Sunday, 12 December 2010

We All Have Our Price

We All Have Our Price..

I was browsing the Topman website last night and came across the Antony Price Priceless collection (his fourth limited edition collection for the high street chain). The collaboration had been on my radar for a few seasons but it was this AW10 collection that really piqued my interest. At first glance, the stark and edgy campaign imagery could be vintage Hedi Slimane era Dior Homme. The campaign star, Polish model Tomek Szczukiecki (signed to FM model agency in London), already has a host of major designer campaigns under his belt, including Dior Homme, Versace and Paul Smith. His cool rock-androgyny demeanour, coupled with the minimal set, styling and black and white photography, combine to make the collection look more haute couture than high street.

Photographic wizardry and international male models aside, I think you could have shot these garments flat on the pavement and it still would have looked like Lenny Kravitz had just walked by and inadvertently dropped his jacket. But then you'd expect nothing less from Antony Price, the man that could be justly credited as THE defining rock n' roll stylist of the century.

In the 60's we had Britain's Tommy Nutter, who was arguably the most influential tailor of that decade. Twiggy, Mick and Bianca Jagger and Elton John were all fans, as were The Beatles. Nutter was famous for dressing three out of the four Beatles for the cover of their seminal Abbey Road album in 1969. Though George Harrison opted to wear jeans, John, Paul and Ringo were suited and booted Nutter-style.

But there's no question that the 70's and 80's belonged to Price. His client list reads like the rock n' roll hall of fame. He dressed the Rolling Stones for their 1969 American tour and went on to collaborate with Lou Reed on his Transformer album. Price designed the super-tight "Arse" trousers, the crotch of which had been photographed (in close proximity) for the album's back cover artwork. The risque shot showcased what appeared to be Lou Reed's sizeable erection but it was in fact a model, with a cucumber shoved down his trousers for visual effect. Whoever came up with the concept was certainly adept at marketing, as the homoerotic image was bound to get people talking. A little public scandal and outrage has never had an adverse effect on record sales - just look at Madonna or The Sex Pistols.

So successful were Price's "Arse" trousers, that when Vivienne Westwood's clients complained to her about the comparably unflattering fit of the drop crotch trousers from her Pirate collection, she is alleged to have retorted "well go to Antony Price then". He went on to work with David Bowie, Jerry Hall, Steve Strange and Duran Duran. However, it was his work with Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music that really cemented his status as a cult designer and stylist. The album cover artwork of Roxy Music's first eight albums were all Price collaborations. The most iconic was probably their 1975 Siren album, featuring a smoking-hot Jerry Hall, her pneumatic body encased in an Antony Price Couture mermaid dress.

Despite my initial desire to shop for myself, rather ironically, I ended up purchasing a Christmas gift for my partner instead. He'd been wanting to replace his navy Hugo Boss peacoat for a while, so I showed him The Black Wool Military Peacoat (pictured above) and it was fashion lust at first sight. Though I'm yet to see the garment in real life, from the photo it appears that the fabric, fit and finish are not only beautiful but executed to a high standard. I suppose the proof will be in the pudding when he opens up his presents on Christmas Day. My partner has a broad torso and shoulders so the clever positioning of the seams and inverted triangle shape created by the metal crested buttons will really work to emphasise the breadth of his shoulders, nipping him in at the waist to create that highly sought after v-shaped chest.

The Grey Wool Long Military Trench (pictured above), was one of the initial pieces that caught my eye, as I've been wearing my elaborately embroidered John Rocha coat to death and I fear for its future and condition if I don't start rotating it with another winter option soon. Being slim, I love how a little military tailoring can bulk you out, padding out your shoulders ever so slightly to create a strong, clothes hanger style silhouette for the torso. I'd imagine its the male equivalent of the 80's power shoulder, though unlike its 80's equivalent, its origins probably owe more to Napoleon's military uniform than it does to Joan Collins and Dynasty. Alas, I bottled out of purchasing it. Being a devotee of black, I was concerned that a grey trench would look more like casual weekend wear than kick ass work attire.

The Black Shine Crop Padded Jacket (pictured above) was sadly another miss. Though my heart screamed "buy me, buy me", my head said "go anywhere near a bonfire and you'll be a walking human torch". Though I opted not to buy, the fusion of a padded tech fabric (black nylon) and sculptural tailoring is a real winner, to me it looks super high end. The second-skin shape is very Rik Owens, while the futuristic fabrication reminds me of the clothing collaboration between PUMA and Mihara Yasuhiro, or Markus Lupfer's designs for Armand Basi. The thing I love most about this piece is that on closer inspection, it's quite possible that Price has re-invented none other than the classic black leather biker jacket. Squint a little at the photo and you'll agree that the shape bares an uncanny resemblance to the iconic leather jacket Marlon Brando rocked in 'The Wild One". Perhaps he borrowed a little from Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld with the quilting? Anyone remember the cult reversible black quilted nylon Cocoon bag from the Lily Allen campaign?

