Friday, 20 February 2015

The Personal Barber

How would you like a personalised wet shave, at home yet with the freedom to not have a barbers appointment? Wet shaving has seen a huge revival within the past couple of years so The Personal Barber has devised a unique model of a wet shave subscription that guides you through the ritual of shaving. Each box includes a "how to shave" guide in a step by step format so that new users can get an idea of what they are doing, as well as a care guide on how to keep the new equipment in top condition.

For recurring members of the subscription, from the second box onwards they receive pre or post-shave products in place of a razor and brush. This can take the form of a cologne or pre-shave oil which can be used to further prepare the skin and provide an extra layer of protection or an aftershave balm to soothe and protect the skin after shaving. 

Each month includes different products so customers get the chance to find what is right for their skin and hair type as well as introduce them to products that they might not normally go for (such as balms and oils). So what do you get in your first box? Also, they currently have a promotion on that gives all new subscribers a 20% discount on the month to month subscription for as long as they are a member by entering SMOOTHSHAVE. 

Classic safety razor - The razor is very forgiving, with a relatively small blade gap (this is the amount that the blade is exposed and determines its "aggressiveness") making it ideal for the beginner wet shaver. It also has a much lighter head to prevent too much pressure being applied.
Synthetic hair shaving brush - The use of high quality synthetic hairs makes it easy to load with soap (the act of getting shaving soap into the brush for lathering) as well as being very soft on the skin. 
Shaving Soaps - There are two brands of shaving soaps included in the first box. Both are handmade from small independent producers using only natural ingredients. The Sea Drift soap is unscented and is made to provide a deep clean to your face. It is good for those wanting to use a soap that won't clash with the smell of their aftershave or balm. The Mutiny soap has a really refreshing and strong scent of lime and lemongrass that really picks you up in the morning. It's not so strong that it is overpowering when used however and leaves a very subtle hint after use that can be left alone or used to enhance a citrus based aftershave or balm.
Alum matchsticks - These sticks are really convenient. Simply moisten the tip and then run over any cuts or irritation, it is an astringent that constricts the blood vessels preventing bleeding.
Replacement blades - The type of blade you use actually plays an important role in shaving as each brand has different levels of sharpness. Put simply, a very sharp blade is good for cutting cleanly through the hairs of particularly hirsute individuals as it won't tug. However the sharper the blade that you use the more risk there is of causing irritation so it is best to use a blade that isn't too harsh for your skin. It is important to find the brands that are right for you for a more comfortable shaving experience. In the box there are two brands included, Derby Extras and Wilkinson Sword. Derby Extras are a relatively dull blade which makes them ideal for those with soft fine hairs or sensitive skin. Wilkinson sword is a medium sharpness blade but with a special chromium coating that is supposed to make it easier to glide across the face. Both are excellent brands and it is worth seeing if you can tell the difference between them.

Want to give it a go? The underlying aim of The Personal Barber is to get people to enjoy the act of shaving itself rather than seeing it as a daily chore. Wet shaving tends to be a far more enjoyable experience, because it is more of a ritual and because it requires technique. The ceremony of wet shaving is very calm and satisfying which can be needed in the morning. 

SS15 ASOS Black


ASOS have consistently done well with ASOS BLACK, and the SS15 collection sees a refined punky approach to fashion tailoring as it blends with minimal sporty detailing and finishes. Placement and band licensing prints embody the rock and feel to the collection as black and red juxtapose clean whites, and key items such as leather jackets sit with long line aesthetics. I think I will be getting hold of a few of these pieces very soon. 

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Mi-Pac x Liberty Art Fabrics

If you have not already heard of Mi-Pac, they are a great accessories brand who produce individual and expressive pieces - with Liberty Art Fabric their latest collaborative collection. The Mi-Pac's backpack and duffel range has delved into the Liberty archive to produce this  - one of three patterns - the Strawberry Thief printed back pack and duffel bag. The 100% cotton pieces are perfect for a weekend trip away or for everyday use. 

For the back-pack, which will no doubt come with me to New York next week, will house my essential day pieces; Victorinox Swiss Army Knife, iPod, Hermes Terre fragrance, Smythson passport holder, mobile back up charger and glasses. The duffel is a great weekender or gym bag, with which I can put my Hermes towel and Orlebar Brown swim shorts in. Add a bottle of water and I'm set! So if you are after some great expressive and unique luggage for what ever reason; check out the collection here

