Fancy a Catch Up? The Week That Was in Fashion

Guys, did you miss me? And likewise what did I miss?

You may have caught my Instagram stories, yes I've had an incredible time in Ibiza as part of Hard Rock Hotel, more to come on that next week. PS - Did you know they're coming to Marble Arch?

Of course I was skimming the fashion news reels where and when I got signal, seeing who the movers and shakers were. I wrote down 5 things in my pocket diary, between scribbles, doodles, illustrations and plans of world domination.

Here's the top 5 rundown of fashion news that caught my eye:


MICHAEL KORS TAKES OVER VERSACE

In a deal worth over $2 billion, Michael Kors has swallowed up Versace, opening up a parent company of Capri Holdings. No talks or plans of Donatella stepping down as creative director, no announcements of anyone being shuffled or thrown overboard.

My Thoughts 

Sure why not. I like Versace but I'm not a diehard fan. A little bit above my price point, which is the concern for many of the fans that this move will dilute the brand. That you'll start seeing Versace in the lower end of the luxury market where Michael Kors is firmly stationed.

Well who cares about that stuff really. So long as the quality doesn't diminish like Vivienne Westwood's garments did when she went global and outsourced her manufacturing abroad to keep up with demand.

If you like a product you like a product. If you like a product because the price tag eliminates its chance of consumption from average joe, then fair play to you. I personally wouldn't worry. When Michael Kors bought Jimmy Choo for a billion last year, the brands position in the market didn't alter one jot.

It does go to show that everyone and everything has a price. Apart from Russell Crowe in that movie about gangsters. He couldn't be bought, the one good cop in all of New York.

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CHESTER BARRIE REFURB

Oh the good old boys at Chester Barrie, how I wish I could have made it. I heard the canapés were amazing. Yes every influencer and his dog put in a show at the Chester Barrie launch of their AW18, conveniently woven into the relaunch of their refurbished 19 Savile Row store.

Away with you old Dickensian wood panelling said Simon Kirby, Creative Director of Chester Barrie. (Not a direct quote). In its place some free standing glass shelves, there's fresh wooden floors and there’s even an inactive scan that the clever soles over at Menswear Style did. A game changer for retail perhaps?

My Thoughts

It looks like a more welcoming space. The new AW18 collection boasts a similar palette of deep rich colours that are synonymous with Chester Barrie. The shoulders look a little softer and although it’s not my scene, I do appreciate some brash highland tartan trousers.


NEW JAMIE OLIVER TRAINERS

Apparently the naked chef designed these especially as an anniversary gift for his wife of 18 years. Well done Jamie, way to make every man in the country feel like a schmuck for never getting his wife anything more than a bunch of flowers and subway lunch for their anniversary.

The trainers look a decent collection, colours are non-offensive making them unisex. Made locally to Jamie by a brand called Seven Feet Apart.

My Thoughts

Not a bad idea. If you want to figure out a way to never forget your wedding anniversary, launch a new product every year on that exact day. At least have it veiled as an anniversary gift, you're not telling me this isn't a vanity project and he won't be wearing these for himself as well right? We all remember that episode of the Simpsons when Homer gifts Marg a bowling ball that has Homer written down the side of it.

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NEW HUBLOT STORE ON BOND STREET

Hublot has opened its flagship boutique on London’s Bond Street with CEO Ricardo Guadalupe in attendance with a plethora of Chelsea footballers and well-heeled souls. 

An interesting article covered by the good guys at Watchpro have mooted that the exorbitant costs of running a branded boutique on Old Bond Street will be swallowed by Hublot's UK marketing budget. 

My Thoughts

In a way this is an indictment of where we are with life on the high street currently. You can open a store on the high street but don't expect it to turn profit. Start-ups can't afford to chance there arm on bricks and mortar but watch and luxury goods companies can. 

They also have some fantastic security within the store. Apparently if you attempt to man handle any of the timepieces the watch disappears behind a revolving plinth. Bit like Roger Moore in Soul of Fillet when he has a 'funny turn in a booth'. 

