We were happy to get an invite for the Sandro presentation this time in Paris as it is one of those ubiquitous brands in France in the high-end ready-to-wear menswear market that you really do not want to miss for their latest collection as there are so many other brands are trying to compete for men style haute gamme. Thus it is interesting and useful to be able to compare seeing and analyzing the items first hand. Kooples, Zadig & Voltaire, Façonnable come to mind amongst others as brands in France all in relentless competition for what is an ever more difficult upmarket in the times of global economic policies of ‘austerity’.

However whatever is so quintessentially French with Sandro’s style – sometimes called ‘contemporary French chic’ in America -, is probably the style which the French call BCBG (not to be confused with former NYC underground club CBGB), which literally stands for Bon Chic Bon Genre, a term of which a proper cultural understanding would probably defy many a sartorial fashion expert – or even logic, or Vogue, or Vice magazine for that matter.

For this you must understand that French society is rather stratified in its social hierarchies and that ‘bon chic’ is traditionally not something which is considered to apply to the popular masses – like street wear, but rather something super stylish and swag to which only the haute bourgeoisie – the upper class – could pertain. Now add to this the words ‘bon genre’ which could easily mean ‘a good social standing’, and one would end up with something like ‘good style, good standing (GSGS), which may in American English translate as ‘preppy’, but to make things confusing it is often true in France that ambiguities in language are rather the norm than the exception, so that in the end you are really never sure what something means after all. And so it stands with BCBG.

So to solve the ambiguity of what Sandro actually is – or should be, as far as style is concerned in English, BDMOTP has developed a fashion test for you here below.  Because going to a fashion presentation as was the case here (the models stand or walk and come back rather than run up and down) rather than a runway show allows for more time than normal to admire in detail design and signature in a collection, we were able to draw for you one specific item from the Sandro AW 16/17 collection. Voilà!

Sandro 1

Sandro by Sandro for BDMOTP

And thus this being Paris – the cradle of artistic experience and the home of Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec, we would like to know from you if you have a fashion-trained eye, and if you can identify and distinguish CHIC when you see it.  Here is your test.

  • identify which item from the Sandro AW16/17 collection in the slideshow below (from the five pictures, chose one) is represented by the two drawings above (3 points)
  • think of a good and proper name for the style you have just identified in English (3 points)
  • give three reasons as to why the style you chose is or is not BCBG (3 points)
  • and finally, – is this CHIC? (bonus)

What is chic?

Please leave your comments below.

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Post and Art by Sandro for BDMOTP and photos by Monika Majewska

Le Gibus is by far the darkest, dankest, and grimmest underground club in Paris, but each fashion week it is nevertheless of course happily used as the setting for some kind of men’s fashion show.  Which means that when you cram in there (low ceilings hanging loose and no lights) eventually you feel like a pack of rats stuffed and hiding somewhere between the street stones of a forgotten gutter, which is the natural ambiance that Y Project wants to create no doubt, but which worked to the detriment of our photographer who was having some difficulty getting in the right angles and the right shots while being compressed in a crowded, dark and claustrophobic space.

You would thus think that such a show would only give you Berlin or Amsterdam type of street wear, because that is what dark underground setting usually do when they are accompanied by techno and drum & base, but lo and behold, appearances do deceive, and your eyes are not lying, because here is quite a classic picture worthy of framing taken by our photographer when one talks about:

“For the best dressed man on the planet, and the ladies who adore them.”

As this is the old motto of BDMOTP.

The best dressed man on the planet and the ladies who adore him?

The best dressed man on the planet and the ladies who adore him?

BDMOTP will therefore forgive the Y Project and also the horrible Gibus and get on with explaining the show.  For somehow, let’s say that only the French could pull this off: To have the ability to combine real CHIC with some real heavy duty UNDERGROUND streetwear.