Peoples Place Originals by Hilfiger Denim

With its raw seems, biker inspired print and a great monochrome aesthetic, this was my first choice from the new Peoples Place Originals by Hilfiger Denim. It is inspired by ‘People’s Place’, the first store Tommy Hilfiger opened in 1970s, the collection celebrates the decade’s iconic music and rock-and-roll lifestyle, fused with Hilfiger Denim’s ‘prep with an edge’ spirit. Thanks to Tommy Hilfiger and Hilfiger Denim for the great piece - perfect for the office and for the weekend.

dunhill Icon

Creating an icon takes years, so it is a bold move by dunhill to name their first fragrance as such under new Creative Director John Ray. Taking influence from the world of British motor racing, the first thing struck me about Icon is the heavy, decadent 1920s inspired bottle. The engine turned design is a signature pattern that first originated in 1924 and which continues to this day in items such as cuff links. Placed on the cap is a stunning enamel top, embossed with the dunhill logo. This is the packaging of a true sophisticated, masculine fragrance. 

Whilst the fragrance is only available at Harrods and dunhill stores until general release on 30th March, I think this is one smell that may appeal to a younger guy who is looking for a solid yet exciting way into the dunhill brand. It has been developed by Master Perfumer, Carlos Benaim, and it opens with top notes of Italian bergamot and neroli absolute fused and intertwined with a fiery black pepper, successfully juggling the mid-notes of cardamom and Lavender de Provence. At the base, the decadence of smokey yet luxurious oud wood, and an oris-leather accord, lean on a superb blend of invigorating vetiver and a slight touch of oak moss.

This is a superb fragrance that should prove a wonderful icon for the brand under John Ray. Easy to wear everyday, this could fast become a firm favourite for guys who appreciate the modern classicism of an iconic British brand. 

Roux SS15


I am a huge fan of Roux, a contemporary menswear label who latest project from Roux. x Mr Whisper revisits the light and dark qualities of Chiaroscuro. Rooted in relaxed causal pieces in monotone shades, the brutalist aesthetic, of The Barbican offers a contrasting angle and depth of tone for this shoot that is required to fully support the previous Scuro project shot using the subtle shadows and darkness of London’s south bank.

The prominent angles cast by the environment are distinctive throughout the shoot and the collection itself with lighter fabric contrasts, the continuation of mesh panelling and hand printed obliques across soft handle tees - with a fit which is one of the best I have worn for a long time. 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

River Island Design Forum x James Long

Launching on February 24th, the long awaited James Long collection for River Island Design Forum will land online and into selected stores. Long’s 10 piece SS15 collection showcases a kaleidoscope of colours, prints and fabrics; think relaxed sports-luxe, perfect for the modern man. His mirrored shades and neoprene backpack (which features Long’s own sketches) are the staple accessories within the collection, which has a fresh and futuristic feel to it.

What makes Long’s designs so recognisable is his signature use of leather, print and denim which he layers to create original fabrics and visuals. Every piece produced is entirely unique so, pair them together or mix them into your everyday wardrobe. There is, of course, an underlying sportswear theme and with prices from £28-90, I think I may catch a pair of the shorts, sweats and the sweater - all above.

JD: King of Trainers

Are JD Sports really the King of Trainers? Having looked on the website for the new SS15 offering - all of which these sneakers are included - there are many 'Only at JD' exclusives across biggest brands in street and sportswear, including Nike, Adidas, New Balance and Vans. This season, the iconic and ever popular Air system continues its reign with the Nike Air Max 90 and the Adidas Flux continues in 3 new styles, with a neoprene style outer and vibrant colour pops in the soles. 

Classic styles are back with a bang with fresh offerings with the ever growing Nike Basketball and Cross Training ranges, with key styles such as the ever sought after Nike Air Trainer Huarache which is the streetwear style of the year. For a relaxed Spring look, JD is taking over the fashion scene, the New Balance 430 and 373 are perfect for a casual look, whilst channelling the inner skaters with the Vans Winston, perfect paired with dark denim.

So are JD the King of Trainers? It certainly looks like it...

Master & Dynamic MM800 Boom

Headphones can be an object of design beauty, not only aesthetically but a combination of ergonomics and technology combined. Where some guys may buy a pair based on reputation and name only, the Master & Dynamic MM800 Boom's microphone is designed to solve the challenge of communication in noisy environments where voice clarity and precision is paramount. Housing a unidirectional microphone in a durable aluminum body, the Boom Mic provides superior clarity as it isolates the voice from noise. Made to blent with the Over Ear and On Ear M&D headphones, it compatible with both Apple and Android mobile and laptop devices, and comes in at a very reasonable £119. Now, I just need to get hold of a pair of the tan leather MH40s above...

