After Milan Fashion Week, everyone rushed over to Paris to see what the French could offer in the way of mode masculine, or men’s fashion. Highlights this season include Ami and Junya Watanabe.

Ami

For Fall/Winter 014-15, Ami set the scene by having the models walk through a snow filled square. I suppose the best way to conjure up wintery feelings is to create winter!  Both professional models AND friends of Ami walked his runway this season, which was a nice twist. His Parisian sportswear stuck to elegant basics:  grey, black and tan with a pinch of plaid and a flash of houndstooth. Warm knits with deliciously large and comfy scarves wrapped tightly, a leather jacket to edge it up… this collection was simple but sophisticated.

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Junya Watanabe

Junya Watanabe took British punk prep to a whole new level. Not wanting to simply join in on the plaid trend, the patchwork pants gave a fun twist, using plaid and striped patches to embody the trend in a whole new way on his trousers. The velvet coats and blazers were lovely, and most pants were short and cuffed, exposing colorful and spirited socks to the world. The collection had old British feel, and the mohawks and mullets gave the designs a punkier edge.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and all images from WWD.com.

BDMOTP is back at London Collections Men for the Autumn/Winter 2014-15 designs. Fighting rain and wind, we saw amazing styles to kick everything off on Day 1, starting with Louis Leeman Paris.

Louis Leeman Paris makes handmade crafted shoes, and showed their line in the glamorous Cafe Royal Hotel. The Fall/Winter Collection was called “The Treasures of the Grand Bazaar” and was aptly named and presented, swathed in a beautiful room set with tree branches and gold fixtures. The richness of the colors and jewels decorating the shoes certainly seemed to emulate the Byzantium era, a period of opulence and luxury. The shoes incorporated trends such as the gold toe box and hand embroidery.

This regal shoe collection is for a confident man who would like to have a little extra flair or some blinge added onto his footwear! These shoes would absolutely brighten up any basic outfit.

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Posted by Lori Zaino, photos by Paloma Canseco.

It’s well hidden in one of the old Faubourgs of Paris (on the rue de Cotte in the 12th arrondissement) where the first layers of an expanding city were added outside the city center in the 19th century during the epoch of industrialization. The place drew many poor people, where covered arches, markets, and galleries with fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats, and many other things  one could randomly buy were traded, bartered, and sold at the time. As a result, many different artisans and craftsman decided to set up shop in the small stores lined across the narrow and crowded streets.

This quartier once known for poverty at the time has now, like so many streets in so many other big cities around the world, been gentrified when new money poured in over the past 25 years – during the financial revolution, so as to make a mark on the area and to introduce our own post-modern day epoch of high finance, hipsters, and luxury goods readily available for global consumption.

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As the poverty has receded the first local Starbucks on the street corner may very well move in tomorrow, perhaps across from where is now located Cafe le Chat Bossu (the Hunchbacked Cat), at the end of what still remains a street full of pride of the old glory of ages past: Here you will find the old artisans & craftsman ateliers (workshops) of yore : The carpet maker, the picture frame maker, the maker of shoes, and many others! Here you can still find a master carpet maker, a master framer, and at Atelier Pavin, a full crew of master shoe makers, both for men as well as for women. The French language allows for the interesting difference between ‘Cordonnier ‘and ‘Bottier’, which would be the difference between shoemaker and bootmaker, but for the former only doing reparations – like a cobbler –, and the latter actually involved in the art of making shoes and boots. And thus, at Atelier Pavin, we have found one of the last remaining real shoemakers of our times!

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What a glorious grand art shoemaking is! Visiting the workshop we were given a thorough introduction into the high art and craft of making shoes and boots. Hundreds of workman’s tools were on display, and out of the necessary crew of eight different functions of people involved in the crafting (the word ‘manufacturing’ is out of place) of ONE pair of shoes or boots, three were present at the time. It can take up to 35 workman hours (a full work-week) to craft ONE pair of shoes, where as it can take up to 60 hours of craftsmanship for a pair of long boots. Prices range from between 250 and 450 euros for a pair of shoes SUR MESURE, to up to 1500 euros for your own MADE TO MEASURE pair of boots.

