Tag Archives: men’s fashion retail

Although it’s a Season of Black and White, Here is a Word About Color

Three Cheers for Color and Pattern

So I can tell you right now by the time the collections are complete in the stores for Spring/Summer everything will look black and white. After two springs of “color, color, color” EVERYONE went back to black and white. But by April the stores will look so boring and unappealing consumers will be begging for some color.  As a buyer you choose from what is in front of you. But as I have been telling you for many years there has been this consensus before the shows even start and the media and stores are forced into a storyline. “These are the TRENDS”. If you are not careful as a buyer you might fall into this trap. But I find these trends leave little to the imagination of the consumers, making the consumers feel like mindless idots who can’t dress themselves without a STAR in a magazine showing them the way.

I am so excited about the merchandise in the store right now. It’s design at its’ best; modern, fresh and yes colorful. We will have our share of black and white, but why does everything have to be all or nothing? Here are some examples….

The Mix of Colors in this Dress are So Special!

Though the “trend ” for printed trousers started a few seasons ago, I think some designers are mastering the art of partnering patterns with high tech fabrics.

The Print on these Trousers Really Need to Be Seen in Person

Mix and Match is Half the Fun

One last photo of a cute little dress from Suno…nothing loud or on TREND just a cute little dress from Suno that you would love to wear all summer.

Stretch Silk and So Easy to Wear

After All That Movement Where is The Real Fashion?

I just got back from Paris where the much anticipated shows from Dior and St Laurent produced a wild media frenzy for collections that were …um …OK. Yet again the media created controversy for the big houses with tons of copy and air time, and I am pretty sure the luxury consumer could care very little about the outcome . My take on these shows was that they were derivative of other designers work and the press gave the credit to these mega brands. Let’s start with St Laurent. The good news about the St Laurent show is that Mr. Slimane used the foundation of St Laurents original looks from the 70’s for his 2013 show.

St Laurent in the 70's

Now St Laurent 2013

St Laurent 2013

 Rachel Zoe’s has always been accused of copying St Laurent (but updating the fit). Here are pictures of her past shows and advertisements….

A Rachel Zoe Ad

From a Rachel Zoe Fashion Show

Confused? So was I….what was all the fuss about? Another show, much anticipated,was the return of Jil Sander, back to her namesake (which she sold for $250 million) . Granted Jil is still getting her feet back into the business at age 68. Her show was OK….good attempt…lots of press and lots of talk about it….But the Marni show was Jil Sander at her finest (only not designed by Jil) Marni has been exploring a new version of Minimalism for a long time but the press only talks about the big advertising accounts which is not Marni. If they do talk about Marni it’s usually a small blurb about her prints not her architecture. Who do you think did Jil better?

Jil Sander S/S 2013

Jil Sander S/S 2013

Or Marni?

Marni S/S 2013

Marni S/S 2013

 

Raf Simons did a pretty good job for his first Dior Show…Over 50% of the show was decent. The press LOVED it which was over the top but of course Dior is a BIG advertiser. Here are a few shots of that show.

Dior S/S 2013

Dior S/S 2013

What’s the point of this blog? Fashion has so many dimensions and unfortunately  the public only gets about 15% of the information. Plus if advertisers are the only people that the press talks about how can anyone grow in this business? Same old houses, same old designers….no credit for the real new and different….this bothers me.

Women Now Outshine the Men at Work…Is That Acceptable? Really?

Donald Trump Bad Hair Day

Here is the supposed KING of Business. So are we (I mean the work force of America) saying that it is OK for a man to parade around like this just as long as he makes a lot of money?  Would that be acceptable for women? Funny, every time a women runs for office, all the press and opponents talk about is her dress and her hair, but we don’t even speak about a man (well ok we are finally making fun of “The Donald”).

Is this Best We Can Do?

Here you go…here is the perfect illustration of our illustrious young male workforce, badly dress and groomed. Why aren’t the women of the world screaming for a revolution….Would you really look at these guys and think they are the best you could hire for your company?  How can you tell them apart?  They all think they look the part, and what they really look like is that they have white man’s disease, you can tell they can’t dance either. Maybe one of them could have worn a dark trouser that possibly would fit them without having a saggy ass. Maybe one of them could have worn a patterned shirt or dare I say a tie. We all know they were wearing blue blazers (without a spec of a design element anywhere). Somewhere there is a secret code that informs these men that it’s the only acceptable uniform to wear; khakis, a blue or white plain shirt and a navy blazer and you are all set for the business world. Get an $8 hair cut while you are at it.

Well guess what men of the secret code…your competition isn’t each other any more. it’s women. And I can say for certain, because many of them are my customers, women are grooming themselves to look more modern for business to beat the competition in their saggy assed suits from Joseph A. Banks. Get ready… So when you walk out of an interview all wrinkled (or unwrinkled in your stay pressed shirt and pants) that the women (or male) interviewer is going to respond better to a candidate with an aura of a well dressed and groomed person, not someone in the secret code uniform.

Now I know that I’m a woman, and women aren’t part of the CLUB…. But this code has gone on for way too long. It was cool to see men stop being so buttoned up, but of course we had to go to extremes and soon they are wearing pajamas around because they are comfortable. If that’s the case why wear clothes at all?

