Thursday, 30 September 2010

Home Sweet Home

Things that I love apart from men's clothing and accessories is definitely the home decor. In London, the best place to check out the best home furniture and accessories is at Tottenham Court Road (apart from Ikea, which is actually quite far from central). On both sides of the street there're awashed with stores like Bo Concept, Habitat, Heals, Next Home, Dwell, Harveys, etc... etc. From modern contemporary to slightly traditional, they're all there to devour your temptations.

I love seeing their window display coz sometimes I can get great idea on how to change the whole outlook of a room. And what better to go and check it out if not at nightime, especially when the lights are still switched on after the store closing. It is when the decor really comes to life.

I love Habitat for their modern take on furniture. It's not much more different compared to Ikea though since both companies are under the Ikano 'umbrella'. But the price tag at Habitat is much higher than Ikea, given the furniture is not as easily DIY-ed as the latter. Yet, one great news to be welcomed is that they're now offering a 10% discount for student with a valid NUS Card. So, it's time to deck our rooms with Habitat's then for their delicious arrays of home accessories!

Some of the pix I took while strolling around the street...

The modern Scandinavian decor at Habitat

The armchair at Heal's

Diamante skulls in various color at Dwell

There's even some diamante iguana too!

Rose pillow to add some flair on your sofa

this sofa actually in bronze color. like Gucci theme!

the dishbowl with snakeskin motifs

a simple and modern dining set at Harveys

Montblanc Meisterstück Portfolio

Leonardo da Vinci said: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication". 

I think that really suits to describe about this portfolio from Montblanc. Codenamed 'Meisterstück', I just love the simplicity of it with the smooth leather body and very structured design. In a glance it's quite similar to Louis Vuitton Minuto or Prada Saffiano portfolio. 

This portfolio is made of Southern German full-grain cowhide which is dyed through using unique Montblanc deep-shine finish. The size is perfect enough if you wanna fill in A4-sized documents or a netbook inside. And with some extra zippered inner pocket, plus a large one on the back - you definitely won't look messed up once you enter the boardroom meeting.

What's more? It also include two slot-in compartments for writing instrument, one medium-sized and six small document pockets, and a ring for keys. Quite a feature, huh, given the size of this portfolio is just 39 x 28.5 x 5 cm - which is perfect enough to make you look sharp when you hold it alongside your smart suit.

Get The London Look!

Ever wonder how the London girls dress? Well, fyi London is divided into 32 administrative boroughs (much like districts) which consists of Inner London and Outer London. From Enfield up north to Croydon at down south, Hillingdon on the far west to Barking & Dagenham in the east (Dagenham, as in the latest movie - Made in Dagenham). Yet, to most Londoners we always identify ourselves to just North, South, East and West Londoners (ooh, look.. I use the word 'we'..ahaks!). And people from each part of London dress quite differently from one another.

For example, if I see someone that look very street and sometime quite artistic (some even look chav, no offence), then I can identify them as the East London people. Or someone that look quite posh, he/she may come from the West since Notting Hill and Kensington are located somewhere around there. Or people who tend to look rock'n'roll glam in designer/street combo, well... most probably they hailed from the North (think Kate Moss, Amy Winehouse, Jamie Hince). From the south, anything can go ... but most look kinda boho chic since there's a huge 'melting pot' community living in that area like the Caribbean and South American as well as some African too.

Me? I'm from North London. That's why rocking in skinnies and mix-and-matching with designer/highstreet is what we do best. Ahaks!

Read on the article from ES Magazine in the previous Fashion Issue to have a glimpse on how the girls of London put their outfit together. All I can say, for men - it's not so much different either. :)

[pix from ES Magazine]

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

SHORTLIST Style: Deck Shoes

When I went to London Fashion Week at Somerset House last week, I was quite amazed to see some of the guys wearing boat shoes. Blimey, I know it's still summer.. or late summer to be exact. They wear it like what you used to see on the mags or in the men's fashion sites like GQ or so... with no socks and a bit turn-ups on their trousers. Some wear it with socks; not plain socks but patterned one. Very cool... Me, I don't dare to wear boat shoes in the cool weather like it is last week, or I'll be frozen to death. But for those who wore it - my hats off since you're brave enough to hold still and looks fashiony in the late summe chill!

I think boat shoes now has slightly started to become a bit seasonless. When I said seasonless, they may have taken a minor change in the overall design, such as changing the material from canvas to a much 'thicker' leather, or transform it into a chukka boots. Like the Gucci Ronson for London edition. Still having the look of a typical boat shoes, with the upper toe stitching and the laces that goes all around some holes around the shoes - but the 'cut' goes slightly towards hi-top (if you know what I mean).

