Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Six Scents Parfums: The Sweet Smell of a Creative Charitable Success

It is a reality often observed that the course of creative partnerships does not always run smooth. However, when inventive minds are joined with the intention to think and feel alike while mindful of a charitable purpose, the fruit of those encounters can be exceptionally flourishing.

Each year, the Six Scents Parfums fragrance initiative produces creative talent with a conscience through a collection of six individual scents. Created by a group of designers and perfumers, these limited-edition fragrances are designed to represent a global range of contemporary views on creativity and culture. Through the designers’ concepts and the perfumers’ knowledge of fine fragrance, two disciplines join forces to create new compositions and multi-sensory experiences to assist a good cause.

To Kaya Sorhaindo, Six Scents Parfums Creative Director, the intention is to allow creative freedom to perfumers, designers and artists in order to stimulate and obtain unexpected results. The expectation is that Six Scents does not engage with the standard notion of what a perfume is, and the requirements that make it. Instead, it plays with conceptual speculations about what else a perfume could be or stand for.

The latest Six Scents (Series Three) feature fragrances by emerging names in the fashion world who worked with talented perfumers to explore the notion of transition from childhood to adulthood, and from innocence to experience, and the results are outstanding. In addition to their high quality, the fragrances conceived by Alexis Mabille, Mary Katrantzou, Juun. J, Rad Hourani, N. Hoolywood, and Ohne Titel are also presented in stunning individually numbered boxes, each containing an exclusive portrait by Robert Knoke. The boxes also contain DVDs with the ‘Six Scents: Series Three’ documentary and short films exclusively commissioned from artists such as Alia Raza (with story edited by Tavi Gevinson and starring Julia Restoin-Roitfeld), Rainer Judd, Olaf Breuning, Sue De Beer, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, Heather Sommerfeld, Tim Richardson, Lucas Michael and James Widegren

Every year, the theme established by Six Scents Parfums relates to the remit of a charity that benefits from the sales of the fragrances. For Series Three, a portion of the proceeds will go towards War Child International and helping those whose childhood and innocence were stolen because of war. In this sense, artists and filmmakers have contributed their own memories of youth to create scents and works of art to help victims of war rise beyond the trauma that might otherwise hold them back.

If all six fragrances related for Series Three are extremely successful, numbers 3 (‘Can’t Smell Fear’ by Juun. J and Natalie Gracia-Cetto) and 6 (‘M’ by Ohne Title and Yann Vasnier) are highly accomplished scents. ‘M’ surprises because of its unusual ingredients including tonka beans mixed with musk bottom notes and cedarwood heart notes. ‘Can’t Smell Fear’, with its leather notes, is outstanding in the way it invokes warm, sensual and masculine images. Gracia-Cetto’s work is a rich composition suitable for all times but ideal for colder days.

Fragrances are offered in a limited quantity of 3,000 units and are available at over 220 retailers worldwide including Opening Ceremony (New York), Seven New York (New York), Lucky Scents (Los Angeles), Liberty (London), Colette (Paris), 10 Corso Como (Seoul and Milan), Adelaide (Tokyo), Assin (Melbourne), Club 21 (Singapore) and Joyce (Hong Kong). In addition, in celebration of Art Basel Miami Beach 2011 (which is taking place between 1 and 4 December), Six Scents Parfums have created two distinct exclusive fragrances and site specific installations entitled ‘Verde’ and ‘Incense into the Sea’ that will be available exclusively at The Standard Spa Miami Beach during Art Basel 2011, along with the a selection of the Six Scents Parfums range.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Cy Choi Menswear: Grafting the Fashion Ideal

Cy Choi is a menswear brand from Seoul, South Korea, that has been on the sartorial radar of The Style Examiner for a while. Following on the footsteps of previous highly accomplished collections, the clothes designed for the current Autumn/Winter 2011 are a testament to its creator’s ingenuity in providing elegant clothing options for men.

The collection is inspired by the concept of inosculation, a natural phenomenon in which trunks or branches of two trees grow together to create a third tree variety. When occurring in plants, it is biologically similar to grafting; but in Cy Choi’s thinking process the notion of combination exists to facilitate sartorial creation.

