Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Lacoste Live bites back

MAKING UP part of the The Four Musketeers who dominated world tennis for France from 1920 to the 1930s, René Lacoste, famously nicknamed The Crocodile was as formidable with a racket as his clothing range has become to men young and old across the globe.

In many ways the ‘Shirt Lacoste’ or La Chemise Lacoste has outstripped the legacy of its creator RenĂ© despite the Parisian’s incredible seven Grand Slam titles including Wimbledon (1925 & 28) holding the world number one spot in 1926 and 1927, with the first thing people recognising is the shirts, which were sported by Lacoste on courts from the brand’s first inception in 1933, with the logo from his nickname proudly emblazoned on the chest.

The shirt itself has always been an attainable item for any aspiring fashion conscious male and it continues to be such, but  the latest Live range also provides as much colour and style as you can shake a well honed back hand with top spin at.

Kicking off with a garment that’s about as Mod as you can get the collarless polo looks sure to be a classic in its simplicity, with contrast white buttons.

Navy in colour, with white neck and cuff piping, the pique construction shirt has a two button placket and comes in an ultra slim fit. The shirt also comes in a beautiful orange hue of mantel.
The iconic polo, with two button placket makes a return also in ultra slim fit in tajine (rusty orange), marine (navy) and haying (green), with matching buttons.

The simplicity in colour usage continues with the tank top, that sports a chest pocket and comes in blue or marine with contrast trim in white again in slim fit, with each sporting the three colour (red, white and black) extra logo from the range.
The sweatshirts in the range the Argent Chine (grey) top and Noir Fleece (black) shirts are one colour throughout except for the aforementioned logo, which is again repeated on the inside of either cuffs.

In similar one colour main style, the ultra slim hooded sweatshirt comes with contrast white zip front, contrast colouring inside the hood with two hand pockets. The shirts come in navy and egee (sky blue).
Blue of various hues is a predominant colour and remains in the skinny fit denim shirt, with contrast collar, no pockets and adjustable cuffs.

The showerproof bomber jacket with stud button front fastening and stud button fastened hand pockets, in contrast French and navy blue (collars and cuffs), the jacket is lined and has a cotton canvas body, with a zip left arm pocket.
Breaking away from the simple colour lines, the printed noir polo shirt has an amazing (light blue and pink) tropical print against the black background, two button placket has black cuffs and collar.

The lagoon striped t-shirt shocks against the rest of the range, this crew neck comes in Jersey cotton and has a graphite and sky blue pattern across the body.

On the whole, the range seems very playful and that is highlighted in the printed crew neck t-shirts, the manic Japanese style print on the Jiro Bevis, a collaboration between the artist and the label with the relaxed approach of the range even stretching to sporting the iconic crocodile logo on the side right of the grey full cotton t-shirt. The marine printed crew neck has a sporty feel to it, with a cartoon croc head outline printed across the chest with Lacoste Live emblazoned above and below the head.

The relaxed feel continues in the button fly lagoon clair Bermuda shorts which comes with five pockets and sports the three banded logo on the inside turn up of the shorts. 

They act as a nice plain canvas to drop the brighter coloured tops against, while the showerproof parka jacket is a formal camouflage print end to the range, bringing a stronger look to the garments in the range.

The hooded storm flap closure jacket has two hand pockets, one inside and comes in a regular fit, zip through fastening, with white drawstring fastenings. 

It seemed fitting that this more all round item is the last one covered, as with the famous English summer tennis event, you never quite know when you will need to cover up from the rain.

It seems the Crocodile hasn't lost any of its bite.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

China in your hands, well shoes

THERE IS something uniquely Japanese about Shoes Like Pottery, that may seem an obvious thing to say, as they are manufactured in Japan, but from the design, the styling, to the choice of colours SLP has a total Nippon feel.
As someone who has visited Japan several times, it is difficult to describe, it relates to the precision and attention to detail, the loving craftsmanship which in the own words of SLP: ‘we have developed over many years a serious shoe manufacturing process’.

