Having just spent the best part of the last two weeks thinking constantly about London Fashion Week and a pretty intense six days on site managing the team for PlanetNotion.com, I’ve seen some unusual fashion choices for men; a surprisingly large number of men in wedge heels, particularly. But there have been three main fashion-forward accessories that I’ve taken away from the dedicated menswear day at LFW that I can pretty safely recommend will be ‘big’ in SS12. They’re also easily removable, so if you try them and get spooked, at least it’s not an entire neon pink outfit…
If you’re havin’ bag problems, Seb Law can help, people
Getting the perfect bag to cart around all of your crap is a fine balance. Those vinyl sportswear-branded 70s-style ones are too ‘back to school’, briefcases are far too boredroom, old-school satchels and rucksacks are a little hipster and gym bags should definitely be confined to the gym. So, with swathes of bag-land written off, what should one be looking for? The answer, as ever, is a new twist. Remember those canvas drawstring bags that everyone had in the mid-90s? With huge Adidas/Reebok/Ellesse logos over them? Well here’s a new take on those, from brand spanking new Irish brand Stighlorgan. In deep walnut-coloured vegetable-tanned leather, this drawstring Driscoll bag borrows that vintage shape and injects it with quality materials, sleek finished and practical details like a zip pocket on the outside. Subtle, stamped branding completes this bag, which is perfectly sized for a laptop, your wallet, phone, keys a few other essentials. The rest of Stighlorgan’s offering continues in this vein, with simple, retro shapes reinterpreted in a modern style with quality materials – oh, and they also do a great line in cashmere-blend hats. Winter’s closing in, y’know, even if I am sat here in optimistic shorts… anyway, have a look and see if you reckon this is the balanced bag for you.
Seb Law‘s tip for the week as autumn sweeps in
When it comes to adding an architectural element to top one’s outfit, it’s very easy to be put off by the expense, the complexity and, to be frank, the sheer oddness of it. You’ll look in a mirror at a piece that you really liked on the hanger and go ‘WTF?’ It’s a perfectly natural response. But looking forward to the coming AW season, adding in a bit of striking detail is essential if you want to stand out. So, where to start?
A big scarf. It might seem simple, facile even, but it’s easier to experiment with shapes and play with proportions with accessories and a big scarf is the best way to start, especially as it gets colder *cries into summer wardrobe*. Two tips here: either kick off with a thick woollen scarf in bold, broad stripes and wind it around your neck like a bandage, or grab a thin-gauge one like this number from Warehouse at ASOS (NB boys: scarves are unisex, and a great opportunity to try out a pattern/colour combo that you wouldn’t normally try). Wrap it once around your neck, and leave the loose ends trailing. Instant architectural drama to any outfit.
A supremely calming and utterly tranquil publication, The Travel Almanac is one of those magazines that give you a supreme sense of Brûléism. Tyler Brûlé, erstwhile editor of Wallpaper and now editor-in-chief of lifestyle bible Monocle, espouses a certain international effortlessness. Equally knowledgeable about Japanese food, Uruguayan politics and thousand-count Djiboutian cotton sheets, Brûlé roams the globe in search of the crème de la crème of products and services, and reports on it with a tonality that is somewhere between Vogue and the Economist. It’s tremendously seductive, and somehow has the power to calm even the most nervous traveller; in essence, it’s ideal train reading. The Travel Almanac takes the Brûlé tone, strips it of the smugness and adds in a much-needed layer of artistic appreciation. Interviews range across the creative spectrum from Berlin gallerist Javier Peres to NYC creative Terence Koh, by way of bigger names like David Lynch and James Murphy; all are united by their reminiscences of travel, and all are presented in a beautifully bound and printed object which radiates luxury and magic. The Travel Almanac spirits you away to a hidden world of ryokans, Polaroids and travel moccasins; it’s tremendously seductive while retaining a perfectly judged air of aspiration. For me as a print fetishist, it’s the apogee of the craft, and a must-have object to accompany late-summer voyages. I look forward to much more from this indie Berlin publication.
Now that we’re all permanently engaged with the digital world, the idea of a bookshop seems rather quaint. I guess it is, in a way. However, in my mind, there’s nothing that beats the smell of a well-stocked bookstore, and ArtWords is just that. With the recent demise of fashion magazine emporium RD Franks and the loss of Borders’ much-loved browsing stands, it seems good ol’ WHSmith and a brace of independent newsagents are the best place to sate your glossy, thick-stocked, exotic magazine fix – but ArtWords, tucked away on Shoreditch’s Rivington Street and on hipster Mecca Broadway Market – is my idea of paradise. Dealing in all the visual arts and disciplines, ArtWords stocks only the most beautiful and thought-provoking books. For me, however, it’s the magazine selection that shines – Every international edition of all the glossies like Vogue, L’Officiel and Elle mingle with London’s cutting-edge titles like Oh Comely, Little White Lies and Notion. The selection is vast, and utterly inspiring – even as a magazine fetishist, I’ve barely read, let alone heard of half of the titles they stock. ArtWords brings to mind one of those 18th-century curiosity shops, filled with delights, but reminds that the international publishing scene of the 21st-first century is still flourishing, rich and alive. Without doubt, it’s worth an hour of your time to explore.
ArtWords, 22 Broadway Market, E8 4QJ & 65a Rivington St, EC2A 3QQ