Versatility was the name of the game for Callisti’s newest collection this season here at MQ Vienna Fashion Week. One of the most popular shows at the entire week long event, Callisti’s luxe leather looks wowed a packed runway.

BDMOTP was pleasantly surprised to see an increase in menswear this season, with about 15 looks for men. It’s always a treat to see designers newly inspired to create menswear. Martina, the designer explained to us that for this collection, she was excited to delve deeper into the world of menswear, and expand her clientele by encompassing even more styles and of course, adding more menswear.

The collection was definitely a “collection”. Somehow everything fit together perfectly, and there was something in this collection for everyone. It’s rare to say a banker on Wall Street and Jay-Z each might find their perfect garment in the same line, but somehow Callisti managed to create a diverse, yet unified collection, where every style of man (or woman, for that matter) can find something fabulous to outfit themselves in.

The looks for men ranged from conservative to urban streetwear, with leather being used as the main fabric. However, the more conservative looks consisted of a wool winter coat, with just a touch of military-style leather on the top of the shoulders, perfect for a business man. As the show when on, we saw full on leather head-to-toe outfits with cutouts, for a more urban dresser, and of course–everything in between those two extremes.

Callisti has very much proved to be a high ranking designer this season, fit for a runway in New York, London or Milan, and BDMOTP cannot wait to see what comes next for this up and coming brand!

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

“Free Yourself” is a saying printed on some of the casual and sporty Zerum looks. Designer Marko explains that this means you need to break free from the masses and start to think on your own, especially when it comes to how we are treating our world and environment.

Speaking of treating the world and the environment, the Zerum label works hard to make sure everything they produce is 100% organic and eco-friendly. ALL of their designs are fair trade and produced and manufactured within Austria, which is probably not an easy feat, especially when nowadays everything seems to made “Made in China”.

The Zerum collection is functional and clearly bases an emphasis on comfort. The designs are casual, basic and sporty. A lot of sweatpants and hoodies, some with fun button details. There are slightly dressier looks, complete with denim pants and high top kicks, but these looks are made to be soft and comfortable, and worn in a casual environment.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

 

There is no abstract art. You must always start something with something. Afterward, you can remove all traces of reality. 

-Pablo Picasso.

The Tiberius Structure catwalk was inspired by this quote by artist Pablo Picasso. The clothes were obviously structural and architecturally created with angles and shape, as per the name of the collection, and perhaps just did remove some of the traces of day to day monotony of life with a dive into the other side. The leather combined juxtaposed with lighter fabrics was beautifully sewn. Both womenswear and menswear strutted the catwalk, and the men sported several leather suit looks (not for the faint of heart), some interesting looks with tweed or floral tapestry fabrics from head to toe, and even a Scottish kilt skirt, which the designer himself also wore as his outfit for the show.

Designer Marcos Valenzuela creates the Tiberius garments, which he considers to be “Crossover Fetish Fashion”, combining leather and latex fetish wear with standard garments, paying homage to the store’s previous merchandise (Tiberius used to be a fetish shop). These types of casual and evening wear with the slightest hint of sexiness fills a niche market here in Vienna, one that allows Viennese to dress themselves in beautiful, high end clothing that isn’t your typical, run of the mill designer look.

If you are looking for an original, well designed outfit and you have a “fetish” for leather, Tiberius should be your go-to collection.

BDMOTP favorite: Beige leather shirt, leather suit

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

The Todd Snyder SS15 collection at MBFW New York was inspired by a Frank Lloyd Wright quote:

“Form follows function — that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”

The collection clearly joins form and function together, being modern and architecturally stylish while still being wearable and comfortable. I think the idea of comparing clothes to architecture works–really, the concept of fashion, making something that aesthetically works and is pleasing to the eye yet fulfills the function of safety and comfort is quite similar to that of architecture, as one aims for the same goals when creating a building.

The SS15 collection was muted and sleek, and made for  New York man. There wasn’t outlandish fabrics or new age designs, rather sophisticated, well tailored clothes for men. The fabrics were soft and casual, yet had that edge that every New York man needs to look rather dandy in the snap of a second. The line had trendy styles such as the every-present round sunglasses that will continue into spring and tailored short suits, that are still going strong through the seasons.

BDMOTP favorite: green jacket

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Robert Hicks.

