As that special day draws near we all feel compelled to share the spirit with those we consider most special. And although actions are the way to do it, it’s always nice to offer them an appropriate gift to get the message across. So for all of you out there struggling with last minute offerings, I’ll be posting a few ideas throughout the week!
If it’s generally accepted that certain colors have more in common with specific seasons, the same can be applied, although to a lesser degree, to patterns. To name but a few, stripes and gingham are usually sported in Summer whereas argyles, for instance, are more wintery. Even if within a fashion forward universe, this traditional approach is being overlooked, the concept still remains to a large extent. It there’s one such pattern that symbolizes Winter in all its frost white glory, it has to be Fair Isle.
Named after the homonym island located in Northern Scotland, it consists of a local traditional knitting technique where up to five distinct colors are combined in rows, creating a uniquely characteristic mosaic pattern. Originally found only in this island, its visual appeal has captured the heart of designers and stylish individuals alike, earning it a place in runways and shops worldwide. Its recent burst in popularity placed it on most Christmas wishlists and allowed designers to create a never before seen variety of items, in an array of fabrics and shades.
When one hears the word tailor, the image of an older gentleman in a suit, chalk in hand, instantly comes to mind. Indeed, tailoring is viewed upon by many as an art of old whose life long apprenticeship is only mastered by well lived men who dedicated their whole lives to it. Although this isn’t far from the truth, the art of tailoring is currently luring new talents into its world: young men bet on perpetuating the century-old tradition of making one look his best.
One such talent is Ayres Gonçalo. Born to a family with strong roots in the tailoring business, he developed a passion for the art at an early age. Growing up in his grandfather’s atelier, to this date one of Porto’s most renowned tailors, he eagerly watched and learned the trade over the years. When the opportunity to study abroad rose, he set course for London’s Savile Row having joined Gieves & Hawkes, where he crafted suits for Prince Charles and Gordon Brown among others. Then followed Hong Kong and New York where his outstanding bespoke creations continued to impress with awe.
Earlier this year and driven by the desire to start his own brand, Ayres returned to his hometown of Porto, where he opened business with fellow tailor and associate Paulo Rodrigues. Laboratorio di Sartoria is not your usual tailor atelier: upon arrival you’re greeted by bold cobalt blue walls, a reflection of these high spirited craftsmen, now in their 30’s. The overall relaxed vibe and good mood is only surpassed by their professionalism and love for the craft easily perceived just a few minutes into the conversation. As a new generation of tailors, their interests and know how are much more up to date and dynamic, allowing the customer to feel not only comfortable but confident that his vision will be perfectly understood, which may pose a challenge with old school tailors. Offering made to measure shirts starting at €80 and two suiting lines, one made to measure starting at €500 and another bespoke fully handmade from €1.800, they offer the perfect chance to get hold of outstanding one of a kind pieces.
One of the areas which suffered a substantial technological leap during the recent years has been information in all its forms. Digital media in particular, experienced ground breaking advances which pushed the boundaries of once more traditional business sectors. Fashion, as a leading industry in innovation and responding to market demands, was one who underwent massive alterations when faced with an outdated business model, restricted by physical and spatial limitations and a local clientele.
Suddenly, shops are given the opportunity to reach a worldwide audience through an online component, making their traditional approach not entirely obsolete but merely a small portion of a universe of possibilities. Within this new market, competition happens on a global scale which led retailers to push themselves to the point where they are currently offering much more than just garments. Nowadays, shops are selling us a concept: they’re shaping a specific aesthetic and universe around them to draw target consumers and make them resonate with their offerings.
Think about it, most online shopping websites give you the whole package: editorials, styling, blog, interviews, music, videos, you name it. They’re more reminiscent of a magazine than an actual shop and that’s exactly what makes us come back for more. At some point we develop a special connection to that particular universe whose content hits a common ground, ultimately leading to a sense of identification. So much so, that they even open their backstage doors, allowing us to catch a glimpse of the whole process, from runways and showrooms up to the selling stage. With so much going on, there’s no telling where they’re headed but I for one, can’t wait to see…
1 - Très Bien staff @ the Our Legacy Office; 2 - Buying A.P.C. for SS12
1 - Por Vocação @ Paul Smith showroom; 2 - @ Boglioli showroom
A couple of days ago I was contacted by my friend Álvaro, founder of portuguese bespoke menswear brand Agva, to check a few of his recent pieces before he delivered them to clients. Bet on creating unique items according to the client’s specifications, nothing is overlooked during the manufacturing process which takes place entirely in Portugal. Having nothing short of perfection in mind, their offerings range from shirts to full suits and even shoes. The final pieces I had access to included several shirt models and a 2 button blazer with an outstanding attention to detail. Here’s one of my favourites, more to come…
Houndstooth widespread collar shirt with french cuffs and mother of pearl buttons
The birth of baby 7 billion was hugely hyped around the globe with media of all sorts covering the story incessantly. In a world continuously growing at such a pace, the struggle for individuality is one that takes place on all levels. As one of the ultimate forms of self expression, personal style is often a conscious statement about how one perceives himself and decides on the image to present the world. When that mental representation clashes with what is social accepted or imposed, say in a working environment, there’s an inherent repulsive reaction towards those criteria.
I’m guessing I’m not the only one with friends who hold a grudge against suiting up simply because they’re required to do so on a daily basis. While some might argue that it’s an uncomfortable attire, the most common underlying cause is the fact they feel that on top of looking like everybody else, they have been deprived of their freedom of expression and individuality. Allow me to disagree…formal doesn’t have to be boring nor make you look like a clone. Sure, you’ll be wearing a suit like many other men out there, but it’s nothing unlike sporting a pair of jeans: how many people do you come across wearing similar or even the same model as you?
With the amount of offerings in the current market, dressing up can perfectly portray your personality as much as any other look. Assuring an appropriate fit assumes a leading role, but besides it the possibilities are endless: playful inner linings, collar detailings, patterned fabrics, color combinations and last but not least accessories. All these are powerful allies when it comes to setting you apart from the rest of the pack.
For those who instantly had a visceral response to the title, let me start by saying this is not a smoking symphatetic post. In this time and age, we’re all perfectly aware of the hazards smoking poses for one’s health and although I do smoke, the focus of this post is to present an unbiased opinion on the impact this action may have in visual representations.
Ever since cigarettes became mainstream, they were immediately associated with a glamorous lifestyle. In the early years when tobacco companies where the only ones aware of the associated dangers, smoking was seen as something reserved for successful gentleman who had it all: career, house, car and wife (remember the advertising campaigns?). Movie stars, singers and society’s most respectful were constantly spotted puffing and to an extent, it became a trademark for some.
So much so, that some of the most iconic pictures of these renowned personalities featured them enjoying a smoke. Odor and hazards aside, if you focus solely on the aesthetic aspect of these pictures there’s an undeniable sexiness associated with that eerie layer of smoke overlapping the human silhouette. It’s such a powerful statement that up to this day photographers and movie directors make the most of it to capture unique frames or depict certain personality traits. Although sex appeal is inherent to the person itself, in these pics smokes are outstanding allies…