The Black Wool Cowl Neck Peacoat (pictured above) was the final piece from the collection that I took a shine to. Shooting the jacket from the side was a clever touch as it showcases how an exceptional tailor can virtually re-shape a person's body. The seams places on the sides of the abdomen contour the stomach, creating a streamlined "washboard" effect. What man (or woman), wouldn't want a piece of clothing that was not only functional but also hinted at the possibility of gym abs underneath (even if in reality it's more a case of jelly belly than gym bunny).

Black Wool Military Peacoat - £120

Grey Long Wool Military Trench - £150

Black Shine Crop Padded Jacket - £100

Black Wool Cowl Neck Peacoat - £120

Thursday, 9 December 2010

A Touch Of Frost

A Touch Of Frost..

Here's a lovely snap of childhood friends Jemima French (left) and Sadie Frost (right), aka design duo FrostFrench, on the red carpet at the British Fashion Awards 2010. Tuesday evening's glittering event at The Savoy was the perfect opportunity for Sadie to show off her Beatrix Ong black patent Glare shoes. The dainty straps add a naive doll-like charm to her kooky ensemble. Teamed with elegant sheer black tights, they set off her high-waisted navy and black pencil skirt, sheer black blouse and bustier to perfection (PS - how hot do Jemima's legs look?).

If you are in London, you can snap up Beatrix Ong shoes at Harrods, Liberty and select Jaeger stores (if you live further afield, check out her website for a complete stockist list). For the full Beatrix Ong experience, take time to browse her men's and women's shoe, accessory and luggage collections at the new Beatrix Ong concept store at 188 Pavilion Road, London SW3 2BF.

Beatrix Ong Glare - £188

0845 430 8880 /

A Close Shave

A Close Shave..

I've been sent many a shaving product over the years to test for reviews. Being mixed race, my hair is naturally curly, leaving me prone to painful ingrown hairs. Having sensitive skin, with fast-growing hair and coarse stubble, I often find the shaving process uncomfortable (I have to shave daily to avoid looking like Joaquin Phoenix, pictured below during his rapper phase). With this in mind, I'm especially picky when it comes to my shaving products.

When I was contacted by Oliveology, an American shaving brand, to ask if I'd consider reviewing their natural Shave Gel, I thought sure, send it over and I'll see how it compares to the premium natural products I already use. Olive Oil is the core ingredient in this product. In Greek mythology, when Athena, goddess of wisdom, was challenged by Poseidon, god of the sea, to create a divine gift for the Greeks, she created the olive tree. Athena's gift turned out to be a little more useful to modern man. While horses are generally kept for sport and agriculture in the Western world (with the notable exception of France where they like to consume them on occasion), the olive (and olive oil) is a staple of Mediterranean and increasingly Western diets. It's no wonder then that Mediterraneans are famed for their longevity, supple skin, healthy hair and nails.
Olive oil is known not only for its culinary cholesterol-reducing properties but also for its efficacy as a skin cleanser and moisturiser. A rich source of Vitamin E gives the olive antioxidant properties, valuable protection against cellular damage from free radicals and environmental aggressors. In short, Vitamin E gives olive oil anti-ageing properties, making it particularly effective in skincare.

I can guarantee that the majority of modern working men and women would rather have one excellent shaving product, than have to rely on a host of products to achieve the same super-smooth result. I certainly don't have time to massage a pre-shave oil into my skin, followed by a shave gel/foam and post-shave balm - it's just too fiddly and time-consuming. This is why I already use multi-purpose natural shaving products and why Oliveology Shave Gel has earned a place in my bathroom.

If I had to single out the most outstanding point of difference between this products and its rivals, it would be the slippy texture of the gel. I'm yet to find another product that lubricates my razor blade as effectively, without the build up of stubble on the blade. All you have to do is look at the water in your basin as you shave, you'll see hairs everywhere and it's all because there's none on the razor. It's also worth mentioning that a little bit of product gives a lot of great shave.

The odourless formulation will be appreciated by those with sensitive skin (and others like myself who prefer their face not to smell like a cheap generic men's deodorant). Additional natural ingredients such as skin-soothing aloe and sangre de grado extract (a tree resin also known as dragon's blood), known for its skin-healing properties, ensure this product ticks all the boxes from efficacy to added benefits. The travel-size bottle is especially handy for those on-the-go (in my experience, airport security have a fondness for seizing your essential toiletries at the least convenient times - so it's safer to downsize).

Oliveology House Bottle, 8oz - $12.00
Oliveology Travel Bottle, 2oz - $5.00