January 29, 2013

Oh, Sailor Boy!

For summer, Dior Homme's artistic director Kris Van Assche pulled apart the blazer in a bid to redefine the masculine uniform, and in doing so took took us to sea, boding perfectly with the lifestyle Down Under. Welcome to Australia, Monsieur Dior. 

Photography Troyt Coburn | Styling Jolyon Mason

Dior Homme's first Australian store opens at 
65 Castlereagh Street, Sydney on 01 February 2013. 

Nelson Groom/EMG Models | Photographic Assistance Gary Compton & Anton Zemlyanoy
Digital Operation Justin Russell | Shot on location at the Australian National Maritime Museum

The Buyers: Mr Porter's Toby Bateman

As the fall/winter menswear collections wound down in Paris last week following presentations in London, Florence and Milan, Manuscript stole some time with the buyers of some of the world's leading menswear stores to gauge their professional opinion on what we've witnessed. First: Toby Bateman, buying director of MrPorter.com.

What was your favourite collection this season? 
There were several shows that I liked and these were generally the ones that played with pattern, colour and contrasting panel details. All these things work particularly well in the online environment. Some great examples were at Jil Sander, Marni, Neil Barrett, Valentino and Kolor. 
Do you have a consistent favourite every season? 
No, it changes every season. You arrive at each show with an expectation which might be based on your liking of last season's collection but then it might underwhelm. In contrast, it is often the shows from which you have no expectation that surprise you with something really beautiful. 
Any surprises this season? 
I would not say there were big surprises this season but rather more logical developments from previous season's trends. One new thing is the move towards real sports sneakers - all very bright and with pops of colour. Designer sneakers aren't new at all, of course, but they've been more formal and more akin to proper shoes. Now they're a bit more performance-driven and true in spirit - "sneaker sneakers", no "show sneakers", which I like. 
Did you notice any other overriding trends? 
Double-breasted overcoats, military MA1 bomber jackets, window-pane checks, cuffed hem trousers, contrast panelling details. 
What do you think will be most successful when these collections are on the site later this year? 
We have a great shoe business so I am sure commercially the new execution on the sneakers will do very well. Otherwise, I think that anything with pattern and colour will be strong. 

First Look: Country Road

Australia isn't exactly a hot-bed for directional menswear and, for the most part, local high street and mid-market retailers have proved incapable of designing wearable pieces that are at once trend-specific and classic. This season, however, Country Road reaches new heights in its menswear offering with an autumn/winter collection that somehow crosses military-camo, sportswear and suiting off in single outfits. Herewith, a first look at the Paul Wetherell-lensed campaign featuring French model Vincent LaCrocq. 

January 28, 2013

See: Noah Taylor

Over the weekend, the ABC screened the 1996 Australian film Shine, the biographical drama of famed pianist David Helfgott, in celebration, one assumes, of Australia Day. Although Geoffrey Rush won an Oscar for his portrayal of Mr Helfgott following his mental breakdown and his subsequent return to music, the recent screening, at least for this writer, served to remind of the sheer depth, complexity and magnetism that then-young actor Noah Taylor brought to his role as a younger Mr Helfgott. Mr Taylor was, in this instance, not recognised by the Academy, but this should not discount the brilliance of a performance that rivalled that of Mr Rush's. 

What was most interesting about the screening of the film, however, was its timing. Coincidentally - or perhaps not so - Mr Taylor will tonight unveil a solo show of new works (aptly titled New Works) at commercial Sydney art gallery Tim Olsen. The London-born, Sydney-raised and now London-based 43-year old is widely recognised for his acting achievements (some of his film performances include He Died with a Felafel in His Hand, 2001; Lawless, 2012; and, this year, a part in hit HBO series Game of Thrones) and musical inclinations (he noted in an interview being influenced by Nick Cave, Warren Ellis and Tex Perkins in his musical practice under the guise of Noah Taylor and the Sloppy Boys), but, for the most part, his artistic practice is unknown. 

Mr Taylor's exhibition comprises 35 black ink-on-paper paintings, most of them simple outlines of humans that cleverly embody a depth of emotion, and marks a serious transition that will allow the public to connect more closely with the somewhat illusive creative multi-hyphenate. With most pieces around AUD$1000, the exhibition's modesty is part of its appeal. 

