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.
Tom Ford, you’re missing out! Even after all his daily baths, you'd think it would be too tempting to slip a tracksuit on, but, he recently told GQ America that he didn’t own sweatpants, but he did concede that he’s a member of a tennis club in London that only permits its members to wear white, and yes, sometimes he does get into the car in this one pair of white sweatpants, since it’s required, but no one on the street sees him because his driver pulls him right up to the club.
Oh, the shame! Can you imagine?! Well, the tide has turned and boy, does TheChicGeek love a good tracksuit.
Credits - Tracksuit - Lyle & Scott, Watch - Mondaine, T-Shirt - Derek Rose, Trainers - Russell & Bromley
Shot by Robin Forster on Olympus PEN
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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.
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
Peace and love, what more do we need? Well, a big bank balance looking at the price of this shirt. Tom Ford always knows which bits of the past to mine. While he's a man of the 1970s, this psychedelic shirt brings to mind the Beatles of the 1960s and menswear brands from the time such as Mr Fish.
While this shirt is loud, team it with a navy suit and plain tie and you'll have something that is risk taking and tasteful rather than brash and gaudy. Peace out!
Left - Tom Ford - Floral Print Shirt - £675 from Harrods
Inspired? See the V&A’s 1960s Exhibition - here
Maybe it’s in homage to the latest Oasis documentary, but the roll-with-it thin-knit roll neck is the default easy menswear knitwear trend of the season. (That was quite a mouthful, or in this case, a neck full).
I'm not sure whether Liam or Noel would do a louche jewel-coloured rollneck with contrasting velvet jacket, but I'm sure they'll agree that it looks pretty good. Go for something fine, maybe a Merino wool or cashmere silk mix, if your budget allows for it. Look for golds, reds, pinks or oatmeal and team with a contrasting jacket like in Tom Ford's latest advertising campaign. This is easy, but cool dressing. Trust me, between now and next summer, you'll reach for the reliable rollneck and it'll leave you feeling supersonic!
Left - Tom Ford - Classic Cashmere Turtleneck - $1290
Left - John Smedley - Connell Deep Claret - £145
Below - Hymn - Maximum Roll Neck Burgundy - £50 From John Lewis
Left - Gucci - Cashmere Turtleneck - £485
Left - River Island - Light Brown Ribbed Roll Neck Jumper - £25
Left - Topman Premium - Pink Roll Neck Jumper - £35
The Chic Geek's latest vlog celebrates National Grooming Day and includes grooming advice and the latest product from Clinique, Tom Ford, Versace, Diesel, Foreo and Gillette. Watch TheChicGeek video below and subscribe to his YouTube channel here
Red means danger and while TheChicGeek perilously hovers off the cliff he looks as cool as a cucumber in his white seersucker suit. Roll the trousers, push the arms back and something, which was quite formal, now, has a hot weather coolness to it.
If you find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place, quite literally like TheChicGeek, then make sure you always look your best!
Get involved #WhiteOut
Credits - Shoes - Red Sebago Docksides Ariaprene, White Seersucker Suit - Topman, Hat - John Lewis, Neckerchief - John Lewis, Watch - Triwa, T-Shirt - American Apparel, ‘Brow Gelcomb’ - Tom Ford, ‘Exfoliating Energy Scrub’ - Tom Ford, ’Klang’ Headphones - Sudio.
Shot by Robin Forster on Olympus PEN
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Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear at the Victoria & Albert Museum displays more than 200 examples of men’s and women’s underwear from about 1750 to the present day.
Left - An example of 18th century men's underclothes. I'm guessing this just feel off, eventually!
In particular, it investigates how underwear design combines the practical and personal with the sensory and fashionable, in the process both protecting and enhancing the body.
Right - Not so much underwear, but Michelangelo's David's Victorian modesty leaf
TheChicGeek says, “Situated in the centre of the V&A’s fashion room, this exhibition starts with a room explaining the different constructs and changes in time of men’s and women’s undergarments up to the present day. Ultimately, underwear is there for support and keeping your clothes clean. Sexuality and feeling attractive does play a part, but this room is a clinical look at the architecture of underwear. Men’s examples included 18th century underclothes, underwear in those days meant anything worn next to the skin, Jockey Y-Fronts from the 1950s and Aussiebum's bulge enhancing pants.
Left - 1950s Jockey Y-Fronts & David Beckham for H&M
"Upstairs there was a loose idea of connecting fashion to underwear. What resulted was a disjointed collection of random items including loungewear and corseted outerwear. While nice, it didn’t really pick out the key points or moments in fashion that involved underwear or underwear gravitating into outerwear. Where was the famous Jean Paul Gaultier conical bodice of the late 80s or the 90s Dolce & Gabbana dresses with the bra straps? The exhibition needs a little more sex, there was no Bruce Weber for Calvin Klein images from the 1980s which pioneered the objection of men or the hyper-sexual male images that we’ve seen over the last two decades from the likes of Tom Ford or DSquared. While the underwear is here, the body that goes into them seems to have been forgotten and the two definitely go together."
Until 12th March 2017
A new ‘old’ fragrance house, Parfums de Marly, is named after the Marly Castle, which was the party place of the French kings - like Versailles wasn’t party-central enough!
Located in the suburbs of Paris, it was the famous leisure residence of the Sun King Louis XIV and became the centre for his horses and hunting. King Louis XV, succeeded his great-grandfather Louis XIV at the age of five. He was offered 8 Arabian horses - Godolphin & Darly - by the King of Tunisia. He bred these with his European horses to create superior racehorses; which he used to compete in exclusive Royal events. The King himself owned over 600 horses.
Parfums de Marly’s fragrances are all named after famous horses to reflect the places equestrian heritage.
The new fragrance, Carlisle, has been christened after the majestic English horse of the same name from the year 1695. Hailing from the fruity spicy family of fragrances, the fragrance boasts top notes of bergamot, mandarin, apple and French lavender. It then moves on to middle notes of violet, jasmine and geranium Egypt. Base notes include Paraguay gaiac wood, Indonesian patchouli, sandalwood, Guatemalan cardamom, vanilla and Madagascar pepper.
Parfums de Marly - Carlisle - 125ml - £215.00 Exclusive to Harrods
TheChicGeek says, “There is no denying the quality here. These are unisex fragrances and it’s nice to get a bit of a French history lesson in the process too. This is fruity, it has an almost olfactory of top-layer-of-strawberry-jam that is warmed by the vanilla and spicy pepper. It's a gourmand delight that makes you want to taste. It's very consistent as you would expect at this price and lasts. I did suggest that their next one should be called ‘Desert Orchid’, but then again it does sound a bit Tom Ford!”