Friday, 13 February 2015

Bentley Infinite & Infinite Intense

If you are wondering what to get your man-friend for his birthday or are just in the mood for a new fragrance, then the new Bentley offering of fragrances are perfect. The bottle, as you can see, packs a punch in terms of sophisticated design, with a substantial glass frame and machine engineered cap. The Flying B impressed into the bottle is a powerful statement and would suit any bathroom or bedroom surface top, yet the fragrance is also impressive too. The perfect package...

Starting with the Infinite, it is a fresh, citrus top-noted scent that fuses lavender and cedar. The fragrance does not take long to develop, and the peppery heart notes come through from the Bourbon Pepper and mixed with a very summery feel of Geranium. Yet the punch comes in with the base notes of Vetiver - a very common yet delicious smell in exclusive fragrances - as well as the very rare Ambergris. With the Infinite Intense, which I particularly loved, has a huge 15% of aromas which maybe heady for some but makes a refined, personal statement. Whilst is has similar top-notes, the spicy, very intense heart notes that include Nutmeg, Elemi - from the valuable Arabian tree - and the rare Ambergris. Lastly, the base-notes pack a rugged punch with Cedarwood and Moss. 

Available from April from selected perfumeries, department stores and no doubt online at Bentley, this is one fragrance that is set to become a classic, very quickly. 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Original Penguin SS15

'Wanna ride with me?' That's my caption for the above, very suggestive shot from the SS15 Original Penguin look book. With 1950s Miami as its inspiration, the old school decadence and energising city translates well into the pieces as the color palette blends chromatic reds and vibrant greens with a splash of aqua and soft pinks. If you have seen the Art Deco buildings of South Beach, you will know that these shades provide a contrast of the beachfront homes. Foliage prints, modern preppiness, mixing chambrays with seeksucker and vintage floral prints all help this tropical, high summer story together, whilst the brands signature polo shirts are playful, not-serious interpretations of the perennial beach themes. With a hint of sport coming through, the only answer to the question above it, of course, 'yes, please...' 

Black Mountain Clothing

Monochrome, simple and rooted in urban leisure, BMC was started independently with the aim of infusing minimalism and streetwear - using simple yet effective designs and sticking predominantly to black and white. Started by a young creator from north London, the brand launched 3 months ago and has done incredibly well on the website as well as on Facebook. Releasing their first collection in April this year, which is going to be a series based off mountains in across different regions in the world - South Asia, East Asia and the Middle East. 

Not content with fusing the city with the rugged landscape in just graphics, Black Mountain Clothing is in process of establishing a BMC Skate Team, in which they have already confirmed 5 members, which should be launched around June. It is great to see young creators of new brands doing well, and I have a feeling BMC will go onto a few more great things. 

Baartmans and Siegel X Kickers

Masculine, wearable and from one of the best London based menswear brands around; for SS15 this is the collaboration between Baartmans and Siegel and Kickers which is to be sold exclusively at Present London from the end of February. 

Baartmans and Siegel’s SS15 collection explores action with a playful and quintessentially English approach to utility. The season was inspired by active environments and the men who partake in them: platoons, sports teams and street gangs. The much anticipated footwear collaboration of Baartmans and Siegel and Kickers features two complementary styles which boast an attitude of grounded rebellion, created in durable and robust mixed leathers. The colour tones reflect the palette of the ready-to-wear collection, evoking sky and earth tones of blue and green; to key colours for the season. No price as yet, but how can you put a price on a priceless collaboration?

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Delikatessen AW15

Oh, to be inspired by Balsamic Vinegar. Not always a likely source of fashion inspiration, but when Andre Lisowski and Stephen Hartog - founders of Delikatessenvisited the local producing families of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale, Delikatessen opened their eyes for the true balsamic vinegar, and inspired by its rich, glossy, deep brown color, the natural sweet and sour flavor with hints of wood from the casks, like chestnut, cherry, oak, mulberry, ash and juniper. 

Delikatessen took these mouthwatering sources and this spurred their inspiration in their search for true fabrics and manufacture. Not only have they achieved this  tonality with a soft touch, similar to a drop of the deep brown Balsamico Tradizionale, they have an honest flavor of quality, sensuality in design and simplicity in silhouettes, with an unmatched richness in fabrics. Founded in 2009, their high-quality design and craftsmanship have turned these unique fabrics into garments to keep you warm and cherished for many winters to come. 

However, I just adore this collection, so resisting to buy each season, I expect will be very hard. 

Matiere SS15

It maybe a bit too cold still to start really thinking of an Spring Summer wardrobe - I write this wearing three layers - but Matiere has done another exemplary job for the season. One of my favourite brands out of America, they are concepted with a fascination for premium materials, they combine innovative fabrics with modern silhouettes. Consistently evolving, and pushing the boundaries of fabrication, they are always maintaining a clean, understated, and refined point of view. Summer perfection.