But, if you still like to wear a 'traditional' boat shoes, Shortlist gave you some of the selection out there for you to grab. I like the neutral one on the top right since they can go with any trousers especially chinos. Or the navy below it for some nautical look. Or for some extra oomph, I'll definitely wear the red leather next to it. Just so 'punchy'!

[pix from shortlist]

Backpackers Spotted at Fashion Week!

So you think backpack only limits to your typical nylon Eastpack? Not if you're the one who eat and breath fashion like these folks who're spotted carrying very tasteful collection of backpacks during the previous Fashion Weeks in London and New York. I love how variety they are: from canvas to leather, with one or two extra pockets on the fronts to the barrel, sailor-bag lookalike, plain or even with pattern fabric - backpacks really has stepped out from being the usual highschool essentials to making their way into the mainstream and high fashion.

I think more and more people has realised the danger of tote bags which can harm your spine (thus your back). And choosing backpack, with the two straps slung on both sides of the body - well, at least that'll create a balance on the body when you walk around carrying your stuff in it.

Me, I'll have it all: backpack, totes, holdall... doesn't really matter as long as it suits the mood that I'm in on that day. (I'm not that 'healthy' after all, huh?) =)

[pix from gq style]

BigFatWardrobe: Shirts

A glimpse into my wardrobe. Some collection of smart shirts for work which is old and new. I once read a question posted by a reader in the GQ website, how many shirts that a man should have? Something which I found quite funny... coz why you wanna ask that kind of question to anyone. Just follow your instinct and whatever style you wanna have - then voila. It doesn't matter how many you CAN have in your wardrobe.

For me, I used to work in the public eyes so there're need not to be seen twice in the same shirt at least in a month time. (why suddenly I sound like Victoria Beckham?). These are some 25 pairs of old shirts that already make their way into my wardrobe...

And these are another 87 pairs of new shirts that are in dire need to get their own hangers...(i can't believe that those are actually 87 pairs!)

Yet, if I ever being asked that question again: how many shirts should a man have? - I can comfortably answer that 'at least you can wear different shirts in a period of two weeks'. And get a lot of white shirts coz they're the one item that any person who roam planet Earth must have in their closet. They're the most versatile that can go with practically anything, either to dress up for the special occasion, to the office or wear it casual with jeans. Get many of them since the whites can discolor easily and turn into a bit 'cream-ish' instead of crisp white. If you own less of them, then you tend to bleach them frequently and this will damage the shirt easily due to the reaction of the hypochlorite on the fabric. By having it a lot you'll prolong the life of the white better than ever.

As for me, with THAT number of shirts - well, let's just say at least I'm not gonna be wearing the same shirt in at least 5 months. That's almost half a year! Yikes...!

High End vs. Highstreet: Canvas Backpack

When I went to East London a couple of weeks ago, I was drawn to walked into Albam, an independent store that sells men's clothes like sweater and stuff which I think quite quintessential British. I heard about Albam quite a long time but never care to go and check their stuff, not until when the dynamic duo that set up the store made a cut in the previous issue of Men's Health magazine.

So, there I am on one Saturday morning... I was at Commercial Street in Spitalfields area when I stumbled upon the label saying 'Albam. Modern Crafted Clothing' that I think is so chic by itself. I love the look of their store, with black awning that spans all the way to the pavement, the dark wood facade and the bare brick wall that looks so raw but at the same time quite edgy. When i take a look at the clothes, they're very high quality made which you never find at the highstreet (hence the hefty price tag too!). But it's not just the clothes that I'm attracted to - it's the backpack that is hanging among all the clothes on the rail which I think looks awesome. I've seen that backpack in the Hypebeast website before, not realising that I'm gonna see it in real life.

This backpack called Summit is so cool coz it got some sort of military feel to it. I love the combo of tan leather trims and black canvas body which made it truly delicious to look at. The size is just perfect - not too oversized nor too small that you can't fill a lot of stuff in it. Just nice. And it has adjustable straps if you wanna change the length when you slung it on your back. Price? £135, which made my eyes suddenly went big upon seeing the tag. If you like it, well bad news coz they're already out of stock and the one that I saw is the last piece on planet for sale! (unless they wanna 'revive' this one for next season...)

Then a couple of days back, I went to Topman to do my usual snooping. i spotted a backpack located somewhere at the back near the Topman 'vintage' collection at their flagship store in Oxford Circus. It's by Peace Corps - the in-store consession which brand is the same as my stripes long-sleeve tee before. When I look at the backpack, i was amazed that it looks quite similar to the Albam Summit pack before. I think for those backpackers who like the Albam one but never wanted to pay the hefty price tag, you might think of getting this one coz it's only £30. For students you can get extra 20% off this month..making it just a mere £24! And it's quite a good quality too coz it's made of canvas with leather trims. Isn't that such a bargain!?