The craft man’s process is as follows: First there is a FORMIER who measures the foot and who makes a wooden shape of the foot according to the measurements taken. Secondly there is the EMBAUCHEUR who selects the materials to be used and who applies and measures the materials around the wooden shape. Then a PATRONIER – a real shoe designer, will draw the shoe or boot in all its form, style, and fashion on paper. You can witness the creative process of the art of high design first hand, as here is the part of the creative process where your boot or shoe is DESIGNED just for you — SUR MESURE, and according to your own measurements, your own style, your taste, your fashion…

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A COUPEUR will be cutting the materials (for men’s shoes mostly calf leather) and you will be halfway there when the MECANICIEN is introduced who will do the stitching but not the actual setting and the montage — because this work is left to the MONTEUR. Yet what is still not included is the setting of the heel and sole of the shoe. That part is left to the SEMELEUR, the sole and heel maker, a process done separately because of the difficulty and because of the importance of choosing and working the right materials. Mind you, to get it right, the sole and heel need to be worked and prepared in many different ways before they are actually put on the boot or shoe.

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Thus we witness a highly complex, very creative, and labor-intensive process at Atelier Pavin, which of course is not complete without the perfect final touch: A good old shoe-shine by the all-but-forgotten and legendary tradesman, the BICHONEUR or CIREUR, the shiner of shoes. The shiner of shoes waxes & shines, prepares & packages the shoes & the boots and is also responsible for timely and impeccable delivery. Voila in a nutshell the grand old art of making real boots and real shoes.

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Please read the above well and read it again gentlemen, ladies, because verily the beautiful art of shoemaking dating back to the middle ages where shoes and boots were once made SUR MESURE for kings and knights, may very well be a slowly dying trade and going out of style and fashion in today’s mass-production global luxury consumer markets, where luxury goods companies and brandname ‘maisons’ are offering and bidding the highest for the last remaining know-how of the true designers and artisans of this ancient craft. For this must unquestionably also be how also Prada once began, how Blahnik or Roger Jourdan once earned their reputation, and how Louboutin still claims a name to fame (they recently opened a ‘faux’ small artisan workshop for their shoe repairs in Paris): The old-fashioned artisan workshop!

Thus the unfortunate truth is that the ferocious and insatiable global hipsters and luxury lovers market is slowly buying out the remaining Last of the Mohicans of independent shoe and boot design and that soon most if not all artisan shoemakers will be working for either Givenchy, Gucci, Christian Louboutin, or perhaps even for Tod’s (pun intended). Shoe makers and designers of the workshop caliber are normally the veteran players in the A leagues of shoe fashion and they usually belong to a well-known brand or house. But at Atelier Pavin it is not marketing and branding which sells a shoe, but the real quality delivered by fine and diligent craft- and workmanship; here your shoe or boot is made just for you and not for the purpose of luxury. Here your shoe has your name on it, and not the name of the brand or the house to which the shoes ‘belong’. A real shoe is still made and designed with patience and humility, as in times of old, and is not just another brand name product in the luxury market to be shown off at your latest fashion party when you are desperately trying to leave an impression being in the presence of so many ‘names’.

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As a matter of fact, after having been initiated in the arts of shoemaking over the course of a long interview in French, we may report here that a ‘luxury’ market for shoes perhaps does not even exist. Because the art and craft of shoemaking and design is simply too complex and too labor-intensive for any brand or house to claim that one of ‘their’ pairs of shoes was made just for you, the highest a fashion house can reach for in terms of shoes and boots may be called ‘haut-de-gamme’ (high-end) and not ‘luxe-sur-mesure’.

There appears to exist a contradiction between a fashion house marketing their name attached to superior quality for the high-end shoe market using designs fit for haute couture, and the actual creative and labor-intensive process of shoemaking and design. There where style and form are unique, personal, and individual, branding has a tendency to become impossible. That this is different in case of shirts, ties, costumes, and coats tailored SUR MESURE, is because the creative process is less complex and less labor-intensive. A tailor/designer does not use ‘hundreds of tools’ in order to have a suit made. This privilege belongs to the shoemaker. Thus many ‘luxury’ handbags or suitcases for example can be made by a house of fashion, but shoes will always remain, well – perhaps because we walk on them –, very personal and unique!

