Tortoise is refreshingly classic.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Black is the default option for the most frequently used clothing items such as wallets, shoes, belts, socks and anything that is required to impeccably look right with everything else in our closet. It’s a colour of safety that makes us feel strong and benevolent in situations where we feel most insecure. For certain items, black can be too uniform and lacking in identity for accessories such as sunglasses for which black is dominant choice of colour.
Tortoise can be an assuring but also daring colour option for individuals who want to project a warm personality without resorting to bold primary colours. From near dark brown to semi-transparent, tortoise is available in a wide variety of nuances and graphics suited for different personality types.
Recently I acquired a pair of sunglasses which had to tick all the boxes for my criteria set; the pair had to have a classic shape, suit my face, have a distinguished appearance and look right in both a creative and professional environment . Seeking something different from the standard flavour of black frames my pick became a set of handmade vintage Louis FĂ©raud glasses with inspiration taken from 1970s. Prior to buying them my knowledge of the brand was limited. In fact I knew nothing of the French brand but my lack of knowledge was irrelevant and even fuelled my interest in sealing the deal. The rounded lenses are accented with subtle golden hinges which give the frame aspirational but affirmatively classic look.
Purchasing the sunglasses was a pleasurable experience with a line up of 8-10 different lens colours to choose from. My conservative preference fell for a dark brown lens which washes away the grey and gloomy mood with a warm amber tone. The forgone options were a dizzying tri-coloured lenses fading from green to blue and finally to purple at the bottom. Most tempting of all were the Carl Zeiss option produced by Carl Zeiss, the famous camera lens supplier for Hasselblad, Canon, Sony and other top camera manufacturers. But priced at £40 the Carl Zeiss option classify as a “do I really need it” purchases – unnecessarily luxurious but highly tempting. Nevertheless the freedom to select what coloured lens would be cut and slotted into the frame was personal enough for me to grow a strong bond the second I inaugurated them in the shop as my new head ornament.
The most recent advocate of simpleton frames of tortoise colour is famous women’s wear design Oscar De La Renta. In the highly anticipated documentary giving an insight to the professional life of fashion publishing supremo Anna Wintour, De La Renta can be seen wearing an admirable pair of glasses with prescription lens. Playfully uplifting, they underscore his critically acclaimed talent for designing exquisite and strikingly romantic creations for self-confident women who value discretion. Although his frames make a statement of they do not draw attention to the degree that they distract or compromise the sophistication of the barer.

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Adam & Eve are in disagreement over dressing.

Monday, 17 August 2009

They do shopping, we buy clothes – they dress up, we get dressed. Who are they? Men and women. Clothes serve the same function for both sexes – to preserve heat and protect the body from injury or harm. But there are empirical differences between what t-shirts, jeans, skirts, jackets and shoes mean to the distinguished genders. It’s to the extent that supports the much heard saying “men are from Mars and women from Venus.”

For me to leave a relaxing mind set and journey towards Brompton Road, New Bond Street, Dover Street or Slone Street and elbow through the crowds of shoppers converging on the streets of London every summer, there needs to be a purpose. An example is yesterday’s pick -- a pack of 5 pairs of black socks. Many of the thin socks in my top right drawer are nearing the end of their life span and there has been a need to refresh my sock collection. Well justified in shopping I left home and 1 hour later returned home to be cleared out drawer feeling content about my purchase. The price was right, the socks looked decent and were easily found. The spiritual reward of finding exactly what I want is immeasurable. I had found exactly what I was looking for and the mission was successful. Other individuals, who hold the view that “there is no such thing as too much shopping” get their satisfaction and adrenalin from the quest is self – the shopping experience of lurking and evidently finding something irresistible. They will leave their home just after noon on a Saturday to mosey in random shops ignored in the past or never bothered to step into, in hope of falling in love with a dress they suddenly need to live on for another day in life. Solitary shopping is often avoided. Ideal shopping companion is off course an equally spending-happy friend who acts like a board or advisor enthusiastically giving blessings and justification for irrational materialistic cravings. Shopping of this behaviour is alien in the man’s world were few items other than cars have the ability to awaken the ultimate shopping-self inside a man as well as his best friend who is there to fend off impartial advice from malicious car salesmen.
Lady Gaga is not only a well accredited singer, but she has extended her curriculum vitae to becoming a stylist and a fashion fanatic. Speaking louder than her voice is her choice of sexually provocative and eccentric outfits. Her bathing suits, fishnet stockings and transparent tops have escaped the eyes of few. Speculating about what artistically expressive clothing she’ll wear on next time the 10 paparazzi men ambush her is more interesting than guessing the title of her next album. Gaga is a fashion maverick, the dressing icon of 2009. Rarely walking with her legs covered, one might wonder how she manages not to catch a cold walking trough chilly airport terminals flanked by a body guard ready to wave off photographers as if they were flies. Understandably the photographers don’t want to miss an occasion with such an extrovert showbiz persona, especially when it seems though as her outfits have been puzzled together to produce a certain effect; distaste, confusion, bemusement and discussion. What’s immune from negative criticism is the well taken care of physic of Gaga. Her body is invigorating and inarguably sexy is everything she wears – regardless of how ugly. The excessive exposure of skin and body contours is recognizable from the era of leather and nylon – the wild 1980s. Back then Rick James, Boy George and Prince amongst other pop artists paved the way for an overly decorative fashion styles that were followed by millions. Recording commercially successful tracks was important as coming up with new shocking outfits to daunt the fans with.
One of the most celebrated and still performing artist to emerge out of the 80s boom of pop music is Madonna. At the age of 50s the star has yet to show any signs of fading star quality or desire to leave the lime light. From featuring in million pound advertising campaigns with top designers, kissing Britney Spears on stage to defying adoption laws and wearing compromising stage outfits, Madonna is the great missionary of the 80s; Sexy, revolting, spirited and magical. Ruffled shirt, leather leggings and transparent did not live long into the 90s before hip-hop wear became main stream appeal. The word sexy is nowhere to be found in the glossary for men’s fashion. Only in the context of cross dressing is it acceptable for a man to intent on dressing sexy because the attributes of the word is showing your skin and attempt at arousing the opposite sex. It’s not common man’s nature. From baggy jeans the world has adopted slim or skinny jeans that in combination with a blazer and tie create the defining outfit for this decade.

