cropped silhouette that will give you a modern workwear look. In a black wool blend fabrication these slacks can be dressed up or down, with a smart brogue or sleek trainer”.
Left - Wooyoungmi – Black Wide Leg Wool Blend Trousers - £340
“The fashion trainer trend shows no sign of disappearing, so this is the season to invest in Maison Margeila’s Replica model trainers, an iconic style within the sneaker industry. My pick this season is the all-white, brush painted style, for a subversively cool retro street look”.
Left - Maison Margiela - New Replica White Paint-Effect Leather Trainers - £455
A new men’s grooming brand, Stoer, pronounced 'store', is named after a remote place in the Highlands of Scotland where the founder, Marianne Morrison, spent her formative years.
This technologically advanced collection of ‘skin-smart’ products introduces novel and effective ‘Cosmetic Drone’ technology, a first for the male skincare market.
Left - The ‘STOER Skincare for Men’ collection includes: Foaming Face Wash, Detox Face Scrub, Firm & Protect Moisturising Serum, Energising Eye Serum and Vitamin Power Mask.
Cosmetic drones focus on delivering the brand’s unique Clima 5™ formulation of active ingredients directly into the skin layer where they work best. Each active has been individually sourced from extreme climates in 5 global locations (Mexico, Japan, Scotland, West Africa and the Alps) to underpin the value of protecting the skin against pollution and the elements, whilst rejuvenating, energising and improving skin health.
TheChicGeek says, “The drones are coming! There are 5 initial products in the STOER range, with 2 more to follow. It’s interesting they’ve launched without a moisturiser, but I think this is down to a production issue rather than a deliberate absence. A moisturiser with SPF 30 is to follow, as it says so on the back of the serum.
I’ve not heard of ‘Cosmetic Drone’ technology before, but it makes sense if your trying to get the right product to the right place rather than relying solely on skin penetration. According to the information, each active is entrapped in a unique microscopic ‘Cosmetic Drone’ capsule to deliver the actives to a deeper layer of the skin. This revolutionary system targets specific cells and releases the active ingredients where needed.
I always think a new range lives and dies on its moisturiser, but I’ll have to pass judgement another day. I tried the serum and eye serum, which both have a nice lavender scent. This is particularly relaxing when applying in the evening, just before bed.
I used the serum like you would a moisturiser and applied the eye serum after. The eye serum definitely had that blowing-in-your-eyes effect which means something positive is happening. The serum and eye serum are light and disappear quickly and you’re not conscious you’re wearing it. It’s non greasy and oily and leaves the skin feeling nourished for the day.
The other products: face wash, face scrub and power mask are pretty standard: easily applied and washed off.
While not cheap, these are reasonably priced. If you didn't want to buy all of them I would go for the serum and eye serum: some men are willing to pay for new technology, especially if it delivers results quickly. STOER seems like a welcome edition to the men’s grooming market and, as we've been told, drones are in our futures, we may as well get used to them in our skincare and medicines."
Available at Harvey Nichols from £24 from 11th March
The fashion business likes a ‘category’. The more categories the more product and the more money, hopefully. If only it was that easy.
Designers and brands like to enter a category, be it jeans, underwear or sunglasses, usually partnering with a manufacturing expert in that field, and expand their businesses one category at a time. Take Tom Ford for example, he is just about to go into underwear after mastering jeans, sunglasses, beauty and trainers, in no particular order.
Left - N/A Necessary Anywhere socks available at Oki-Ni & Harvey Nichols
Underwear is one of the biggest money spinners for brands. People will pay a premium for somebody else’s name on their waistband - not really sure why - and entire brands like Calvin Klein and Versace are built on their underwear categories. They can charge a premium for something that is cheap to make.
And while the underwear category has matured into a reliable cash cow for many, the sock business seems so much trickier. There aren’t many designers or brands who have owned the category. With the exception of Paul Smith, designers produce the odd sock for collections, but don’t fully enter or develop the category. It wasn't that long ago that Burberry pulled out of the category and they make everything.