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The moral of the story is this: Let fashion house designers tailor and design new suits, new shirts, new clothes and let them do this with a cool & hip brand name and in the style of the ‘maison’ to which it is attached, and I will be happy. But whatever you do, when it comes to my shoes, and about who makes them, please don’t step on my Blue Suede Shoes! These, my shoes are too personal, too private – please don’t touch them! Because they were made in the old Faubourgs of Paris where the poor used to straddle the narrow streets next to the old markets, by a real shoe and bootmaker – a real Bottier from times of yore, at Atelier Pavin.

Posted by Sandro Joo

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Not every man is comfortable in pink as  pink is the one color traditionally appropriated by women, but should we really care? Why NOT wear pink just like any other color on the spectrum? It seems to make no sense NOT to wear pink. There is no reasonable argument or logic not to wear pink. Yet despite the many pink business shirts or polos, and the occasional pink tie that we notice in man’s wardrobe & fashion, the color pink is generally grossly under-represented for men to wear since what appears to be the beginning of time.

Therefore, please follow carefully the following analysis of why perhaps men CAN wear pink if they want,after all, it’s analogy of sports fashion, which will indicate that no man should fear to wear pink, not in any form, style, or fashion.  Men in pink it is!

The old joke is that in order for a man to qualify to be on the Italian National Soccer Team, one’s first qualification must not be talent, fitness, stamina, or experience – but simply beauty. One would expect therefore that Italian men in soccer would neither exhibit fear nor shame to wear pink. And indeed, the venerable soccer team of Juventus of Turin (whose nickname is the Old Lady), last season (2012/2013) for the first time dared to have their AWAY jerseys – good grief – in the controversial color of pink. Why, we shall never know – besides the fact that sponsors and clothing manufacturers often change the away jersey kits while keeping home jerseys colors the same –, but for this season (2013/2014) Juventus now has changed their away jersey from beautiful pink to ordinary canary yellow. Was pink too progressive even for the Old Lady? Even for beautiful men, all of them close to gods?

No, but now we must look to most southern and isolated part of Europe, a place which was once part of ancient Greece, and not of Rome, to find the ONLY soccer team in Europe which has the courage and the sense of style and fashion to wear pink – pink & black shorts, pink jerseys, pink socks – for their home jerseys; it’s the Sicilian city of Palermo.  The Telegraph of London once had the Palermo outfit listed as number one in a series of ugliest sports’ wear on record, but we respectfully digress, because the Palermo players look good and comfortable in their jerseys, and most definitely handsome as well.

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But its glaringly clear that all men are not comfortable in pink. Not even in sports. Quick research shows (and you can try this yourself) that if you Google a man’s sport and the color pink that many different items show up, but hardly any teams or players. Palermo is an exception confirming the rule. The NFL has a pink program to create awareness for breast cancer apparently, but no team has appropriated the color. No hockey or basketball or baseball teams in pink. Pinkseems to be limited for fundraising efforts in men’s sports, also in baseball. And when grown up men and professional soccer players are asked to put on pink shirts for just one such a fundraiser, the results may be sadly comical. Here is, if one picture is worth a thousand words, a picture of Everton (the Premier League) trying on their pink fundraising jerseys before the match; all players look HIGHLY uncomfortable (except the goalkeeper who is in green).

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So are there really no real men who love wearing pink in the universe except the beautiful Greek-Italians of Palermo?
Well, to make mother proud, and to change the name of the game, there certainly is ONE gravity defying professional rugby outfit in the Capital of Fashion itself – the Stade Français of Paris – who may very well have appropriated the color pink in a way that no woman’s sports team ever could. They wear pink on their sleeves, not just soft pink like Palermo, but frequently outrageous bright pink, decorated with flowers no less, setting the tone in voluptuous colors, and not just the tone before the match. These guys mean serious business not only when it comes to crushing opponents, but when it comes to style. If indeed it is true that, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, every good conversation always starts with a pose, then these guys are not afraid at all, and they will start their rugby games with no fear and living the full bounty of what is superior style & color. Pink is their name & pink is their GAME. It is said that a man’s armor is his body and such, in all their skin colored hues, Stade Français, make all MEN – and their mothers – proud! Shocking indeed, but shockingly beautiful!