On one occasion this year I unknowingly had the fortunes of sexiness on my side as I intensely seduced a woman. It was a clear sky, a happy day with slightly brisk May winds that cooled my face while I taking small steps to freedom. My final exam for the second academic year at University had been attended and stood at the entrance of a building which was soon to stand empty over a 4.5 half months summer break. I joyously shook hands with fellow students who had taken the exam, some of which were terrifying discussing questions they had answered incorrectly. While still tightly fused and bonded from working together on challenging group works which had erupted in numerous feuds and emotional outbreaks like in an episode of the apprentice, ten of us decided to conclude the academic year with a round of drinks. A student bar in Camden selling Swedish cider became the venue of choice for a wallet friendly warm up before we crossed central London on the underground for a night’s finale at in the West End. Music was play distortedly from the weak speakers but the modest levels of alcohol streaming through my veins washed away all the worries about University exams, the economy and whether there is any chilled food in my fridge to munch on when I arrive home later during the night.
Huddled closely together we danced casually on the dance floor. Scanning the environment around me I drifted off to a certain female who intensely had her eyes locked on me. The eggshell coloured cardigan made her easy to spot as we drew close to each other with equal determination to engage. Enquiring what the curiosity was about I said hi and caressed her hair and left cheek marking my intentions about accelerating the love episode. After exchanging names she surprisingly complimented me on my shirt which she found to look `amazing´ on me. During our near inaudible conversation dissolved in loud house music she continued to share her fondness of my shirt with some very kind words. Standing intimately close, she hesitantly danced with me and followed up with some bad news. Yelling into my ear she informed me of the whereabouts of her boyfriend, which was were her finger was pointing – across the room. As my eyes focused on the 5 meter distance I saw a tall and athletic guy with his arms crossed. His face had the expression of dismay and anguish as he had me and his suspected not so faithful girlfriend in plain sight. As a demonstration of my praiseworthy gentlemanship I retreated into the darkness of the club, ending the love triangle. It was a cautionary action to avoid a brawl which would result in blood stains on the shirt the lady in eggshell was deeply in love with.
It was a moment of seductive power. The way she clinched on to me drawn by her affection for my shirt was like wearing the mantle of Superman – in her eyes I was sexy but in my view I was quite casual. On a note, I wasn’t wearing just any shirt. The shirt was tailor-made one -- blue/white striped white collar and cuffs. Who would have thought that dressing sexy as a man didn’t take any effort at all? There was no attempt at impressing any way as I had just tucked in the shirt into my jeans, rolled up the sleeves and left one button open. Versatile as a Swiss-army knife, a shirt is the most vital piece in a man’s wardrobe. Attach a tie for a formal appearance, leave buttons open for regulating heat or roll sleeves up for a leisure look. A man can therefore not own to many shirts -- even of a similar kind. Rotation of shirt is important for longevity, though not too important if you’ve invested in more premium priced quality shirts which are cheaper in the long run compared with ´bargain´ alternatives that wear out quality and need to be discarded after 3-6 months of use. Tailored shirts that are designed to look their best on your body make not only a difference to you but also to the eye of the beholder. Yet again, simplicity has triumph overcomplicated outfits in seducing the opposite sex.