Indeed the Y Project collection is now going into its fifth year and still runs under direction of creative director Glenn Martens, who harks from Bruges, Belgium, and who has worked for Jean Paul Gaultier in the past. Yet Y Project essentially is a French brand and that is probably why there is this knowhow to combine chic & class with industrial, with base, with techno, and with underground – so that we can dub this menswear collection perhaps as Dark Urban Undergound Chic, and when you finally read in the press release that one of the inspirations for the show was the old dark urban underground flick called Trainspotting from 1996, then the image of urban squalor and desolation (the movie is set in the ghettos of Edinburgh), and there with the signature style of the project, will have become complete. With the added French twist that all the bad stuff that is supposed to happen, is also naturally CHIC. And that’s class.

KEY PIECES (as listed by the press release) in the collection AW17 are:

  • Washed and frayed Denim pullovers and trousers
  • Multi-zip bombers
  • Shearling patchwork jackets
  • Oiled cotton bondage jackets
  • Harris Tweed trench coats and bustier dresses
  • Snake-skin print hoodies and pants
  • Nylon shearling-lined chaps
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Posted  by Sandro and photo Icon by Monika Majewska/other photos from Y Project.

As the Australian embassy sits smack 10 stories high next to the Eiffel tower this made for an interesting backdrop for a runway with a view, the works of Harry Seidler’s living monument of grand urban architecture (the embassy) nicely displayed on one end, the male models in their high-end luxury Australian wool-works parading in a converse towards the reflection of the other.

Strateas C. Caption

For after all, the Strateas Carlucci connection with the Australian Woolmark company is no coincidence and seems to be a perfect fit (no puns intended) as the team of Australian designers loves to work with wool as an innovative tool of sartorial luxury development. It cannot be a coincidence therefore that this highly awarded team of designers (Peter S. and Mario – Luca C.) has been covered over the past couple of years by many important magazines and publications in the fashion industry, so that now at last they have been invited by the ever-so-notoriously-hard-to-please French Chambre Syndicale de la Couture as the first Australian menswear collections to be officially represented on the calendar of Paris FW Homme.

And that is it in a nutshell, but mind you, that this elegant collection has been put together in full cooperation and partnership by the designers with the famous Woolmark – a well-known company and brand, of course, yes – but a company under the auspices of a non-for-profit organization called the Australian Wool Innovation, which brings together more than 24,000 different Australian wool growers all under one roof:  A beautiful cooperation where art meets industry and industry meets art & métier in the traditional fashion of the word.

This organization ever so elegantly states that wool is:

‘The world’s most luxurious and fashionable fiber’ and, ‘the ultimate natural fiber and premium ingredient in luxury apparel’.

Which is very true, and which, if you get to see it up close in the Strateas Carlucci collection on the runway for AW 16/17 – handmade by designers at the top of their game and skill, perhaps becomes the measuring stick by which all other Merino wool apparel should be judged hence on.

So maybe the Chambre Syndicale is onto something after all (as they so often are in their incomprehensible and mysterious ways).

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Posted by Sandro and photos by Monika Majewska.

Paris fashion week HOMME fittingly kicked off with AVOC on a cold and crisp and sunny Wednesday morning in the Canal St Martin area not far from place de la République in the same general area where just two months earlier in November the attacks on Paris had taken place, so it was very nice to see a large crowd of fashion loving people out in force and on the streets all trying to cram and jam into a small underground portal of a derelict and abandoned building vandalized happily by graffiti artists, where, hiding in its bosom an industrial silver metal-neon runway had been built as if it were a re-construction site for an interior falling apart out of neglect of maintenance over the years – which probably it was.

Because the show must go on.

Crowds outside an abandoned building in sunny & cold Paris, district Canal St Martin, electrical generator included

Crowds outside an abandoned building in sunny & cold Paris, district Canal St Martin, electrical generator included

Now AVOC offers a hearty style concept for those of you not faint of heart and daring enough to wade into the architectural undertones of this fashion of the streets, so it appears that the drum & base environment (VJ as part of the show, something you see a lot in Amsterdam during fashion week) in a construction setting must have been deliberately chosen.

But no worries because the end result of this clothing line is actually quite classy if you think it all may be a little bit too complex (see slideshow below), but for those who are really interested in understanding what is behind it all in concept and design we refer to the article we wrote on AVOC some time ago which will explain to you in detail what is going with this particular brand – it is quite interesting after all.

