Thursday, 27 May 2010

A G-Shocking Collection - PLUS Competition!

One of my favorite t-shirts brands, Collect London, has teamed up with cult watch brand G-Shock in what looks like an incredible collaboration.

Collect's London designers Richard Fairhead and Louisa Todd produce unique art works come great designs on their apparell, and the collaberation is based on the S/S10 theme of 'Folk Fantasy'.

The design comes in a set with 1 of 10 limited edition watches, a t-shirt and a print, and this exclusivty is reflected in the price; £250. However, you can enter a competition to win one of the sets, below. Each watch, t-shirt and print has been invividually hand-printed, numbered and signed so it really is a great collectors pack.

Whilst the sets are available to buy from Casio stores from mid June, have a go at the competition - you never know, you just might win! Click here to enter and follow the page link.

The competition run's until July so get in quick!

Inside Hardy Amies

"Day clothes must look equally good at Salisbury station as the Ritz bar; our customer always has one foot in the country, one in town" - Sir Hardy Amies

So after an accident in the shower, a result of being VERY jet lagged, I have now broken my toe. This month was going so well for me but before all these unfortunate incidents, I visited Hardy Amies on Savile Row.

Don, the Head of PR, for the brand showed me around the store, and the museum, which, is by appointment only. Whilst it is open to the public by booking a slot, I can see why. It is stuffed full of treasures and heritage items ranging from one of HM The Queen's dresses (taken in and up for the mannequin), pictures of Presidents, Royals, film stars of old, photographs and a great selection of mood boards and sketches.

The bulk of the collection is stored away, but just the hand full of items I saw gave me a great insight into the house and the man - learning things that no book could tell you. For example, Amies and HM The Queen were very good friends, and whilst in public she was diplomatically indifferent towards him, in private they had a right old good time. And whilst many didn't believe the story that he gave her a stuffed toy every Christmas, it is confirmed in a very personal letter - headed from Sandringham, HM The Queen's private house in Norfolk - saying thank you and how this particular one is sitting along side the rest of 'the family'.

Before I forget, a big thank you to Don for giving me a copy of the ABC of Men's Fashion, by Amies which I have been reading - it's not just a book, it's a bible. So a big thank you!

On the second floor of the building is a grand salon that, at one end, is some very luxurious and opulent seating, houses a selection of dresses from a stunning ball gown worn by HRH Princess Michael of Kent and the aforementioned dress of HM The Queen. Off that to the rear is a small anti-room that houses, bound and preserved, the largest collection of British Vogue's in the world. Collected by Amies, who would originally skip school on the day of it's publishing, he later bought one for himself and one to store. As far as i can remember, it starts from 1938 until his death in 2003 and I was told by Don that Alexandra Shulman told Amies how envious she was of his collection that rivaled their collection up the road in Vogue House.

In the main exhibition room, there are stacks of sketches, such as the cancelled one above, including the Californian poppy dress worn by HM The Queen to California, and the engagement dress worn by the late Diana, Princess of Wales. There is also his diary and address book that gives a great insight into the mind of a master craftsman.

And one thing I learned was that it is the only 'house' on the street with the work room on the top floor. Walking down Savile Row, you can see the workrooms of the tailors in the basement, but Amies wanted it akin to French couture houses. And I think that defines the company perfectly.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

What Up Bro: Board Shorts

One item of apparel that is essential for the summer is Board Shorts. An item that is seen everywhere in the Orange County, beach towns in Europe and on some of the hottest beach guys in England, Two Seasons has such a huge range I was really impressed.

Like many guys, I am not a 'Speedo' wearer but living near a fantastic spa and going to Sitges near Barcelona in a couple of months, finding board shorts is incredibly hard. But Two Seasons, who have just opened a new store in Bristol, has labels such as Billabong, Oakley and a brand I have never heard of before, Element.

Don't be scared about adding an asymmetric print or some bold colour, because it's bang on trend...

Billabong Zero Gravity £55

Billabong Optimal BS £55

Fox Amplifier Stripe £45

Billabong Ala Moana £50

Hurley Kings Road £55

LA Vol. 3: Style in Suburbs

Before I left for Los Angeles, I said I would hunt out the best Style Stars of fashion design, but I failed. It was not through lack of trying, but what we consider style here, is very different from LA. Chain stores such as H&M and Zara stock totally different styles from Spain and England, an aesthetic that is clean, relaxed but slightly perfected.