Introducing Author Christopher Modoo the Urbane Outfitter

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Please allow me to introduce myself…

I am delighted to be contributing to Carl Thompson’s blog. I have known Carl for many years, since we met at a Chester Barrie press day down in Savile Row. I was the senior creative for the brand and Carl was a keen supporter of my work and would always visit the presentations at London Collections: Men (as London Fashion Week was once known).

I have worked in the fashion industry for over twenty-five years. I have no formal training and started my career as a junior salesman in the shirt & tie department of Selfridges. I have always loved clothing and can’t remember an age where I wasn’t aware of what I was wearing. But I never considered that I could make a career from it. At 18, I very lazily applied for a job in a bank after a brief discussion with the school’s career advisor where my options were summarised as “bank or civil service”. So I started as a junior in a suburban High Street bank. I only lasted eighteen months before the lure of the West End called me to Oxford Street.

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My first break was when Thomas Pink opened a concession in Selfridges, I was a fan of their shirts so I wrangled the manager’s job by the age of 22. My love of cloths blossomed as I became aware of all these great classic brands and a large portion of my salary was spent on custom made cloths and good shoes. From Pink’s I moved to Savile Row where I was a salesman/fitter. This is where I became obsessed with textiles. Our shop full of cloth books called “bunches” and I would go through all of them learning about different weights, textures and qualities. There is a lot of knowledge on Savile Row and some very generous characters who are willing to  share it…usually over a pint. I then moved to Ede & Ravenscroft to head up their made-to-measure department. Ede & Ravenscroft are London’s oldest tailors with a heritage and stretches back to 1689. It was fun bringing it into the 20th century and convincing staff that we should fax orders rather than relying on the post! It was here that I really started to understand the rules of classic menswear and when and how to break them. I was very lucky to be promoted to buyer when the position became vacant despite having no buying experience. The retail director mentored me and translated my knowledge of tailoring into a commercial skill. I had the most wonderful decade with Ede & Ravenscroft; I travelled all over Europe, met the Queen and was even introduced to my future wife. But at the age of 39 I was eager to move onto bigger and better things.

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I joined Chester Barrie with the responsibility to oversee every product from morning dress to casual outerwear. We took the brand to trade shows in Florence, New York and Hong Kong, as well as becoming a major fixture on the LCM calendar. This also coincided with the growth in social media. I love the way that it can connect people with a similar interest and how it can champion smaller brands and artisans. I loved sharing new ideas and receiving immediate feedback…usually good. I am no longer with Chester Barrie and have what is known as a “portfolio career” where I split my time between writing online content for magazines and brands, styling, lecturing at a college and starting my own label. I look forward to writing more for Carl and connecting with his followers. I will be writing about classic mens fashion as well as the fashion industry and sharing my experiences from both.

Photo Credit Anna Michell

How to Wear a Tuxedo | Men's Style Advice as Featured in GQ

If you pick up a copy of the GQ China magazine (December 2017) and turn to the Men's Style Advice section, you'll find my face explaining what I wear for party season. Without duplicating content, I'm using my own platform to explain in a little more detail what I'm wearing, why and some style advice I would give to anyone wanting to look incredible in a tuxedo or as us Brits like to call dinner jackets. 

For the GQ China tuxedo style advice section, there was only one tuxedo that I wanted to wear and that was my 3-piece by Savile Row's Chester Barrie. The tailoring put into this tuxedo is the best in the world, it's crafted with the most skilled hands in the business and you can appreciate every stitch and every cut of the pattern as it aligns with your body shape. When looking for a tuxedo to wear for a special occasion, there are a few aspects that for me are a must. Firstly for the dinner jacket, peak bold lapels are an absolute must, they give an element of style, sophistication and screams that you know how to dress and you're not just following high-street trends of modern skinny lapels. The cuffs have to be working cuffs and the buttons should be discrete yet in a design that matches the suits style perfectly. 

Moving on to the waistcoat. Firstly make sure it fits well and is not too tight. If it is too tight it will look terrible when sitting down, it will rumple up the shirt underneath and will ultimately make the outfit as a whole look disheveled. The buttons on the waistcoat must match the buttons on your dinner jacket. The cut of the waistcoat should be low cut, this is to champion the shirt underneath and make the bow-tie prominent. If the waistcoat is cut too high there will be no colour transition between the dark suit fabric and the bow-tie. As with this Chester Barrie tuxedo, I love the contrast between the single-breasted blazer and the double-breasted waistcoat as well as the peak cut lapels of the blazer and the elongated curves of the waistcoat lapels. 