But suffice to say that what you see on the runway always comes out differently than what you expect had you known it in person first and beforehand.  Just compare this article to the last one we wrote.

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Posted by Sandro and photos by Monika Majewska.

 

The Silvio Fiorello AW16/17 collection is all about silk, perfect for day or evening wear. All the products are handcrafted in Sicily, Italy, and you can almost feel that each and every one is made with special attention.

The luxurious silk ties have beautiful patterns using bold colors and some even use REAL gold and silver thread. New for this collection is the Border Tie, which had a square edge with a contrasting border at the tip. Fiorello advises you to wear this new style of tie with a matching pocket square for the utmost dapper look.

These season, we see masculine themes running through the ties, as well as playful and geometric patterns. You can find these intricate patterns not only on ties, but also on silk shirts, scarves, pocket squares and more. Silvio Fiorello silks are the perfect addition to accessorize that otherwise plain or simple suit this fall.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Nemanja Glumac.

Sergio Rossi is all about signature, authentic Italian style. Demure loafers and crisp oxfords shine with utmost elegance. For AW16/17 the Rossi collections adds a bit of trend to their more traditional selection by adding fur. Fur-lined boots and even fur-lined chunky gym shoes were a part of the prized line.

Boots also seems to be trending this season, the chunkier the better. Buckles of all and any kinds added detailing to the boots as well as to various style of slip-on oxfords.

Rossi is perfect for a classical gentleman looking to give a slight pop to his wardrobe without taking things too far.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Nemanja Glumac.

Au Jour Le Jour showed a youthful, funky collection for AW16/17. The 70s and 80s are strongly reference with stonewashed grey denim, plaid long trenches, corduroy pants and houndstooth/herringbone-esque patterns occupying the garments. The prints game was strong for the coming season, featuring sorts of patterns and shapes in various colors dotting the clothing.

Colors were bold. A bright gold, combined with shades of grey and navy plus pops of bright red. Quirky details like tassels, lion badges and stripes gave the collection a fun and vivacious vibe. The collection, which probably should have been called Uptown Funk, is perfect for a younger gentleman wanting to get noticed.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Nemanja Glumac.

The Christian Pellizzari catwalk was filled with plaids and patterns. Using pops of color in one of our favorite winter hues, oxblood, streamlined, belted onesies and fitted sportswear stole the show.

We loved the bathrobe silhouette, a long, comfortable belted sweater coat we saw in oxblood. The long trenches also complemented the contained lines of the garments.

Fabrics were also luxe, with a smattering of velvet, fringe, and silk. Really, Pellizzari combined some slim, utilitarian looks with elegant style, which we really haven’t seen so far. Mixing downtown with  uptown, the idea that a trendy, funky man could still look dapper and classic is a beautiful thing.

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Posted by Nikea Vucetic and photos by Nemanja Glumac.

You never really know what to expect with the sporty Bikkembergs brand. For AW16/17 at Milan Uomo Fashion week, Bikkembergs showed a collection of comfortable, cool sportswear making us realize that women are not the only ones who want to wear active wear to the grocery store.

With surprisingly fun combinations like red leather pants with zippers on the outside seam paired with grey padded double breasted coat, men can be comfortable, sporty and look good all at once. Long trenches and plenty of leather ensure this collection is on top of all the current trends. Fur-lined coats will keep many a gentleman warm this winter.

A vampire combo of red and black was present in many of the looks, but it worked. Bikkembergs is for a true modern man, urban and ready to rock.

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Posted by Nikea Vucetic and photos by Nemanja Glumac.

The Fratelli Rossetti AW16/17 collection offered classic styles, but each with a twist. Rossetti shoes are known for their unrivaled comfort. This perfect mix of style and function with a touch of the unexpected further contributes to that tradition. For example, there were three styles of loafers presented, each with a small detail like a tassel, fringe or the timeless penny loafer (every gentleman should have at least one pair).

Traditional loafers with a unique substantial three-layer sole was one of our favorite styles, offering a trendy yet classic, comfortable footwear experience. The three layer sole is made of a leather welt, a colored midsole and a treaded base.

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Posted by Nikea Vucetic and photos from Nemanja Glumac.

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