It’s fascinating that two of the most successful houses in contemporary men’s luxury are, possible, two of the most opposing: Givenchy and Hermes. There are similarities: neither are eager to change much, sticking to their established formulas and turning out collections that tick boxes, please the punters and rake in new devotees. But the latter has pitched itself as the epitome of luxury, appealing to a market so niche it’s barely a nick in the bedpost of modern menswear; whereas the former has the rag-bag quality of the mass. It’s like comparing a glass of Chateau d’Yquem 1789 to a glug from a bottle of the popular (and populist) British sparkling perry brand Lambrini. They’re different beasts, they appeal to different customers, but in the end they both just get you drunk.
Raf Simons is often eerily prescient. He couldn’t have known that truculent protestors would derail half the British press travelling to Paris on the day of his spring/summer 2016 show, by setting a fire at the French mouth of the Eurostar tunnel. Yet somehow, it fits. Simons clothes are about unrest. I don’t mean they’re physically uncomfortable, but they do have a sense of unease about them, even if its just in the watching. For spring, trousers swamped skinny legs with excess fabric, bodies were smothered in oversized coats peppered with buckshots of eyelets, and faces all but concealed by hoods tugged tight, pulled all the way down, in the fashion banned by many suburban shopping centres to avoid anti-social behaviour.
There’s still an odd, lingering Anglo Saxon puritanism, in Britain, where menswear is concerned. I couldn’t help but also notice the gangly unease with which the models in Topman Unique – the opening show of the four day London Collections Men calendar – gamboled down the catwalk, sinewy legs drowned in wide baggy trousers or sticking out of painfully abbreviated running shorts. They seemed a bit reticent, embarrassed even – which is sometimes the case with the menswear shows as a whole, lacking the confident swagger of the Milanese collections, for instance, which are set to begin on Saturday.
I have recently rediscovered one of my favourite films from childhood, Jean de Florette. It is one of the greatest-ever in the French language. Directed by Claude Berri, from the original Marcel Pagnol film and novel, about Provencal farmers and a tussle over land and water. A peasant farmer who wants to grow carnations has [...]
I found myself down at Plot 35a this week at 10pm, with just enough light left to see what I was watering. My plot neighbour was also there, catching up on some weeding. We chatted about how the June evenings give us the gift of allotment time, which is just as well as we are [...]
You know what I like about the pre-collections? Not the travelling (I’m lazy), nor the dinners (I’m anti-social), definitely not the jet-lag, frequently not the clothes – they’re often simple-minded, and, generally most aren’t any good from a critical standpoint. What I like though is the time. The time to look at said clothes, to ponder them, frequently to turn them inside out. The fact you get to step off the increasingly frenzied fashion treadmill and actually spent a chunk of your day thinking about what you’ve seen, rather than rushing to the next.
Plot 35a is now very green and full of crops that will soon be ready to harvest. The broad bean flowers – traditional white and black but also the dark pink of the crimson flowered variety – are full and look like they’re ready to start popping with tiny pods. The pea bed is a [...]
When people say that the hardest part of a triathlon is actually getting to the start line uninjured, they probably aren’t thinking about the kind of incident that nearly did for me recently. Anyone can stub their toe on the hotel bed. Or spill a scalding cup of tea over themselves. Or sprain their ankle [...]
I’m never a fan of fashion journalism that talks more about the show than the clothes. It smacks of a writer reticent to offer an opinion, lest it offend (or perhaps, just unsure of what they really think, or what to really say). But, with the newly-minted Around The World In Eighty Looks format of pre-collection presentation, it’s unavoidable. Fashion houses want journalists to be awed by the financial might that can shift an entire industry across the world on a creative whim. Moreover, they want them to communicate that to their readers, reinforcing the strength of the designer and, perhaps most importantly, the security of the brand as a whole. That not only sells clothes – it also drives the share price up.
Last week I moved my tomatoes, chillies, cucumbers, melons and cucamelon plants from the windowsill in our dining room to the cold frame at the plot. Him Indoors was very happy to get them out of the house, but I had to make sure these tender plants were, too. Late April to early May sees [...]
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