Fine Tailoring.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

A common perception of made-to-measure customers a tripled chinned Citibank Hedge Fund managers sitting at his executive desk with elbows rested on a goat skin desk mat while passionately caressing his Marquis Jet card that grants them access to a Gulfstream 450. Given the colossal salaries, hedge fund managers buy tailored clothes simply because they can.

What if tailored clothes are not a luxury indulgence but a necessity for getting maximum value for your money? Finding a shirt that fits the body so perfect that you want a blow kiss to whoever made it, is like encountering Amy Winehouse zero levels of toxicity or illegal substances in her blood stream. A shirt size 38 is available in a million different configuration and colours. One shirt might have sleeves that are slight short, another shirt might be too wide in the waist while other shirt don’t have the desired cuff or collar style. Trying shirts on in shops is not for the vain or lazy as it requires removing all layers of clothing that are on the upper body and might potentially ruin ones hair style in the process. Faced with countless of ill-fitting shirts shirt, a common solution is to settle for the best of the worst.

This is where tailoring is the saviour supporting the saying “If you want something done then get it done yourself”. A tailored shirt is not just a shirt, it’s a dream turned into reality. The genie needed to turn a visionary outfit into a reality is a tailor paying attention to your every need ranging from cuff design and neck width to fabric thickness and choice of breast pocket. I had my first tailored experience at Imparali Custom Tailors on 5th Avenue in New York two months ago. In a relaxed environment I got to flick through hundreds of fabric sample and chose from a buffet of different components that make up a shirt. Forget standing on your toes trying to reach of your shirt size laying on a rack too high up in a store. In the world of tailoring all you do is stand with your arms out and let the tailor do his magic with a tape measure.

The other side of the coin of tailoring is the cost, fine tailoring is expensive. For the money conscious there is way of meeting a tailor in the middle and that’s through alterations. This is a forgotten world that shoppers often ignore. Light alterations rarely total to more than 20% of the purchase price for the shirt or suit, but the satisfaction can be worth the world. An understandable fear is that the tailor lacks craft skills to produce the desired result. Practice makes perfect and means that more experienced tailors are better than new comers on the market. Most crucial is communication, and the same principle is applied as when visiting a hairdresser. Rather than expecting the potentially big headed craftsman to magically understand your vision, make sure to emphasize several times what you want done. A dissatisfactory work is both bad for the customer and craftsman. The customer shed a tear for his ruined shirt and the tailor lose out on a customer spreading good publicity and returning for business.


Party theatrics.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Anxious about an event it can be depressing realising that what’s in the closet have already been worn a million times, and the thought of chopping through crowded jungles of shop in search for something to wear makes the head spin. Women on the other hand will happily designate an entire Friday afternoon for retail hunting, forcing themselves to buy new heels although a dozen of barely used pairs are at home collecting more dust than a vacuum cleaner.

All that a man needs for an ample dose of theatrics is a bow tie. Cute as pulling the Olsen twins out of a hat, bow ties evoke exceptional smiles amongst mortals nearby and go great with a men’s dinner suit. It’s very hard to go unnoticed with one tied around the neck which makes it a very powerful party prop. Add further artillery like a puppy and the result in an invisible dome of joy and peace stretching 20 meters around you. One would naturally the magic of bow ties to have has zero effect at Nobel Prize banquet or other festivities where there will be more bows than Cupid held in his entire life.

Bow ties are great feel-good-day when the sun is shining, no elements of stress are in the body and the soul is in an unjustifiable good spirit. Being mistaken for a confused individual wearing a bow tie at a wrong occasion is easily avoided by diffusing the tie in upper wear of various texture, patterns or colours. A relaxed appearance will only be achieved by wearing the right type of bow tie. Formal ties tend to have very defined cuts and hold a stiffer posture than casual bow ties which tend to be softer around the corners.


Devaluating yourself.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

As always fame has a tendency of trickling into overexposure. Brilliant artist and amazing music producer Kanye West dipped his toe into the deep sea of fashion a few years ago. Having occasionally demonstrated good taste in clothes, hiss addiction to fashion stardom and aspirations to influence got out of hand early this year. Bunny-hopping from show to show like a teen window shopping in every single store in a mall, Kanye excessively exhausted paparazzi photographers who had to endure him during fashion week.

