Sometimes in order to write a good fashion story – you need help, so I had asked my friend Qi from BFIT (Beijing Fashion Institute of Technology) to join me when we obtained an invitation from the Karl Lagerfeld press office to come and visit the new store on the Boulevard St Germain – a visit organized in advance to be able to write a blog article.

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She showed up in a skimpy white Chloe dress, with Coco Chanel jewelry, and most importantly in ROCK CHIC gold studded noire Roman sandals, which, unbeknownst to me at the point when we first entered the store, is actually the ‘style préféré’ – the preferred style – at the Karl Lagerfeld store.  And not just for women.  This style apparently works for men too!  As a matter of fact ROCK CHIC proves to work well for both men and women and for women and men.

To summarize ROCK CHIC think of Glam & Rock in black and white and 50 shades of grey but without the platforms; throw in some Neo-Punk but without the vulgarity; then have ROCK CHIC launched at you at warp speed haute-couture in the form of ‘accessible’ luxury.  Et voila! You will have a VERY DAFT punk experience which can be instantly and virtually tailored & communicated directly TO THE PUBLIC so as to immediately gratify your own material AND virtual needs:  In style ROCK CHIC, at Karl Lagerfeld’s, your fashion, your fetish, your style will can be instantly tweeted on Twitter, fashioned on Facebook, and tubed on Youtube – while you still think you are shopping, whereas in reality you have now entered the Twilight Zone of REAL time and your new style ROCK CHIC is already streaming LIVE unto a larger audience.   Expect an interview with the Vampire.

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At Karl Lagerfeld’s your identity will not only be personalized (as at let’s say chez Louis Vuitton or chez Yves Saint Laurent) or enhanced by style (as with most other brands), NO SIR, at Karl’s in Paris you will have the singular opportunity to actually BECOME THE BRAND and you may find yourself with a feeling of vertigo when your identity takes a hit, when it starts to drift, and when it even may be starting to SHIFT.  Visiting Karl’s is a remarkable & highly recommended experience which takes the whole notion of what constitutes ‘shopping’ to what is most probably the next level in branding, concept, & design in fashion.

Essentially the consumer is integrated directly into the concept store through a POST ROCK experience at Karl Lagerfeld’s in the same way & fashion Damien Hirst integrates visitors coming to a museum into a POST MODERN ART display:  for example, it’s the man watching the Shark in Formaldehyde inside the large fish-tank who has become part of the exhibit AND the OBJECT of the art at large, rather than just a passive visitor.  In similar mode & fashion, at Karl’s you will become part of the act.

Thus the Karl Lagerfeld store – painted black – offers an outstanding CHIC ROCK ‘experience’ and is located on the Boulevard St Germain on a rather famous ‘coin de la rue’ – street corner – where you will also find the Café de Flore, the Restaurant Les Deux Magots, and the Brasserie Lipp, all of which were once the décor & setting of various movie & photo shoots, as well as the well-known venue of dark conversations between existentialist Rive Gauche philosophers from bygone years.

KL storefront

Film Noir, Café Noir, Noir Coeur, existentialist conversations – you get the drift –, is right here, on the Boulevard of Paint-It-Black, that in recent years ago a large invasion took place by high-end luxury and fashion concept stores – some of them, most of them, actually PAINTED BLACK.  The corner store is Armani – in black (even has a restaurant – in black).  A little bit down the road you there is The Kooples – in black.  Not far on the same side of the Boulevard there is Sonia Rykiel – again in black.  Donna Karan & Calvin Klein must be dying to get in on the action here!  Halfway across the street from Karl, there sits the grand Paris flagship store of Polo Ralph Lauren – the only store NOT in black, but which has its own interior court & restaurant – as the Fashion Anchor on the block.  And then when you skip halfway across the street to Karl’s, the image of Mr Lagerfeld himself in his famous sun glasses holding his even more famous cat Choupette, appears in the window.

We were received very kindly by two young and expert staff members at the Karl Lagerfeld store, who clearly explained to us all the concept, design, and fashion of ROCK CHIC and how the style offers the opportunity to be appealing for men as well as for women.  The store, small from the outside, has a large interior with two floors, which is greatly enhanced by its POST ROCK atmosphere by means of superior branding and design:  Prepare to imagine yourself on the movie set of the latest Ridley Scott Sci-Fi movie.  There is a grand staircase to the first floor where there are two different rooms with clothing for men.

