Tuesday, 8 February 2011


It's time again for a ' Men's Fashion Forward ' post. As I said my aim is it with this blog and myself  to become the messenger of new, talented menswear designer. Therefore I would like to introduce you to the brightest, up- and coming designers Selfridges decided to put into their shop and to create exciting shop window displays in collaboration with the chosen designers. On the 7th on January the first 10 designer, out of 20 designers were showing their window display designs and in store you could buy their designs. This was excellently documented by Susie Lau on her world famous fashion blog Style Bubble.
I really loved the article but I was disappointed that again just women's wear designer were introduced. Always the same dilemma. I was crying to the heavens and  there it happened with  my fist up in the air I was shouting: ' Oh Goddess of Fashion, Susie Lau, please make Selfridges take also menswear designers into their their group of ' Bright Young Things'. Suddenly the sky opened a tiny bit, I heard thunder and little white Swarovski diamonds started falling quietly down to earth  and Susie Lau appeared, dressed in the most wonderful dress I have ever seen, which sparkled in the purest white, so I hardly could look up to her.  Goddess Susie smiled at me and said in her beautiful whispering voice: Fashion Philosopher, listen, next time Selfridges will introduce 5 menswear designers. Come and see and make up your mind on the 4th of February'! My heart was pounding, my mouth was dry and my eyes were hurting by the beauty of the dress and Susie smiled again at me. Suddenly her face got serious and she said in strong tone: 'Enough now, Fashion Philosopher, I am wearing this dress for 5 earthly minutes now I need to get changed!' Whoops, thunder again and gone was she and the sun. Goddess Susie Lau of Style Bubble. Thank you oh so much for your kindness to let me know this secret of all secret.
Seriously it happened like this - would a ' fashion professional ( sounds a little bit like a tart, doesn't it) lie? 
The 4th of February approached and the little Fashion Philosopher, equipped with his camera (sorry I need a new one). Step by step I will become more professional and I need to apologize, the camera does not take the nicest of pictures)  an a note pad and in the evening he found himself taking photos of the window display and the clothes in Selfridges'  Bright Young Things pop-up shop on the men's wear floor.

I will firstly start with one designer I could not find outside. Selfridges did not do a window display unfortunately. PS: with Lee Roach it was my mistake I overlooked it. Please find my added window display below.
Lee Roach is the most recent designer. By recent I mean he just finished his BA last summer and graduated from Central St Martins college of Art.

Lee Roach window display- art video installation by Tom Huett

You can see the short film and listen to the great sound on http://www.lee-roach.com/commercial.html

Egon Schiele- Self portrait

Lee Roach ( picture from www.ihatemycollection.com ) himself

The pieces Selfridges chose were from his graduation collection 2010 called ' Now'. His look reminds me of the young rebellious Egon Schiele ( Austrian Painter ) but his design aesthetic is more on the minimalistic side. He just used the colour black for his latest collection. His strength lies in the cut. The pieces are wonderfully made. The fabrics are strong but very fluid.
Lee Roach SS11 collection ' Now' ( picture from www.fashionisto.com )
As you can see in the excellent tailoring, he worked as a designer for the Savile Row bespoke tailor Kilgour before his studies. Already you can sense in his first collection the dualism of feminine and masculine. The ' masculine ' tailoring of the jacket and trousers against the female silhouette of the aprons, skirts and dresses

Lee Roach SS11

Lee Roach SS11
I love how he plays with the female and male parts of tailoring. The different ways how to fasten the jacket but all combined with a high evaluation of the material and cut. The pieces are rather heavy but as I said before this heaviness translates into a fluidity which adds definitely to the tailoring.  Below you can see a selection of pieces you can buy from his collection thanks to Selfridges- by the way I was happily taking my pictures. Lucky me, I was almost finished with the my photographs as I got a approached by a sales person. Politely she asked me if she could help me and I asked her if I could take some photographs. She said that is not possible. Ha Ha, I had my pictures already. I am sure all the readers which have a blog themselves will ask like me why can we not photograph the pop- up shop? Us, bloggers just help designers and shops to show of their work to customers and let them now where to buy it. Is that  bad? But well, lets get on.