It’s interesting how people are willing to spend on underwear, but not on socks. We do have quality sock brands such as the German Falke and the British Panterella and Corgi, but there seems to be a ceiling on the pricing. People think socks should be cheap and when brands like Vetements and Gucci do socks at high prices - think nearing three figures - they seem like one of the most frivolouss purchases you can make and are usually a one-off show piece rather than entering the category.
The branded sock market seems to fall into two categories: sports and colourful office-type socks. There’s definitely a gap for something in between. So, it was at the recent CIFF fashion trade show in Copenhagen that I found N/A from New York.
When I searched ’N/A New York’ I got plenty of Narcotics Anonymous meetings, but it actually stands for ‘Necessary Anywhere’ and is influenced by the ‘everyday grind’. To the British that's walking (thought Americans didn't do that anyway!). They believe it’s vital to get up every day with the aspiration to move ourselves forward.
Founded in 2015 by Nick Lewis with six socks, these premium knit socks marry innovative textures with classic colours and patterns. When people pay for socks they usually go for something colourful and playful, N/A seems to have produced a cool sock which marries sports and fashion. They’re about £15, which, while more than your average three pack, aren’t extortionate. They fit somewhere between your smart socks and your sports socks and could, potentially, signal a new category within this difficult category.
Benn McGregor, Mens Contemporary, Sneakers and Lifestyle Buyer, Harvey Nichols
“This coat by Our Legacy is an absolute wardrobe staple. With the shape being both boxy and masculine it is a great fit for any shape. Although the pocket placement on the front looks incredibly standard, it’s actually quite rare to find a modern knee-length coat that has a formal look, but also have these casual pockets; it brings a whole new relaxed angle to the product when you’re wearing it”.
Left - Our Legacy at Harvey Nichols - Black Virgin Wool Blend Coat - £570
"Athletic Propulsion Labs, or ‘APL’ as they’re more swiftly known, are rising stars in the footwear world. Their knitted runner silhouette is an absolute must this season for both runners and gym-frequenters, but also just as easy to wear with a pair of jeans. APL aren’t big on branding, and the minimalist aesthetic is echoed in the colour palette; available in a wide range of subtle fashion colours it’s an easy win when you want to have comfort, but still keep an element of sophistication about your footwear”.
Left - Athletic Propulsion Labs at Harvey Nichols – TechLoom Pro Black Knitted Trainers - £110
“Although my pick is for AW16, this pink Stone Island light pint wool blend jumper will both keep you warm and keep you on point and ahead of the game for SS17 where pink will be a key colour for the season”.
Left - Stone Island at Harvey Nichols – Light Pink Wool Blend Jumper - £175 (One of the must-have items of the season - more here)
"Water resistant, articulated cut and the stretch fabric makes these Arc’Teryx Veilance trousers an absolute winner for the young professional, especially in the autumn/winter months. These trousers are cut like a slim leg style, but offer a roomy fit around the thigh ensuring maximum comfort whilst being a good investment piece. The structure of these trousers will allow them to retain their shape and colour due to the technical fabric and fit superiority”.
Left - Arc’Teryx Veilance at Harvey Nichols – Apparent Black Cotton Blend Trousers - £350
Whilst I am aware that this isn’t a ‘product’ pick per se, no matter what you buy, if you haven’t got a sharp haircut, the rest of your style is thrown off balance. Therefore, a visit to the AONO barbershop in our newly renovated menswear department in the Knightsbridge store is a must. Praised for their attention to detail and great price point of £30, you will struggle to find a better service at a better price inside the M25”.
Below - AONO Barbershop at Harvey Nichols
TheChicGeek says, “Finally, Harvey Nichols has put its hands in its pockets and spent on its flagship store. Luckily, for us boys, it’s the menswear department that gets the first big overhaul. Working from the bottom up, Harvey Nichol’s new menswear department has been completely redesigned and what was and still is a difficult space has been given a fresh look while sorting out the flow and differing levels.