I wanted to dispel the thought, one that I once had, that LA was Rodeo Drive and Melrose Avenue - high-end, high maintenance and high priced. But whilst there are many stores in LA that break this mould, this is evident more so in Long Beach. A city that is strangely a suburb rolled into one city set in LA County, it is home to the Queen Mary (the old Cunard liner) and some of the best vintage shopping I have ever seen.

Visiting my friend Robbie (more of him later) and staying with Dillon close to East 4th Street and Cherry Ave, the main 'high street' for the area, we had plenty of time to rummage and hunt for some bargains. It really is a different world around this area, a vast contrast to the assumed bustle of a city the size of Birmingham or Nottingham. Slotted alongside bars, cafe's and a bicycle shop, there is the odd charity shop (quite a rarity in the States apparently), some more high end thrift stores and the best; a mix of everything and anything vintage and slightly old. Please forgive the pictures, they were taken at night as believe it or not, it was too sunny during the day.

Liberty is a fantastic, Rock 'a' Billy type store that is an eclectic mix of new and vintage clothing, sunglasses, shoes and accessories. It also houses a record store, which makes this place a great synergy between style and music. It is one of the more stylized yet edgy stores on the block, with some great necklaces too; so I picked up this.

Brother and sister store, these are two of the more high-end thrift stores that house some pieces that many would give an organ for. I found the best short trench in camel with large black buttons that was $150. A little too much than I was prepared to pay, but I think if it's still there, I will have it Fed-Ex'ed over because it was just incredible. The store's also have hand-made jewelry made from rusty nuts, bolts and screws which retail for around $67. Like I said, it is a little high-end but I think if they reduced their prices it would, I think, be a lot busier.

La Bomba is an emporium of everything from the 60's to the 90s, as well as providing a custom service. This is vintage shopping at its best because everything is well priced, organized in a strangely disorganized way - like desks or a filing system - and has the 'pile sale'. This was something else.

Every so often, the 'pile sale' is just that and for a minimum buy of $10, you are free to rummage to find everything from trousers, jeans, tops, jumpers and anything else that can be worn. However, the shoes are set out in pairs that makes life a whole lot easier.

I doubt I will ever see anything like this again. Anywhere.

LA VOL. 2: Isabella Wolfe, Rodeo Drive & Moods of Norway

It was quite the Anglo-American gathering at the Isabella Wolfe launch at Niche on Beverly Boulevard as I, Jodie Harsh (who was DJ'ing) and our friend Jo Berryman attended.

Jodie and Jo

The store was a buzz with friends and clients, surrounded by some of the most incredible pieces of interior and exterior furniture as well as art work. Isabella Wolfe is no exception in terms of quality and desirability, though I have a very deep feeling that the stunning bed will not be within my reach for MANY years to come ($10,000). Same for the marble dining table and the bed-side table too - I didn't want to ask the price of the white marble table!

There is something quite different about LA events, as they are far more relaxed and do go on for some time - but in a good way. They are also a lot more sociable, with a great volume of music that means you can chat and just relax. We would have stayed longer except we had to get up to Santa Monica (below) but my best to Nicole at Wolfe and Robina at the gallery.

A Couple of Mannequins: Robbie and I in the window at Niche.

Earlier on in the day, I fulfilled my life-long dream of actually going to Rodeo Drive, and just soaking up the 'Pretty Woman' atmosphere. However, it is a very troubling time in Beverly Hills as well, no one is shopping. Yes, one of the greatest and probably most famous street in the world is not performing well. Whilst we spotted the odd Arabian shopper and confirmed bachelor (read into that what you will) it was pretty much dead. I dropped into Smythson of Bond Street, which was a skeleton store, and was informed it was closing two days later as American's didn't really know about it, and it was under performing.

The Steps at Rodeo

But one area that is far from waning is Robertson Boulevard, and in particular Moods of Norway. A great brand that is not, as far as I can see, available in the UK. Fun, sassy-like -your-sister and just the right side of comical, I picked up these really cute sneakers for $40 - usually $280. They are 'dancing shoes' and the inside tongue has a a little dance step instruction. Reason? Samples. And just my luck they were samples. My friend Robbie loved them too - but as a size 9.5 he was out of luck.

And I was in.

LA VOL. 1: New Balance Sonic Collection Launch

It helps having a substantial number of readers on the West Coast (as well as a VERY British accent), but LSoD was fully embraced in Los Angeles. And this event was no exception as I was invited to the launch of these New Balance sneakers.