Again this may seem at odds with the subtlety of the shoes, but the vulcanised or Ka-ryu process, which is the final step in the shoes production and sees them baked in a kiln, which ensures the shoes maintain their ‘beautiful silhouette’ and remain 'unbreakable' and of course durable.

The process of these shoes which are built in separates parts, from hand sowing the laminated canvas uppers to the final kiln work is only done by the hands of specialist craftsmen at the Moonstar factory in Kurume in Fukuoka, in the north east of the country. Fukuoka is home to Ramen soup and Bridgestone tyres, which may go someway to understanding the Ku-rya process which have made the shoes legend, Moonstar being one of only three factories in Japan still using the originally American process.

Starting out as Moonstar, a highly respected shoe manufacturer in Japan with 140 year history, the first pairs of SLP were created four years ago, gaining their names when visitors to the factory noted the kilning process was similar to that used in pottery and ceramics.
The 130-degree heat used in the kiln produces a chemical reaction in the shoe creating an amazing flexibility and durability.

And of course amidst all this hand built beauty the shoe sports the company’s logo, embossed on the side of the sole, it is known as ‘Inuchide no kozuchi’ meaning lucky mallet or magical hammer.
Keeping things as beautifully simple as the lines of the shoes, the only difference in the name of each is the colouring of the upper part of the shoes, and Stuarts have three shoes to offer black, indigo or white and it really is difficult not to want to bag all three.

SLP have refined a well worked design and of course pushed it to another level, the contrast light blue sole, which matches the embossed logo, adds a lovely sparse sprinkle of colour which plays nicely against the stark one colour low cut upper of the shoes.

A rubber toe cap, matches the upper, except in the indigo, where the cap is contrast white, with metal eyelets (six) and cushioned insoles.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Something wicked this way comes ...

Cut, paste, read: Simply ;)


Monday, 7 April 2014

Fanfare for the Common People

IN THE words of Sheffield Sex City’s most famous songster Jarvis Cocker from Pulp: ‘I wanna live with common people’. The 1990s anthemic hit unlike the uber hip clothing label if the same name, was based on posh people slumming it, while the Kestin Hare created Common People label, is built around a communal interest in quality workmanship and design.

Hare, former Head of Design at Nigel Cabourn, has in the words of the label itself: 'Created a movement back to provenance and focuses on premium quality, craftsmanship and local sourcing to create a contemporary product with identity’.

Now I think we can all recognise and associate with that and although it is easy to feel a link with the beautifully crafted clothes, understanding a Scottish summer holiday may not be all that easy to grasp, and that, along with 1970’s field trips are part of the essence of the new collection.

You can see the 1970s link with some of the prints used in the SS14 range, first off the bat is the Barry Geometric short sleeved shirt.
The print is Celtic inspired and is a delight with grey and yellow tones, button down collar and neck, which is just over French in style. I particularly like the lighter colouring on the sleeve ends.

The Invergarry navy shirt, once again in short sleeve, is button through, with wooden buttons in a relaxed Hawaiian style, with five button front and open collar, again sporting a Celtic-inspired specially developed print. While the Dura is all navy, with a ‘pin knit’ construction, two chest pockets in a tailored fit and combines relaxed with precision, marled buttons and short hem.

The Flodigarry is very similar to the Barry, with a light grey print with adjustable button cuffs, cat eye buttons and button down collar, with a to die for finish.
The navy colouring is also sported on the lovely Glendale blazer, which has the most delightful lining, which even to most unromantic among you looks exactly like the sun rising over mountains. The double vent tailored fit jacket has two side pockets with flap closure, double button front fastening and chest pocket and is a linen cotton mix.

The Barium t-shirt has a lighter blue chest pocket flap and has a rib finish, which is delicious.
Or the staple wear Inverness jumper with lock-stitching detailing to ensure the chill off the Scottish summer is firmly kept at bay.
The Inverness really is the only bit of formalised wear in the range, more workman like, in style, while in a lighter blue, well denim, Alperton heavy weight raglan shirt, made of French towelling and non-flap button fasten chest pocket is a fabulous contrast garment.