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All items are luxury products but the concept is that all luxury in the store is not only designed to fit your personal CHIC ROCK style but that it is also ‘ACCESSIBLE ‘.  In other words, where at other brands you would pay the price according to not only luxury, but also the brand name, at Karl Lagerfeld your luxury – AND the quality, AND the name – basically becomes affordable – even if you are just simply holding a single steady job in today’s down economy.  At Karl’s, ROCK CHIC – in all its luxury hues of black and white – becomes available to you.

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Integrated into the visual merchandising on both floors and into the larger concept of the store you will find technology.   Well, this is nothing new you probably will say, as many other concept fashion stores are nowadays using large flat screens, advanced audio, and high tech modeling displays (Benetton, Armani, Dolce & Gabana, etc.) – among other gadgets, which are then fully integrated into the store concept & the interior design, but at Karl’s they are taking technology one leap further:  Each display has its own IPAD which allows you to not only take an immediate look into the full virtual catalog of items, prices, and sizes available at the present time of the item you are currently admiring, but the devices also allow you to immediately tweet, youtube, email and book whatever you admire directly into the cloud, so that all your virtual needs are being taken care of AND gratified instantly.

This process was dubbed & branded KAPTURE KREATE & POST for at the larger IPADS in the store, and the ones inside the beautifully crafted & designed changing cabins, it is possible to take instant snapshots & photos of whatever you are trying on in whichever pose you feel like attempting at the given time.  So aye, now you can immediately and instantaneously youtube, book, email or tweet yourself together with your chosen ROCK CHIC item, tailored to accessible luxury perfection, directly into cyberspace.  And by doing so, THIS is where YOU become part of the store, part of the concept, and perhaps even part of the design.

Back on the ground floor at Karl’s you will then find leather bags, wallets, belts, watches, and different types of shoes & boots, and all the other accessories that luxury goods stores carry and when we descended there, it prompted and begged the question as to which items were for men and which items were for women.  The staff proved to be more than knowledgeable in their answer, and they proved to be as smart as that they were smartly dressed ROCK CHIC, because ROCK CHIC accessory items were explained to us as available for BOTH for men AND for women at the same time.

DisplayKL

Larger watches are carried by both men and women today.  Handbags, wallets & pocketbooks – studs & decorations all – are carried by both men and women these days.  The same goes for scarfs, sun glasses, and many other accessories.  In short everything which does not need a specific size for a man or a woman can be shared universally among men and women in a style of most androgynous ROCK CHIC fashion.   The concept was introduced to us very well and I was allowed to try a ROCK CHIC black silver studded handbag under my arm even though I had walked into the store in traditional cowboy boots, a fedora, and a conservative pin-striped black jacket.

We were then asked to sit down and relax in a large & hairy black velvet lounge fauteuil (armchair) and they served us an excellent black espresso from a white cup.  And as we sipped espresso they took pictures of us posing with a ROCK CHIC item on one of the larger IPADS, while simultaneously displaying the latest collections of the item directly from the IPAD by fingertip-flip straight onto the wall-sized fashion modeling multi-screen (four screens integrated) behind us, the only thing missing and not yet ‘mise-en-scène’ was perhaps our own real-time image together with the ROCK CHIC item flashed over to the multi-screen as integrated part of the collection.  Who knows what the future will hold? Yet, regardless and in spite of ourselves, we had become an integrated part of the concept & the design of the Karl Lagerfeld store.

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So when next time you visit Paris and YOU are sitting in the black velvet chair chez Karl trying a ROCK CHIC item, maybe allow your mind to wander a bit, and perhaps that you will imagine DAFT PUNK – helmets on and all – to come walking into the store at that very moment, or maybe Billy Idol, or Gene Simmons, or Flash Gordon, or perhaps even Mr. Lagerfeld himself with Choupette in his arms.  Not so far-fetched maybe as you are now rapidly moving BACK TO THE FUTURE …

Posted by: Sandro

* The Karl Lagerfeld store in Paris is on Boulevard St Germain.  There is a smaller version in the Marais and other stores are (will be) located in Berlin, LA, and Hong Kong.  Visit Karl Lagerfeld on Facebook, Twitter or Youtube.

It’s the summer of fashion and SOPOPULAR had a fantastic menswear collection at MBFW Berlin.  The main goal of SOPOPULAR is to come up with consistent, contemporary and stylish male fashions in an ever changing fashion world.

The designer, Daniel Blechman, explains that his designs are a mixture of London (trendy and cool) and Berlin (edgy and rough).