Choi’s Autumn/Winter 2011 collection is focused on permanently blending (or inosculating) two contrasting structures: a tailored, formal base (white collar) and a work, denim, military, farmer base (blue collar), opposing well-made and deconstructed structures. On the tailoring front, the waist lines of jackets and coats are raised to overemphasize the silhouette, and shoulders are softened owing to being unpadded. In addition, oversized and shoulder-dropped coats, coats, knits, shirts, and regular slim-fit trousers combine one another. On the level of detail, work and denims pocket are placed on two-button tailored jackets; well-structured garment fronts contrast with irregular back structures; nylon from sports jackets are used on the whole front of a three-button wool jacket; and traditional tailoring contrasts with raw and frayed fabrics.

The colour palette reflects this eclectic approach to fashion by combining different shades in the same layers of garments: neutral colours are mixed with coral, chrome yellow, blue violet, and royal blue to generate expressive looks. The fabrics chosen for this season also mirror this approach: different weight wools are mixed with thin fabrics, and tweed cohabits with soft cotton and nylon.

Monday, 28 November 2011

British Fashion Awards 2011 Winners Announced

At a ceremony in London on 28 November 2011, the British Fashion Council announced Sarah Burton as the winner of the British Fashion Awards' esteemed ‘Designer of the Year’ award 2011. Burton’s creative direction at Alexander McQueen has allowed McQueen’s legacy to live on while still giving her own twist of creative genius to a collection that has outshone its rivals on and off the catwalk.

Sarah Burton 
Hosted by George Lamb and Lauren Laverne the awards ceremony celebrated and recognised excellence achieved in the industry this year. The event was attended by industry leaders, designers, retailers, models, celebrities and media supporting both the nominees and winners of these prestigious awards. Attendees included BFC Ambassador Samantha Cameron, Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham, Kate Hudson, Colin Firth, Olivia Palermo, Josephine de la Baume, Marc Jacobs, Lady Amanda Harlech and Alexa Chung.

The ‘New Establishment Award’ was introduced this year to recognise a particular movement in British fashion that is taking the industry by storm. The inaugural winner was Christopher Kane whose designs for his own label continue to lead trends globally, become must-haves for any fashion credible shoot and essentials for all fashion collectors.

The ‘Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator’ was won by Sam Gainsbury of Gainsbury and Whiting. Gainsbury is well-known in the fashion industry for translating designers’ visions into unparalleled fashion experiences. This year she turned her talents to the ‘Savage Beauty’ exhibition which broke all records and has been widely recognised as the most successful fashion exhibition in the world.

The ‘Red Carpet’ award went to many celebrities’ favourite this year, Stella McCartney, recognising the quantity and quality of her designs worn on the red carpet, creating global awareness in the media.

Victoria Beckham was the recipient of the ‘Designer Brand’ award. Her business has focused growth strategy with each new product range receiving media praise and achieving high levels of sell through. She is her own customer and this insight has created a label with many loyal followers across the globe.

London is known for innovation in the fashion world and this year’s ‘Emerging Talent’ awards only highlighted further the extraordinary fashion talents in this city: Mary Katrantzou was awarded the ‘Emerging Talent – Womenswear’ award for her bold graphic print collections that were seen on everyone from Hailee Steinfeld to Alexa Chung. Tabitha Simmons earned recognition for her footwear brand by winning the ‘Emerging Talent Award- Accessories’ and Christopher Raeburn received the award for ‘Emerging Talent Award –Menswear’, a brand new category for 2011, recognising Christopher’s pioneering ethical designs.

Kim Jones was awarded ‘Menswear Designer’, for being instrumental in enhancing men's fashion in the past year. He was appointed Style Director at Louis Vuitton earlier this year.

Stella Tennant collected the ‘Model’ award owing to her being featured in numerous shows, covers, editorials and major campaigns which this year included Zara, Reed Krakoff, Etro, Chanel and Celine.

The ‘Accessory Designer of the Year’ recipient was Charlotte Dellal for her footwear label Charlotte Olympia which is inspired by the glamour of the 1940s and 1950s.

The British Fashion Award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Fashion’, which recognises one designer who throughout their career has made an impact on the industry internationally, went to Paul Smith for all that he consistently brings to the world of fashion.

