Pronounced ‘Loh-wev-eh’, Loewe, is Spain's premier luxury label. Designed by Northern Irish designer, JW Anderson, it is producing some of the most directional and top quality menswear ATM.
This season was inspired by the beach: shells, rope and boats decorated tops, jackets and accessories. Gold leaf on denim brings to mind the warmth of a summer sunset. This shell tote is stunning and a real standout piece. Who said life was a beach?!
Credits - Clothes - Loewe from Matchesfashion.com, Bag - Loewe from Matchesfashion.com, Trainers - Tim Little X Grenson, Fragrance - Bentley Momentum, Cooling Balancing Oil Concentrate - Aveda
Shot by Robin Forster on Olympus PEN
Video & more images below
It all started with Raf Simons with his AW16 collection and, now, it’s the knitwear neckline du jour. The quintessentially British cricket jumper has been grunged up and distressed and become less gentleman's summer sport and more urban and edgy thanks to designers such as Alessandro Michele at Gucci. Brands such as Stella McCartney and Kent & Curwen have all done their interpretation of the cricket V and there's plenty of mileage in this style as many brands such as the Spanish knitwear brand, Sweaterhouse, is showing them for AW17. If you don't want to pay designer prices then pop to your local sports store, university or school shop and buy the largest size they have.
Left - Raf Simons AW16
Left - AMI - £225 - matchesfashion.com
Below - Prada SS17
Left - Stella McCartney - £570 MRPORTER.COM
Left - Gucci - £560 - MRPORTER.COM
Below - Kent & Curwen - £495 - MRPORTER.COM
Left - Raf Simons AW16
Left - Smart Turnout - £149
Below - Cambridge University - Magdalene College Cricket Sweater - Ryder & Amies - £110
It’s hard and premature to judge a brand on their first collection. It takes around 2 or 3, ideally, to be able to assess properly and get a median point of view or an idea on whether you like it or not and want to commit, i.e. buy. The fashion set usually rush to rave, if it's good, or sit back, offer non-committal politeness and hope they advertise, if it isn't.
Far Left - Stella McCartney swallow print shirt - £485, Left - Twisting her melons! Chloe, circa Spring 2001, when Stella McCartney was the chief designer
I, unfortunately, couldn’t make the launch of Stella McCartney’s new menswear collection, so I’m judging on the SS17 lookbook and the couple of pieces they had at the recent matchesfashion.com press day.
Stella McCartney is a feminine label and because I’ve known this has been coming for a while, I’ve got my head around that being in the neck of the garment.
If you had asked me a few months ago what this was going to look like, I would have said something like Roland Mouret’s now defunct Mr. men’s collection: all dark, navy suits, safe and quality basics modelled on Stella's very stylish husband, Alasdhair Willis, who is in charge at Hunter.
Surprisingly, it’s a big collection that isn’t playing safe and is offering something for ‘members’ and ‘non-members’. It's just the entrance fee that many may have a problem with!
It’s expensive, which makes sense because of the womenswear positioning. Is the target customer the male to the female customer or the partner of the female Stella customer? If he's the male equivalent, he'll want to buy his own clothes. If he's the partner, you'd be a confident woman taking quite a risk taking this lot home. Zipper trousers, anybody?!
What we have is something that looks like West London’s version of East London. It's all a bit 'popping out for a pint of milk and a packet of fags on Primrose Hill', which is Stella McCartney's set. When I saw the swallow shirt, pictured, it brought to mind one of Stella McCartney's Chloe tops with bananas on from her time at the French fashion house.
It's a tough time to launch menswear. Many well established brands are finding it difficult to shift fashion at these prices. It needs to be the best or special, or both. Kering, McCartney's parent company, obviously want her to expand. First kid's, now men's.
This could falter by falling in the gap between not being fashion enough for those who want serious, standout pieces and not being wearable enough for those men with deep enough pockets to afford it. Let's see how this develops.
You can pre-order the SS17 collection now.
Left - Stella McCartney - Bonded technical trench coat - £1605
Right - Will you join Stella McCartney's menswear club?
Right - The kind of bag most brands giveaway for free. Yours for £290 - Stella McCartney - Tomorrow Print Backpack
Below - Stella recreated the famous Beatles crossing at Abbey Road, London for the launch of her new men's collection. Grooming by Aveda
Since its inception, e-commerce has been a difficult nut to crack. When it was growing fast and taking market share, from offline, it was easy to justify spending vast sums laying the foundations for something that you will reap the benefit of later on.