The perfect matching between blazers and the t-shirts and shirts from CP is excellent, relaxed yet stylised.
Dropping the Lomond ecru t-shirt into the mix is a master-stroke coming in yellow or grey the all over print is a delight and definitely of its time, button chest pocket and button fastening cuffs, while the Montrose crew neck, raglan long sleeve shirt in slim fit in either red or yellow with black neck and pocket top shifts the scenery somewhat.

The other delightful thing about Common People is the fact that all the ranges fit perfectly together, they have, you might say something in c
ommon or there is a common theme or …

I will stop with the common puns now.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Put your shirt on Carhartt this summer

THE T-SHIRTS may say ‘Run For The Hills’, but unlike the Iron Maiden song Run to the Hills that had people running for the off button, the latest offering from cult American workwear label Carhartt, has come across all west coast this season and should have you running for the shop.

With delightful splashes of colour, patterns and prints, these are exciting times from the label that hails from New York, but brought it’s hardworking garments to the world and is always pushing at that envelope.

The real wonder about the latest line is the garments utilising other items, combining it with blazers, shorts and trainers for a more relaxed summer style.

Concentrating on the tops from the range the Planet Palm print rinsed shirt in Cayman green is the first piece that catches the eye, the button down all-over print with chest pocket just wreaks of the beach, or at least transferring that look into everyday wear. The shirt also comes in a dark blue, with black  as well green and I want one.

Drop the shirts in alongside say the evening blue Gant Rugger or the Minimum Sam medium blue for the green shirt, or the Matinique Selkirk or maybe the Minimum DK EDI Screamin for the dark blue shirt, ping on a pair of Universal Works floral twill shorts or the sand deck shorts or penguin faded denim shorts and your add a choice of Shoes like Pottery canvas trainers … or drop on the delicious Detroit black rigid jacket … just a thought.

The slim fit Detroit zip through jacket is a perfect canvas for alternate seasonal colours, sporting one chest pocket (zip), Carhartt branding on the chest, with corduroy collars, two angled front hand pockets with adjustable hem is a blockbuster.
Maintaining the light print angle, the Langley is a piece of pastel perfection with all over print, perfect for fitting into any relaxed look.
Then there is the Detroit Lions t-shirts coming in blue penny and burgundy, a classic full cotton T, with brand patch on the hem. 

The Contract t-shirt coming in grey Heather and red has a very relaxed feel about it, while the monochrome S/S Crest t-shirts with alternate crests on against the white or black t-shirt bodies hints at a more preppy look.

All the crew neck t-shirts of course fit in perfectly with any of the Carhartt jeans, but I cannot shake the feeling of seeing this working with other items, from different brands, which the label has not so superbly for some time.

The Run for The Hills grey Heather or navy t-shirt just shouts vibrancy and the Doubleday & Cartwright print on the front is a delight, while the House Rockin shirt complete with its nod to one of the most historic record covers ever released in the Motor City (Detroit), this shirt shows the cover from The Gories 1989 album entitled House Rockin'.

Then if you fancy a bit of house rocking, or body popping the Postcard sweat shirt in grey, which sports a print of the Detroit cityscape and Carhartt emblazoned across the chest below it in red, is all very Grand Master Flash.

It's time to get shirty then.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Ten C: clothes not war (Part two)

Second front:

STYLISED MORE in its entirety on air than land military, the Liner is linked with the American Parka which had a removable liner, allowing for the iconic jacket to be used all year round in various combat situations.

This jacket links back to the 1950s style of Parka and is designed to fit inside every jacket from the Ten C range available at Stuarts.

This chameleon like addition is uber cool, well it’s uber warm actually, but you get my drift as it has the ability to enable your Ten C wardrobe to alter itself seasonally. 

Puffa feather compartments or quilted as it is also known, the orange and olive linings will bring a completely different look to your jacket, this mix and match approach is somewhat incongruous with the other jackets in the range, which have the ability to mould themselves to their owners shape over time and as such it adds another nice angle to the whole range. Something you would come to expect from Ten C but is unusual, hence incongruous.

