Monday, 30 November 2009
Friday, 27 November 2009
Whilst Susie was snapping away at the festive display of Anthony Vaccarello's collection I stalked the well stocked menswear rails and discovered a few names in the process, namely Nicolas Andreas Taralis, Yoyan Serfaty and Romain Kremer. I had heard the names before (most notably Kremer) but this was the first opportunity I've really had to inspect the designs up close. These might be names that you are unfamilair with but I think it is about time you got to know one another. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures whilst there but as if by magic, Touch magazine ran a feature showcasing the very best from each designer.
Nicolas Andreas Taralis has worked with some of the greatest minds in mens fashion (after studying with Lang, he worked with Hedi at Dior Homme and spent time at Cerruti) and since creating his own label has worked on numerous projects around the world and generated somewhat of a cult following for his renowned style. He is a designer who is fascinated with eastern aesthetics, particularly that of Japan and these influences are a common trend throughout his collections.
Paris-based Yohan Serfaty has made a name for himself with his deft handling of leathers. His pieces are often simple but have a modern feeling and the subtle tailoring which runs through his collections make him a designer to remember. Relatively unknown in the UK and US, Serfaty has a devoted following in Japan, with famed Tokyo store, Isetan, as one of his stockists. He is something of a classicist who grounds wardrobes with investment pieces. Having seen his designs in person, there were more than a few pieces I wanted to invest in.
The first time I really stood up and took notice of Kremer's menswear aesthetic, with his neon fur, see-through plastic and rainbow colours in the Man Machine issue of Dazed & Confused back in May. The acid induced editorial was photographed by Pierre Debusschere and styled by the ever awesome Nicola Formichetti. Utilizing a colour palette of hot pink, brown, and black, the French designer presented a bold skin baring collection of largely monochromatic pieces for AW09. Kremer is a designer who attempts to change the way we view clothes and their relationship with gender. I look forward to seeing a great deal more from this designer.
Window shopping can be a lot of fun. Have you discovered any designers recently?
Thursday, 26 November 2009
For the third collaboration between Raf Simons and Fred Perry, inspiration was taken from the various stages of metal through rusting in both the fabrics choices and the metallic colour palette used. In an interview with Dazed Digital Simons informed us that "The inspiration came from the artist Carl Andre." The rusted metal treatment and enlarged embroidery combine to elevate the humble polo shirt in to something altogether more interesting. The pieces reminded me of the Patrick Ervell's SS10 collection. As mentioned previously, very little came out of the recent New York shows which provoked much excitement here at Style Salvage but Ervell's Decay in the Spring time was really something. Ever since I saw his presentation images I've been meaning to explore the aesthetic of rusting metal and it is certainly one I will revisit over the coming months now that I have this new polo shirt.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Wei?! I have had such a great time exploring Hong Kong with Susie and have so much to style related finds to show. Alas, most of it will have to wait for when we are back in London but there are one or two things which just cannot wait. We have stuffed our cheeks with so many tasty treats (I sit here typing this on the morning after a five course 'In The Mood For Love' menu at Cafe de Goldfinch and now ask myself how Tony Leung ate so much and still looked so sharp in his suits!), lit incense at temples, ridden the Star Ferry and braved our fear of heights on the crystal bottom cable cars of Ngong Ping and of course we have shopped. As great a guide as Susie is, the city is a mysterious one and there is just so much to discover just wandering the streets and looking up, around and inside. It is these discovered pleasures which the best. I will bore you with my purchases later this week but first I'd like to share one such discovery with you...Moustache on Aberdeen Street.
Thursday, 19 November 2009
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
SS: How did it all start for you? What were your inspirations, your dreams and the driving catalyst behind YMC?
Fraser: I have always been more interested than personal style over fashion and this was the driving force behind starting up YMC. At the time (1995) everything was brand led or American 'skate' inspired so we felt there was a real gap in the market for the kind of clothes we were looking for.
SS: Describe what YMC means to you...
Fraser: Hopefully a brand with integrity
SS: Having launched as a menswear brand in 1995 you’ve certainly been around for a lot longer than most people realise. How has the industry evolved over this time?
Fraser: Today the fashion industry is far more professional, corporate and less naive than when we started which I think makes thing much harder for labels and designers starting up now.
SS: Over the last few seasons we've seen a real rise in the interest surrounding workwear style. Having offered classic designs showcasing quality fabrics and an attention detail for some time now, what is your take on the rise in interest?
Fraser: Inevitable as everything tends to go in cycles and the last time this was popular was the early 90s but to be honest it has always been an influence to us and this would have been more noticable from our Winter 2004 collection onwards.
SS: In a recent interview with The Independent you confess that early on you ‘knew nothing about production and made some very bad decisions’ and after initial success you were forced to close your shop on Conduit Street and abandoned your womenswear line. Thankfully, today, you have a busy flagship store in Soho and your relaunched womenswear line is in its third season. You must be feeling pretty good about it all. Do you think that this has made success all the sweeter now?
Jimmy: No not really . If anything it’s been a constant reminder of how tough this business is , its been a valuable lesson . We still have plenty of room to improve...
SS: With regard to production, how have you changed things from the set up in the late 90s?
Jimmy: The company that backs us helps on the production , they have offices worldwide who look after our needs . Our quantities are small
But with their assistance the collection gets produced.
Fraser: First: Our first collection which was Winter 95 and it was a jacket and dress inspired by my wife Jody's military jumpsuit
Last: Autumn Winter 2010 Footwear collection.
SS: How do you see the YMC brand developing over the next few years?
