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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Sankuanz is back with yet an enormous effort to push the boundaries of what type of fabrics, linens, and materials may be used in the pursuit of pushing the boundaries of what men today can wear as streetwear.

When last time in January designer Shangguan Zhe from China was bold enough to introduce to us bio-shock hazardous materials suits (hazmat) as a form of streetwear for which fabrication includes DuPont materials, aramid fiber, and the non-fictional odorless, tasteless, yet surprisingly non-toxic space material called UHMWPE (ultra-high-molecular-weight-polyethylene), this time around he manages to bring to the runways of Paris materials looking like plaster by using linen suits woven into overdyed cottons, as well silica gel-based fabrics, which is starting to make the independent observer wonder strongly as to where the boundaries of fabrics end and where begins the world of materials.

That’s not to say of course that there is no concept or colors to this show, and that is precisely the genius of it, that the Sankuanz SS18 collection manages to integrate the cutting edge of fabrics technology with a nice sense of style, Italian style in fact, which is accomplished by using the works and art of Cy Twomble (an American exiled in Rome) as a backdrop for inspiration for the show. This means Mediterranean colors throughout (sandy, lime, beautiful reds) in light pastels, and raw, raw scribbles and patterns and motifs – think Pollock but then in Rome with brighter colors and a little bit more graffiti-like, yet with Italian curves and style.

Add to this grand tableau a cartoonish and ever-pervasive-on-the-runways-of-today trend of oversizing everything, and voila, here we have Sankuanz on the march in its latest study on sartorial exploration into the unknown. It must thus be clear then to the reader that Sankuanz SS18 succeeds where it sets off to do something new but that is long not finished yet with the show today. Not by a UHMWPE mile…

Words by Sandro and photos from Sankuanz.

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Having a background in both theatre and choreography Mr Vibskov – besides being a cult and celebrity designer at this point in time – is the grandmaster of the grand stage of the lost puppet show of our forgotten dreams when we were once innocent children. He manages to bring back alive with every new show those haunting images of early childhood dreams and nightmares which never really leave you when you grow old. They are still there. And voila, there they are!

After introducing his creations gently and calmly they seem to slowly come alive and eventually will parade in firm staccato with perfect precision like a toy soldier army on a war path along and by the silently gawking fashionistas, press, friends, and other dignitaries and fans. Mr Vibskov then comes out in the end so as to safely lead the grand army back into the cupboard himself where they get locked up for another six months until the next show will be about to start again. Strangely then that this marvel of a show still manages to get better over time which is evidenced by the reaction of the crowd which now remains seated in the end as if to expect an encore.

But dreams do usually not come back to haunt one twice.

The show’s theme: Sleep, dreams, bed, sleeping bags, nightmares, and pillows; and an occasional book on the ground which will put you to sleep. Rich, colorful, vibrant, and original – the Henrik Vibskov SS18 collection rocked (with a little bit of help by Gentle Monster) even some pop/rock-stars. And that’s because masterclass never needs any praise. Or likes on Youtube.

You will be able to find Mr Vibskov’s creations in New York City until August 6th at the MAD Museum.

Words by Sandro and photos from Henrik Vibskov.

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Creative director Jonny Johansson for ACNE brings us yet another stylish homey-slash-outdoors display of sartorial gifts for which Sweden is so famous, the walk into the woods from the home, or in this case the walk from the city to the summer home, which well, of course has to be made in the full comfort of the house-slash-trench coat, so that, hey, if it rains you are prepared, but if the sun shines and you happen to arrive on the veranda of your wooden outdoor retreat, you can well, also lounge – and in that very same suit coat until you fall asleep mind you.

Thus we may need more suit coats in this world, that is for sure, but we may have to thank Mr Johansson and ACNE for bringing this marvel to our collective attention.

And as is their habit and style, ACNE in Paris this time around again preferred to give a presentation where one can actually study the sitting (or lounging) model rather than to have a runway show, which makes sense, because journalists and artists and photographers will have an easier time studying the creations before them, rather than when the models are on the move.

The creamy pastel and woody colors you see on display are straight from the Swedish outdoors and even carry their own Swedish names, as in Falurod Red and Dalabla Blue, and to make things really feel super homey some of the patterns used have adopted the feel of tea towels (that ubiquitous and oh so important asset in any Nordic kitchen where your cups are always neatly polished) as well as the occasional summer shade curtain keeping out the long white nights of the summer outdoors. Here you will see sweet comfort derived from the outhouse and garden variety of interior decorations well found in Swedish second outdoor homes. A great concept for style indeed. Rustic and homey. And comfortable.

Add to that trousers or slacks that are spacey and roomy strung up lightly but high with gabardine sash belts, and of course easy going crochet sweaters and flower embroideries on the seams of your long cut suit coat, not to mention the sandals and the slippers, and boom, all of a sudden the overall image that appears is a marvelous Nordic answer to the Southern home bathrobe (think films in where the Don is spotting one at the pool), with the brilliant twist of course that this one also functions as a trench coat – which means you may be able to escape your enemies still when they come unexpectedly knocking on your door.

“Run boss, run, they are knocking on the door.”

“But where is my coat?”

“You are wearing one already, this is Sweden, and it is called a suit coat.”

“What, but we were just getting out of the pool?”

“Never mind, just run, the woods stretch far and deep behind the yard.”

Words by Sandro and photos by ACNE.

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