Thursday, 26 March 2015

Model off Duty: Old Sorting Office, London

Photographed outside the Old Sorting Office in London after the Topman Design show in January. See the portrait by clicking below.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Carl Barat and Edie Langley: Kensington Gardens, London

Libertines frontman Carl Barat and his girlfriend Edie Langley, standing outside the Burberry show at London Collections: Men on a drizzly British day.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Alexander McQueen: London's Savage Beauty

I had the privilege of experiencing the work of Alexander McQueen when I was invited by American Express, an early supporter in the designers career, to the press preview of Savage Beauty at the V&A. As I didn't have the chance to attend the New York Met exhibition in 2011, my anticipation to see this show in London was high. Luckily, it didn't fail to meet my expectations.

Savage Beauty creates a world of McQueen, similar to the way he was able to build one for each of his collections. As a multi-sensory experience I was immersed in sound and vision, led room by room through a story that slowly revealed itself and although the curation itself was astounding, it was seeing the creations up-close that left a lasting impact. I found myself staring up at head-dresses of glass and overcoats made from seashells baffled by, not only the fabrication, but also the concept itself.

What the exhibition optimistically does more than anything is eloquently portray 'opportunity': the kind that arises when talent, time and focus is applied. It's the designer's story that sticks with you once you leave, remembering that this was a boy born to a working class family in Lewisham. As we live in an age where rags to riches tales are 10 a penny, exaggerated by reality television, it's easy to overlook the truth behind Lee Alexander McQueen's life. He took the difficult route, leaving school at 16 and going to work on Savile Row. Today, I'm sure this would have peer credibility, but at the time Savile Row was in a slump and it's renaissance was not even a glimmer of hope in the mind of the Mayor of London. Working first with the tailor shop Anderson and Sheppard then with Gieves and Hawkes, he was able to gain the gritty skills that are required for men's tailoring. It's this area of his life that captures my imagination most, not only as my interest is with menswear but because I can imagine the struggle and determination he must have had.

Although Savage Beauty is filled with designs for women, his menswear background is clear to be seen throughout. Detailed construction and complex fits underpin all of his designs - two elements that would undoubtedly be missing without his education in tailoring. It wasn't until 2004 when he launched his first official menswear collection under the McQueen label and in many ways I can't believe that 11 years have passed so quickly. I clearly recall the first collection and accompanying film (seen below) where his irreverent 'Britishness' shone through in every way - my favourite being the Prince Of Wales check wool that was boil-washed and embroidered creating a classically McQueen design, dragging tradition to a new era. In that same year, American Express collaborated with McQueen to bring his work back to London after several seasons away, at the American Express: Black Event. For me this was a peak: the return to London which tells so much of his story, the launch of menswear and the support from a well-known brand demonstrating his appeal.

A person's name doesn't earn the label of 'household' without reason and Savage Beauty so perfectly portrays the reasons why. The journey I was taken on reflects McQueen's own transition from schoolboy to master and left me inspired to be creative myself, push the boundaries and try something new. Over the past two years I've done so much work within the 'Street Style' realm that I've almost forgotten the breadth of possibilities in photography. Watch this space for something new, inspired by Alexander McQueen, very soon.

See more info on Savage Beauty at the V&A website:

Sunday, 22 March 2015

GarconJon Wants: Timeless Timepieces

Interestingly enough, I've never had a huge interest in watches. I say 'interestingly' as I value simplicity and practicality so highly - these being two qualities which make a watch unqiue in the category of 'menswear accessory'. Over the past year however, my collection of wristwear has grown significantly and now the ball has begun to roll, it's difficult to make it stop. As I browse new items for next season, I can't help but peruse the watch section and so have now amased a range of desirable products. Here are my top 7 for 2015.

1. Casio Classic Gold Retro Watch: The Casio Classic watch is, most certainly, a classic. In the past 10 years it's had a revival of sorts and it's still the best gold-on-gold-on-gold-on-gold design.

2. Instrmnt Classic: Any menswear up-start from Glasgow will spike my interest (it's my hometown) but the icing on the cake for Instrmnt is the outstanding quality. These watches are all kinds of perfect - the brown leather strap with copper detail is my favourite.

3. Jord Wood Watch: I feel like wooden watches have been cropping up everywhere these days, but the only one which has really captured by attention is Jord. The brand is already huge in it's native Sweden and is bound to make a strong impact in the UK this year.

4 Timex Weekender: The new Weekender collection from Timex, a brand with a history of over 150 years, is incredible value for money. It's hardy and complex in equal parts.

5. Withings Activite Watch: It seems every company is now offering a stepometer in their product but the Withings system also tracks sleep pattern and swimming. I actually got the watch just before Fashion Week began and I've loved tracking my daily activity. It also helps that design is not compromised for the sake of techonology.

6. Mondaine Pocket Watch: The iconic design of Hans Hilfiker's Mondaine watchface is enough to make it recognisable without being branded and the newly released silver pocketwatch is one of boldest, most striking I've seen in ages. Not always easy to wear but I have a few Old Town waistcoats that it'd work well with.

7. Shore Projects: After an incredibly successful launch last year, Shore Projects has just released their second design with a new mesh strap. I love monochromatic design and the 4 colours are perfect: black, silver, gold and rose gold. Their Instagram is worth a follow too - check them out at @ShoreProjects.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Moss Noir: Rue Saint-Honoré, Paris

Menswear at the women's shows in Paris, photographed near Colette store on Rue Saint-Honore.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Jonas: Rue Dauphine, Paris

Black and navy with touches of ACNE at Paris Fashion Week. See the portrait below.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Japanese Americana: Grand Palais, Paris

The true test of great style is seeing the same person over a period of time. Anyone can pull off one great outfit, but when I spot the same characters season after season with fantastic personal touches to their outfit they really stick in my mind. This gent is always on point with his mixture of heritage street wear.