Saturday, March 21, 2009

Carlton Brown, LG Fashion Week Toronto

I attended the Fall 2009 Carlton Brown fashion show in Toronto as part of LG Fashion Week.

CB is a fresh-on-the-scene Jamaican fashion designer. It was one of the few lines at the LG Fashion Week to include a men's collection (Bustle is the other).

There were some aspects in the show which I liked (see video below):

-suave Rat Pack tuxedo look (0:15; 1:07)

-pink belt detailing (2:10)

However there were also some other elements that I couldn't relate to:

-leisure suit lapels (0:26; 2:03)

- print patterns on dress pants. (0:58) I can't relate to patterns on dress shirts, pants or suit jackets

- "arm slings" (0:41)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Philip Sparks

I had the pleasure of visiting and chatting with Philip Sparks at his Queen street studio in Toronto (639 Queen Street West; Queen/Bathurst). I also snapped a picture of him (above).

Sparks is a young Canadian designer who has seen his star rising of late. In 2008, he was named by Forbes magazine as one of the top "Ten Undiscovered Designers On The Rise".

I enjoyed chatting with Sparks (whose studio, by the way, is open for shopping to the public during certain hours). He is unpretentious and amongst other things, has some very interesting ideas on how to revitalise some unlikely Canadian retail institutions.

As a bona fide Canadian menswear designer, Philip is a welcome rarity. I hope he sticks around for a while.

The presentation of his Fall 2009 collection can be seen on the The Toronto Star's website:

His website informs you where you can buy his stuff and also has a online shopping feature:

-The Scandal

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Best Dressed?

Do you think the following people are particularly well dressed?

Actually, they're all cropped images of Barack Obama. The reason why I've posted the images is to take issue with Esquire's magazine naming of Obama as one of the world's best dressed men.

I know that most Men's lifestyle magazines simply adore Obama (e.g. GQ, Details, Esquire) but should that fact alone make him one of the WORLD'S best dressed man? Give me a break.

Admittedly, Obama dresses well for his position-- that of a powerful American politician. But most American politicians actually dress moderately well (we shan't discuss Canadian MP's). Is Obama that much of a better dresser than, say, Mitt Romney? I don't think so. Both of them dress like Harvard corporate types, (which is what they both were before entering politics).

Obama's suits fits pretty well (it helps that he is tall and lean). I also like the way he knots his neckties. On the other hand, he seems unable to wear anything other than "boardroom" grey/navy/black suits and a red or blue tie. I also don't think he does the casual look very well. George Bush didn't look terribly good in his suits, but he did look good when dressed casually in his jeans, jacket and cowboy boots.

And lest you say that Obama's fashion sense is constrained by his position as a world leader, I'd like to point out that there are, and have been, numerous stylish world leaders:

-Even in America itself, Ronald Regan was quite dapper in way that makes Obama look quite bland in comparison. Reagan expanded the presidential suit colour palette (in fact, he apparently once caused something of an uproar by wearing a prince of wales suit; see Reagan also looked pretty darn cool in jeans and his cowboy gear.

-Pierre Trudeau. What can you say about a Prime Minister who wore a cape and Buckskin native coat (the audacity of coat?). PET puts Obama in his back pocket. PET put everybody in his back pocket.

-Other current well-dressed politicians of note: N. Sarkozy, King Mohamed VI of Morocco; and of course, Prince Charles is well known for being at the top of the list

In conclusion, Obama dresses well for an American politician. However, he by no means surpasses other well-dressed American politicians, of which there are several. Far from being one of the world's best dressed men, he does not rank sartorially among recent historical world leaders, nor is he even the best dressed world leader today.

-The Scandal

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Are you a LOhead? Do you know what a LOhead is? Maybe you're a LOhead and you don't even know it? Disturbing?

I enjoyed this videoclip that I viewed on about the hip-hop artist "88-Keys". He is a Polo Ralph Lauren fanatic, or a "LOhead". Apparently, he's worn nothing but Polo since 1993. That's hardcore.

According to an interview cited on his wikipedia page he said:

"I’ll go to Paris and they’ll be like, ‘here’s the Eiffel tower’ and I’m like, ‘whatever, where’s the record store and the Polo store"

I liked the way Eighty-Eight's passion for, and knowledge of the brand (and style in general) really come through in the clip.

-The Scandal

Ralph Lauren Fall 2009

As you may already know, I really like Ralph Lauren, hence all the pictures in this posting.

I think that of all the designers, RL puts together the best colour combinations. I also really love the way he layers some of the outfits. One of the novel things that I like about his recent collections (including this one) is his use of vintage cardigans. I never really go into the revival of the Richie Cunningham cardigan. It always smacked of geek-chic to me, which I always equated with "ironic" dressing.

Another interesting feature of the show is the varying sizes of the lapels, including some really wide lapels, which are also currently favoured by Tom Ford (think Roger Moore partying at the Playboy mansion in 1976). I take it that the different styles reflect the Black and Purple labels (though I wasn't able to tell from the show which outfit was which label).

I often say (ok, not that often) that these days a man can get away with wearing a range of suit styles from the skinny Mad Men suits to the wide lapelled you see in this show.
-The Scandal