Today, the luxury market is contracting, so trying to grow, whether offline or online, is particular hard, at this moment in time, especially when you're not in control of the choice of products.
Luxury fashion was slow to get fully behind e-commerce and only now are the brands giving it the attention and respect it deserves. The reasons for the change being companies like Net-a-porter and matchesfashion.com having pioneered this area and shown the riches to be made and also being able to communicate with a future consumer and grow a direct database.
Publishing house, Condé Nast, has just launched its e-commerce offering in the form of style.com This has been coming for the past couple of years and has been put back and put back and then, it surprised me, two weeks ago, by appearing on my Twitter timeline. A reported £75 million has been spent - The Times - and with over 100 employees - The FT - this is a big commitment.
There’s always room for something different/good or both, in any form of retail and the idea to combine trusted editorial with shopping is a good one, especially in a tastemaker environment like this. It makes sense.
Unfortunately, the launch site looks nothing different from a luxury site from 10 years ago. The choice is limited and being run on affiliates - which means they earn a commission on each sale - all the items are distributed from various sellers at different costs in different locations. It’s going to be a nightmare for Condé Nast to deal with returns. They want the money, but don’t want to get their hands dirty. Don't we all?!
The biggest surprise is, where is all the editorial? People have tried shoppable magazines before, they don’t work. That’s fine. But, use the budget and teams of Vogue and GQ and give me the best of the season’s images and shoots and if there’s only one shoppable product, then so be it. It’s the magic that people buy into. It’s the world that these magazines live in.
It feels as though the editors aren’t playing ball and have washed their hands of it. It probably doesn't help that style.com is based in Camden and the magazines are over in Hanover Square.
After the delayed launch, the launch now feels rushed. I think they would have been better off keeping style.com as it was - runway reports and party pictures - to keep the traffic up and instead, now, they have to cannibalise digital advertising, which is hard to generate money from at the best of times, in order to push shoppers over to the site from the magazines' individual websites.
It launched with free shipping on orders over £350, very generous! Now, it’s free shipping and returns on all orders. Clearly taking some feedback. (Mr Porter had the same issue when it launched). It has only launched in the UK, atm, and there is nothing on there you can’t get anywhere else. It's interesting too that Condé Nast invested in FarFetch.com, another high-fashion portal, and is, now, technically a competitor. Maybe the two will merge?
I think style.com is too little, too late. They’ll spend the next 18 months finding out that this business model is particularly hard to make money from, while blowing millions and millions of pounds. They'll be lucky is they ever make a profit. This could be the Ocado of fashion! In hindsight, it would have been better to have had a chat with Natalie Massenet about 15 years ago.
Damien Paul, Head of Menswear, MATCHESFASHION.COM
"This unique and ground-breaking collaboration between Yohji Yamamoto and adidas has now been running for over a decade, and the product continues to resonate well for our customers. My favourite style for this autumn is the 'Qasa' high top trainer – the detail is minimal and subtle and these will work well with a cropped trouser and sweatshirt".
Y3 - Qasa High-Top Trainers - £260 Buy Now
"OAMC stands for Over All Master Cloth and is new to MATCHESFASHION.COM this season. The collection encompasses the sweet spot between contemporary and sportswear influence and is lifted by a refined finish and attention to detail. I like this navy sweatshirt as it is has a slim silhouette which can work well when worn with smarter trousers, and it is elevated with a detachable feather charm".
OAMC - Feather Charm Crew Neck Sweatshirt - £225 Buy Now
"Another new label for us, Malle is London based and began with the intention of creating superior, British made motorcycle luggage. The collection has now evolved and this pannier shoulder bag is absolutely functional, and is very masculine. In oiled canvas with black bridle leather trim I like that the roll-top closure allows you to expand the size of the bag as you require".
"Italian design house Marni often deals in unexpected proportions and off-kilter silhouettes, which I personally love. These trousers are more refined, and whilst they are cropped, they have a classic, straight cut, with a single pleat at the front. In navy wool-twill they are what I call and investment purchase as they will work both on and off-duty, and will add elegance even to low key weekend dressing".