Great minds think alike and so does irrational minds. The maximum publicity philosophy shared between Louis Vuitton and Kanye West suggests the two phenomenons were once conjoined twins. Having allowed the singer to use the Louis Vuitton store on 5th Avenue as a venue for his birthday, LV further devalued their brand by conceiving sneakers with Kanye. Resembling bulky sneakers an astronaut would wear playing space squash inside the International space station, slapping ones palm on the forehead followed by a disappoint head shake is the only logical reaction.


Spring is here.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Blessed by not having any allergies my mood thrives on the sight of daffodils making their spring entry in this month. Ginger hair is lovely too. It reminds me of all the delights in life such as Hermes gift boxes, cinnamon and mango. Two weeks ago I had an encounter with a highly distinctive ginger haired person. The skin was pale contrasting the hair hanging long and straight like delicate violin strings. With makeup nowhere too be seen on the face this was a certified natural beauty. Fully distracted by angel face before me it didn’t take long until a cold thrill travelled from my head down my spine, informing me that this particular individual was a young man and not a woman.

Was he an alien? A drag queen maybe? Or was he an androginist? The answer is the latter. Amusingly the feminine beauties in his face rivalled that of the pretty female who accompanied him. Attracting him, it and her, the appearance of an androginist is very powerful in the way it blurs the notion of gender. Our behaviour is partially governed by the people we interact with and in most scenarios we behave differently around women than we do on a Saturday night with male comrades. Time is on a standstill when you encounter an androginist as the brain face a complex struggle between what the mind wants to see and the reality that the individual is a man. British designer Gareth Pugh advocated for the androgyny lifestyle in this latest fashion collection.



Sunday, 15 March 2009

Publically displaying concern for the state mother earth is no longer synonymous with driving out at sea on a small raft intending to hang big Greenpeace banner on oil tankers. Modern day environmental patrons responsibly pull up alongside a curb on Rodeo Drive for a few slurps of Vitamin Water while enthusiastically exchanging words with a friend using a bluetooth headset. This is all done to the sound track of a silent whine from the electric starter engine in their Prius, promising them a place in heaven for not realising any emissions at while idle.

Never before has it been so politically correct to be self-righteous about ones carbon footprint and environmental contribution to a better planet. Various segments of the luxury market have recently been infiltrated with corporate socially responsible ideas ranging from packaging made from recycled phone bills to diamonds with no traces of blood. Here are two true environmentally friendly products that are free from pompous eco marketing but full of luxury and innovation.
Ulysse Nardin Chairman

Some smile at the sight of a sun rising on the horizon early in the morning and others lighten up when they see the swinging pendulum on the back of their Patek Philippe laying pretty on the bedside table. In a few weeks 1846 lucky buyers will have an additional pendulum in their lives, but this one in an unexpected device.

Prestigious wrist watch manufacturer Ulysse Nardin will in a few weeks launch a mobile phone partially powered by a pendulum movement. More details will emerge as we get closer to the Basel watch exhibition taking place on the 26th of Mars. Named “Chairman”, corporate board members and chairmen around the world will increase their productivity generating electricity while doing embarrassing attempts in dancing at nightclubs abroad.
In the present time of phones with media playback and twittering, it would be vain to expect kinetic regeneration of this minor magnitude to possess the capabilities of powering a phone throughout a day. Due to the prematurity of the technology, only a few percentage of daily used electricity would at most come from the swinging pendulum. In spite of that, energy regeneration in cell phones is a giant pioneering leap for mankind.

Porsche Panamera

The Porsche Cayenne have been a major success selling in volumes exceeding 250 000 units but is most certainly not the four door Porsche enthusiasts have been craving for. Wives married to wealthy couldn’t be happier as the Cayenne is a bulky metal object of status with golden practically that allow transporting children to and from school. A considerable portion of the profits generated by the SUV have been used to develop the new Porsche Panamera.
Low, wide, long, muscular and with a face like a predator the Panamera has the stance of a 500kg alligator. And sure does it share the appearances of an alligator too, a discussion over the design can end in a brawl with everybody in a boardroom throwing chairs at each other. The question puzzling your head right now might be how on earth a big and brash car like this can be environmental friendly. Porsche engineers have amazingly defied common logical and made a car that’s highly efficient.