Decided entirely by public vote, the ‘British Style’ award (to recognise an individual who embodies the spirit of the city and is an international ambassador for London as a leading creative fashion capital) went to Alexa Chung who received the award for the second consecutive year.

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Ann Demeulemeester’s Exclusive Designs for

Belgian fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester has developed an exclusive capsule collection for online retailer

The collection consists of four pieces (a waistcoat, a tank top, trousers, and a shopper bag) that, although not on the economical side of fashion, can be combined to create individual looks for both men and women. The all-black mix and match line-up is made of quality materials and include unexpected details typical of Ann Demeulemeester sensually whimsical touch.

The unisex waistcoat is made of soft lamb leather with a cotton back while the tank tops come in a cotton cashmere mix with a print that evokes snow falling. The oversized tops and the tapered trousers (that can be worn with slim black leather belts with studs) have a different fit for men and women. The shopper bag is also made of soft lamb leather with an irregular stud embossed pattern. 

The ‘Ann Demeulemeester (’ collection is accompanied by a beautiful three-minute video by artist Erik Madigan Heck where the clothes are shown to the accords of Aphex Twin’s music and the lyrical words of Cicero on friendship.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Matinique: Understanding the Success of Fashion

More often than not, fashion critics and journalists tend to overlook garments and accessories usually described as practical and commercial. If the influence of high fashion and experimental designs is undoubtedly seductive in that it reveals the constructive potential of creativity, there are numerous designers and brands that ought not to be overlooked just because of their focus on the important principle that fashion is essentially about providing clothes that consumers will want to wear.

Matinique is one such brand that has been doing exactly this with great aplomb for decades. Founded by Niels Martinsen in Denmark in 1973, the brand’s vision has remained resolute and successful: to create comfortable, high-quality and fashionable clothing for men. Despite a repositioning of the brand in 2002, Matinique has remained focused on providing clear and simple choices to male consumers of fashion.

With creative and business headquarters in Copenhagen, Matinique has developed a successful model through the years that has allowed it to expand into 18 countries and being available in 850 retailers across the world. In order to try to understand the sustained success of the brand, The Style Examiner set out to look into what remains at Matinique’s core: providing clothes that men want to wear. In order to do this, we started by researching the clothes that the brand produces, a process that we expect to conduct over a series of articles. For this first instalment, we concentrated our experiment on analysing a pair of trousers, a t-shirt, and a jacket designed by Matinique.

The Ronson jeans, made of light cotton in a subtle denim shade, proved to be ideal for summer. The tailoring is conventional with a regular cut that is concerned essentially with comfortable movement. In the context of a fashion world where (mostly unflattering) skinny jeans refuse to abandon centre stage, one could not help but wonder if the Ronson jeans were the answer to the requirements by most men whose bodies do not fit into undersized trousers.

Equally evoking carefree and warm days of summer through its faded image of the California sky seen from the point of view of a street lined by palm trees, the Fillmore t-shirt in 100% cotton also came across as an essential item of clothing for men. Its basic design reminds us that, ultimately, t-shirts started being worn as outer garments precisely because of their functionality and comfort.

Of the three pieces we tried, the Aiden blazer in midnight blue was the one that stood out the most. Made of a cool cotton and ramie mix, with a discreet pin stripe, and fastening in front with two buttons, the jacket proved to be a success. Its lining, with Matinique’s signature airmail pattern for this season, revealed a hidden modish side to what came across, on a first sight, as a conventional blazer.

As we finished our initial examination of Matinique’s garments, we became convinced of the reasons for their success over nearly forty years: while keeping in mind that fashion has a practical function, Matinique addresses the needs of a vast majority of male consumers who are far from being oblivious of style in their lives.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Loewe’s Accessories for Men Hit London in Time for Christmas

For this year’s Christmas season, Spanish luxury brand Loewe decided to treat its male clients in London with a dedicated new space where they will be able to find exclusive leather items and other accessories.

A temporary 25-square meter store opened at 6, Royal Exchange on 14 November with the intention to showcase the complete men’s accessories range: from briefcases to satchels, totes and the signature Amazona weekender, as well as a choice of belts, ties and cufflinks.

A selection of men’s accessories is also available at the main London Loewe store at 125, Mount Street.