That is basically what the SS14 SOPOPULAR collection is all about.  Pragmatic and slim, the collection shows us straight lines and expert tailoring, with a basic color scheme far from bright.  The occasional zipper, button, drawstring or pattern adds some edge to a sleek silhouette.  Really only black, white and grey are featured, which has been noted as a trend for next spring as many designers are returning to basics and running from brights.

You can buy SOPOPULAR online or at shops throughout Germany, in Vienna, Hong Kong, and Zurich.

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All images by Juan Felipe courtesy of C-heads.com

Posted by: Lori Zaino

This edition of 080 Barcelona Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2014 had  a couple standout menswear collections, one of them in particular being Slazenger.  Slazenger is usually a favorite at 080 Barcelona, and the SS14 collection was cohesive and sporty.

The Slazenger brand dates back to 1881 and historically made looks for tennis and cricket players, (sports equipment included). More recently, the company began branching out to trendier items and looks not just for sports.

This season, Slazenger did not disappoint with his collection of preppy looks.  Red, white and blue colors were featured, as well as crisp polo shirts combined with cuffed shorts or pants.  Plaids and stripes also made an entrance.   All of the looks were very tailored and classic, perfect for a summer day on a boat or a stroll on the boardwalk.    Reminiscent of Ralph Lauren, this collection does preppy, but with a little extra trend and twist that makes it special.

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All images from the 080 Barcelona Facebook Page

Posted By: Lori Zaino

 

Josep Abril has been designing since 1966.  He is based out of Barcelona which inspires many of his designs.  The Josep Abril SS 14 Collection was described by the designer himself using several words such as: ice, cold, silence, stillness, calm, infinite, and  light.

Grey was the color choice of Spring/Summer 2014 for Josep Abril.  Different blazers, coats, and trenches, most in grey, strutted the runway.  Abril’s signature light sweater look came into play, with some pale blue and grey thin spring sweaters.  This collection seemed very London, made for a rainy spring day.  The monotone look, that being all one color: grey shirt, blazer, pants, socks and shoes, for example, dominated the Josep Abril SS14 collection.

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All images from the 080 Barcelona Facebook Page

Posted By: Lori Zaino

 

GotStyle is a Toronto-based menswear boutique with an online shopping website.  Brands carried cover the best internationally; Strellson, Blue Industry, Gsus Industries,  Zanerobe, Psycho Bunny, John Varvatos U.S.A., M. Cohen, JohnnyLove, Nudie Jeans, Amanda Christensen, and PYA Patrick Assaraf. The clothes, shoes, accessories and bling are carefully chosen to cover all aspects of a man’s life:  business, social, casual, and formal events. Gotstyle has suited up UFC star George St- Pierre and is the official fashion sponsor to Toronto FC soccer players and coaches.

Founder Melissa Austria, who started Gotstyle in 2004,  believes in educating her clients.  Her mission is to have “Every man wearing a blazer on date night” and describes the essential date night look as a Blue Industry Jersey sportcoat, Nudie Jeans, Strellson oxford shirt, Amanda Christensen pocket square, Strellson black belt and John Varvatos wing tip shoes.  She believes that there are six essential pieces for every man’s wardrobe;  double breasted jacket, colored pants, trench coat, printed shirts, blue shoes, and a leather briefcase.
6 essentials
Gotstyle has its own stylists, made to measure, on-site tailoring, and a barbershop, offering a one-stop shop for it’s clients.   If you do get to Toronto, be sure to visit The Groom Room on the second level of Gotstyle Distillery location where future grooms and their groomsmen can play pool, drink Hennessey, and get suited. And you don’t even have to be getting married to share in the fun!
Visit one of their two Toronto locations:
62 Bathurst St. at Wellington
21 Trinity St. in the Distillery District
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All Images from the GotStyle Facebook Page
Posted By: Sari Colt

If you are in the market for new and lesser known brands with wonderful offerings, then Pitti Uomo in Florence, Italy is a must do.  It is an expansive event spread across several buildings, and there is something for every type taste.  It is also one of the best places on the planet….yes that’s right, to take in men’s street style.  BDMOTP candidates at every turn.  My team and I attended over three days, braved the heat, and covered a lot of territory.

I encountered many brands that I had not heard of, several that in my opinion are outstanding.  Among my favorites are:

Tabacchi

Great line of casual coordinated pieces.

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Viacomte A

Beautifully tailored garments, with a preppy French flavor.  Ralph Lauren-esque.