Kind of obvious but the trouser fabric should match that of the dinner jacket blazer and waistcoat. The trousers should be cut slim but not too skinny and certainly not baggy. Turn-up trousers are welcomed so long as they are tailored at the correct length and the trousers are tapered perfectly - if you need any advice on this, either comment below and I'll get back to you or speak to your local tailor. Leave the belt at home and opt for a pair of trousers with side adjusters. 

The shirt is an important part to the perfect tuxedo style. It has to be a crisp white shirt and in my personal opinion have a classic downwards collar. Button-down shirts should not be used, wing-tip shirts can look cheap, like you've just been to a hire shop and give an adolescent appearance. If you want a shirt fabric that is breathable then opt for a lightweight poplin weave in a 2/100s yarn count, if you want more warmth then an Oxford or herringbone weave would be a better option. Many tuxedo shirts are tailored with a fabric called 'Marcella' which has a textured appearance and often used specifically in the bib area of dress shirts. Another option is the wear a pleated shirt. If you are wearing one of these shirts, you'll want to show that in your look and therefore another reason why you should wear a low-cut waistcoat otherwise you'll just cover up the shirt details. For the buttons, I prefer classic, bone coloured mother-of-pearl to leave the chest area clean from too much clutter. A lot of people like to wear black satin covered buttons, although my personal opinion is that they look like a airport landing strip. The cuffs can be either double French cuffs and single cuffs, depending on preference and if you would like to wear cuff-links. My personal preference here is single cuffs, as I think they fit the wrist better and showcase your watch. Sometimes a double French cuff can be tailored too large and therefore covering your watch and unless you spend good money on a decent pair of cuff-links they can look like you've just won them in a Christmas cracker.

Always self tie your bow-tie, no clip-ons and if you don't know how to tie a bow-tie then practice and practice some more because it looks better and you'll get the admiration of your fellow party guests and work colleges. If you would like a YouTube tutorial on how to tie a bow-tie you can watch mine here. After you have mastered it you can play around with the shape of the bow and the knot. Try to make the knot as small as possible and the bow large in a butterfly style. As for the colour to wear, I prefer a classic black bow-tie but feel free to add your own personality here and go for some bold patterns or colours if you wish.  Do not match the bow-tie fabric/colour with your pocket square.

Shoes should be black and preferably patent shoes which is a coated leather that gives a glossy, shiny finish. If you decide to wear a pocket square, avoid matching it with the same colour as your bow-tie as it looks tacky, instead why not wear a plain white pocket square or no pocket square at all. If you have gone for an outrageous bow-tie colour and pattern, I would suggest not wearing a pocket square. 

Accessorise with a black leather strapped watch, scarf, overcoat and if you live in the UK then of course a large, durable umbrella. 

Lastly when starting my blog in 2013 it would have been an absolute dream to have been featured in GQ so this is an incredibly proud moment for me. It's an amazing way to sign off 2017 which has been a successful year but most importantly enjoyable. 

 

SHOP MY LOOK

Photo Credit - Andrew Barber - OmniStyle

Accessorise Your Tuxedo With Geoff Stocker | The Sartorial Essentials

With party season upon us, you probably have your works Christmas party coming up which most likely is going to be a black tie dress code. If everyone wears a black dinner jacket, white shirt, black bow-tie and black patent shoes it can seem quite sartorially boring, which is where the pocket square comes in. Accessorising your tuxedo with a splash of colour is the easiest way to add your personality to your outfit in an eye catching way. Geoff Stocker specialises in these sartorial essentials with a vast collection of 100% silk pocket squares and scarfs. 

Geoff Stocker, the menswear accessories designer is known for his eclectic and elegant designs, he showcases a twelve piece collection of meticulously measured, 100% satin silk pocket squares. Geoff celebrates British craftsmanship by manufacturing all designs in England and I have to say that the quality of the silk in these accessories is incredible. Silky and soft in a 30cm x 30cm size, it's easy to fold your pocket square in any designs that you love.

