It’s fashion week in Paris and BDMOTP is invited at the K – fashion event at the Palais Brongniart hosted by the Korean fashion industry where we can do a backstage interview with one of five acclaimed young designers and the only one who is doing real menswear. Voilà Bumsuk Choi, designer and creator of the brand General Idea.

Backstage is underground, where a quite amenable and classy modeling and styling parlor comes to life by scores of Hollywood vanity mirrors and powder tables and where a special fashion week buffet featuring low calorie diet potato chips and coconut juice will keep the crew and models going throughout the day.

We get to speak for ten minutes with mister Choi and his manager and it appears he is a big fan of New York and its style and runways, but that he also loves Paris (he is wearing a royal blue French beret for good measure on some great pastel colored azure sweater with a light jade screen scarf), and of course we speak about K – pop and K – fashion of which here below you will find a small summary. The General Idea collection here discussed is last year’s SS17 but we’ll be sure to show you the SS18 before the year is over.

Q. For the Mars collection where did you get the inspiration for the salmon red background color?
A. A lot of travel (Cuba is mentioned).
Q. What is the name of the Mars color?
A. Red Pink
Q. What is the name of the Korean style pants in the collection?
A. The baji.
Q. Why you use many pastels whereas so often so much black is used in Asian fashion?
A. Sunlight is different in Asia but we like to use soft milky colors.
Q. What you think of Zio Song (Songzio) as the godfather of Korean fashion?
A. He is conservative and old school and has older customers. I am a second generation designer.
Q. What is the advantage of having your fashion displayed at Colette (Paris’ most famous high-end retail outlet located on 213 rue St Honoré)?
A. It’s the scene. Influence. Young people will see it.
Q. Do you use traditional Korean techniques or materials in your creations?
A. Mostly western but we do use traditional Korean hanbok dress as a model which requires special skill.

We thank mister Choi and his manager for the interview and exchange business cards, and indeed his reads Gangnam, Seoul at the bottom. At BDMOTP we may therefore safely assume that we have discovered (after Gentle Monster earlier) Gangnam style.

Word by Sandro and photos from General Idea.

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Timeless elegance for men going the distance with Loris Azzaro, the late French – Italian jet-set stylist (1933 – 2003) who obtained the French legion d’honneur for his work and contributions in perfumes and fashion and whose brand has been around since 1967 (today is the occasion to celebrate the 50th anniversary), but whose ultimate legacy in the annals of history may very well turn out to be that he was an early pioneer of what today we know as the fashion party, but which in the early seventies was still a highly exclusive affair for very important people without all the photographers, mock celebrities, or hysterical Instagram wannabes fighting mindlessly over instant access.

Iconic turtleneck with classic optical style.

Iconic turtleneck with classic optical style.

Anyways, the man had a way with class and style which becomes immediately evident still in the pictures hereby attached, and which in all its raw simplicity has sometimes been called ‘élegance intemporelle’ in French which translates simply as timeless elegance. But that is for what we still can see today when we recognize these universal style signatures so many years laters as classy, but when then you would also consider that Loris Azzaro was once the preferred stylist for no one less than Brigitte Bardot, Liza Minnelli, Tina Turner, Claudia Cardinale, Romy Schneider, Jane Birkin, Raquel Welch, and Sophia Loren, then perhaps the timeless elegance of the photos hereby attached pour homme may start to take on a new meaning. Or as Loris Azzaro was famous for saying:

‘On est pas belle / beau par hasard’

(one is not beautiful just by chance)

Iconic turtleneck II with aviator sunglasses.

Iconic turtleneck II with aviator sunglasses.

 

So there it is, in that first image some magic French Chic Intellectuel which somehow still brings back seventies memories of Yves Saint Laurent, or – flashforward 25 years – memories of the last decade of Steve Jobs as High Tech guru par excellence, wearing a real Pull Col Roulé (knitted woolen turtleneck sweater), white court shoes, and metalic nerd glasses notwithstanding, a little bit unshaven in pepper & salt of course – as what would be one outstanding male Loris Azzaro icon for all time.

And so the second image gives a classic Italian impression, a real Viaggio in Italia hallmark with those sunglasses and shades ready for the journey, which again gives evidence of the timeless elegance of the Loris Azzaro Homme collection in that this universal style so easily has the ability to cross over from one culture into the other. So much so that from here on it is not difficult to imagine the Hollywood version of the continuation of this story.

The blue velvet tuxedo dinner jacket with bow tie.