Stockholm Fashion Week showcased over 30 different fashion brands for SS15, mainly womenswear with a splattering of menswear.  Erik Bjerkesjo was one of talented Scandinavian designers that walked the runway this season, and minimalist lines and toned down colors ruled his ready-to-wear collection. Having started as a luxury shoe designer, Bjerkesjo has recently branched out to include well-tailored and modern clothing.

The SS15 collection was named “Storm Within” and his simple but expressive lines allude to a basic exterior, but chaos inside, which makes for a unique vibe. Boxy, square cuts and juxtaposed matte and shiny fabrics gave off a utilitarian vibe, a sort of utility/work uniform gone stylish. The colors were basic, with mainly black, navy and a small section of white, with red being a brighter option for a few looks.

The ever trending shorts suit will continue on for SS15, as per Eric Bjerkesjo’s point of view, and we see images of a more “formal” tuxedo, with black and white color blocks built into a more casual look. Sleeves cut at the elbow, followed by what can only be described as “arm bands” were an interesting detail, of course, letting those elbows out for a springish, summery look.

Looks like minimalism is the name of the game for SS15, at least in Scandinavia.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos from the Office Erik Bjerkesjo Facebook Page.

If no one else can help, and if you are in any kind of trouble, and IF you can find them, maybe .... you can hire the A-team

« If no one else can help, and if you are in any kind of trouble, and IF you can find them, maybe …. you can hire the A-team »

This is old theme quote of the eighties TV show classic The A-Team. It handsomely applies to finding and doing an interview with the Sapeurs from the Congo, the world’s most mysterious and perhaps most famous group of dedicates to men’s fashion – the Dandies from Brazzaville / Kinshasha, the twin city of the Congos.

For from deep in the heart of Africa (this is where Joseph Conrad’s famous story ‘Heart of Darkness (1899)’ commences) – the Congo River separating two large republics and two large cities on a mass of land the size of the contingent USA, here comes to our globalized world a mysterious & powerful force in the form of an extraordinary love for men’s fashion par excellence: La Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elégantes (SAPE), aka the Society for Elegant People and Ambianceurs in English – or in short – the Sapeurs (pronounced ‘the sappehrs’).

Made famous by Guinness most recently, yet hard to locate either on the map or in cyberspace, and lost in a world of francophony where all is ambiguous and nothing is ever clear, it is still largely unknown today what drives and motivates this powerful force of style for men.  But BDMOTP will make an attempt to explain by hand of the following interview.

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Tradition & Style meeting Post-Modernism: Ben Moukacha, Majesty, Gentleman, Terminator, & Yann Colère in front of the Centre Pompidou in Paris

BDMOTP is meeting with Ben ‘le Sapelogue’ Moukacha and Chardel Matsanga who are part of a group of Sapeurs called Les Sapelogues de Paris.  It appears that Sapeurs both at home in the Congo and abroad come in different chapters, different forms of organization, different fiefdoms, and in different schools of thought even.  If this were feudal Europe there would be kings, counts, knights and barons among the Sapeurs, all feuding, each have organized their own chapters, their own groups, with each chapter or group having its own beliefs on style for men and the meaning & essence thereof. 

We discover that Ben is the founder and creator of a SAPE school of style & thought which is called La Sapelogie de France; and Mr Matsanga is the President thereof.  Our meeting is in front of the Gare du Nord, Paris, outside on the terrace of a Brasserie called ‘1925’ (ambiance is everything and the twenties style interior decorations add to the conversation) and BDMOTP quickly learns the following in summary over coffee and soft drinks:

  • Each group of Sapeurs has a distinct code of style known only by the group
  • Each group has a distinct code of ethics known only by the group
  • Part of the code is knowing how to organize & select colors in dress for men, and no man should wear more than three different colors at once
  • Part of the code is knowing how to walk or stand or pose, in other words a man’s gait is highly important when it comes to style (this particular skill is called ‘diatance’ in local Congolese dialect)
  • Style, in men, is a spirit – ‘un état d’esprit’ in French – a mindset or state of mind in English
  • Teamwork is highly important in that when men go out together, they go out DRESSED as a TEAM – in complementary colors for instance – and NOT as individuals (take that hipsters)
  • Style & beauty are an expression of tolerance and freedom:  There is no better way to fight poverty, war, and misery than with beauty & style – ‘c’est une mission extrordinaire’ – a form of missionary zeal if you like
  • Most sapeurs or sapelogues, are known by their singular nicknames as if they were Brazilian footballers:  Gentleman (the one who speaks English), Terminator, 007 (aka James Bond), the King (le Roi), Destiny (Destin), Dandy, Majesty (Majesté), Colère, and the BDMOTP favorite who goes by the name of GPS, are some examples
  • A sapeur or sapelogue succeeds in his ‘métier’ (craft) when he successfully is able to create a persona – ‘un personnage’– and is able to integrate his persona into the team

In a closing question we still ask who would qualify in America to become part of an A-team of Sapeurs, and the answer is immediate and without hesitation:  Sean Combs ‘P Diddy’ Puff Daddy, of course, as the other one mentioned is ‘Lord’ Scott Disick.