New Works by Noah Taylor opens 30 January 2012 at Tim Olsen Gallery,

January 21, 2013

Introducing: Nick Mitzevich

Director, Art Gallery of South Australia
Photography Guy Coombes | Words Mitchell Oakley Smith

Few people realise that the Art Gallery of South Australia in the state’s capital, Adelaide, boasts the second most expensive art collection in Australia after the National Gallery of Victoria, with over 40,000 works. It also occupies one of the smallest buildings of a state or national institution of its kind and has, over the course of its more recent history, struggled to gain significant financial support from both corporate benefactors and the state government. When Nick Mitzevich, then director of the University of Queensland Art Museum, stepped into the director’s role in 2010 following the uneasy departure of his predecessor, Christopher Menz, people did, naturally, think he was a little crazy. 

January 16, 2013

Workwear Blues

Topman - that British purveyor of affordable-yet-well-designed clothing - is rather unstoppable. On the back of its polished runway show earlier this month at London Collections: Men comes Union Blues, a heritage workwear-style trend from the brand's LTD division. There is, as with a lot of Topman pieces, a distinct British feeling to the herringbones, cotton twills and sun-bleached denim, but such is the ease of this capsule that an audience beyond the Mother Country seems entirely possible. In store in Australia from late January. 

January 15, 2013

Introducing: Ä

Early last year, Manuscript photographed the debut collections of five of the country's leading graduate fashion design students for a special portfolio, which is set to become an annual feature within the publication. What's exciting about a project such as this is seeing the raw, uninhibited work of young fashion designers before commercial imperatives become influential. One of those students, however, has remained true to the design ethos they developed while still studying at the University of Technology, Sydney, and so it is that we introduce Ä (pronounced 'air'), a capsule collection by Vivien Shen, the basis of which is a series of high quality men's shirts with detachable collars in five different styles. Ms Shen debuted the collection at Gaffa Gallery late last year, with pieces available in a made-to-order format. As Ms Shen explains: "I am aware of the constraints of starting a label and have gone about it pragmatically, seeking unconventional ways to develop the brand." Indeed, the gallery-style presentation gave the impression of the collars hanging in the air, allowing clients to explore their intricacies. Ä is about incorporating interdisciplinary design principles from many different creative minds to create something sophisticated."

January 10, 2013

Watch: Burberry Autumn/Winter 2013

January 9, 2013

Introducing: Joseph Allen Shea

Director, Gallery A.S. & Publisher, Izrock Pressings
Photography Liz Ham | Words Mitchell Oakley Smith

Time, it seems, is a foreign concept to Joseph Allen Shea. In less than a decade, the former graphic designer has established himself as integral to the health of Sydney’s cultural landscape with a rich portfolio of curatorial, commercial and publishing projects that challenge the established modes of traditional art institutions. “I was getting so used to the small white cube approach to exhibitions that I got to a point where I really wanted to try some more ambitious things,” explains Mr Allen Shea, 34, of launching Gallery A.S. following six years spent as gallerist at Monster Children. Under the banner of Gallery A.S., the curator presents solo and group exhibitions in unusual locations in a sort of rogue rebuttal to established galleries. Since 2010, Mr Allen Shea has presented exhibitions of the work of artists including Daniel Askill, Lisa Cooper and Anthony Lister in spaces such as a Christian Science Church in Darlinghurst, the former Paramount Pictures building in Surry Hills, and Cotton Duck, a restaurant in the same area. “It’s about spaces where you wouldn’t expect to find contemporary art. Where there’s a conversation between the architecture and the art.” This, he believes, allows the audience to respond to the work in a way they might not otherwise in a more conventional space. 

January 8, 2013

Bally Uncovered

1851-established Swiss leathergoods brand Bally boasts history far greater than the majority of contemporary fashion brands, and with it, many untold stories. The brand's co-creative directors Graeme Fidler and Michael Herz have, since taking its reins, made a significant step towards uncovering some of these past feats, at once demonstrating Bally's longstanding excellence and reinvigorating existing products, some of them, such as a pair of boots celebrated yesterday in London, sixty years old. 

Quite why Bally has kicked off a year-long celebration to mark sixty years since the first ascent of Mount Everest (in May 1953) is, of course, to do with shoes: when Sherpa Tenzing Norgay took his final steps to the top of the world on May 29 of that year alongside Sir Edmund Hillary, he did so in a pair of the brand's Reindeer-Himalaya boots. As part of the anniversary, Bally has released a capsule collection, aptly titled Everest, including both boots and bags, its co-creative directors taking inspiration from items from the original Everest expedition. These including an official replica of the boots worn by Tenzing, housed in the Bally archive. 