Marni - Single Pleat Wool-Twill Trousers - £505 Buy Now
"Exclusive to MATCHESFASHION.COM Raey has very subtle, cool handwriting – the sort of pieces that slot into any man’s wardrobe and become firm favourites… I like this oversized bomber for autumn as it nods to sportswear but is in Prince of Wales check, one of the most traditional fabrications in English heritage".
Raey - 1970s Zip Through Houndstooth Checked Jacket £495 Buy Now
Damien Paul, Head of Menswear, MATCHESFASHION.COM
“There's a more bohemian attitude coming through, this season, and London-based label By Walid has some of the most wearable interpretations we've seen. This silk shirt will make a great layering piece for spring”.
Left - By Walid - Silk Shirt - £558
“Gucci has been totally reinvigorated over the last couple of seasons and their accessories are particularly covetable. These heavy-duty sandals feel modern but masculine”.
Below - Gucci - Double-strap Leather Sandals - £410
“Fraying, distressing and raw edges tapped in the grungier mood we saw at the shows. Damir Doma does it best”.
Left - Damir Doma - Raw-edged Top - £315
“This was Alexander Wang's last and best collection for Balenciaga - and the last opportunity to invest in his dynamic, athletic vision for the brand. This zipper-accented bomber was the standout”.
Left -Balenciaga - Zip-detail Bomber Jacket - £655
“Orley has fast become one of my favourite brands in New York. They're primarily known for their knitwear (which I'd seriously advise you to check out) - but these sneakers were pretty hard to ignore”.
Below - Orley - Paisley Suede Sneakers - £235
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
Damien Paul, Head of Menswear at MATCHESFASHION.COM
"A techy, functional coat is near the top of the list of pieces I'm after for the new season - the best collections all had a utilitarian feeling to them. This nylon parka buy Raey is a favourite, and would look brilliant layered over heavy-duty knitwear."
Left - Raey - Hooded Nylon Parka - £450
"Everyone on the team here is excited about Longjourney, one of the most interesting new brands we've seen. They are based in Los Angeles, where they transform vintage denim and military surplus into new, unique garments. This is a label to watch."
Left - Longjourney - Patchworked Denim Shirt - £535
"The Parisian footwear brand Adieu has branched into sneakers for AW15, and they perfectly capture the minimal, no-nonsense aesthetic of the season. I'll be wearing them with rolled-up denim."
Left - Adieu - Leather Low-Top Trainers - £278
"There's a retro feeling coming back into menswear, and this cardigan has a "70's-by-way-of-the-90's" attitude which feels totally right for now. Though, thankfully, it's rendered in an ultra-soft merino instead of the scratchy fibres of most vintage knitwear…"
Left - Orley - Dexter Chevron Striped Cardigan - £475
"Under the stewardship of J.W. Anderson, Loewe has become one of the most exciting brand revivals around. Their luxurious yet offbeat clothing is covetable enough, but I'm obsessing over the bags - this structural suede backpack is just unsual enough to be irresistible."
Left - Loewe - Anton Suede Backpack - £1795
You know how it is? You're just chilling in your £500 trainers, kicking back on a lump of concrete looking cool. Life is good.
TheChicGeek is doing luxury sportswear with a zingy injection orange thanks to adidas' Y3 collection and the skeletal Rick Owens X adidas trainers.
Check out his first #StreetGEEK look here
Credits - T-Shirt - Y3, Jacket - Y3, Trousers - Y3, Backpack - Eastpak, Socks - Polo Ralph Lauren, Trainers - Rick Owens X adidas, Watch - Briston, Coloured Trainers - Burberry Prorsum from MatchesFashion.com, Fragrance - Thierry Mugler A*Men Ultra Zest
Shot by Robin Forster on #OlympusPEN
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They say you can read some people like a book, well, wearing Christopher Kane's #SS15 book-leaf sweatshirt, it's literally the case.
TheChicGeek has gone for clean white sneaks and matching sweatshirt in this streetwear look amongst the grime of Factory Lane. Always one to standout, TheChicGeek's monochrome look with flashes of ginger is perfect streetwear, just don't lean against the fence!
Credits - Sweatshirt - Christopher Kane from MatchesFashion.com, White T-Shirt - Porsche Design X adidas, Joggers - Majestic Athletic, Belt - Y3, Trainers - Raf Simons X adidas, Watch - Briston.
Shot by Robin Forster on #OlympusPEN
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