Accelerating from 0-100km/h in 4.0sec the top of the range Panamera Turbo accelerates faster than a Lamborghini Gallardo that has 520hp versus the Panamera’s 500 horse powers. Add the fact that Panamera has an interior cabin taken from a science fiction movie with space for four tall adults, there is little negativity to say of the car’s technical achievements in serving as a sports car and long distance cruiser at the same time. The capabilities of fully taking advantage of every single horse power while offering the same luxury and spaciousness as Mercedes S-Class, makes the Panamera a certified frenemy of global warming.


Outdoor protection.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

”Wearing it like you stole it” should be the motto written on plaques and glued to the wardrobes of sartorialist men. It’s time to stop saving clothes for so called special days, everyday you wake up alive and pour one table spoon of sugar into a bowl of cornflakes is a special day. Residing in world capitals of consumption like London, Paris, Tokyo and NY, open gates to limitless imaginations for daily wear. Small cities tend of be confined bubbles of homogenous fashion replicated by thousands of people, who’s local shopping mall offer Boss Orange and their most exclusive range of clothing. In London shyness on the same level as Pinocchio is quickly transformed into obscene level of confidence that drive women to wear skirts that are so low that escalator rides on the underground can be an arousing experience for men.

It’s a beautiful thing to see hot ashes carried by the wind from an irresponsible smoker’s cigarette, burn through your own clothes. There is not a more honourable way for clothes to die than during combat with outdoor forces. That’s after all the purpose of clothes right, to serve and protect? But what if death could have been postponed and a precious cardigan made out of Italian wool didn’t have to sustain permanent stains caused by the bearer restring his arms on sticky tables at Starbucks? Sometimes we need to think beyond what our clothes can do for us and consider what we can do for our clothes. Ryanair aircrafts are major hazards and if you’re wearing anything more precious than a sweatshirt from GAP then you should refrain from sitting next to the alley way. With Ryanair contemplating charging £1 for toilets, their services are becoming more alike travel on a cattle truck in Kazakhstan. Onboard their aircrafts fighting over the arms rests will be your least concern as you will be dodging objects in order to protect your clothes from damage like potential alkaline streaks created by stewards pushing food trolleys through the very narrow alley scraping your shoulder in the process. Simple measures like wearing a coat can protect any fine wear from unnecessary damage, especially when Ryanair most certainly wouldn’t reimburse you if your cashmere cardigan fell victim of a chain suspended on the hip of an androgynist Goth guy.

Any man reading this post in a country with distinct seasons, have faced the complication of wearing a jacket over a blazer. The three most common outcomes are 1) You feel stuffed as a Turkey, 2) The blazer gets wrinkled, 3) You look like a fool. Sherlock Holmes is a man of admirable sense who shields his suit from stains by wearing a coat. Cotton is the best choice of material, especially without any padding since it allows for all year around versatility. Such a piece allow you to sit on park benches, lean on stripper poles and other spots where suit should not get in contact with. In simple terms it gives you the peace of mind of not having to baby sit your suit in fear of smudging it down with kebab dressing. Of course not everybody need protection, hedge fund managers driven around in racing green Bentley Arnage feel safe and relaxed resting against beige leather from cows breed in Sweden.


Lanvin & Paris.

Monday, 2 March 2009

In today’s world of fast media it’s easier than ever to become a hero. Upload an amusing stunt on Youtube and with luck one can become a hailed entertainer by millions of people for one week. Some clips are of such funny nature that they even earn a small blurb in foreign media and in rare cases the stunt might make it to prime time news. Back in the colonial days of the 1700s making foot prints in history was challenge to say the least.