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Officine Panerai: Durability meets finesse.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Officine Panerai is Italy’s most exquisite ambassador in the world of watch making were the country famous for its adoring food culture and influential designs has remarkably dismal presence. The suspected name that would roll of people’s tongues when discussing Italian watches is Armani which has a popular and widely available assortment of luxury/jewellery watches priced at more accessible levels than Cartier’s similarly spirited watches.
Because Armani is a designer brand, a chauvinistic opinion would be that their watches are well decorated faces concealing forgettable and rather primitive technical underpinnings. Whoever holds such negative stance against Armani watches, or designer watches in general, are deemed justified in their judgemental attitude. Removing the back plate of a designer watch using a screw driver will in 9 out of 10 times reveal a battery-powered quartz movement possessing the same complexity and opulence can of sweet corn. Designer watches fulfil their manifest purpose of satisfying the consumer demand for a time keeping instrument produced by a company with a reputable and well respected track record in art and fashion. Isn’t those two the most decisive factors during an elaborate search for the right watch -- attractive looks and the ability to count 24 hours? Only the wealthy and successful can afford to swipe the magnetic strip a heavily used AMX Platinum car in exchange for a mechanical wrist watch that belongs to the cachet of engineering spectacle by the flavours of a Daytona, Royal Oak or Patrimony Contemporaine. But who except Richard Branson and NASA astronauts can admittedly convince us and themselves that their Omega Speedmaster professional has experienced any environment that even remotely emulates the atmospheric pressures in space or zero gravity? Even the hazards of lime scale deter watch collectors from admitting their watches to accompany them into the bathroom for a foamy lavender scenting session in the bathtub. Social status and self rewards ranks amongst the prominent driving forces behind the purchase of a dream watch, though for many true hearted wrist watch devotees it’s a personal matter of affiliation. Loyal customers of fine time piece can sit for hours and passionate exchange information and opinion about the most intricate and tiny details about a watch.

Parallel with story of rival Swiss and French rivals, Officine Panerai(or more commonly known as Panerai) have ancestry in engineering innovation. Founded in Florence in 1860 by Giovanni Panerai it took a long 30 years for the now Richemont Group owned watch manufacturer to attain the excellence that yielded a new direction for the company, to become an office manufacturer of nautical instruments by appointment of the Royal Navy of Italy. This was a pivotal customer for a family business that overnight was attributed an essence for existence and for continuation of watch making pursuits. Not limited to time pieces, Panerai developed a vast array of equipment for the navy ranging from torches, depth measurement devices and telescoping peripherals for weapons and artillery. Despite the widened business activities the core product of devoted time was watches which had a high weight of importance during the first half of the 20th century when the accuracy of watches varied to the same degree as the dreadful British weather has this summer.
The expectations were enormous and the testing of the watches was scrutinising. Not only were Panerai watches expected to deliver invaluable time keeping accuracy sought by the Royal Navy, but they had to embody the durability the treacherous and demanding conditions on board ships hammered by powerful Mediterranean waves. However, the adversary of underwater conditions posed the biggest challenge for Panerai which had to develop watches that could comfortably operate under immense pressure at sea depths even Michael Phelps wouldn’t dream of conquering. Certain Panerai models can be taken to staggering depths of 1000 meters below sea levels. With functionality propelling the watch maker forward in the arms race of the WW1 and WW2, design had to follow the pioneering course of function. Easy to read as instrumental gauge, the praised and visually fetching Luminor watch has a large face decorated with few modest details that sum up to a powerful and distinct appearance that cannot be mistaken for another watch. It’s an incredibly compelling watch available in cases measuring 40mm or 44mm in diameter depending on the model.

Indicative of the name, the dials illuminate in the dark bringing to life the pragmatism of the watch’s usability during dark and cold underwater sea expeditions. Patented just like the chemical alchemy illuminating the dials is the distinguished crown protected by a bridge. Serving as a water sealing protector of the case, the bridge has an incorporated lever for releasing the crown into a position for adjusting time and date. A purposeful and intelligent solution that add an empowering sense of authority to watch originally dedicated to the purpose of assisting brave naval soldier. The Luminor series is a display of masculinity in a package oozing of finesse while devoid of excess in offensive angular lines seized by the increasingly successful Hublot big bang. Panerai has designed a watch of grace and reserved handsomeness powered by Swiss-made in house movements that have aided the Italian navy at sea up until this very day. Contradicting in appearance by blending the commanding impression of a large watch with the tamed round contours and lines, the Luminor and the more formal Radiomir series are masterful displays of watch designs guaranteed to make the barer notable respect in choice of watch.

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