But Bally and mountaineering are inextricably linked far beyond the Tenzing trivia. In the 1940s, the brand designed boots for the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research, an organisation with the intention of exploring the world's unknown peaks. The boot worn by Tenzing a decade later was originally designed for climbing to a height of 7000m care of its unique reindeer fur shell, separate inner and sturdy rubber sole, a new development that reduced metal close to the feet; as a result, the wearer's feet were kept warm and protected in extreme conditions. The newly-released capsule collection is no less remarkable: each boot is constructed with a lightweight, injection-moulded lug sole for comfort and performance, and boasts Bally's patented 360 degree non-slip grip. 

See: A Line from a Book or a Song

Sydney-and-Berlin-based Australian photographer Samuel Hodge will unveil a solo show tonight at the roving art enterprise Alaska Projects in the Kings Cross car park. A Line from a Book or a Song comprises several works, many of them previously unseen, that focus on "stolen, re-appropriated memories, Tumblr posts, gay shame, and the fashion and art world. There is no overall meaning to the show itself, as I'm exploring several themes that all felt quite natural. I suppose you could say it is all about how confused I am by everything." 

Opening reception: 6-8pm Wednesday 09 January; until 20 January, Alaska Projects, Level 2 Kings Cross Car Park, 9A Elizabeth Bay Road, Elizabeth Bay, NSW. 

January 7, 2013

Read: The Manual for a Stylish Life, Volume One

Can one's sartorial education ever really be complete? Not so, says MrPorter.com, as it launches its debut book: The Mr Porter Paperback: The Manual for a Stylist Life Volume One. As per its online style guides, trend reports and how-to lessons, editor-in-chief Jeremy Langmead compiles the website's favourite style icons with profiles of well-known men across the globe and advice on everything from fashion to dancing at a wedding. Mr Langmead is, of course, well-versed in matters of style, having served as editor of British men's magazine Esquire prior to his current role, which saw him launch the men's division of highly successful fashion retailer Net-a-Porter.

Watch: Topman Design A/W 13

It may still be holiday season Down Under, but while Sydneysiders battle with the city's third hottest day on record, the autumn/winter 2013 collections have kicked off in London overnight - they'll continue through the month in Florence, Milan and Paris afterward - with Topman Design. The upmarket, designer collection of the high street retailer produces seasonally forward collections, rather than following them, and made no exception with a season that, while predominantly light in colour, had a serious, industrious edge to its aesthetic.

January 6, 2013

Grooming: Climatic Extremes

DRY: The Australian sun is unforgiving, and though as a nation we pride ourselves on an image of bronzed, beach-loving beings, the truth is that no skin is immune to unfiltered UV rays. Dermalogica understands the damage that can be caused by the sun - premature ageing, wrinkles and sunspots - but acknowledges that a man's grooming routine tends to be more straightforward than their female counterpart. Here, Mr Alexander has used Dermalogica's Daily Defense SPF 15 on his skin following his daily shave routine. A multi-tasking daytime lotion, Daily Defense SPF 15 is a non-greasy skin conditioning treatment with no artificial fragrances or colours, enhancing skin's natural protective barrier with a shine-free finish. Post-shower, Mr Alexander combed a Kevin Murphy Staying Alive leave-in conditioner through his hair before spraying on its Heated Defence for shine and heat protection. An American Crew Defining Paste in his hair provides Mr Alexander with medium-strength hold with a shine-free, matte finish. 

WET: Mr Alexander knows the importance of maintaining skin's youthful glow by removing excess oils and naturally dulling skin cells. Here, he has used Dermalogica's Daily Clean Scrub to clear the way for a super-close shave. The gentle yet hardworking lather keeps pores clear with micro-fine Silica beads. O&M's Hydrate & Conquer shampoo and conditioner infuses dry hair with nutrient-rich Tasmanian sea kelp containing vitamins A, B, C & E and amino acids to strengthen hair and stimulate growth. After showering, when pores are open for optimum shaving, Mr Alexander has used Dermalogica's Soothing Shave Cream which is formulated with aloe vera, allantoin and comfrey extract that assists sensitive skin recover from damage and the aggravation brought on by shaving. Afterward, Post-Shave Balm moisturises and prevents in-grown hairs and bumps with the use of licorice root, saw palmetto and horse chestnut whilst controlling oily shine. Clinique's Maximum Hydrator intensely moisturises the skin, while its Anti-Fatigue Cooling Eye Gel hydrates and brightens eyes, combating puffiness and dark circles.