Tuesday, 31 December 2013

An obscure object of desire

While rummaging through old folders on my computer, I found a photograph of the piece ‘Desire is’ by Irish artist Kathryn Maguire that has enthralled me ever since I took it in May 2010 in London’s Tate Modern. The work consists of the sentence ‘Desire is the very essence of man’ (attributed to seventeenth-century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza and published posthumously in the volume Ethics) that is laser-cut onto a large convex vinyl acrylic mirror. By distorting the reflection of the viewer, the artwork establishes a metaphor about the impact of socially constructed representations of the body in the engendering of self-image and definition of one’s identity.

Photograph © João Paulo Nunes / The Style Examiner

Monday, 30 December 2013

Mark/Giusti Spring/Summer 2014 men’s accessories

Mark/Giusti is, without a doubt, one of my all-time favourite brands of accessories for men. Season after season, the talented guys behind it keep reinventing and developing new accessories that I find very stylish and extremely desirable. As the London-based brand’s latest collection ‘Deep Blue Sea’ is about to hit stores worldwide, I paused to examine it before it becomes public.

Unveiled back in June 2013 during Pitti Uomo in Florence and Tranoi Homme in Paris to extremely positive reviews by critics and buyers alike, the ‘Deep Blue Sea’ collection is inspired by the colours found in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Moorish architecture and interiors of buildings in Morocco and southern Spain, namely vibrant shades of blue, turquoise, navy, sand and terracotta. In addition to a range of staple pieces that the brand has got its followers used to, such as wallets, belts, weekend bags and business bags (made primarily from grained Saffiano calf leather), the collection includes new seasonal designs such as beach bags and totes and, for the first time, a series of linen scarves. New materials include stingray and eel skins, and innovative mixed fabrics such as a linen/viscose and an organic hemp/ramie.

On launching the collection, creative director and founder of the label Mark Farhat stated, “2013 has been one of the fastest growing seasons for Mark/Giusti with the brand being nominated for two awards: ‘Accessories brand of the year’ by the UK Fashion & Textile Awards (UKFT) and ‘Accessories Designer of the Year’ at the Drapers Annual Awards. ‘Deep Blue Sea’ is a very strong collection with two times the number of pieces and we believe that this season will be even more successful in reaching out to new markets.”

Photographs courtesy of Mark/Giusti

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Hotter Shoes: stylish footwear with built-in comfort

Even though I am passionate about all things fashion and style, when it comes to buying shoes it is safe to say that I am a typical male shopper. I admire those men who invest in slim shoes with leather soles and wear them elegantly day in day out but I prefer shoes that keep my feet comfortable throughout the day. While researching men’s footwear brands that addressed my needs, I came across the British company Hotter Shoes and decided to investigate.

Founded in 1959 in the English county of Lancashire, Hotter Shoes started out as makers of slippers before adding new shoe lines in the early 1990s with a focus on style with built-in comfort. Over five decades, the family business has grown to become the biggest manufacturer of footwear in the UK, having made 1.3 million pairs of shoes in the last year alone that could be purchased in more than 200 British retailers, in all of 54 Hotter stores and online on the brand’s website.

I started my examination of Hotter Shoes by looking into its Autumn/Winter 2013 menswear range, which was available in four styles: Classic, Leisure, Sport and Active. Although many models showed a preference for comfort over innovative design, I found some smart options in the Classic range and opted for one of Hotter’s newest models, the Senator brogues in dark brown leather.

When I first tried my pair of Hotter shoes, I was amazed at how light and warm they were. In addition, because the shoes included soft padding and cushioned foot-beds on the inside and light bending rubber soles, they felt very comfortable. A few weeks later, and after having worn the shoes a number of times in all sorts of weather, I was pleased that the leather hadn’t broken in the wrong places and that the colour hadn’t faded.

All in all, my examination of Hotter Shoes confirmed why this British footwear brand managed to sustain its reputation for so long. If I could make a suggestion, it would be that a small investment in new design would undoubtedly attract more style savvy and younger consumers. Nevertheless, Hotter shoes are worthy of commendation for all men looking for footwear options that are simultaneously comfortable and stylish.

Photographs courtesy of Hotter Shoes

Monday, 23 December 2013

Giorgio Armani opens new accessories store in Milan

Giorgio Armani has recently inaugurated a new flagship store in Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II entirely dedicated to accessories, in a move that and confirms the brand’s intention to strengthen its accessories division. Designed by Giorgio Armani and his team of architects, the new shop occupies 220 square meters over two floors and replaces the previous accessories boutique in Via della Spiga.

The store is divided into three main areas, each separated by portals finished in black lacquer and all including ash wood furniture finished with different colours. Men’s and women’s bags, jewellery, eyewear and fragrances are located by the ground-floor entrance in an area with silver walls and a green Persian onyx floor; a second room with gold walls and Renoir quartzite flooring leads towards the lift and staircase; and footwear and jewellery are displayed in the level above in a room with glossy blue fabric walls and South African quartzite floors.

Photographs courtesy of Giorgio Armani

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Pringle of Scotland Spring/Summer 2014 campaign

Fashion label Pringle of Scotland has released photographs of the promotional campaign for its Spring/ Summer 2014 menswear and womenswear collections. Shot by Roe Ethridge, the campaign features Scottish actress Sophie Kennedy Clark and model Werner Schreyer. The location chosen for the photographs, Ardkinglas House on the shores of Loch Fyne, reflects the brand’s focus on its own Scottish heritage throughout the collections, which is noticeable in the treatment of traditional themes such as kilting, tartan and the signature argyle pattern.

Photographs courtesy of Pringle of Scotland

Waanders in de Broeren: when a church becomes more than a house of worship

Although this architecture project was finished in July 2013, I have only recently been able to find the most suitable photographs for publication of Waanders in de Broeren by Dutch firm studio BK Architecten that consisted in turning the abandoned Broerenkerk church into a bookshop, catering business and exhibition space.

Located in the city of Zwolle, the Netherlands, Broerenkerk was completed in 1466 and served as fully functional church until 1982. After three decades of neglect, a sensible renovation development by BK transformed the building into a retail and cultural destination while keeping its original features, namely the decorated vaulted ceilings, the stained glass windows, and an organ originally installed in 1821.

Photographs courtesy of BK Architecten