Napoleon Bonaparte engraved his name in foundation of European history by achieving leadership excellence in his mid 20s. Using swift warfare techniques and strategies Napoleon is at the top row on the hall of fame wall for greatest military commanders of all times. Courageously proclaiming himself the emperor of France, there is no denying that only an individual of grand influence could successfully encapsulate such a position. 200 years later, Paris where he placed the crown on his head came under attack from one unexpected American. Searching on the keyword “Paris” at Google images reveal beautiful photos of the capital of France, but in the mix of all the Eifel tower photography are skimpy pictures of the one and only Paris Hilton.

How extraordinary isn’t that? An insignificant individual almost fully taking possession of a name belonging to a city that has existed for several centuries. Despite the justified despise for Paris Hilton, we should give her 7 seconds of standing ovations for the profound she has reached the highest level of celebrity status in a short time frame without any empirical talent. Maybe the heiress does deserve an ounce of respect for her peak status reached in the mid 20 just like Napoleon. Shall we proclaim the obscenely selfish brat empress of fame? With ease the conquered American tabloids and launched an invasion on the UK January this year by allying with television network ITV producing a reality TV show called “Paris Hilton's British Best Friend”.

For every 30 minutes you watch that show, 2 grams of brain cells die. ITV were utterly idiotic for producing the show with her as it’s the biggest insult to human intelligence in the history of TV broadcasting. Not even Simon Cowell, Jeremy Clarkson and Piers Morgan combined could express how disastrous the show is. Napoleons invasion to Russia was a major disaster too. He was outmanoeuvred by Alexander I, who retreated his troops while depleting Russian cities and villages of food supplies. French and allied troops continued to trout deeper into the massive landscape of Russia until cold weather and starvation began taking lives by the hour. Confused and desperate, blood thirsty Napoleon had to retreat as Russians were nowhere to be seen. His colossal army of over half a million soldiers had been reduced to less than 100 000 undernourished, ill and tired men there by marking the end of his dynasty. If prophecy is true that Paris and Napoleon are highly alike, the unsuccessful invasion of Britain will mark the end of her career forcing a retreat to exile on Hawaii.

Despite sharing name with Miss. Hilton, France’s capital is still THE Paris of the universe and a little over a week ago I was invited on the behalf of Nissan to experience the beautiful city as well as getting a previous of purposeful and cool Nissan Cube. Travelling on the Eurostar star is a dream, in a mere 2 hours and 20 minutes the train usher you from the city center of London to the city center of Paris without having to deal with a agony of air flight stress and security control. France is one of the three pillars of high-fashion and that fact was emphasized by the French passengers who travelled in first class. Forget Samsonite, arriving in Paris there were countless of gentlemen stepping out of the first class section with Damier canvas Louis Vuitton luggage. Slender female legs on the platform were covered in black stocking following the mono colour schemes which was black and more black with subtle golden details for sophisticated glamour. Editor in chief of French Vogue Carine Roitfeld is a prominent ambassador of street fashion.

Lanvin strengthened the image of French style when they showcased a highly patriotic fall/winter 2009 collection for men. Neck length accentuated in a feminine manner using feather light scarves cannot be mistaken for Italian, American or English, and neither can the boxy avant-garde cuts of clothes. Captivating deep colours like plum purple and silky materials have blended together to create the most romantic men’s collection since Valentino spring/summer2008. The originality and the purity of the designs make this the best AW 2009 collection by a large margin.

French people are polygamists as food isn’t their only love of their lives. Enjoying a delightful salmon at a restaurant, I experienced service that doesn’t exist in London restaurants except restaurant averaging £80 per customer. The respect from the waiters and the quality for the food is of that kind that earns 30% tip. Unfortunately I couldn’t return the favour properly since I slammed into wall of language barrier the second step my right foot into the restaurant and could only reply to a two sentence long welcome phrase, with a simple “Hi”. More stupidly I also got lost in an underground subway station because I had no clue what French word for exit is. My ignorance was of of that level that I almost deserved a night in jail like a revolting French man who has set to Renault Clio’s on fire. On my future visits to France I’ll have an English-French dictionary squeezed down my left jeans pocket. Until then, au revoir!