Friday, 29 October 2010

LA Diary: Yoox x DSquared2 for Much Loved Rescue

'Only in Los Angeles...' is a phrase used often to comment, preceded by a soft sigh, on whimsical or outlandish events and happenings that could only ever occur in the city of angels. However, this event mixed the whimsical with the charitable, as e-retailer Yoox teamed up with DSQUARED2 to launch a limited edition dog set, from which the proceeds of the launch and sales will go to the Much Loved Rescue shelter. 

Hosted by Dan and Dean Caten, the twin designers behind the famed label, the event was attend by a glittering host of Hollywood faces including these below. Although the event was held at a private residence in Beverly Hills, the limited edition sets will be available at from November. 

Byan Boy and fellow guest. 

Dan and Dean

James Frain

Joe Manganiello

DJ Marco Desilva 

Oliver Peoples SS11

Oliver's Peoples has fast become one of my favorite eyewear brands, surpassing Tom Ford and other mainstream designers such as Chanel. After interviewing Larry Leight, the founder and creative director of brand, I have been captured by their campaigns, from which the below images come from their Spring/Summer 2011.

Acclaimed photographer and aspiring director Lisa Eisner is the force behind these images, who's inspired images breath life the collection when being presented to consumers. Whilst last two season's campaigns were lighthearted, this season's are pretty provocative. Starring real life couple, Devendra Banhart and Rebecca Schwartz, the focus is an exploration of intimacy and sexuality, in a contemporary Southern California setting.

As Larry told me, the Jack One glasses (top) are the defining styles for next season, with some other key pieces developed for another storming collection of the finest eyewear at the moment - and for years to come.

Umit Benan x The Corner

Umit Benan is a great the up and coming menswear designer who is debuting his Autumn/Winter 2010 collection with e-retailer The Corner.

The new mini-store showcases the collection, entitled Retired Rockers, which is inspired
by a group of musicians who made music history in the 1970s and 80s. There is an exclusive interview with Benan here, on The Corner which is an animated and must view video. Made in his Milan studio, the designer tells us about his origins and inspiration for the collection.

Looking at these pieces, upon aging models, is clearly inspired by The Rolling Stones, and which the bottom model looks very like Keith Richards. However, according to Umit Benan "their charismatic and nonconformist spirit goes beyond what they wear, representing the pure spirit of rock".

The path of the designer has been marked by various collaborations including Marc Jacobs (for the women's section), Motu Tane for Francois Nars, Sophie Theallet and Rifat Ozbek for Pollini.
In 2009 Umit Benan has presented his brand and with the second collection, Cuba SS10, the designer won the first menswear edition of 'Who is Next', organized by L‟Uomo Vogue and Pitti Immagine. The designer was also one of two protagonists featured in the men's fashion project compiled by Pitti Uomo 77 in January 2010. As web media partner of Pitti Immagine, The Corner followed the event of the designer, who presented the A/W 2010/11 collection in an old restaurant in the Santa Maria Novella station in Florence.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

John Rocha x BMPR

I took a trip to BMPR last week to catch up on the style goings on in London's W1 area, and just adored this John Rocha backpack. It reminds me of a snails shell, yet is beautifully constructed in soft black leather. A stylistic zip in the middle gives access to the 'hold', which is spacious due to it reaching from the bottom of my neck to the base of my spine. 

BMPR also had in a few of the catwalk pieces from London Fashion Week in September, with the best one being the top one below, made of neoprene. Heard of it? It's a relatively new fabric in the fashion industry, but is best known and used for wet suits. So I guess if you wear this out, you will stay dry-ish! I think the detailing on the waist is very strong and makes a huge impression towards the pieces construction. Perhaps a true piece of 'designer clothing'? 

The second is the tail coat made from treated cotton, and looks like a formal  evening dinner jacket. The cross over button detail together with the elasticated back detail, again, is another piece of 'designer' engineering and creative vission. 

Monday, 25 October 2010

No-One Boutique x Jaguar Shoes Collective

Late last week I took a closer look at the enticing and exciting Jaguar Shoes Collective, situated at No-One boutique on Kingsland Road in Shoreditch, east London, which I blogged about just after its launch. I have passed it hundreds of times, yet never been in, and many of you may have too - it's the black fronted cafe on the left corner of Kingsland Road facing Shoreditch High Street. Inside, as you go past the rows of benched seating and the micro-bar, the white door above is a gateway into an emporium of creative vision. 

The t-shirts below are the reason I visited No-One because they are designed by a selection of artists that have exhibited further up Kingsland Road at the Jaguar Shoes venue. Each design is reflective of the individual artists ideology and personality, with some strong prints and images impressioned from their imagination onto your torso.  My three favorite artists, photographed below, capture the abstract and creative essence that makes London, well, 'London'. Although the prints may not make sense - a horses head or a gymnastic girl - they have a striking aesthetic that makes them must have pieces for the season.

Chrissie Abbott

Chrissie Abbott

Valerie Philips - I took his one away with me. 

Stevie Gee

Valerie Philips

The Dooby Dolls, placed around the boutique, I must admit, freaked me out a little and reminded me of toys played with my disturbed children in horror films. Though, on closer inspection, they have a certain charm about them. Creater Amelia Pemberton began making them at the age of 12 when esteemed scientist and screen writer Steve Birkin satirically wanted to recreate his sister Jane Birkin's in the form of a rag doll. All individually made by hand in London, they have won affection from singer Florence Welch of Florence and The Machine and designer Giles Deacon. 