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Brodska

Frankfurt based designer and manufacturer of pocket squares, scarves, and neck ties.

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Pasotti

For the man who has everything, they offer a line of beautiful umbrellas, walking sticks and shoe horns.

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Check out our Pitti Uomo Day 1 and Pitti Uomo Day 2 Recaps for more info!

 

The Vivienne Westwood Spring Summer 2014 catwalk at Milan Moda Uomo was outstanding.   The suits really carried the show and were definite focal pieces.  Immpecable tailoring and attention to detail added to the intensity of the show.

Plaid made a grand appearance in several of the looks.  (Plaid is obviously going to be trending big time next spring…so start thinking about getting a few pieces to add to your wardrobe if you don´t already have some.  It’s a great time to pull out some vintage plaid from the back of your closet too!)

Another big trend to note-any way to shorten those pants up, go ahead and do it.  Almost all the pants in the Vivienne Westwood collection showed pants slightly above the ankle…some simply tailored that way, other ones cuffed or rolled.  Jump on it!

Berets are back with a vengeance.  YMC also showed berets in the SS14 collection.

Finally, some South Asian influence was definitely present.  Some of the looks had silky fabric shirts with a kimono- like feel and Asian patterns.  Light sweaters were also a great call for spring.

BDMOTP Favorite: Sky blue suit

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Posted By: Lori Zaino

Photos By: Yulia Gromova

The Vintage Shopping in Paris Tour continues on.

If you keep going down down Rue de la Verrerie will then run into the FREE”P”STAR which also has an outlet one block over on the Rue St Croix.  Not my favorite store of the bunch, because it is something like a flea market and it is always crowded there and for good reason, as they do have great deals on vintage items for both men and women.  However, the set-up lacks a certain style and coziness that the other stores do possess.  One could term the Free”P”Star perhaps as Vintage-Ready-to-Wear (Frip-Pret-à-Porter), hm, a pun on this ‘jeux-de-mot’ clearly intended.

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This last vintage experience will then set you up for the grand finale & climax on the short vintage trip just a little bit further down the road, again on the left side of the street where you can find the main chapter of an actual CONCEPT VINTAGE STORE simply known by the name the Kilo Shop.  The Kilo Shop has several stores in Paris (one on the Boulevard St Germain) and apparently one or more in Athens, Greece.

I stumbled on it when all other stores in the city were closed one day for the May 1st all-workers-unite festivities (yup still exists) – it was the only store open in town because at Kilo Shop people actually want to work and make money and they are not part of the Union.  It has an amazing concept and by far the grandest and greatest collection of global vintage clothes I dare say on the PLANET.  It’s concept is simple.  Divide vintage clothes and other vintage items in three color-coded categories and measure the price according to these codes by the Kilo (or the pound if you wish).  You can weigh them yourself anywhere in the store as if you are weighing vegetables at the supermarket.  It is an excellent concept and if this store does not become globally for vintage what Amazon is for books within the next twenty years, then we will all have missed out big time.

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Largest collection of Americana I have ever seen either in the States or here in Europe.  Looking for that old High School Football jacket you left many years ago by mistake in the trunk of your old Chevy?  Go to Kilo Shop.  Looking for a matching Cheerleading outfit of the girlfriend who ditched you that night?  Visit Kilo Shop.  Looking for that mean old German Army trench coat you always wanted and were never able to find without people staring at you?  Kilo Shop.  Largest global collection vintage of American Eagle, Hollister, A&F, etc. etc.?  Kilo Shop.   Just bloody incredible.  Vintage shoes, boots, belts, flight jackets, helmets, hats, jeans, scarfs, shirts, you name it, basically everything except underwear … Kilo Shop!  A concept store.

In the two Kilo Shop stores I visited the main floor was for women whereas the basement was reserved for men, which meant that here, at last, there was to be found the actual me’s only collection of vintage clothes and accessories I had been looking for for this article.  And to be honest, the place is a little heaven for those who like to dress nice but who cannot afford to buy great brands NEW.  Highly recommended for men’s vintage:  Kilo Shop, hopefully SOON to be found in a location near you!

Make sure to check out Vintage Shopping Part 1!