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Thus visiting the Stade Français boutique at the stadium to do research for this article, the thought dawned that perhaps here was the only Pink Men’s Wear Store in the world. All items imaginable (lanyards, flags, hats, scarfs, shirts, underwear, socks etc. and then some) at the store were available in different hues and shades of pink, generally ranging between the color of fuchsia and soft pink, but with the flash pink missing for this season.

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Stade Français carries a beautiful and grand Lily as a logo on all items (many rugby teams worldwide, both at the national level as well as club, have appropriated symbols NOT from the animal kingdom, but from kingdom of plants (the English Rose, the Fern of the All Blacks, the Lily-of-the-Valley by Toulon rugby, etc.)) and recently the venerable South African rugby team, to stay in style, has changed its logo from the Springbok, an animal, to the King Protea Flower, a grand flower, as the new symbol of a united post-apartheid South Africa.

Stade Français, by living up pink, has single-handedly smashed with both hands the stereotype that pink for women only.  The color pink has now become available for men to be courted and used. But how is this going to affect men wearing pink in the future of every-day life? Pink in the office? Pink at the bar? Hmmm.

Must we really first become a soccer prima-donna with a gun tattoo on the arm, and wearing a number 10 on the back, and then score goals like Fabricio Miccoli of Palermo?

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Must we really become first like James Haskell of Stade Français: Ugly, mean, English, and fearsome, before pink looks good on us!?

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No! I think not.

Aerosmith sang long ago:
Pink, it’s my new obsession
Pink, it’s not even a question
Pink, it’s the color of passion
Cause today it just goes with the fashion

So just to make sure, and to be on the safe side, we asked the pretty saleswoman at the boutique Stade Français, what, if anything, a man should NEVER wear in pink. The answer was ruthlessly immediate and direct, and yes gentlemen, there does remain a single taboo which even Stade Français Rugby will not break for you: A man is never EVER to wear PINK dress shoes …words to live by!

Posted by: Sandro

For a business man, a trip to Alain Figaret is a real pleasure, because when you walk in, you know you will walk out as a better (dressed) man.  The store specializes in men’s dress shirts on the high-end of the market and offers luxury finishing on each item, in which it distinguishes itself from the competition (Van Laak, Arrow).  Clearly the market for men’s business & dress shirts is a global one, but only at Alain Figaret will you be able to personally design your business shirt à-la-carte.

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Begin by chosing your fabric, the design, the width of the stripe, the colors, and most importantly the length of the threads with which the shirt is woven, because this length determines the quality and finesse and softness of the shirt fabric:  The longer the original thread, the better the shirt.

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Now chose the custom fit/cut (coupe in French) which measures best to your body’s shape: X Slim, Slim, Droit, and the ready-to-wear size which is indicated in both American and European measurements.

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Then you are ready to select the type of collar:  The traditional ‘French’ collar, which is the classic one.  An ‘American’ collar in France is the one with two buttons on the collar.  The ‘English’ collar has two buttonholes to close the collar and a small rope or chain link in the front of the collar.  The ‘Italian’ collar (say ‘Napolitaine’ and it’s understood when you say it) has the collar stand up on both ends like a toxedo shirt.  These are just the basics but frankly the variety of styles and shapes is endless.

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Is your shirt selection made-to-measure (sur mésure) & ready-to-wear (pret-à-porter) now finished?  No, because you have to select your cuff (poigné in French).  And also the cuffs come in various shapes and forms.  Will you have a cuff with buttons, or with cuff links?  What is the cut & shape of the cuff?  What is type and the color of the button which you will select?  Alain Figaret offers a great variety of real mother-of-pearl buttons in a variety of colors.