Suits Through The Ages

Think you know the history about fashion? No? People at Shortlist has dug up high and low on the history of suits that has seen a lot of transformation through the ages. From the year of Charlie Chaplin made his famous mark in the cinema world to Jake Gyllenhall in the current decade - the suit has a lot of history of its own. Slim, mod, looser fit ... men's suit are really the one that speak for the year it's in.


The Age Of Industrialism (1920s)
After the First World War, the lounge suit, with its shorter jacket, began replacing the frock coat for everyday and business dress. This era also saw the birth of black tie and tuxedo for evenings, with the more formal white tie dress code fading. Gangland Chicago also had an effect with straight-leg trousers (usuall 23-inch around the cuff) worn high-waisted with double-breasted waistcoats.

Style Icons: Charlie Chaplin, Howard Hughes, Al Capone

The Age Of Cinema (1930s)

A more exaggerated silhouette prevailed at the start of the Thirties, influenced by the golden age of cinema and suits worn by its leading men. Halfway through the decade the mood change, loose-fitting coats were introduced and trousers were tapered towards the ankle. Even the snug waistcoat was given a more 'comfortable' fit, despite complaints it rode up when you sat down.

Style icons: Clark Gable, Henry Fonda, The Duke Of Windsor

The Age Of Constructed Tailoring (1940s)

The rationing of fabrics that followed the start of the Second World War brought a new austerity to men's dress, where the focus was to minimalise and modernise the day suit. Grey flannel became fashionable, the fit of jackets was cut as straight as possible and the 'flaunting' of superfluous fabric was reined in.

Style Icons: Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy

The Age Of Charisma (1950s)

The Brat Pack and Age of Swing saw a recovery for the suit, with the return of dressing for occasion. A wider pleated-front trouser returned, giving more mobility to dance, with teddy boys influenced by Edwardian dress favouring velvet-collared draped suits and longer jackets. The advent of leisure wear and jeans put the suit in its place, as worn mainly for the office or heading out on the town.

Style Icons: Dean Martin, Hugh Hefner, Cary Grant

The Age Of Pop Culture (1960s)

The growing inflence of teenagers and working-class heroes had a major impact. Up-and-coming stars such as Peter Sellers and The Beatles adopted the 'mod' approach with skinny-fit suits, drainpipe trousers cut short at the ankles and collarless jackets. The Sixties also saw the rebirth of Savile Row, while polo-neck sweaters often replaced the shirt-and-tie combo worn with a suit.

Style icons: Michael Caine, Paul McCartney

The Age of Hedonism (1970s)

The birth of disco gave the suit a new role to play as a weapon of seduction. In contrast to the Sixties, this decade spawned a generation of designer-clad, social climbers with a more flamboyant and liberated sense of dress. Italian fashion had international influence with exaggerated lapels, single-button fastenings and flared trousers.

Style icons: Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Burt Reynolds.

The Age Of Deconstruction (1980s)

Designer Giorgio Armani used American Gigolo to unleash a new silhouette for mainstream men's tailoring. He removed padding and jacket lining and use slouchy fabrics such as linen for pyjama-soft trousers. This played against the contrast of power-dressing Wall Street yuppies and the pastel-coloured pushed-up-sleeve blazers wors with white T-shirts by Miami drug barons.

Style Icons: Richard Gere, Michael Douglas, Eddie Murphy

The Age Of Minimalism (1990s)

The Nineties' obsession with minimising technology, de-cluttering your home and a more intellectual approach to fashion gave rise to a new, any-colour-so-long-as-it's-matte-black generation. Influenced by designers Helmut Lang and Comme des Garcons, plus Reservoir Dogs, slim-fit suits, skinny trousers, white shirts and slim black ties were in.

Style Icons: Michael Madsen, Brad Pitt, Christian Bale

The Age Of The Metrosexual (2000s)

In reaction to the monochromatic anonymity of the Nineties, the turn of the Millenium prised open a suppressed hedonism and unashamed flaunting of disposable income. Celebrities weren't afraid to expose their more flamboyant, feminine side. It saw luxury fabrics such as printed velvets and 'bling' embroidery play backdrop to this reincarnation of dandyism.