The blue velvet tuxedo dinner jacket with bow tie.

 

Therefore, here come out the dinner jackets now – by Jeeves, which are going to be necessary so as to be socially successful at your next event – be it fashion, business, or even pleasure, so aye, why not show up in a blue velvet tuxedo with black bow tie knowing you already made the part and aced the casting, because indeed you now per Loris Azzaro himself that ‘one is not beautiful just by chance’.

Grey wool coat on wooly turtleneck sweater, wool scarf, optical glasses.

Grey wool coat on wooly turtleneck sweater, wool scarf, eyeglasses.

So credit must go out to stylist Jérome André who so flawlessly brings back this raw simplicity of timeless elegance for this particular collection of Loris Azzaro Homme FW 17/18. For who today still would dare to go in different shades of grey and different knits of simple wool thinking you be cool and casual – or even chic, while spotting a pull col roulé wearing nerd glasses? Noone, lest there be no need to be either casual or cool. And this precisely is perhaps a tall order for today’s man. Unless you posses that timeless elegance of Loris Azzaro.

The pull col roulé on sunglasses

The pull col roulé on sunglasses

Words by Sandro and photos from Loris Azzaro

The name Ports 1961 brings visions of yachting along the Mediterranean, stark-white from head-to-toe and sailor-style navy and stripes. While this isn’t quite the Ports 1961 aesthetic, we were pleased to note that Milan Vukmirovic did add a dash of stripes to his Fall/Winter 2017/18 collection — though that’s where the boating vibes end. Instead, the collection features urban contemporary styles with an underlying European fit and Asia/European tone.

We see some stripes from Ports 1961,but we aren't getting a beachy vibe here. Thank goodness for autumn.

We see some stripes from Ports 1961,but we aren’t getting a beachy vibe here. Thank goodness for autumn.

The designer co-founded the legendary concept store Colette, which is closing its doors December 20, 2017 to the dismay of fashionistas around the world. We could harp on this sad occurrence all day, but we won’t, because focusing on the Ports 1961 Fall collection makes us much happier.

Some Asian influence, along with Parisian amour.

Some Asian influence, along with Parisian amour.

Ports 1961 really went visceral with the colorblocking trend this season, covering sweaters and shirts with large sections of contrasting tones. We get a flash of pastel and white here too — don’t forget winter white is still a thing and the Labor Day white rule goes out the door when you exit the good ol’ US of A. So feel free to sport your winter white with pride all over Europe, Asia and beyond this fall and winter.

You can still wear a little white in the winter.

You can still wear a little white in the winter.

A rather literal colorblocking situation.

A rather literal colorblocking situation.

It wouldn’t be fall without a dash of layering, and Ports 1961 goes more formal with a open-cut style sleeve cape over a colorblocked, partially unbuttoned shirt. The contrasting formal style juxtaposes perfectly with the more casual baggy trousers and unbuttoned, untucked shirt, still crisply ironed, of course.

Layers galore.

Layers galore.

Words by Lori Zaino and photos from Ports 1961.

Cause I’m so pretty....

Cause I’m so pretty….

Now here is a daring question in fashion: it is a well-established known fact that the world’s limited supply of high class designers rotates slowly from major fashion to fashion house as if they are baseball of football (soccer) stars vying to play for the world’s most exclusive and glamorous teams – SO WHY is Glenn Martens still running his own employee project campaign for the Y/Project? We had so hoped he would have replaced Raf Simons by now after Dior kept everybody guessing for more than one year on who be their next creative director. Perhaps that the truth is – quite logical after the John Galliano scandals – that not all the answers always lie in quality design itself, but also in the personal and professional appeal of the leading man or woman. Because take it or leave it, Glenn Martens still is a Bad Boy Boogie of fashion who likes to do his own thing.

The glorious picture here above proves the point. For which other designer would dare to come up with the simple idea to – hey, why not – to dress up and style your own employees (and family and some friends) for a change? Surely not something that the house of Dior would advocate.

So yes, there it is and there he stands, the latest Y/project campaign project, at the local employee picnic in the yard with a photographer at hand (Arnaud Lajeunie) of course, a gloriously androgynous creation with all the star quality of a Dior runway walk or an early seventies Rolling Stones or Bowie photoshoot passive aggression drooling all over the image – but no drugs or alcohol or sex necessary. Just incredible style powerfully speaking by itself of itself which is a feat not easy to pull at the local company picnic using an employee who has not been trained as a professional model. Glenn Martens and stylist Ursini Gysi show a gift for the natural and unexpected here.