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You think you are done?  Well almost, but now the fun part begins because you can now personalize your shirt in two or three different ways.  The inside of the collar and the inside of your cuffs can be made ‘en-opposition’, which means another color, design or fabric on the reverse…maybe the best part of your new shirt?!  And of course you can have your initials embroidered or even your own personal logo or anagram put, where you deem it convenient. Finally, last but not least, you may chose the color and the strength of the buttonhole threads.

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A dress shirt is a thing of beauty, and a mark of style of men, after all!

Alain Figaret has a total of 23 stores in France and one in Tokyo, and is considered a ‘maitre chemisier’:  A master shirt maker!  At France’s number one shirt maker it will be possible starting October of this year to do mailorder & shipping on their website.  Yet it is much better to walk into one of their stores in person when you are in Paris, at least the first time, to get yourself measured up.  You will need to know the measurements of your collar, your shoulders, and your waist.  A completely finished shirt will cost you around between 150 – 250 euros, depending on the extras, and that does not include shipping or handling.  It is an affordable luxury!

In Paris there are several locations, one on the rue de Longchamps, one on the rue de la Paix, and the one we visited for this article, the one on the Rue de Sevres in the St Germain district.  Ask Pierre-Jean or Anne-Sophie for a guided tour of the two floor store, even if you are not planning on buying a shirt, as the explanations on the arts of men’s dress shirt making are quite impressive.

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A final small note of importance and perhaps the best but unseen quality that Alain Figaret has to offer:  Visiting the store I asked if it was normal for well known business men and others to visit and order shirts.  The natural reply was that of course well known executives and politicians were clients of Alain Figaret and that of course their names or identity would never be disclosed.  And for THIS, you have to love France in this global age of indiscretion and openeness where everything we say, think or do, or communicate, is instantly known globally through mass & social media.

Thus, the best thing Alain Figaret offers global intrepid executives for shirts is the priceless and invaluable quality of DISCRETION.

Posted By: Sandro

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.

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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.

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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.

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’.

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TO BE CONTINUED with Vintage Shopping in Paris Part 2.

Posted By: Sandro

 

Pitti Uomo is a gigantic trade fair for all things fashion and men.  The fair is overwhelmingly large and after one very hot afternoon, we sifted through hundreds of vendors and stumbled upon two of our favorites:  the Italian brand JW Tabacci and the French brand Vicomte A.

Tabacci had a great collection of blazers.  They were lightweight, some were linen but they were all very summery and perfect for warmer temperatures. They also were using scarves as belts, which was a fun idea.

BDMTOP favorite: beige window pane blazer

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Vicomte A had a very trendy, poised collection called ¨Exotique Safari¨ which as you may have guessed, is French for exotic safari in English.  The clothes were all very ¨safari like¨but also very wearable and trendy. They also design and create their very own prints, which were found in surprising places, like the underside of a jacket collar.

BDMOTP favorite:  the jackets with the patterned collars

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Posted By: Lori Zaino

Spanish fashion brand El Ganso opened its first UK store in 2012 in the heart of most popular London shopping spot – Carnaby Street. This April they launched the second boutique on Niel street.

El Ganso collections are retro inspired by style icons of the past Marcello Mastroianni, Cary Grant, Robert Radford, they praise ‘retro man’ ideal – elegance and chic which suites every one. At the same time the brand remains thoroughly contemporary  very British with a slight Mediterranean hint.

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El Ganso’s philosophy is in offering quality and an alternative touch at a price you can afford. It has a full range of menswear, from casual to more classy: perfectly fit tartan, woolen or linen blazers, comfortable navy-style duffle coats, shirts, cardigans and jumpers, a wide range of neckwear and accessories. All items come in fun and matching colors. Here you can find perfect combo for the occasion either it’s a job interview or a Saturday night out.

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El Ganso is a family company of two brothers Álvaro and Clemente Cebrián. They started in 2006 from a small store in downtown Madrid selling trousers and shoes. Soon after they enhanced their collections with sports jackets and polo shirts and opened boutiques in Portugal, France and United Kingdom.

The store on Caranby Street brings you into the atmosphere of the 70s nostalgia, which suggests a leisurely shopping in a cozy vintage environment. The staff are very helpful and friendly, ready to give an advice and very quick on size request.

Posted By: Yulia

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