Left - The suiting/tailoring room
The 28,000 sq. ft. department, on two floors, has moved away from the that mini-airport concession look and given itself set rooms to cater for different customers and needs. Knowing they are limited on space, Harvey Nichols, is being clever by putting brands together on product rather than in set areas. So, if you want a formal suit, then all the formal suits are together. Accessories are scatted within the rooms and work together with the clothes rather than being stuck in defined areas away from each other. This is all about time and ease which, when selling to men, is a massive USP.
Right - The new 'Concierge'
There’s a new ‘concierge’, aka personal shopping service, in a separate area downstairs with generous changing rooms, some big enough for a whole family with their own sound systems and there’s no minimum spend.
As for the design, it feels designed, but not trying to hard, which is hard to pull off. It’s not trying to be ‘expensive’ or ‘exclusive’, it feels relaxed, welcoming and inclusive. There are lots of little touches like a set of stuffed birds and toy water guns which creates personality and lowers the serious factor.
Left - The only turkey I spotted
The white marble is there, the polished copper is there, plus a few mid-century modern pieces of furniture, yet it feels fresh and very ‘2016’, which I think is cool. It feels likes the kind of warm space you’d want to spend time in and revisit. As fashion becomes more mixed and broken down to item rather than price and branding, this feels like the future direction of retail and I'd be surprised if they don't see a massive increase in sales.
Harvey Nichols needed this badly and I’m pleased they’ve got what they deserved. It’s good. Go take a look.”
Head of Menswear, Harvey Nichols, Darren Skey
“This Porter Yoshida Olive Tanker backpack is a necessary addition to complement any look this spring. As well as striking a minimalistic note and hitting on the season’s key colour trend, the bag is crafted in the brand’s signature nylon making it impervious to dirt and water – both a timeless and durable investment piece”.
Left - Porter Yoshida - Olive Tanker Backpack - £310
“I love these black tapered jeans from the extremely wearable and dynamic Stone Island Shadow Project capsule collection. The zipped side with concealed pocket and contrast applique turn-up transform these versatile trousers from an understated outfit component to a stand out, standalone piece”.
Left - Stone Island X Shadow Project - Black Tapered Jeans - £210
“These statement Hender Scheme MIP-2 blush leather trainers are worth investing in for spring. Designer Ryo Kashiwazaki reworks classic sneaker silhouettes in 100% natural raw leather. The high quality handcrafted trainers grow and change with wear, making them unique one-off pieces not to be missed”.
Left - Hender Scheme - MIP-2 Blush Leather Trainers - £780
“Exclusive to Harvey Nichols, John Elliott remains unrivalled in his basics offering. This black cotton sweatshirt perfectly complements the season’s cleaner palate, while still including subtle zip detail and ribbed trims. Layer with an oversized tee to embrace the looser silhouette dominating this season”.
Left - John Elliott - Black Zipped Cotton Sweatshirt - £190
“New and exclusive to Harvey Nichols, Satisfy activewear is, in my opinion, up there with the best of them in the sportswear arena. This packable windbreaker jacket is incredibly light and aesthetically slick as well as being about as technical as you can get. Crafted from ripstop fabric from Switzerland, not only is it wind and water repellent, durable and high-vis, but also complete with inbuilt mapped cooling systems and double hood for maximum rain protection”.
Satisfy - Packable Windbreaker Jacket - £535
Knightsbridge based department store, Harvey Nichols, has been busy excavating their basement. Long the home of their menswear offering, this cavernous yet claustrophobic space is, we are told, being completely made over ready for its unveiling in spring 2016.
Left - Harvey Nichols' new store in Birmingham which gives us the direction stylistically of the Knightsbridge store's new men's basement.
