Tuesday, 27 January 2015

In the Pink at London Collections: Men

Thomas Pink creates a unique paper installation and showcases a Michael Caine inspired AW15 collection at London Collections: Men

As part of the showcasing of great brands and designers at this January's London Collections: Men, Thomas Pink, the leading Jermyn St shirt maker, unveiled its London inspired Autumn/Winter 15 Collection at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). Included in this season’s model line-up was former Scottish international rugby union player and Strictly Come Dancing contestant, Thom Evans.

Thom Evans, international Rugby player and wearer of Thomas Pink

The models prop up the paper bar at the Thomas Pink AW15 preview

After making our way across London on foot, picking up other attendees on the way, we were ushered upstairs to view the collection. Presented against the backdrop of a 30ft ‘long bar’ constructed entirely out of paper, each model bartender and punter showcased a different ‘Pink’ look. 

Built using crisp white 315gsm Kendal Manilla paper manufactured by James Cropper, the unique setup provided the perfect blank canvas for the brand’s expanding ready to wear offering. 

Moss green checked trousers and a pop of colourful paisley

Guests were kept well watered with the branded cocktails

the ladies tie wins in this picture

Blurring the boundaries between tradition and technology - paper and digital - guests were invited to leave ‘off the cuff’ written reviews on the paper bar using pink pens, which could then be shared via social media.

Guests leave a message on the paper bar

Florence Torrens, Creative Director at Thomas Pink, says; “Shirts will always be at the heart of what we do, but they inspire other pieces to complete the look. At Thomas Pink we’re broadening our offer to include more tailoring, outerwear and knitwear. 

Florence Torrens, Creative Director and Fred Williams

To highlight this we worked with James Cropper - the oldest traditional paper mill in the UK - and Flow Creation - a group of highly skilled paper architects - to build an installation echoing the blank canvas of a white shirt. Inspired by the architecture of the ICA building itself, we re-created elements of the room in paper to embellish the bar.”

Four models, four Thomas Pink looks

Cocktails all round, in Thomas Pink paper cups
Photographer Alistair Guy

Checked shirts in statement colours

Colour and pattern featured heavily in the collection

Frederik Willems, Head of Design at Thomas Pink, says; “Autumn/Winter 15 is inspired by a heady mix of London’s well known landmarks, motifs and characters. From Sir Michael Caine in the 1971 film ‘Get Carter’, to The Coach and Horses pub in Soho, we've drawn upon urban influences to create a collection which is daringly bold and eclectic in style. We've played with weaves and texture to develop solid colours with subtle design features and added intrigue. Checks and herringbone play a pivotal role throughout.”

Guests enjoyed cocktails mixed by Pontoon, made using Hennessy Fine de Cognac and garnished with paper foxes, whilst listening to British classics from The Clash, The Rolling Stones and Pulp. Continuing the iconic London theme, models wore Dr. Martens tasselled loafers.

In the pink, a statement colour shirt teamed with polka dot braces

Hennessy Fine de Cognac cocktails went down well with guests and models alike

Thom Evans shares a cocktail with a suitable clad model

A stunning peacock feather print shirt teamed with statement braces
Thomas Pink’s London presentation preceded its debut at Pitti Uomo in Florence and Premium International Fashion Trade Show in Berlin.

The brand’s presence marks its move into key European territories and can be cited as a significant milestone in Thomas Pink’s development as a wholesale business.

Celebrating the Thomas Pink success. Cheers! 

Colour and pattern, suitable for gentlemen of all ages

Autumn/Winter 15 takes influence from Sir Michael Caine - one of London’s sharpest dressers in the 1960’s. The monochromic palette in shades of blue and grey celebrates his pared back style, whilst typically ‘Pink’ punctuations of mustard and raspberry can be found throughout. 

Key stories in the shirting range include ‘The Davenport’, a self puppytooth and the ‘The Gibson’, a fine satin twill. This season’s hero piece is the Italian weave ‘Caldicot’ in indigo - a washed Chambray shirt in 80s two fold cotton which stylishly blurs the boundaries between formal and casual.

As the season progresses the collection references the urban metropolis that is London and celebrates its social landmarks and motifs – for example The Coach and Horses in Soho, which was frequented by Lucian Freud and legendary columnist Jeffrey Bernard. 

The colour palette switches up a notch with raspberry deepening to red, mustard to amber and hues of green emerging, whilst rich melange textures begin to play a key role in the range. Shirting in fine Italian fabrics include the ‘Edward’, a window pane check inspired by London’s iconic telephone boxes, ‘The Bedford’, a complex herringbone weave and the ‘Finlay’, a soft collar brushed poplin with amber overcheck.