I've chosen 3 Geoff Stocker pocket squares and 1 scarf from their collection to show you visually how amazing your tuxedo can look with a touch of bold colours and patterns. The first pocket square (above) is The Jester in blue with a cream hand-rolled hem. Perfect for men who want to make a subtle statement to their outfit.

Last year at my works Christmas Party, I arrived in a silk scarf and recall a host of compliments from my work colleges. This one is perfectly made to wear with your dinner jacket, in a shortened 132cm by 17cm design which can also double-up to wear 'cravat style' inside a shirt. These 100% lightweight silk twill scarfs have a digitally printed pattern on one side and plain coloured on the reverse.

Next up are my favourite two pocket squares, they are bolder, they are brighter for someone who wants to stand out from the crowd and look his dapper best. The design above is The Avebury in a red palette, which stands out incredibly against a black or navy dinner jacket suit. The design below is The Rajah and the one I'm wearing is the copper green design. 

What is your favourite look out of the four that I've styled?

SHOP THE COLLECTION

What to wear this Party Season | Black Tuxedo vs Navy Tuxedo

With the AW17 party season looming it's time to start thinking about what you are going to wear. Never has there been so much choice as there is today when it comes to tuxedo suits or dinner jackets and I've styled two of the most popular colour choices, black and navy for your inspiration. A black dinner jacket is the most classic of all styles whereas navy versions are making a comeback whilst gaining in popularity for those fashion conscious individuals who want to buck trends and look marginally different to the masses.

When asked to dress as 'Black Tie' it is worth double checking the exact dress code because 'Black Tie' could be just a generic term to wear dinner jackets regardless of the colour. White tuxedos are also quite popular, although you'll either have to be uber cool or the office joker to get away with such a bold statement suit - as I'm neither of those, I can't wear one!

That leaves me with either black or navy and if you want to look your dashing best, here are a couple of styles that tick all sartorial boxes. 

When wearing a black dinner jacket, the key is to respect the history around such a classic, tailoring masterpiece. With that in mind, stick to a timeless cutaway white shirt rather than wingtip collars, as it's much more sophisticated and stylish. When I generalise wingtip collars, I think about my 18 year old self and badly dressed Christmas parties. A black bow-tie is essential. If you are an expert in tying a bow-tie, try to make the knot small which will give you more fabric to create a butterfly style bow-tie. Black shoes complete the look. If you have the budget to buy a new pair of shoes to wear with your tuxedo, I would recommend buying patent shoes, it's a perfect match. Finally if you have over-indulged in the lead up to party season, or if your suit is a little tight, match the dinner jacket with a well fitted waistcoat and you can then leave the jacket undone and no one with notice it's slightly too small!

 

SHOP MY BLACK DINNER JACKET STYLE

I'm a massive fan of navy tuxedos, it's a slightly more modern style, so therefore you have a certain level of freedom to wear this slightly differently without repercussion and I have tried to accentuate this in my styled look above. Of course a navy dinner jacket or tuxedo would work extremely well styled the same as my first style, with a black or navy bow-tie and waistcoat. However in this look I wanted to showcase a completely different approach fixated around the pin collar shirt. The pin collar shirt is a 1920's classic, it is super smart, it's designed to protrude and champion the tie. 

Often when at your work Christmas party or winter party season event, there are two distinct timings to the evening. 1) The arrival or the dinner, where you keep your tie on and look pristine. Then 2) The wind-down which could be a DJ set, where you'll be welcomed to relax and enjoy the rest of the evening. With this in mind, this outfit works extremely well. The pin collar bar, tie and scarf are all accessories that you'll wear to wow your audience on arrival, whereas later on in the evening you can remove the pin bar, remove the tie, undo a couple of buttons and you're ready to party the evening away. Navy tassel loafers with no socks is not everyones cup of tea, so I'll suggest alternatives such as dark brown or black Oxford shoes (*with socks!).

 

SHOP MY NAVY DINNER JACKET STYLE

Photography by Toni Tran with all photos taken at The Franklin Hotel, Knightsbridge.