If you start new in the fashion scene people tend to compare these new designers with other established designers. I do not know if this is a bad or good thing but I must say with Lee Roach's collection, the young Helmut Lang comes to my mind. Unfortunately Helmut Lang does not design for his label anymore.

The second designer we have been introduced to is Matthew Miller, a graduate from the Royal College of Art .

Matthew Miller AW11  collection named ' A perfect number'

Matthew Miller himself

Matthew Miller worked at Brioni  ( classic smart tailoring )and Umbro ( sports wear ) before he started his label. His signature style is formed as a search between technology versus tradition. The Mr Miller look are performance fabrics, traditional tailoring mixed with sportswear detailing. His colours, like Lee Roach's, tend to be on the monochrome side. An almost white crisp grey for AW11 and light blues, whites, cream and grey with splashes of bright yellow on bag and midnight blue on T-shirts and belts.

He is going to show his already third collection in two weeks time at London Fashion Week . Being picked by Selfridges is just one of his career highlights. He also won the MacArthur Glen Spirit Award, Vogue called him ' a talent to watch' and his second collection is out now in the shops. I am sure men will love his approach to tailoring. His work is formal but sporty at the same time and which bloke doesn't want to look smart and sporty at the same time. His clothes are not for the City but definitely wearable for stylish weekend trips. The clothes are just both understated sophistication with sportswear elements but enough tailoring to look sportive-suave. A wardrobe for the modern gentleman on the move. The weekender bag and rucksack are delivered for the whole look too, so you can be truly stylish for your next weekend trip from Istanbul to Budapest - Paris to Berlin. The core piece for AW11, which is sold in Selfridges already - the Duffel coat, up-dated instead of the traditional toggles, Miller uses what looks like bicycle chains. This gives the Duffel a fresh breath of new.

Matthew Miller AW11 collection ' A Perfect Number'
Next to the up-dated Duffel coat, you can find simple sheer tops, either long or short sleeved. This breaks with the conventions. Winter-white and see-through clothes. But this is excactly what a love about Matthew Miller, his brand is open for surprises and avoids getting trapped into stereotypes.
With the next designer Selfridges chose some already better known brands. I will continue with the next ' New Bright Thing' , who is no other than Christopher Shannon the gyser from Liverpool. Mr Shannon showed us that not only cool music comes from there but also damn cool fashion. Unfortunately, like with Lee Roach, there is no window display for him ( as I said I will check tomorrow if something has changed, if yes I will re-edit my post and add the pictures.)
Christopher Shannon- the man himself

Christopher Shannon SS11
Questioned if he always wanted to be a designer, he said surprisingly 'no'. What he wanted back then was ' to go to London' that was his dream. Lucky us, he went to London and studied at St Martins. Louise Wilson, head of the MA fashion at St Martins was so impressed by his work that she awarded him a scholar ship to do his master degree. The first one of its kind in 10 years.
His trade mark pieces is are sweatshirts and and sweaters. What I like about Mr Shannon is that he said he loves going back to re-work ideas. Something not many designers do which brings a sort of time line into his work. His work is strongly influenced by the ' Northerner- ' culture and the working class bloke. By adding new fabrication,  pieces like the shell suit and other sport pieces are being reworked. Gradually he developed his signature style what he calls a ' refined scallyism'. 

Christopher Shannon SS11
The colours he uses for he SS11 collection are plenty of white interrupted by pastels and the bold use of black in form of heavy stripes or squares which gives these materials an almost architectural feel.  I think personally that you also can see a bit of Kim Jones who Shannon used to work with as an design assistant.
Shannon worked also for Richard James and did a collaboration with Judy Blame which he is very proud of.

A favourite of mens fashion editors and even women like Lulu Kenndey, head of Fashion East, what does the future has in store for Mr Shannon. A lot as it looks like. He is working on two lines for Eastpack and he started working with Pointer Footwear which he is very excited about since Pointer is very choosy in which brands they collaborate with and so far they just worked with Comme de Garcons. As if this is not enough next to his own label he is working on a book with photographer James Hawkesworth

Asked what his inspiration is behind his AW11 collection he said singer  Rhianna , photographer Pieter Hugo and cuddle fleece!  That sounds f...ing interesting!! How many days to go for LCF?