Jimmy: We would hope to develop the business by opening in store concessions / further YMC stand alone stores. Also for SS.10 we have launched a new range on Men’s called ‘ basic ’ which has great potential.
SS: Which fellow designers/brands do you admire? Other than YMC, which brands do you wear?
Fraser: I don't really follow fashion and prefer not to look at other labels. I only wear a mixture of vintage and YMC.
Fraser: It's not so much the items but the way they are worn. I'd like to see men being a bit more confident with their own personal style.
SS: How would you describe your personal style? The brand ethos is You Must Create your own style but do you have any style icons?
Fraser: Detail is paramount but I couldn't really say what my 'personal style' is as it's something that I naturally do!
SS: The current collection is inspired by Depression era workwear. If you could go back in time and experience any moment/era of style, what would it be?
Fraser: I'd need a Tardis as there are so many periods I love and whatever I am inspired by when designing at the time tends to be my favourite.
Fraser: The waxed cotton hunting and fishing jacket and a shawl collared Chore jacket in cotton/wool and of course a pair of our jeans which I think are a really good men's cut and in particular for anyone looking for an alternative to a skinny jean.
SS: Finally, would you be able to share a few address book recommendations with our readers (hairdressers, tailors, cafes...anything you like really) which we will duly add to our map.
Gary at Sean Paul Barbers in Brighton. He's around my age and like me was part of most youth cultures from punk onwards so this gives him the edge over a lot of younger hairdressers. Lewes for all things old. It has a great array of really interesting antique shops full of curios.
Monday, 16 November 2009
Sunday, 15 November 2009
My initial research shows that there are just too many tailors in Hong Kong to tell which are of any quality. To save much head scratching on my part, I am opening up the comments section to your suggestions. Now, please don't be shy. I appreciate that even if I get a good recommendation from you, your positive experiences won't guarantee one for me, so no pressure at all. I'd love to hear from one and all. In a city where tailors are ten a penny your guidance will be invaluable.
Friday, 13 November 2009
SS: How did it all start for you? What were your inspirations, your dreams and the driving catalyst behind albam?
SS: You are entering the third year of albam. For those readers who might have recently found you, you started out in a small office in Nottingham with seven styles in your first catalogue. How have the last few years been, is everything going to plan?
Albam: We have had a pretty steep learning curve and are always learning! When the first store opened, we were working all the time in there, if we weren’t there then we were at factories getting things made and then bringing them back to the store. There has been massive support from both the press and our customers and this has been amazing for us as we just started out with an idea and got on with it. Things are moving forward, the plan always changes but we just keep our heads down and get on with forging ahead.
SS: What were the first and last item you remember designing for albam?
Albam: The T shirt was the first item we did so that will always stay in the memory. There was a lot of learning involved as we got into the manufacturing process pretty deep and got to meet all the people that we know now and still work with. Being so hands on, we remember pretty much all of them, the latest one that springs to mind is a new Field jacket for March 2010.
SS: Craft and local manufacture are obviously very important to you. Collaboration with local craftsmen and heritage is an integral facet of your brand identity. What have been your favourite collaborations to date? Who would you love to work with in the future?
Albam: Quoddy has been a great partner to work with, as has Grenson in Northampton. Such amazing factories and so much skill goes into these shoes. In the future we are talking to people but all are early days at the moment.
SS: You work with some extremely small and remote factories here in the UK and beyond. Is it difficult to find them and how has your relationships grown over the years
Albam:In the UK they tend not to like signs outside the factories so even with the address finding them is pretty difficult. Word of mouth has introduced us to the factories that we work with. The business that is remaining is tight knit so everyone is interlinked. With regards to relationships we are there most weeks, although the new store has taken some time in looking after it. Our factories are part of the Albam team so everyone is really important to what we do.
SS: How do you see the Albam brand developing over the next couple of years?
Albam: We want to create a brand that stays true to our founding idea, obviously this will develop and grow in terms of range and the people that find out about us. Opening a couple more stores would be great, it would give a real platform for the brand but keep it tight and a discovery/best kept secret for our customers.
SS: What are you favourite pieces currently available from Albam?
Albam: The blazer we have just released in store is great, and our new Regular jeans are currently being worn a fair amount! We have so much work coming through that it changes all the time!
SS: Finally, would you be able to share a few address book recommendation to our readers (hairdressers, tailors, cafes..anything you like really) which we will duly add to our Map.
Albam: When we are at Beak St, Fernandez & Wells or Monmouth are on the trail for a coffee. At Spitalfields it tends to be Nude or A Gold (for great great sandwiches). Alexander Boyd just off Brushfield Street is a great place for their new tailoring and shirting. Rochelle Canteen for a spot of lunch but closer to the store then St John or The Luxe for a breakfast and then The Albion on Redchurch St. They are mainly food places!
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
The chaps over at Street Etiquette never fail to inspire and I've really enjoyed their Accessories Are A Necessity feature. After the first post on ‘Wrist Ornaments’ they turned their attentions to the humble 'Pocket Square'. JKISSI certainly has an enviable collection. The post is an effective plea for gentlemen readers to tear at the stitching in those unused blazer pockets and experiment with material. Back in July 2007 (man we are getting old) we looked at how they are so much more than hankies but I have to confess that I often over look them. When I talk about pocket squares, it isn't in the strict sense of folded cloth, one can be as imaginative and interesting with filling a breast pocket as possible in my opinion. There are amazing styling perks with a pocket square which most men do not realise; any average or worn out jacket can be instantly livened up with an inexpensive, casually folded pocket handkerchief. Let the below image from Street Etiquette inspire you...