Posted by: Sandro

The vintage stores of Paris are all located in the fashionable district of the Marais, with the occasional shop perhaps in one of the other fashion or luxury goods ‘quartiers’ (Blvd. Haussmann, Place Vendome / Rue Rivoli, Blvd. St Germain, and of course Rue de Montaigne/ Champs-Elysees). If the Marais (literally the ‘swamp’) were located in New York, this would be the Village, Soho, or Tribeca.  However, when vintage shopping in Paris, the largest concentration of vintage stores can be found in one street.  The street  goes really from one street into the other, a street which begins as the Rue du Roi de Sicile, but which ends up as the Rue de la Verrerie.  Your best bet to get there is by Metro on the Central Line 1, and get off at the St Paul stop.

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A vintage man’s fashion tour through this street would start at the Rue Roi de Sicile with a cozy and quaint shop under the name ‘King of the Frip’.  In fact, the word FRIP in French stands for VINTAGE and up to this day, even after asking several French natives, I still do not know what it means or where the word comes from, and its origins to remain shrouded in mystery.  But that is France.  Clear answers you will never have.  Part of the charm but it takes getting used to.

All the vintage stores mix things for men and women, and I have not found one vintage store just for men.  That being said,  each store the sections for men and for women are divided, although sometimes the divisions leave it to your imagination to find where the women’s section stops and the men’s section begins or vice versa.

I was able to buy a beautiful Italian Fedora at King of the Frip, a hat which clearly had been put on the wrong stack of hats, because I only paid 10 euros for it (original retail price after checking turned out to be like 175 euros).  Wow, now I can actually afford to start a Fedora collection.  And I can finally look like Indiana Jones.

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Then you can walk down the narrow street (a back street to the lesser well known part of the Rue Rivoli in fact) and right when the name of the same street changes into Rue de la Verrerie, on your right you will see the FRIP’IRIUM.  Again that obscure word FRIP, and this time as part of a larger name which in English would undoubtedly be Friperium.  In the ‘etalage’, the window, the right side is being used for men’s vintage, the left side for women’s.  The place looks better at night by the way.

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A little further down on the right in the same street you will come to a must-see curiosity shop, the irreplaceable and irrepressible VINTAGE BAR, where no clothes are sold but luxury accessories in all its incredible wild shapes and forms.  All vintage, nothing new.  Of course the best and beautiful old brands for women feature in the two level curiosity cabinet (most shops have basement in Paris):  Dior, Chanel, YSL, etc. and some accessories you see you would never actually believe to exist for the brands that made them,. For men indeed there is a small section with vintage accessory items which is going to make you feel like a young Alain Delon or a Jean-Paul Belmondo in one of those flight jackets – mostly sunglasses and other items from the fifties and the sixties.  But hey why not grab a vintage watch to go with it.  Do not pass by this shop because it looks like a Punk Rock store from the outside.  Go inside.  It is ‘très fàçonnable’.

Vintage Bar (1)Paris

TO BE CONTINUED with Vintage Shopping in Paris Part 2.

Posted By: Sandro

 

Letter writing…snail mail…handwritten greeting cards…a lost art? Most would say so. Due to the appearance of email, smart phones, tablets, etc., many might suggest that no one writes a good old handwritten note anymore. Long gone are the days of love letters, thank you notes, or simply a letter sent in the mail!

However, Terrapin Stationers might just change your mind and make you want to write out a card for someone. This business creates greeting cards almost exclusively geared towards men. Now, perhaps men don´t typically write cards as much as a woman might, but thats all the more reason to do so.

Wouldn´t it be a fabulous to surprise your mother, your brother, your wife or girlfriend with a fun handwritten card or note? To be honest, it would probably blow them away!

It´s an inexpensive and suprisingly welcome way to show someone you care, especially in this day and age, where everything is done electronically.

If you still aren´t convinced, the entertaining, playful nature of Terrapin Stationers cards will surely win you over. They are witty and modern looking cards that are printed on the highest quality card stock.

Choose from the ¨I forgot your birthday¨ kit, ¨manly¨ themed cards that have small drawings of ¨manly¨ things like fishing, hunting, biking, nautical items and more.

The cards are priced around 18-20 USD for a pack of 6. Terrapin is based in New York City and offers some ¨local¨ items like and NYC skyline notepad (10 USD) among others. Even if you aren´t based in NYC, you can order the cards online.

With the easy part done after you have your Terrapin Stationary in hand, now…what to write?!

Fishing Hook Card

Fishing Hook Greeting Card

Bicycle card

Red Bicycle Greeting Card

I forgot your Birthday Kit

I Forgot Your Birthday Kit

NYC Notepad

NYC City Skyline Notepad

 

See more options on the Terrapin Website or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

All images from the Terrapin Website.

Posted by: Lori Zaino

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