And you're so pretty...

And you’re so pretty…

Here is another example, this time of two employees lounging on the couch in some of the menswear from last year’s collections (we recognize it from the previous runways). But as you can see (you will see this in runway backstage pictures as well) what makes this styling so great is that here is another vivid example that it is the clothes who carry the man and not vice versa.

Are you serious? Napoleon, or Empress Josephine and not Tupac Shakur? Are we dressing without masks for a Venetian party like two young princes of a renaissance family? And what about this very sinister (sinister meaning left) bling hand casually straddling one’s thigh? Is that to say you always have an extra hand at hand to scratch your latest itch? Well, they say the most needless use of accessories for men – like stuffing a pipe for example – is often best to feel comfortable with a certain style, and this is a good point, because the Y/Project employees in these pictures not only look relaxed looking like de Medici princes – they look great!

And we're so pretty...

And we’re so pretty…

So yes, what Glenn Martens proves here is that great styling can make people really happy! Employees, people, men, women, friends, family. A great way to start the new Y/Project AW17 campaign. And so the press release states:

“Y/Project celebrates individuality. It’s all about individuals and moments.”

Corporations and companies, please take note.

Words by Sandro and photos from Y/Project

When seeing pictures of models wandering backstage (the June 23, 2017 runway show of Namacheko SS18 in Paris) like zombies about to be thrown into the limelight comes to mind the immortal grunge anthem phrase “Here we are now, entertain us!” (credit Nirvana) because the show is about to commence but the fashion purgatory that comes right before escapes most people in general, if not the fashionistas on front row – but not the camera. Models under tense pressure but in natural poses, texting, talking, waiting, and getting styled while anticipating the worst critiques, this is clearly a mighty opportunity to capture men’s fashion unawares and in its natural basic state, so that an ever style – hungry public is apt to get a more oblique and interesting look at what is possible outside the lights and glamour of the runways.

Namacheko (since 2015) are your proverbial ‘young designers’ in that they are brother (Dilan Lurr) and sister (Lezan Lurr) who came from Kurdistan but who grew up in Sweden and who are now hitting the runways in Paris with a remarkably fresh SS18 collection. Their inspiration is the juxtaposition of western sartorial arts with the songs, dreams, patterns and colors they knew from when they left the Levant. Old love songs from the sixties in Kurdistan come to mind. But because we are living in 2017 where everything is fast and furious and hardly traditional here is a reported quote by the designers when describing the SS18 collection:

“The most important aspect, is the present, the now.”

And that brings us back to the typically western style trepidations of professional performance and pressure of models you can find backstage anxiously waiting for the curtain to fall. So we do not wish to withhold from you these quality images as they can well show us the ephemeral beauty of men’s fashion still in disguise: for with the lights out, it’s less dangerous, and you may feel stupid, and contagious – of not knowing what is about to happen until when you step blindly up onto the runway.

For here we are now, entertain us…

Posted by Sandro and photos from Namacheko.

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The house of Rochas is very old and established in Paris but only recently started making collections for men and we are grateful they did. Because finally here is collection ready to wear also for manly men. No runway necessary when you are a car mechanic. And there is no fashion show applicable for car pilots or drivers if indeed you are a gentleman. For this house signature goes back to the time when Marcel Rochas back in the fifties would name some of his creations after famous car brands, and when car racing was still a leisurely sport. Because he liked speed. And who does not like speed – even today? Indeed a special privilege still only reserved for the few.

So Béatrice Ferrant, creative director, picked up on this old car racing vibe de la Maison and started mixing both formal and technical fabrics in the most interesting way and with the most precious retro colors we have seen in presentations for a while (Carven comes close). For it is that amber red canvas look which immediately makes you think of ancient car racing days, especially when contrasted with a pastel green opal or aquamarine. It is so recognizable that even when you would have never thought of racing as a sport, you could imagine it in your dreams by the colors alone. Unfinished workmen’s raffles and threads included. This collection is very finished.