Style Icons: David Beckham, P Diddy, Justin

The Age Of The Retrosexual (2010)

Early indications point to a return to suave masculine values, the thype that orders Scotch on the rocks and uses Brylcream. Prime-time sensation Mad Men suggests the same Sixties suburban US Brooks Brothers style suit will have a stronghold in the foreseeable future. Shiny mohair suits with slim lapels and trousers that finish short of the ankle are key.

Style Icons: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tom Ford, Jon Hamm.
[words and pix from shortlist]

Inspiration Kicks...

I love this ad campaign pix. Not about the Radley bag that was on show sitting on the pile of books. Not even the girl sitting on the chair that looks like Kelly Osbourne who's finally shrunk herself thin. But the ambience as a whole: the big, tall bookshelf in dark wood behind her. Full of books that are neatly arranged. Also the one that are piled and scattered everywhere on the floor. And the ladder that looks very vintage. I just love it. The kind of 'theme' that I would like to have in my own home office. The theme like being in a library. The feel like being 'drowned' in the mountains of knowledge. I like that. =)

Selfridges Men's Shoe Gallery?

Selfridges Men's Shoe Gallery? Nope. It's more to 'BigFat Shoe Gallery'. They're mine. The thing is... it's only about a third of the whole collection. Erkkss! Waiting to be stored in the shoe wardrobe... So. To answer the question: how many pair of shoes do I need?


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Selfridges Shoe Galleries Now Open!

Mentioning 'shoes' it's not just me that will go gaga... Lady Gaga would definitely go gaga too (despite her own name!), so as any other shoe-holics out there as well. And to add to the excitement, you'll definitely have to check out the ultimate shoe store destination on the planet that you can never find anywhere else: it's the Selfridges' Shoe Galleries which is now open to public at the 2nd Floor of the world's famous departmental store in London!

What's hot about the Shoe Galleries? Shoes. Period. If you are an avid fan or a total maniac in collecting shoes or anything gotta do with it, then this is the place to be. Rumor has it the floor area of this whole 'gallery' that is located on the north wing of the store is bigger than the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. Yes, bigger. And let me emphasize that word - the floor plan, not the whole room though - because when I stepped into the 'gallery' last week I was quite disappointed, thinking it's gonna be as massive and having high ceilings as the Turbine Hall itself. 

(this is how the Turbine Hall @ Tate Modern looks like)

Anyway. Selfridges Shoe Galleries. One word: fantastic. I know it's very understated but that's all I can say about it. It's so huge that it'll take some time just to walk around from one entrance to the other exit. The gallery is categorized into different sections to cater for the designer brands as well as the highstreet labels as well. 

If you take the east side entrance, then you're gonna be greeted by the massive silver stilletto in all its glitteratti. Then there's Havaiannas section on the right hand side with humungous flip-flops collection that I've ever seen. On the left-hand side is shoes from highstreet labels like River Island and Office, including some of their exclusive edition for Selfridges (that you can't find at any River Island store itself!)

And bla bla bla... you'll also see another section for highstreet that's located in the middle of the gallery and connect both sides together.

Something that'll give an x-factor about the Shoe Gallery is how the high-end designer labels showcase their collection. Labels like Gucci, Prada, Fendi, Dior and Christian Louboutin have their own 'apartment' that is designed to be a mirror image of their original store. They're all located at the far side of the room with different decor suit for the designers themselves. For instant, you got Gucci apartment in all the bronze-gold glory, Chanel in simplicity chic decor, Louboutin has a trompe l’oeil wall, Dior in pearl white etc...etc. Shoppers will be having different experience when stepping into different apartments to try those shoes on display.

For other designers like Balmain, Balenciaga, Givency and Rupert Sanderson, the shoes are showcased in the 'Designer Rooms' just like River Island, Office and Kurt Geiger. And of course, you can also find their exclusive edition for sale at Selfridges just like the others which is all displayed on hand-carved alabaster plinths.

Before I forgot to mention - all the shoes are definitely for sale... not just for display like in the museum kinda thing. You can try 'em on many seats available around the rooms - from the plush seats designer 'apartments' to the Louis IV-inspired chairs with the butterfly motifs at the highstreet brands, to the purple velvet 'benches' in the designer rooms - the shoes are for you to purchase.

Oh, another thing: the shoe galleries only houses women's collection. (Dang!). So guys, we can all eat our heart out and go to the first floor instead to try our Gucci and Prada in a oh-so-small room compared to the Shoe Galleries.

Anyway, some of the pix that I took...

And some images from Selfridges' website...

The floor plan

Chanel Apartment

Designer Room

Designer Room

Designer Room

Dior Apartment

Fendi Apartment

Gucci Apartment

Jimmy Choo Apartment

Prada Apartment

Repetto Studio

Topshop Pad

Ugg Chalet