Luxurious knitwear designed to be layered comprises the ‘Askew’ – a cashmere wool blend crew neck featuring an oversized tartan – and a selection of cable knits, v-necks and zip necks in luxurious cashmere, wool and merino wool blends in warm colours. Separately, Autumn Winter 15 includes a cashmere rugby jersey to mark 2015s rugby event of the year - as well as a range of accessories inspired by the great British sport.

Im in love with this bright blue coat with contrast collar
This season’s outerwear is travel focused and uses technical fabrics for maximum style and performance. The range includes an Italian made reversible jacket, a bonded wool rain coat and a deconstructed wool hopsack jacket. Autumn/Winter 15 also sees the introduction of a wool/mohair travel suit made from British fabric, which mixes high twist wool yarn with lightweight mohair fibre to create the perfect travel companion.

Ready to travel with beautiful Thomas Pink bags

Traditional British outerwear includes stalwart sports jackets fashioned out of Fox flannel with foggy yellow overchecks, traditional Covert coats with contrasting collars in jewel tones and quilted jackets in collaboration with Lavenham.

As well as eveningwear, the collection incorporates a capsule party range inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s dashing and directional sartorial style. A quirky colour palette of teal, magenta, indigo and purple compliment rich velvet accessories with silk printed peacock feathers, which sit alongside richly textured Donegal tweed and British Flannel blazers.

In shirting, spots and exaggerated Prince of Wales checks in bold saturated colours start to appear, whilst a super modern dark tartan shirt with bright highlights in an innovative ‘breathable’ fabric provides a point to the season.

It's fair to say the evening and the collection are a success. Prior to this event I was unaware, as many are, of the range that Thomas Pinks offers outside of the shirts that they are so famous for. As such, I am now very determined to get some 'Pink' into my wardrobe!




Saturday, 24 January 2015

The Shoe Whisperer Strikes Again

 That Dapper Chap shows us his leather brogues before and after The Shoe Whisperer has worked his incredible magic and created a different pair of shoes.

A few weeks ago I visited Steve Skippen, otherwise known as 'The Shoe Whisperer' in the foyer of London's Hilton Hotel. He told me all about his trade as a master shoeshine to the stars, and he even gave my black tassel loafers a good brush up and shine while I was there. See the full piece here.

Shoe re-colouring

For my visit, I also took a pair of old tan leather brogues as I was also aware that aside from shining shoes, Steve is also a recolouring expert, and can change a battered old shoe into a beautiful new pair, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Follow the incredible transformation of my shoes in the images below:

My old tan leather Red Tape brogues. ready for the bin?

The brogues ready for recolouring and rejuvenation 
The first splash of blue leather dye is applied
The man himself working his magic
Steve first removes all traces of dirt and grease with a strong chemical before applying the first layer of dye. The dye is then allowed to dry before additional layers and colours are applied.

Using different colours can create a multi coloured or tonal effect on the shoe, resulting in a very different and very eye catching look. I chose a blue and a green dye and steve blended these two colours together along the shoe to great effect.

"The process takes about five days" steve told me after I excitedly asked how soon it would be before I could have them back. "The layers have to be built up and each one has to dry before the next can be applied" 

After the layers of dye are dry Steve then polishes the shoes, concentrating on the cap to give a deep and lustrous shine. The final result is breathtaking!

The Results

The finished article, stunning colour and mirror shine

My brogues, before and after

My brogues, before and after

My brogues, before and after

I'm sure that you'll agree that the finished results are astounding. They're like a brand new pair of shoes. Not only have I saved money but I have a better pair of shoes and a more individual pair han I could ever have bought. These are a one-off and unique to me and I am ecstatic with the results.

Other work

Here are some other shoes that Steve has transformed.

Stunning yellow/green graduation

From white to electric blue with a dark shine cap

From white to tan with a dark shine cap

From tan to a yellow and green blend

From dull to dramatic

From white to a red and blue gradation

An individual recolouring of the pointed brogues

Before and after: Tan to burgundy

From white to bright blue

So, if you have a pair of shoes that need a new lease of life or if you just want something truly individual and unique for your special day, the sky is the limit! A basic one colour patina is £40. Two colours with burnishing on top of a base coat is £70 and anything above three colours is £120. So take them along to The Shoe Whisperer and get those tatty old shoes transformed!

Find Steve