Kay Kwok’s intergalactic menswear magic

alien
kaykwok
kaykwok2


My contribution to London Collections: Men was all of two shows – although both of them (JW Anderson and YMC) were pretty awesome. I got 90s Sebastian Flyte vibes at JW Anderson and ‘I want to wear all of these clothes myself’ vibes at YMC.

Our men’s editor was doing all the real work, but one show that we both missed was Kay Kwok. When I saw the hair pics feeding through on Twitter, my curiosity was so piqued that I had to look up the entire show – and what a Jazz Man delight it is.

I know that the entire ensemble is really required to get the full effect, but I’d take any of those tunics and wear them as a dress. Black tights, spaceman boots and boom, you’re all set to play Alien Trilogy on your Sega Saturn (thanks Tumblr for the top pic, and Sega knowledge).

Jeremy Scott for Moschino is every bit as great as I hoped

jeremy scott for moschino

Pictures of Jeremy Scott’s first collection for Moschino appeared on Racked this morning and I’m thrilled to see that they’re every bit as logo-tastic and kitsch as I hoped they might be.

Over Christmas I found some amazing Moschino heels in a vintage shop in Sheffield – they were 80s pointy kitten heels, with the iconic Moschino gold letters placed around the ankle strap. Imagine! They were spectacular (and cheap), but there’s no way I’ll ever have the legs to pull off an ankle strap on a kitten heel so I just admired them for a while then left them for some lucky-legged student to pick up.

Anyway – just when you thought the Moschino logo letters couldn’t snake their way around anything else, here we get a rucksack, a snapback cap and a trompe l’oeil necklace on a sweater. Shout out too for that handbag made out of a mini leather jacket – better pic here on the Beckerman blog.

I’ve just highlighted my favourite bits but the collection has more variety than you might suspect. There are oversized varsity jackets in the form of dresses, tricksy lace slips and some chintzy floral dress coats which are almost a bit Luella, to my mind.

God bless Jeremy and Moschino for constantly flying the flag for fun fashion. See the lot here!

HairPomades: bringing stylish barbering to the masses

HairPomades.comhurr

I was really excited to be contacted by HairPomades.com at work this week – their marketing material is such a breath of fresh air! Cute little box of matches (which is part of a bigger social campaign that you can see here) and a nice reworking of classic barber pole colours for something entirely modern.

That was exciting enough (it was the first Monday back after Christmas, give me a break), but then I actually clicked through to the website and was equally impressed at the stock on offer. Much like the feeling I get when venturing into a fancy French pharmacy or going wild in the aisles at Walgreens when I’m on a work trip to the States, I just wanted to look at EVERYTHING. Sure, it’s all for barbers (and professionals at that), but all of the products look so appealing that I just want to stock up on the lot. And then display them proudly in my bathroom.

All of the brands that HairPomades stock are super-desirable – and hard to track down in the UK, in my experience. Murray’s is Andy’s favourite pomade from the States and I can never find it in England, while Blue Magic, Layrite (teehee) and Royal Crown are all new to me, but tick that same kitsch Americana box. Lucky 13 offers something different with its flash-inspired artwork, but again it has real shelf-appeal.

On a more contemporary design tip, Oak and Dr K are also new to me – but equally interesting and stylish. How much more impressive would that be on a bathroom shelf than a sad tin of Gillette? The best a man can get, indeed.

Finally, and most excitingly, is Suavecito, which has skipped its way merrily to the top of my men’s haircare product charts (yeah, I have ‘em). As well as a host of haircare products – more on which in a second – there is an absolutely incredible Black Flag inspired comb shirt, which I now decree as uniform for every barber I know. It’s brilliant.

HairPomades is the exclusive European distributor for Suavecito, which is an interesting American brand. Like many of the best products, it was created by a barber and his friend (J-Bird, no less) and caught on through barbershop word-of-mouth – again, like so many of the best products. Investment came courtesy of the founder’s severance pay and now look at it! A cult phenomenon with a way-cool skeleton logo. You can find out more about them here.

Like a Space NK for barbers, HairPomades gets the double thumbs-up from me for great products and even greater curation and design. If you’re a barber – or even a retailer, I imagine – you can find out more about being a reseller here.

2014 goal: dress like a grown-up

apc-avenue32

I’m pretty sure I made a blog post with the same objective last year and, apart from a few sneaky lol purchases, I’ve pretty much stuck to my word.