With prepared button holes and make and size label on the outside right hand side of the body, the piece has a nylon body shell with down lining.
If you were feeling expansive don the thing itself, it looks that stylish.

The Drill jacket coming in tan uses a similar three button fastening front as a blazer, with some nice stitch detailing, two hand pockets with flap closures and left hand chest pocket, angled with outside stitching detailing, again with flap fastening.

A fourth high button fastener allows the jacket to close up around the neck nicely, similar to the Barbour trench coat, and has short collars. 

An inner shoulder lining protects against the rain, although this jacket is part of the label’s summer range.
The lovely use of alternate tans on the inner and outer of the garment, detailed stitching along the sleeves, which are beautifully vented at the cuffs and detailing on the right chest for an open inner pocket show continual attention to finite aspects.

If the other jackets in the range are based on series military action, the Drill could be seen sported during precious RnR periods, although it again sports the inner buttons allowing it to utilise the down Liner, so whatever the weather you are ready for action.

So get ready to fall in with Ten C this season.


Intensity at Ten C: Make clothes not war

THE LATEST Ten C clothing range has more to do with military precision than most others, this incredible label, which has launched its The Emperors New Clothes series described as being ‘pieces that last forever’ is using craftsmanship and quality in ‘unbranded’ garments that are uniquely yours.

From the former Stone Island man Paul Harvey and CP. Company & Esemplare genius Allesandro Pungetti, these items are not simply created they are in many ways born of frustration, a frustration that not everything is like this, but in Ten Cs eyes they should be that's if the right amount of attention, skill and beauty is put into garments and the production behind them.

And the military precision I mentioned earlier, is not just a flippant comment, or some over indulgent way of unifying the production processes to highlight the quality, with each of the magnificent jackets on offer in the ENC range it is paramount. The jackets use one fabric and only four colours, exclusively finished in Italy, really do have significant links to military clothing from the past.

With Stuarts stocking two of the range which are the Field jackets available in navy or olive and the Snow Smock jackets available in navy or the royal blue, also available are the Liner which comes in orange or olive, and the Drill jacket, which comes in tan, but these are not part of the ENC range, although they offer the same wonderful attention to detail.

Described by Ten-C as the most iconic jacket of all time, the Field is for the label based 1960s version, with a few alterations such as reducing the sleeves, while the glove flaps remain on the end of the sleeves, the designers describe the Field it as a 'pretty perfect jacket'.

Holding the American army jacket as the staple on which all others are based, the Ten-C Field first saw action in 1943, being remodelled to incude new zip fastenings, draw string was added and a rolled up hood, with Ten-C using the version worn during the Vietnam conflict of the 1960s as its building block. The garment's fabric which is OJJ and made in Japan is finished in Italy and allows the jacket to follow the body shape of the wearer, so in time each one will perfect its own particular shape, that of the owner, building a personal history/stamp to become ‘Your’ garment. A nice touch.

The zip through, two chest and two hand pockets both with flap closure comes in slim fit and is wonderful.

The Snow Smock, which again has massive military connotations, used by the Norwegians in winter camouflage, and sported by the Heroes of Telemark, (which was made into a 1965 film starring Richard Harris and Kirk Douglas) who were involved in the operation to destroy ‘hard water’ manufacturing during the Second World War, to halt the perceived construction of atomic bombs by the Germans.

The belt fastened jacket, (built into the the body of the garment) which would have come in white originally to match the snow of the countryside, is another nice aspect of this hard core winter jacket, making it one of the best of all time.
Based on a 1970s construction, with the original items being lightweight and worn over heavy winter trousers and jumpers, this version is a complete item to be warn in all winter weathers, usable as a skiing jacket even, meaning it is not lightweight.

Four breast pockets upper and hand, with a hood and inner lining, with anti-snow flap pockets, again made of the OJJ Japanese made micro-fibre, which will ensure the individuality of each garment as with the Field.

Part one Over and Out: