Thursday, 29 March 2012

An Interview with Fashion Designer Guillaume Cardoso de Sousa

Califonia-based fashion designer Guillaume Cardoso de Sousa has recently unveiled an inaugural womenswear collection with the name ‘Los Angeles Reflections’ that has caught the attention of The Style Examiner.

Born in 1983 in Marseille, France, to a Portuguese father and a French mother, Cardoso de Sousa started his career in Fashion at the Lycée Colbert in Marseille. While he was there studying fashion design, draping and sewing, he secured an internship in Paris with Jean Paul Gaultier. In 2003, he moved to Paris permanently to do a two-year apprenticeship with the house of Kenzo while attending the draping course of La Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne

Three days after graduating, he started working with Ricardo Tisci as a freelance draper at Givenchy Haute Couture. After this period, he went on to work for seven years with a number of designers, including John Galliano at Christian Dior Haute Couture, Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga, and at Yves Saint Laurent, Hermès, Chloé, Isabel Marant, and Maxime Simoens.

In 2008, during a trip to California, he fell in love with Los Angeles, its creative energy, and the extraordinary potential that the city offered to the fashion universe. After pondering his relocation from France to the US, Guillaume made the permanent move to Los Angeles in July 2010.

Inspired by the contemporary architecture that he has been witnessing since he settled in Los Angeles, Cardoso de Sousa’s collection of 13 pieces mixes contemporary forms and shapes with the traditional manufacturing processes and techniques of French Haute Couture in a colour palette comprising black, ivory, white, and nude tones. Luxurious fabrics sourced around the world such as Zibeline, Silk Chiffon, lacquered wool, silk crepe, leather, vinyl, silk gauze, and French lace are draped, pleated, incrusted, gathered, fringed, lacquered, and reinforced in order to explore the potential of ancient sartorial processes.

We interviewed Guillaume Cardoso de Sousa exclusively for The Style Examiner to find out more about his creations, influences, and future plans.

Where do you find your inspiration to design?
I constantly collect all kinds of images, without having a specific purpose or knowing what to do with them. I gather all sorts of pictures, including landscapes, film shots, architecture, animations, equipments, etc. I keep all these images in books, and then I put them together to create stories and develop concepts with my sketches.

How much of your success do you credit to where you studied?
La Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne , where I studied , taught me the rigor and the precision of haute couture. These two elements were my best allies to create my first collection .

Whose work do you admire the most?
I admire the work of Nicolas Ghesquiere for pushing the construction of a garment to its limit.

Now that you are based in Los Angeles, how close are you to other Californian designers?
I'm actually closer to future Californian designers. I met a lot of young designers in LA who have graduated recently and I help them as much as I can to present their work .

What do you think of the fashion currently produced by American designers?
To be honest, I don't really follow up what's happening on the runway, but I like the roughness and edginess of some local designers in Downtown LA.

Where do you see your career going next? What are the commercial plans for Guillaume Cardoso de Sousa as a brand?
I'd like to open a Haute Couture house in Los Angeles. In addition to the made to measure service that a Haute Couture house offers, I'd also like to develop collections for the ready-to-wear market.

Where do you sell?
The collection is available anywhere in the world through my website, where people can order by selecting the look they like.

To find out more about Guillaume Cardoso de Sousa visit

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Making the Perfect Shirt: An Examination of Neronote Shirts

At The Style Examiner we believe that a large component of the future of retail lies in the expansion of its online dimension. If you are reading this, we assume that, like us, you explore the numerous exciting virtual spaces created by the internet to find out about fashion trends, learn style tips, and purchase new products.

However, and in spite of the increased success of online retail, when it comes to buying clothes, The Style Examiner still believes that there is nothing like trying clothes on before parting with one's money. By doing this, one can have a realisation of the actual colour of a garment, or feel the qualities of the fabric on the skin. It was with this in mind that we took a leap of faith and accepted Neronote’s invitation to purchase one of their shirts online. However, despite our initial reservations, once we received the shirt in the post we became fans of their service.

What makes Neronote different from most online menswear stores is that it focuses on one single product: shirts that customers can customise to their specifications and tastes. Previous experiences proved that online customisation of a garment was not always easy to do or an enjoyable process. However, Neronote’s process is not only easy but it provides clear instructions and even useful information about the styles available to choose from.

Once you decide that you wish to purchase a shirt, in addition to selecting your size, you can choose the main colour for the garment, the type of cuff, the collar style, the shirt's cut, and interesting details such as contrasting bits of colour on the cuffs, collars, or even have your initials embroidered in a part of the shirt. The whole process is enjoyable, quick, and allows you to stay in control of what you buy. 

For our experiment, we started by selecting the fabric from over a thousand options of cotton, cotton linen, linen, silk, or stretch. The choice of colours and patterns is also generous, allowing choosing from plain colours, checks, and stripes. Yarns come in single, compact, twisted, and double twisted, whereas the options of weaving are also numerous. The seasonality of the shirt and the fabric weight can also be chosen. On our quest to find out more about the making process, we opted for a plain white cotton poplin shirt before moving on to choosing between short or long sleeved models.

After opting for a long-sleeved shirt, we were able to choose from eight different kinds of cuffs and this is where the process becomes interesting, as each style is described in short sentences and in plain language. The next step is choosing from a plain front with no buttons or from four different styles of front pockets. Once we were happy with a straight cuff and no front pocket, we moved on to selecting the fit from six options. The next step was to choose one of 18 collar styles, and we skipped the monogram option. In addition, we opted for selecting contrasting collars and cuffs in black as a way to test how two contrasting colours would do when washed together.

The process was quick, painless, and rather enjoyable. In a few weeks, we received the shirt and it fits perfectly. The fabric is high-quality and even after wearing and washing it a few times already in order to test it, the colours have not faded. The only problem that we found was that the top collar button was not stitched properly and it came off when we opened the shirt. Once this was solved, the shirt quickly became a much appreciated garment by The Style Examiner model and by all those who have seen it. In the end, we became supporters of Neronote's service and of the process to personalise one of men’s essential sartorial items, and recommend it to our readers.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

H&M Conscious Launches Exclusive Glamour Collection

As part of its Conscious initiative, giant fashion conglomerate H&M has created ‘Exclusive Conscious’, a collection of red-carpet looks that showcases the diversity of what is now possible in greener fashion made from sustainable and recycled materials. The range will be available from 12 April in approximately 100 stores worldwide, and it will include garments in different styles made from organic cotton, hemp, and recycled polyester.

The collection has already been sported by a number of celebrities at red-carpet events to raise its profile prior to the public launch. Supporters of the initiative have included Oscar nominee Viola Davis, Amanda Seyfried at a London premiere, Kristin Davis at a Vanity Fair event, and Michelle Williams at this year’s BAFTAs in London.

In addition to the Exclusive Glamour Conscious collection, H&M Conscious collections also span other store concepts such as Divided, Women, Men and Kids. For more information on H&M Conscious, visit

Photographs by Kacper Kasprzyk, courtesy of H&M.

Making a Big Splash: Matthias Vriens McGrath for Numéro Homme Magazine

From the studio of photographer Matthias Vriens McGrath (who we have previously featured at The Style Examiner) comes this sensual series of photographs taken for Numéro Homme magazine.

Entitled ‘Bigger Splash’, McGrath’s fashion editorial pays homage to the work of painter David Hockney and invokes Californian light to reveal an intimate appreciation for the male body beautiful.

Photographs courtesy of Matthias Vriens McGrath.