A gentleman driver at work on his number one passion: speed

A gentleman driver at work on his number one passion: speed

So while admiring these finished sartorial creations bringing back alive the time when man was still allowed to be a gentleman and studying the race stripes and checkboard patterns on the floor entering the showroom, who else would come to mind involuntarily but the greatest style icon of the recent past, the late great Steve McQueen, who, besides actually being a trained and accomplished as a race car driver, also famously starred in – Le Mans – an American film from 1971 about France’s greatest race and racetrack for cars. So here in the Rochas SS18 collection we trace the legend, the man, the history of France, and the style of Le Mans all in one. Look closely at the resemblance in the pictures below – for this may very well be the second coming of Steve McQueen. A manly man in sotto voce for all times.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

As finished and grand as the concept is thus executed by Béatrice Ferrant and her team, we would still like to add that the Rochas Homme SS18 collection is incredible in the details, not only in the showroom, but specifically in the menswear itself: Signatures of embroidery as race tags; removable driver and mechanic armbands; racing insignia and badges; pit stop accessories; outsized car racing numbers; rough texturing fabrics; high tech material and canvas (the press release speaks of techno-couture); ultra-refined foliage and map T-shirts (against the heat) with the map of Le Mans as a print; cotton fishnet fabrics for transparency and air when you are out in the garage; biker jackets and driving suits for when you need to change gear or wear. It’s the complete package.

All of which together brings back a very special time when men of the past were not just professionals racing for money, but actually gentlemen racing for a sport. For only a gentleman dresses up – and not down – when he is in the pit stop changing a wheel, or while racing trying to beat the brutal competition in a car he has put together and took apart first himself. For this is called sports and not business.

Rochas Homme SS18, classic French racecar chic gloriously executed for gentlemen who like speed.

Words by Sandro and photos from Rochas.

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Call it Dancing on the Valentine because J – Pop still rocks in 2017 like a long forgotten British boy band did back the eighties. And no, the images you are seeing are not produced with film studio blue screen technology but are actual rooftop images over Paris on the most perfect summer afternoon one would be able to imagine with a backdrop of the Grande Arche de la Défense in the far distance with a summer breeze softly blowing and small white clouds gently floating across the open sky – it’s all real. Thus the Rynshu SS18 collection likes to celebrate the freedom of the infinite sky (press release).

Old master designer from Japan Masatomo Yamaji who changed his artistic name three times before finally settling on Rynshu has been doing Paris runway shows since the nineties and has a very distinct cult following including some rock and pop stars, which is far from surprising when you more closely study his marvelous creations which we would want to dub Pop-Couture. For here there is undoubtedly a wealth of intricate and fine design underlying all the glitz and the glitter when you know anything about the Japanese sartorial arts.

Kimonos. Embroidered messages called kanjis for good luck. Phoenix symbols on all outerwear. Collage techniques with black and white cottons. Transparent silks. Camouflage patterns. Inkjet prints. Golden weaves. Colored threads. Flowers. Blacklining techniques. Organdi even. Or Lame. The refined workings all which require hard labor and all well worthy of the name Pop Couture, which would make each piece of this admirable SS18 collection a highly prized item in and of itself alone.

Thus, flash-flash-flash and flex-flex-flex, Rynshu gives you that funny feeling that you get when something special is about to happen so that everyone suddenly grabs for their cameras and – in a reflex – you want to be there too: Yo, quick, get it on film! For here is the Rynshu perfect summer rooftop collection SS18.

Words by Sandro and photos from Rynshu.

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A press release that opens with the brave words …

‘During the Victorian era, women wore an extensive amount of underwear.’

is definitely worth reading. And also for a dangerous promise makes where men’s fashion is concerned, especially if this is the first time that, as a young Asian designer, you are bringing your collections to the big audience in Paris, France. But then again you are sponsored by Marangoni which is about the best Art school on the planet that money can buy, as well as by Tranoii, one of the world’s top organizers when it comes to fashion events, so, aye, why not be risqué and lay it all out for all to see, as if you are some latter day Peter Paul Rubens, trying to satisfy the insatiable tastes and (dis)likes of the wealthy and the demanding of your time, which in this case would surely mean the millennial Instagram elite.

A portrait of the artist as a young designer.

A portrait of the artist as a young designer.

Yes, for splendidly here is getting in touch with your inner angel through the beautiful Chin Mens SS18 collection simply called Underlinens, in a reference to what was once hiding beneath the structural garments that women would wear to create that well-known yet painful Victorian silhouette, a soft and silky fabric for protection which has the ability to save gentle and sensitive skin from rougher and harder exterior materials, and from the vain impressions of buttons, hooks, and straps – but then for men. This is the genius of the Chin Mens SS18 collection.