To visit the store, take the bus to Shoreditch Town Hall or Tube to Old Street and walk east to Kingsland Road. Alternatively, shop online at

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Bespoke Shirt's at Debenhams Online

One word that surprisingly became associated with the financial crisis and the credit crunch was 'luxury'. The truly rich, such as those worth billions or names we never or will never hear of, were unaffected by the global crash and were spending in boutiques like never before. As the high street saw their profits fall, they upped their game by producing pieces to a higher quality and really just made pieces that were worth investing in. 

Debenhams, the nation's favorite department store, has introduced an online service to design your own bespoke shirt, which I gave a go. I know I need a new white shirt, so it took a little shorter than I had expected, but the process takes around twenty minutes if you are not fussed. Delivery takes around two weeks so I will show you what the finished product is like, but in the mean time here is an up close look at the whole process. 

1. Start off choosing your base fabric, such as Italian Luxury poplin cotton, as well as your chosen design - which the selection is vast. Some designs are a little garish but they can work on different skin tones and body shapes. 

2. Next, choose your collar from a selection of five, for which I chose the higher Italian collar, found on many Gucci shirts. They are a great shape for slim necks of about a 16'' or below, but avoid the button downs as they are increasingly going out of style. Unless you are American, then you are slightly excused. 

3. Choose from seven cuffs choices and the length of the sleeve. I picked a barrel cuff which looks great under a suit and a long sleeve - short sleeves should be banned in my eyes, because they never look great. 

4. Pocket or no pocket. Unless you are a maths or geography teacher, click 'no'. 

5. The three details often over looked when buying a shirt of the rack is the placket, the buttons and the button hole stitching. However, when given the choice these important details become more so. I opted for a hidden placket, with white button and stitching, as it looks cleaner and smarter. 

6. Next is the shape of the shirt tail. If you are of a fuller figure or choosing it for business, go for a straight tail as it will not come out of your trouser when you move. Though if you are slimmer or wearing the shirt for a smart casual look, choose the curved. 

7. This is one of the most creative steps of the process; choosing the inner collar, cuff and backyoke pattern. It is not necessary, but gives a shirt that extra lift in a plain colour. I opted for the navy Oxford stripe which will look great when worn open collar. 

8. When I used to work for a well known Jermyn Street tailor, we used to offer monogramming as extra. To be honest, monogramming is for children's school shirts, self-important snobs or those with memory loss. Oh, or unless you are a Monarch. But you're not. However, because I could, I thought I might - only because I wanted to see the quality of the stitching on the end result. 

8. This is the really clever bit of the whole process - inputting your measurements - because it will calculate the shirt arm size to your precise stats. So how is this done? By inputting your hight, which you have to be very exact, it will calculate your arm length as from left middle finger, all the way up your arm, over your shoulders and over to your right middle finger is your height. Oh, and be honest! 

9. Review your selections, and go through to the shopping basket. One last thing, just make sure you input your post code with a space between the two parts, as I found out if you don't, it's a nightmare!

 To design your own shirt or just to have a play about, click here. 

Topman Denim: Interview with Lawrence Ellis

This is one of the final video's in the Topman Denim series, an interview with the Director Lawrence Ellis.
Exclusively produced for Topman, the video's follow the lives of Sid, Louis and Henry. This finale is a great snapshot of how Ellis thought up the project and executed it into three iconic films. But take a look for your self...

LA Diary: O'Quinn Clothing, Huntington Beach

O’Quinn Clothing was established in 2007 with a vision to push premium lifestyle fashion into a progressive direction. Based in Huntington Beach, South of Los Angeles, close to the famed Laguna Beach, the brand claims to have shocked the public, trendsetters, athletes and celebrities with their unique fits, functionality, attention to detail and excellent quality of its products. 

Deeply rooted in the fashion, art, music, surf and skate culture of sunny Southern California, O’Quinn Clothing has created an quintessentially Californian movement, which brings together a determined group of creative, stylish, innovative and extremely talented people worldwide. 

I love the printed t-shirts, such as this selection, which come in a range of colors, with the print being the most striking and innovative ones around as I have seen so far. And with a price point of $22/£16 you can not go far wrong. 

To see what else they have to offer check out the O'Quinn site

LVMH Invests 14.2% Stake in Hermes

Whilst Paris, France is under siege because rioters are protesting the latest rises in tax and retirement age imposed by President Sarcozy, it seems business is carrying on as usual at Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey.

For, it has just been announced that LVMH, the worlds leading luxury group, has invested a 14.2% stake in Hermes International which translates too 15,016,000 shares. That mean's that LVMH is investing is Euro 1,288,372 billion. That's a lot of Birkin's!

However, LVMH only want, it appears, a slice of the profits, as it seeks no formal take over and fully supports the strategic implementation of Hermes, made by the founding family and management. Yet, LVMH also holds derivative instruments which will see the share increase to 17.1% meaning the overall share would be set at 18,017,246 or Euro1.45 Billion.

It appears in the midst of the financial turmoils France is enduring, the battle of the bags is on. And whilst I am awaiting Carla Bruni, wife of the President, to declare 'Let them eat cake', it appears to be more of a case of 'let them buy Birkins'.