Now here I have a crazy- great window to display. Who is next on place 3..... suprise: the ' ueber '- cool Martine Rose.

Martine Rose SS11 collection

Martine Rose graduated in 2002 and before she actually launched her label Martine Rose, she was a founding member of the highly praised label LMNOP. Asked about her motivation behind her design beginnings, she said: ' All my girlfriends were wearing their boy friends clothes, so I thought, sod it, I will start to design for their boyfriends'. Her work is strongly influenced by 1990's hip-hop, bold colours, the use of contrasting materials like printed silk and vinyl or like for her SS11 collection, pastel- green  brocade with black leather. Street culture can be found as well as a dash of unexpected silhouettes which forms an essential surprising element in her design work. 

Martine Rose herself

Christopher Shannon on the left and Martine Rose behind on the right at Selfridges

Martine Rose SS11 collection- here you can see her unconventional use of fabric and the pastel green brocade with flowers, a fabric usually found in stately homes as curtains and then stripes of Velcro usually associated with back packs.

Again an example of the use of different colours and fabrics

Martine Rose playing with the silhouettes and look at the different coloured shoes

Martine Rose SS11 collection 
Interesting to mention is also her collaboration with Timberland v Wallpaper magazine . Mrs Rose got approach by the two to work on an outer wear collection for the forward thinking brand Timberland. You can follow the whole design process on Wallpaper.com Martine's blog and watch accompanying videos with interviews with Martine Rose and Timberland's creative Laurence Lennard. Very interesting.

Signature detail for Martine Rose outerwear designs for Timberland in conjunction with Wallpaper.com. The special SS11 collection will be on the shop floor ready very soon
Dear friend, I think I can call you now friend if you have managed to come that far in my the 'New Bright Things' post from Selfridges' new menswear designer window display and pop-up store project. The last and 5th label Selfridges introduced, does not really need introduction anymore, also I doubt if the label is that 'new' in terms of their theatrical shows, press reaction, stockists and sale. It is the  New Power Studio by stylist Thom Murphy and womens wear designer Ebru Ecton.

New Power Studio almost ' couture ' approach to street wear is shown here. The jacket is made what looks like floor sweeper cotton strings.

New Power Studio SS11 collection
New Power Studio is hailed the big new thing in mens fashion at the moment all top- notch shops like Oki-ni , LN-CC and B store stock them. Actually my first ' Mens Fashion Forward'  post was about New Power Studio. So please go back to my January post and there you can read about New Power Studio and their SS11 collection.

I really hope you enjoyed this post. I learned a lot but I would still make some remarks to Selfridges and Susie Lau from the Style Bubble. First I would like to thank my honestly admired fashion super star blogger Susie Lau for giving me the inspiration to do this post. I mean Susie Lau did not speak to me in person. She actually does not know me but I loved her post on ' The New Bright Things ' back in Jannuary that's why I decided to post now my version for the mens wear designers. Thanks to you, Susie, my blogger goddess. Next I would like to thank Selfridges for really pushing mens wear forward we really need projects like ' The New Bright Thing ' especially in menswear. But unfortunately I need also to criticize some points. Firstly, that I was missing window displays for the two designers Christopher Shannon and Lee Roach. I will today double ,check this, so I will need to apologise if I am wrong. I NEED TO APPLOGIZE FOR THE DISPLAY OF LEE ROACH. Apparently ther is one I just missed it! but there is definately no window display for Mr Shannon. A shame. Secondly, out of the five menswear designers to be honest just two were really new and bright- Lee Roach and Matthew Miller, the other brands I personally consider as already fixed stars on the men's wear night sky. OK, we can discuss this but I think Selfridges could push this project more into 'unknown terrain '. An the third point disappointed me personally the most. I asked to try on the sheer white T- Shirt from Matthew Miller ( the one I photographed with the pink background ) and the nice sales lady told that all pieces come in just one size which was S and, unfortunately, I am a 'strong' boy. Sorry, but if you make such a statement I think there should be enough stock and sizes to push sales. Since we all know that in the end the sales decide if a brand fails or starts being a success story. 

The Fashion Philosopher

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