And indeed, why should men today not be able to tap into their inner baby, their inner little angel, if they feel like doing so, by means of wearing something aesthetically or sensually pleasing – in the comfort of the privacy of home? Something made of white and creamy cotton or linen. Something loose and soft and refined for the home wardrobe, which undoubtedly medieval knights would have plenty of after returning bloodied and full of grime from yet another dirty battle. In fact, under linens must have been a staple for men until even late in the 17th century in Europe when techniques for the mass production of underwear did not yet exist.

So after leaving your inner demons on the battle field, by all means dear men, find out about your inner angels, when you get home safely, and dress up – splendidly and beautifully – in Chin Mens SS18.

Word by Sandro and photos from Chin Mens.

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This was a show that had always escaped us at Best Dressed Man so we were very grateful to be invited, and indeed Hed Mayner SS18 proved to be everything we expected and more as the venue for the runway show was the giant marble patio under the sky high columns of the Palais Brongniart (imagine the US Supreme court building) while a cool breeze pitched the perfect temperature for both guests and models alike.

That this ambiance of the antique world matched the collection on the runway is no small feat, but then you will have to realize that Hed Mayner’s hometown is Jerusalem and that perhaps with his upbringing in French couture he indeed has the ability to tap into those age-old styles which hark back to the Proche-Orient – aka the near east, which gives him the talent to redefine classic western menswear into something which looks like modern urban chic but with a firm page out of book of One Thousand and One Nights.

We see kimono jackets, double breasted long gowns, and of course Jesus Sandals, some made in whole or in part as a finishing touch of dark brown Israeli tent canvas. A fantastic and recognizable signature for a fantastic venue, and all that was missing on display were long lost sands at the bottom of the grand marble temple, for here antiquity meets Urban Chic – Hed Mayner’s exclusive style Chic Proche-Orient.

For here we find refined but unassuming luxury of the east meeting the classic style of the west, and it is beautiful, but also discrete as thankfully not too many colors are used, but earthy masculine colors only – like navy, like military khaki, like white or black, and different shades of brown. Neither are fabrics used (washed wool, denim, Japanese cotton, nylon mesh, and twill) too outrageous nor complex, but just recognizable and simple, which makes for a SS18 collection which, despite its originality, is still to be carried in a distinguished Sotto Voce – which means you will have to go unnoticed on the streets despite being dressed in Hed Mayner’s sartorial class.

Words by Sandro and photos from Hed Mayner.

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Officine Générale is well-known in America as the typical French brand goes the mile with the SS18 collection to prove that you really do not have to bend yourself over backwards as a designer by constantly changing signatures or by inventing yet the latest or newest trend in order to be true and comfortable to your very own trusted style.

There is too much of that in the cutthroat competition which is the world of fashion. And too many brands are reaching for straws by looking for ‘disruption’ or ‘change’ or ‘rebellion’ or that sad catch-all phrase called ‘the future’. No, none of this is really necessary when what you advocate in your designs, your patterns, your colors, your concepts, and in the fabrics that you use is simply elegance – French elegance in this case.

And this is what Officine Générale is really good at. The concept is simple in that the collection is supposed to give simple confidence and comfort to those who wear it. The design is a middle-of-the-road but classy tailoring in style with sharp French cuts but only made from superior fabrics made in either Italy, Britain, or Japan. The details and the stitch are refined, if not sophisticated. This is casual chic at its best and it is no coincidence that on Google trends you can follow the global rise and appreciation of the word ‘chic’ which mirrors the course of the stock chart of the Apple company. Casual chic is IT.

But like we said last time when we covered Officine Générale, what is so very important when wearing French made jackets, coats, sweater, and slacks casually with loafers or sandals and perhaps without any socks, is that, well – that you know how to wear it! For French casual is meant to dress you down and not to dress you up. Wear your shirt outside your belt and not tugged in. Have your collar stand up and not neatly folded crisply together. Stick your hands – please, please – deep into your pockets by all means. Or let the cuffs hang loose unbuttoned in the wind. And above all do not be conscious about the way you walk or the way you talk. Just let it hang loose. It’s called laissez-faire or let it go in English!

If then by hazard or chance one day you are spotting those washed out soft hue pastel colors dressed down in your latest Officine Générale SS18 and somebody asks you a question on the streets, do not feel obliged to respond immediately in a business-like and correct fashion. No! In reply rather mumble something impossibly difficult to understand while attempting to light a cigarette fumbling for a lighter you do not appear to be able to find as you subtly show off your Officine Générale casual French chic.

Because, as Oscar Wilde once quipped while living in exile in France:

“Every good conversation always starts with a pose.”

Words by Sandro and photos from Officine Générale.

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