So, what’s new? I recently attended a presentation of theirs describing how the new spaces are going to look. Bye, bye shop-in-shops and branded concessions: long the bastion of mega-brands, physically claiming prime spots in-store to be replaced by easily changeable spaces and the mixing of brands.
I'd like to think of it as a more democratic form of shopping: allowing labels to speak to people solely on product alone without the pre-judgement of walking over to a branded section or the muscling out of smaller brands by placing them in the parts of the store these mega-brands don’t want.
The big brands won’t like this. They will sell less. There will now be an equal playing field between them and whichever new brands Harvey Nichols decide to stock. It also allows Harvey Nichols to drop brands faster, regardless of size, to keep pace with the speed of fashion and allowing new brands to bring excitement and interest into their physical store.
People are tired of seeing the same brands everywhere regardless of how expensive they are. It also allows a form of curation rather than simply a mini-mall of the same designer names which you can find the world over.
Harvey Nichols know they can’t compete with the likes of Harrods and Selfridges on menswear floor space, so, they are making theirs more flexible and less static. This is a very clever idea.
Right - More interiors from Harvey Nichols Birmingham. Let's hope London looks this good
In order to survive shops need to become destinations. They need to offer something you can’t find anywhere else: something new, fresh and inspiring. They also have to flow, both visibly and physically, and, ultimately, part time-poor people with their cash.
One of the more interesting ideas they have is putting all the same things together. So, white T-shirts, tuxedos etc., all at different price points, selected by Harvey Nichols, are together with the sales assistants explaining the differences between them all.
Fashion’s big names have long earnt their corners of the big stores, but they sell more and remain powerful because they have the best positions and are, therefore, stuck in a positive cycle which is very hard to break, making retail spaces look the same every time and everywhere. It all becomes quite predictable and menswear buyers and the retailers want something different and exciting while still retaining the spend.
Harvey Nichols is seeing this refresh as an opportunity to try something new. No doubt they’ll be some difficult discussions with brands, but I hope they hold their ground and give these ideas a chance to prove that the customer, now, buys into good product rather than brands. Menswear just got a level playing field!
Opening April 2016
Here to launch their Woolmark Prize winning men’s collection at Harvey Nichols, TheChicGeek grabbed design duo, Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow of American fashion label, Public School, for a couple of minutes to talk Made in the USA, DKNY and state schools
Left - Not your average public schoolboys! Dao-Yi & Maxwell of Public School
Winners of the inaugural International Woolmark Menswear Prize, Public School has been gaining attention over the last few seasons and has been tasked with the makeover of American fashion giant DKNY. The winning Woolmark collection is in their signature black and features machine body-conscious hoodies, sweaters and leggings and is available Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge and Matchesfashion.com.
Where did the name Public School come from? “It’s from the idea of New York being a melting pot. Public School is about not being an intimidating designer name: we wanted to make it something everybody could get into it,” says Maxwell.
Do they realise that public school means something completely different in the UK? I suggested they renamed the label ‘State School’, “We need to change the labels here!” laughs Maxwell.
So, they’ve just taken over at DKNY, will they be doing the menswear and what can we expect?
“No, just women’s. As for men’s, they’re exiting the business. Maybe in a couple of years it will return,” says Dao.
Right - The new Woolmark Prize winning men's knitwear on display at Harvey Nichols London
How would they sum up Public School for those not familiar with the label?
“It’s a men’s and women’s designer collection based out of New York and also the production is done in New York City. It’s around this idea of convergence and mixing,” Dao says.
How do they find production in the USA and doesn’t it make selling in Europe prohibitively expensive?
“Production is difficult in general. But, it’s easier for a company of our size, now, which is small, to keep production in the US,” says Dao.
“We have to get creative. Give a retailer discount if they can buy more to off-set the difference,” says Maxwell.
The Public School Woolmark Collection is available at Harvey Nichols & Matchesfashion.com - Prices - £235 - £740