Ghislain de Claize, Ambianceur aka as 007, or James Bond

Ghislain de Claize, Ambianceur aka as 007, or James Bond

In this brief notice, it’s truly an honor for BDMOTP to be able to present to you the Dandies of the Congo, and in particular the chapter we interviewed called les Sapelogues de Paris, and we would like to thank Ben Moukacha and Chardel Matsanga for a short but powerful interview hoping that perhaps we will be able to be back in October to do a more extensive (video) interview in Bordeaux during the semi-annual festival of the Sapeurs in France.

The most important thing we have learned today is – please take note – that style for men can be a force of life and a force for good, and has the power to change our world – by creating an ambiance of pleasure, beauty, and harmony for all.

With many thanks to our friends from the Congo, the Sapeurs!

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A still shot from the famous Guinness Sapeurs commercial

Voila an interview bonus:  A small pearl from the Code of the Sapelogues – the fourth commandment of Sapelogie – for you to ponder and reflect upon:

‘Les voies de la Sapelogie sont impénétrable a tous qui ne connaissent pas la règle de trois, la trilogie des couleurs achevees et inachevees (the ways of Sapelogy are impenetrable to all who don’t know the rule of three, the trilogy of colors attained and unattained).’ 

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Story & Interview by Sandro Joo.

Photos (including caption) from the collection of Ben Moukacha (except the lead and closing picture).

 

“[…]Can we doubt that individuals having any advantage, however slight, over others, would have the best chance of surviving and of procreating their kind? On the other hand, we may feel sure that any variation in the least degree injurious would be rigidly destroyed. This preservation of favorable variations and the rejection of injurious variations, I call Natural Selection. Variations neither useful nor injurious would not be affected by natural selection, and would be left a fluctuating element […]”.

Inspired by Charles Darwin in the Origin of Species, John Park created a menswear brand focusing on the necessity of constant evolution in a world in which only the strongest and most valid can survive, naming it “Natural Selection”. After a A/W 2014 collection with Art Deco references, the brand introduces some variations in order to evolve and adapt to the surrounding changing circumstances–this time–embracing the work of the abstract artist Tim Woolcock. 
 
Irregularity leads throughout, in the form of shirts speckled with polka dots and classic tailoring made of tweed, chambray and denim for a casual yet masculine man. Silhouettes remain neat across shorts, sweaters and single-breasted jackets. Macs and hooded capes have also an important role in these “Garment Species” teaming up with long shirts that turn traditional layering on its head. 
 
Despite the expected, colors don’t stick to the conventional summery spectrum as its main characters are navy, taupe, grey, khaki, light blue and some pinches of tie-dye, remaining us of Woolcock’s landscapes. In conclusion, and as Darwin would state, Natural Selection London goes one step ahead in the menswear process of evolution, proving that innovation and quality can walk alongside with elegance and functionality, turning the brand into a pro in the art of casual wear. 

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Posted by Paloma Canseco.

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“vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas”

The explosive French translation of the title of this capstone piece would read ‘Les Hommes en Dentelle’ and for anyone with even a faint or flawed knowledge of French it would be immediately clear that each and all connotations with what ‘dentelle’ stands for is normally always associated with that which what is universally known as being 100 % feminine. But not in this case, as BDMOTP boldly presents to you “Men in Lace”, a first collection by young Parisian créateur / designer Maxime Ephritikhine.

It has nothing to do with gender equality, or genderless-ness for that matter, that today, in 2014, men also CAN wear lace, and feel comfortable with sensuality, lightness, fairness, touch, and transparency–naye, it has something to do with vanity, and with the fact, that only vanity, can make a shallow man proud, an old man young again, and a dirty man feel clean. Such is the power of vanity, also in man, or especially in man perhaps, because rarely does man feel he was born with natural beauty!

