Sunday, May 27, 2012

Take a bow II

A lot has been and can be said about men's formal "black tie" wear. In fact, I have some strong opinions of my own, but today I intend to restrict my comments to one, and only one, point. However, today's post represents the single most important starting point in assembling a black tie outfit.  It's pretty simple, too.

The single, most critical element that distinguishes a "black tie" outfit involves wearing a bow-tie, as opposed to a necktie.

I have come to the realization that it is the donning of a bow-tie that truly makes the outfit "pop out" as  timeless, formal, and classy.  

I'm sorry, but wearing a standard necktie just does not evoke these themes. There is simply too much proximity to the banality of the business suit.

So once you commit yourself to a bow-tie, you can worry about the other details later (choice of lapel (shawl collar vs peaked lapel), cummerbund, fly vs pointed collar, patent leather shoes, etc.).

But if you wear a black necktie you risk looking like a pall-bearer, Agent Smith from the Matrix or a Tarantino gangster.

-The Scandal

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Calvin Decline

This spring, Calvin Klein has introduced an aggressive marketing campaign for its new line of men's underwear called "Bold" (not to be confused with the RIM device).  CK men's underwear has always proved hugely popular, especially after its notorious Marky Mark marketing campaign in the early 90's.

For the most part, I'd say the brand deserves  its preeminent status among men's fashionable underwear labels. Most of their underwear designs are stylish, minimalist, and masculine without being creepy. That's why their latest ads come as somewhat as a surprise to me.

I really can't relate to the fashion statement to be had by such bright underwear colours. I think men should probably stick to safe neutral tones, like ash grey or black. As for white underwear, it will always have the schnooky "tightie-whitie" stigma, so unless I'm wearing white pants, I stay away from them.

The bottom line (pun intended) is that I don't think men should view their underwear as yet another fashion accessory ripe for a dramatic, sexy style reboot. I never cared for goofy or quirky underwear offered by brands such as Joe Boxer or Bjorn Borg, and I'm not feeling the latest CK line either.

-The Scandal

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Who Bee Buzzing?

Question: Which men's designer is currently, and has received the most buzz over the past year?
Answer: Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy.

Let's examine this a bit.

It has not hurt that Tisci has been the fortunate beneficiary of a priceless PR campaign that any marketing director could only dream of: Kanye West and Jay-Z have been touring for their "Watch the Throne" album in highly visible Givenchy outfits. Some of the album cover art was also designed by Tisci.

Many pop, rock and rap stars, especially the female divas, have their stage costumes custom-designed by well-known designers. But what makes this situation unique is that these two princes of hip hop are wearing pret-a-porter pieces that can be purchased by the likes of you and me, for the right price, of course.

I was browsing e-bay the other day and the Givenchy buzz generated by the tour was quite evident.  The rottweiler (shown above) and bird of paradise motifs (shown below) are so immensely popular that people are apparently willing to pay ridiculously large amounts of money for them.  I saw a bird of paradise t-shirt being offered for a cool $1,200.

Runway model showing birds of paradise motif

Kanye with Riccardo Tisci

And what about the collections themselves?

Here are links to the Fall/Winter 2012 and Spring/Summer 2012 collections, or you can also take a look at some of the pics below.

Spring/Summer 2012

Fall/Winter 2012

All images copyrighted to

As for my own thoughts, my first impression was that the acclaim of the label seemed to rest on the success of mere graphic designs, whereas a designer label such as Givenchy should instead make its mark by showcasing things like interesting cuts and fabrics. However, upon reflection, I reconsidered my bias. Perhaps Tisci's novelty is precisely in his use of interesting and unique graphic designs?

Furthermore, Tisci's cuts, tailoring and fabrics are far from conventional. While it's hard to see to whom his man-skirts will appeal--rock and rap stars, excepted of course-- it's undeniable that Tisci has successfully created his own little fashion universe that is probably worthy of the buzz he's received.

-The Scandal