London Fashion Week Men's AW17 Roundup #LFWM

London Fashion Week Men's (which was formally known as London Collections: Men) is the men's time to takeover London before London Fashion Week takes over our streets and Instagram feeds later on in the year. The event is run in London and this season was displayed over the 6th - 9th of January 2017. It's a chance for brands to showcase their new Autumn/Winter 2017 (AW17) collections to press and industry experts. Headquartering at 180 Strand, however London hosts a variety of different showcases and presentations from Britains biggest menswear brands. As a blogger and a menswear business owner myself, Im invested in the menswear industry heavily, so it is important for me to attend and see as many shows as possible as it is important to keep ahead of trends coming up. 

I have created the video at the top of this post to show you what I personally got up to during LFWM. You'll see a sneak peak of AW17 concepts from Topman, Sibling, Toni & Guy, Chester Barrie as well as Barbour SS17 in-store collections.

For my LFWM day one outfit, I wanted to keep to a classic tailoring look, high-end and polished and this means accessorising in style. Launer (the brand who crafted my luxury leather bag) are a truly great British label, designed and handcrafted in Walsall, they manufacture beautiful leather goods assembled by one expert craftsman’s per item, with some items taking up to 5 weeks to create.  British traditional style, with a modern, contemporary panache is how I would describe the high-end brand. The Launer leather bag worked well with the camel palette of the lux 100% British cashmere overcoat by Hawkins & Shepherd. 

 

SHOP MY LFWM DAY 1 OUTFIT

Topman started the ball rolling with their neon inspired collection which I went along with Lavazza coffee, a perfect way to start LFWM with a large double-espresso!

Straight after the Topman runway show, I headed over to view the Barbour collection which was a presentation type show. Presentations just mean that rather than a catwalk runway it is more based around models wearing the clothing on a themed stage. I actually prefer presentations because they seem more informal and often have free food and drink!!!

Unfortunately I had to miss day 2, but day 3 was a busy one starting with the Chester Barrie AW17 collection presentation. I love how London is so diverse in men's fashion, one presentation could be showcasing the most urban streetwear and just down the road the same faces are appreciating Savile Row's finest tailors such as Chester Barrie. 

My final event on day 3 was a long one but an incredible experience. I was invited backstage with Toni&Guy who were collaborating with iconic fashion label SIBLING London on their runway show. This is the second time the two brands have collaborated and represents an important moment for creativity and self-expression in London fashion. Backstage we got an insight into the next big men's hairstyle trends and what new Toni&Guy products will help you create said looks.

After spending time backstage with TONI&GUY and SIBLING London it was time to check-in to the Mondrian hotel which was compliments of TONI&GUY. After a quick freshen up, finally it was time for the big event, the runway show which featured girls and guys wearing SIBLING's iconic knitwear amongst other incredible pieces.

London Fashion Week Men's AW17 has been an amazing experience and for me the best yet...I just cant wait until 6 months time when brands showcase their SS18 collections. Until then, keep tuned for more of my usual style.

THE 2016 TELEVISION BAFTAS WITH HOUSE OF FRASER

When you get invited to the Television BAFTAS the first thing you do is say YES, before someone else nabs your spot. Then you think about what to wear. Now I can appreciate that being a guy, getting dressed for a black tie event isn't exactly complicated, I mean the dress code gives it away a little...for girls it can be a tad more difficult. However saying that, us gents still have a few things to consider when dressing for the BAFTA awards. Dinner jacket or suit, buy or hire, which tailor should I wear, a white shirt but what collar type, is a pocket square too much, what about socks, black or coloured and then we have many bow-tie choices.

As House of Fraser were the main sponsors of the event this year and my invite came from them, I decided to head out for a shopping trip to their Oxford Street branch to search for my favourite dinner jacket from a designer that House of Fraser already stock. That designer was Chester Barrie, for me their suits had character, the tailored lines & curves had personality and the lapel shape had definition and assertiveness. For me their designs really stood out from the many other suit choices House of Fraser offer.