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Soft you now, the fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons be all my sins remember’d.—

(Hamlet Act 3, Scene 1)

It was therefore a true discovery and a phantom delight when BDMOTP was privileged enough to attend a runway show outside the Louvre in Paris last month covering the graduation ceremony for one of Paris’ famous fashion schools – Mod’Art – and when by chance among a host of collections for women there was a single one being shown for men: The new and first collection of young designer Maxime Ephritikhine, his final graduation project walking the Paris runways.

And of course MEN IN LACE being a strange & bold idea to present to a global audience–which could only come from the cold and time worn streets of Paris, BDMOTP took the chance to interview this very promising ‘créateur’ and while asking for pictures of which you can here see and read the rather marvelous result.

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Our approach was to ask Maxime about his concept and his idea, so here is the creator’s statement on his first collection – a portrait of the artist in his very own words:

This first collection is theatrical ; it is an illustration of vanity. The clothes are part of the wardrobe of some baroque personalities who have lost everything. They roam in a very dark forest in the cold winter with what is left and what they used to have. They may have lost their influence and their wealth but something magnificent still remains in them, they have a theatrical attitude as if they didn’t want to let go of their rich past. It’s the translation of an opposition, of the vanity of life.

In this collection, garments are for the most part natural because this is a guarantee of a high level of quality and also because nature is one of the most important sources of inspiration. So it is important in a world where everything is going and moving so fast to keep something that reminds us where we are from and where we belong. Silk in many different aspects, cotton, wool, viscose are the main materials. For this collection Black and White are the main ‘colours’, they illustrate the conflicts, opposition and the ambiguity of the collection. On one side we have light and purity illustrated with multiples shades of white going from very optical, to ghost white, ivory and white smoke. On the other side we have shadows, the dark, roughness and dirt illustrated with many different shades of black like midnight black, licorice, onyx and jet.”

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On the runway Maxime’s work had something that reminded of ‘Games of Thrones’ and we asked him about it afterwards, and he confirmed the style of his collection to be one that belongs to a world of dreams, a realm of fantasy, to the abode of undifferentiated consciousness still – Ladies & Gentlemen: The Abode of MEN IN LACE.

A privilege of women, now made available for men!

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This is so very Game of Thrones

Posted by Sandro Joo and photos by Leon Fernando and Xiafeng Wang.

Summer has hit us head on, and it’s time to soak it all in. I find that there is very little available on the market for in footwear for men that isn’t a super casual sneaker, a boat shoe moccasin, or a dressy lace up shoe or loafer. Enter ACT Footwear.

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ACT footwear is changing all that. The brand is giving men a new option–a summery, unconcerned shoe, appropriate for the city but reminiscent of a summery, spontaneous beach holiday.

The brand originated in Mallorca, Spain, the native land of designer Isabel Rotger. In fact, the idea to create the brand was just an impulsive, spur of the moment idea she came up with while working in Berlin.

Rotger explains that “In Mallorca, the espadrille is a traditional item that marks the start of summer. We thought it would be fun to create a new look, to revamp the classic espadrille with modern details, convenient for a city dweller.” She now operates the brand out of Berlin, Germany, bringing the classic espadrille look to an urban man (and an urban woman, as she also designs female footwear).

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Although the original espadrille is beach-appropriate, ACT shoes aren’t necessarily meant for beach wear. The brand combines the traditional espadrille material with high-grade suede and leather, so the shoes are better used in a less rural (or sandy) setting. A casual brunch or a walk in the park would be where you would sport these kicks.

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For all of you men out there that want a touch of beach holiday to incorporate into your daily summer city look, try a pair of ACT shoes.

Posted by Lori Zaino and images from ACT Footwear.

For the SS15 MFShow Men, Lander Urquijo went the formal route. As we’ve seen a lot of summer, casual designs from most of the other MFShow designers, Urquijo’s elegant garments were the perfect way to end out the the shows in a classy way.

Suits were the name of the game and Urquijo pushed the limits. Most of the suits were patterned (several striped looks) or exotically colored, fit for summer. However, the looks still maintained an air of Savile Row, expertly tailored and designed for a perfect fit and outstanding elegance.

Cuts and lengths were played with, making for an interesting looks. Summer scarves, bare feet and cuffed pants took some of the looks to a more casual level, whereas others amped up the formal with bowties and hats.

Some of the models in the bold, bright suits even sported surfboards. Despite the elegance, let’s not forget it’s still summer people!

Straw hats and cigars gave the collection a Havana vibe, and softened the looks, making them more approachable. This was a gorgeous collection, created for a true gentleman.

BDMOTP favorites: the striped suits

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

 

 

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