Is this Really Sexy? I Guess if You Have Money You Shouldn't Care..I Think You Should

Whether men like it or not, to compete in this business climate they are going to have to put more time and effort into their appearance or be left behind. There are leaders in this endeavor. The look may not scream out (which is the point) but check out the grooming and the variety of dress.

He Looks Modern Without Looking Stuffy

Look a Different Colored Shirt?

Now There's a Man Who Knows How To Tie aTie

See my point? Please….

When the Economy Tanks Elegance Becomes Essential

“Does anybody know who Wallis Simpson is?” I once asked and got a big stare back….I understand that women, who influenced style during the last 100 hundred years is not essential to ones knowledge of modern history;  but could we have a cheat sheet made up (since there are not that many) for the younger generation. These women represented style not only with their clothes but their lifestyle as well. Wallis Simpson was not a women that lived a commendable life, neither did Coco Channel, but they influenced “women’s fashion” during a period of major economic turmoil (the 30’s) in a way that would truly be relevant today.  Only today they would not have to compete with the tonnage of CHEAP merchandise that has flooded the retail environment.

For many years there have been several trends that don’t feel right to me. When there is so many indicators that the economy is weak, why does the fashion world promote flashy, aggressive clothes as if we are living during boom times? I think I know why…it’s because we are a Global Society now and fashion houses are catering to emerging markets. The US is not the major consumer it once was. We are down on the list and our number one concern is how cheap can we get it…..not how it’s made or who made it , or how long will it last (style and make)…but what percentage discount can we get it. When was the last time you read an article on how good clothing is made? When have you seen a segment on the “Today Show” about how to buy a garment that takes months to design and make or a segment on clothes you bought ten years ago that are relevant today because they were designed and made well. OK enough lecturing…now back to Wallis Simpson:

 

Wallis Simpson Married the Abdicated King Of England, Edward Duke Of Windsor

The 30’s were a time of elegance and style, just look at the dress Mrs. Simpson(Duchess of Windsor) is wearing in the picture above. You can see the how luxurious the fabric is by the way it drapes on her upper body under the matador Jacket and the skirt falls gracefully from the waist down. The 30’s were also a time of austerity, a time of quiet refinement. The Styling of the dress covers the whole body, almost prudish (and she was far from being a prude). So we finally get to the point of this blog which is trends today do not yet reflect the socio-economic times of today. But  Louis has moved strongly in this direction, without the support of the media, for a few seasons very successfully. We made a trip to London(ironically) in January and found some great lines that we felt moved in this direction of elegance and refinement. Here are few pics to help you see what we are talking about.

 

Alessandra Rich really Captures the Mood, no?

Alessandra Rich is an Italian living in London. She know quality like an Italian and she gets the design feel from living in London…a perfect match.

 

Lee Klabin's Cut and Drape along with Great Fabrics Make this Dress

check the dress out from the back

Lee Klabin has been making boned, rock and roll wedding dresses for the lucky women in London for many years. This is her first season making ready to wear and Louis is her first American store. The quality shows when you zip up the asymmetrical zipper and it fits like a glove….and the midnight duchess satin is delicious.

Osman is the Perfect Blend of the 30's and the 70's

Osman is a Cambridge educated designer out of London who again, only worked with private clients until this season. Originally from Afghanistan, he has a retro esthetic with a modern twist.

Well this will be the first of many blogs on this subject. We are in a time of refinement and appreciation…our new words for this decade…we better start understanding the meaning of these words or we will miss the point of living well.

 

Its All in the Cloth

When I first started to understand the true meaning of the quality of a Kiton Garment, it was explained to me the cost of the garment was in the make. The fabric would changed the cost by just a little because the tailoring was so time intensive. I bought that explanation for a while. But every season when I sat down in front of the swatches I would get a little giddy waiting for their “New” presentation. The innovation of fabrics, and the depth of their colors are always more incredible than the last season. These selections only add to the value of the jacket, plus add to the “real soul” of the the garment.

When one of the ONLY differences between a man’s wardrobe is the make and the fabric why not enjoy the distinction that quality and innovation of fabric can bring to a garment.  What does that mean exactly? Well, for example, men as a rule are always hot, like temperature hot. Fabric mills over the last seven years have spun yarns to their finest, lightest point but still sustaining the same durability as a heavier fabric. By using the best (“longest”) hairs from each of the specific animals, they have discovered they can even have the same “look” as a heavier fabric but the properties of one 40% lighter. The mills have also discovered that mixing the contents of the fabric, using the “best” qualities of each contributing yarns,  make a great cocktail.

Kiton Spring/summer 2011 Sport jacket

This Fabric is made up of 50% wool, 25% Cashmere, 25% Linen

You can see the depth of the color,  married with the texture that the wool and linen create make the fabric have a personality all it’s own. What you can’t see is the hand that these yarns feel to the touch. The predominance of wool in the fabric control the wrinkle effect of the linen. But the linen gives the appearance and airiness of a spring/summer fabric.

This Fabric Contains 50% Wool 36% Cashmere and 14% Linen

The texture of the fabric  is so visible. The traditional Glenn Plaid has such a modern feel when you can see (and feel) the blending of the yarns. here are some examples of the suits fabric as well.

Kiton Suits all with Different Blends, Unique to the Designs