So I headed over to meet with Christopher Modoo, Chester Barrie's Master Tailor to try and persuade them to loan me one of their dinner suit jackets for the event, which they did - its good business because after wearing it for this one event, I'm going to buy it off of them, it was that good! I've even got my Christmas Party 2016 season dinner suit jacket sorted, as they have this amazing navy version coming out for AW16 around September time.

 

SHOP MY #BAFTASTYLE LOOK BELOW

On the hottest day of the year in London, when everyone else was out on various London parks and commons drinking cider, prosecco and warm beer I was making my very own The Hoftail exclusive BAFTA inspired cocktail - I mean its not every Sunday you get to go to the BAFTAS! I only had time for one though, then I was on my way to the Mondrian Hotel, where I was meeting all the other bloggers who have been asked to attend & cover the event. It was amazing to meet them all but a shame that I didn't get to talk to everyone at length however join me and follow all the #BAFTATV team by clicking on the images below.

This was my first red carpet experience, so I had no clue what to expect, although for a good few minutes I thought I was actually famous! I mean I know that the press, media and interviewers were not all going to be calling out my name...Carl, Carl, Carl...over here please amongst a sea of flashing camera lights. And interviewers desperate to know who and what I'm wearing. Instead there were people on the side saying "Mummy, who are they? Are we supposed to know them?" - for me I just wanted to enjoy the experience and take it all in before being ushered along. 

Here are my Top 5 Best Dressed Men at the Television BAFTA 2016:

After my short whirlwind of fame on the red carpet, it was back to normality standing in line for the bar to grab a few bottles of prosecco before finding our seats as the main event started. From Eastenders to The Great British Bake Off, from Poldark to This is England '90 - this night was about celebrating British TV in all its diversity.

For me what was apparent was the immense talent that the British TV industry has. We really are world leaders in many TV genres such as comedy and factual documentaries. I've noted down many new programmes that I have to watch such as 'My Son The Jihadi' and 'The Truth About Ebola' - the short clips of both captivated me. Throughout the night Graham Norton mocked the reality tv sector, a little joke here and there was mostly aimed at the reality stars, although it was this category that got the most comments and laughs when replying the clips of the nominees. First Dates picked up the award in the Best Reality & Constructed Factual sector and well deserved I might add. Its a programme that should be proud of what they have done, they work hard on actually matching their dates on interests to try and make real love connections rather than just great tv. Strictly come Dancing won their first BAFTA. Peter Kay won two gongs for his part in Car Share, a scripted programme of two people in a car, yep that's right...two people in a car! Whereas the two main awards for leading actress and actor went to Suranne Jones, Doctor Foster and Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall - whilst Lenny Henry picked up the last gong of the night with his special award. You can view a complete list of the winners via the BBC here.

I would finally like to thank the amazing Beth and Martha from Mediaworks who looked after us throughout the whole event x

CHESTER BARRIE AW16 - SAVILE ROW

I pride myself on having a good eye for detail, not only in clothing but in food, cocktails and even spreadsheets. That was until I met Christopher Modoo the senior creative at Savile Rows' Chester Barrie. During my personal tour of their AW16 collection, the passion showed by Chris as he meticulously explained every single design decision, flourished in their collection. 

My 3 stand out pieces of the collection were:

1. Navy pinstripe double-breasted suit. This suit has gone through so many iterations in the pattern design to get it perfect. Chester Barrie wanted to design a double-breasted suit jacket, which fastens up on the lower buttons in a 6 button design (rather than the usual middle button). Double-breasted jackets look great done up, although when open, they can seem like there is too much fabric flapping around. With their new Chester Barrie, closely guarded pattern, they have solved this issue in their design so this DB suit looks just as good undone as it does done up - a first for DB jackets?

2. Herringbone Overcoat. Wow wow wow. Okay so I'm a little obsessed with overcoats, add on some creative peak lapels and a wide herringbone fabric and you are on to a winner.  

3. Navy Dinner Jacket. Impeccable tailoring using a Chester Barrie designed fabric on the large lapels giving this piece of investment clothing the a-list factor. 

Chester Barrie is bringing accessible quality tailoring to Savile Row and their AW16 collection will be available from August 2016. You can also visit their retail store on 19 Savile Row or shop online at http://www.chesterbarrie.co.uk/