It was a bit of a rush, but we drove up from WeHo (West Hollywood) to Santa Monica, a stunning coastal town/city that is a suburb of LA. Fred Segal was hosting the event that was a hive of some of the coolest kids in LA, not to dissimilar from an East London crowd.

Robert, Myself, Dillon

They took some finding, but the sneakers were positioned on a floating shelf that, once you put your hand close, made some of the freakiest high-pitched sounds. The collection is the Sonic 574 collection that has an innovative construction of welding, rather than an environmental unfriendly sewing or gluing. This process also makes the shoe airtight and watertight, which is pretty much a first for athletic sneakers.

The design of the sneaker is pretty much as expected, but has a futuristic and modern edge.

Whilst I didn't pick up a pair, I did pick up this, a really cute necklace moulded into the words 'Los Angeles'. No, it wasn't on sale at Fred Segal, but it was on the neck of a girl we got talking to. It apparently came from a thrift stall in a market in Downtown, and seeing as it wasn't possible to go, I blurted out I would offer her $10. As you can see, it's on my neck, not hers, so the deal was sealed with a sawbuck and a glass of wine.

A great little gift from the city of Angels.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

After many a trip to Los Angeles, this will be the first time it will be a holiday! However, I will be hunting out the best style stars of fashion design in LA and bringing them to you after I get back.

LSoD will be back on the 20th May but I leave you with this great label, Aknowledge....

The American based brand exudes a great classic style yet I think, experiments with a fashion forward aesthetic that has progressed in States based designers. It's quite a smart look, typically American refined and ironed, with looks such as medium rinse chambray put together a dark rinse jean. It's a denim heavy collection, but that is no bad thing as it's on trend for now and for A/W10.

Aknowledge is exclusively available at Karma Loop which has UK shipping!

G-Star ROAR!

G-Star, the famed Dutch label, has long been a favorite brand of street-savvy guys and urban athletic affectionados. MainLine menswear, the largest e-stockists of designer menswear has a huge selection of G-Star on it's e-store.

I went to the G-Star store launch in Covent Garden last year and spotted some really great pieces, but what's hott at Mainline?

G-Star's jeans are some of the most desired, and most worn, jeans the world over. And it's not hard to see why; a great shape, a fantastic wash and great subtle detailing. These two pairs are great and tick all the right boxes.

Radar Straight Waterpatrol Jeans

Elwood Loose

Cargo pants are not just practical - ever tried putting keys, phone, wallet into slim, short, shorts? - but are on trend.
These Rock South Cargo shorts are in a bang on trend colour for summer too.

G-Star has some great tee's and tanks, perfect for summer because of their lightweight fabric and flattering shape and structure. This black one, I think, is great for an afternoon park party then perfect for switching to a bar later on.

Cody Grand Tee

Luke Tank Vest

Cobalt blue is a colour that surfaced a few seasons ago on the catwalk yet has never gone out of the hearts of wearers. Sharper than light blue, and less garish than electric, I love the cross over detail on the button jumper, and the 'RAW' logo sweater made me laugh - ROAR!

Shoal Collar Jumper

Baracus Jumper

Lastly, the cut of this shirt has something quite Westwood-ey about it, but still keeps true to the G-Star aesthetic. Casual, simple and classic with a twist.

New Correct Shirt in Blue

Woolrich x Daiki Suzuki

Woolrich has really come to the fore recently, particularly with the collaboration with Liberty of London here.

The Italian brand has announced that their A/W10 collection, entitled 'Hunting Noir' will be the penultimate with Daiki Suzuki.

The collection is beautiful. and is inspired by the quintessential colours of the late 1970s and early 1980s, as seen on the garments of labels such as Comme des Garcon, in a range of subtle blues, blacks are greys.
However, with the references aside, Daiki has drawn on the heritage of the original Woolrich label - Hudson Bay stripes, Hunting Plaids and Herringbone wools - which are all produced in the mills owned by the brand.

The tailored aesthetic is a real winner for this collection and it will be a huge loss to the industry when Daiki leaves. However, he will leave the A/W10 legacy of some great pieces such as a toggled pea coat, sporting poncho (yes, poncho's are back!) and jeans that combine wool, Woolrich wool of course, and cotton.

Though it's the hooded sweaters are the trousers in a custom print fabric and knitted cardigans, scarves and hats that will no doubt fly out of the stores.

Too take a closer look nearer the time, click here.