I’ve never been a subscriber to the belief that you have to dress a certain way at a certain age, but personally I’ve found that as I’ve got older and found myself in increasingly responsible roles, it’s felt better to dress a bit more sensibly. At least at work, anyway – the Rude Dog tshirt might just have to wait for the weekends. Or at least Fridays.

With that in mind, here’s a dream outfit from Avenue 32 that hopefully straddles looking like a professional that you can trust with your advertising budget and representing my inner overgrown goth.

Clockwise from top left

1. APC Red Basique Sweatshirt, £81 – I’m glad that statement sweaters are a thing now. It’s like the grown-up skater teenager equivalent of a tasteful cardigan; i.e. really useful for work and easily switched up with collars or jewellery. Viva la sweater!

2. 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Backpack, £740 – well, a girl can dream. I have a few ‘good’ bags and if and when I invest in another, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a backpack because after three weeks of physio, I’m not letting this dream new back go. Wait, does that make me sound old?

3. APC Bordeaux Ribbed Socks, £25 – until last year, I only had one pair of socks and they were for the gym and occasional hiking excursions. The downside of wearing predominantly skirts and dresses is that you don’t really need socks (unless you are 16 and can carry off socks and sandals). Then I got a pair of sturdy leather ankle boots and realised that a bunched-up sock poking out the top could be a strong look. I duly bought a pair of socks and lost one somewhere between the front door and my bedroom after one day – well, it was Christmas. And no, I’ve never found them. And yes, I live in a small flat. These would be a good replacement and I’m all for matching my outfit to my accessories.

4. APC Black Leather Boots, £248 – see above. I have worn my equivalent boots pretty much daily since I bought them last year, leading me to understand just why buying staple wardrobe pieces is such a good idea. Black leather boots = not such instant gratification but daily wear. Gold glitter boots = instant thrill, worn twice in four years. I get it!

5. Pamela Love Gold Plated Eagle Claw Necklace, £230Estelle Dévé Gold Plated Aurora Bracelet, £105 and Tiaa Ring Set, £125 – all for expressing personality through accessory choice and I reckon gold lets you get away with a lot more.

6. Frends Gold and Black Taylor Headphones, £180 – because if you’re going to be sitting with your headphones on being antisocial, it might as well be with something stylish. Headband-style headphones have the added bonus of being completely unsubtle too, unlike my paltry, and easily-disguised by long hair, in-ear ones.

7. JW Anderson Black Leather Mini Skirt, £330 – we live in truly enlightened times that we (well, many of us) can get away with wearing leather mini skirts to the office and not have people mentally view us like this – although really, who would complain?

[Collaborated post]

Christmas almanac: 2013

Art Deco Christmas print - detail from a 1939 Dow Chemicals magazine ad

The first rule in buying Christmas presents is to select something shiny. If the chosen object is of leather, the leather must look as if it has been well greased; if of silver, it must gleam with the light that never was on sea or land. This is because the wariest person will often mistake shininess for expensiveness.

PG Wodehouse (who else?)

So, here we are at Christmas once again. After one of the best years of my life (if not the best year of my lfie) I’ve not done a splendid job of picking up blogging, but I like a Christmas roundup so here it is. Hopefully there should be plenty to keep you entertained in the quiet bits that don’t involve eating and drinking over the next few days.

1. I posted this link to a stream of the audiobook of PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves and the Yuletide Spirit last year, but it’s a Christmas tradition for me to listen to it and, frankly, I won’t rest until the world is listening to Jeeves & Wooster audiobooks to send them off to sleep every night.

2. The Bee’s Knees is a cocktail that came to fame in the Prohibition era – allegedly to make bathtub gin taste better. Whether your gin is made at home or is just cheap stuff that comes from a shop, it’s a tasty-sounding way of making it more delicious.

2 shots of gin
3 spoonfuls of runny honey
1 shot of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 shot of freshly squeezed orange juice

Stir the honey together with gin until the honey dissolves. Add the lemon and orange juice, shake together with ice and strain into a chilled glass. I mean, if you’re doing at home you could probably skip the shaking and just serve over ice – I’m sure it would be delicious all the same.

3. My BFF Harriet had her first book published this year and I am embarrassingly proud. If you want a Christmas-themed novel (with rude bits), you can and should download it here!

4. I finally watched In Bed With Chris Needham on my first day off this Christmas. I don’t really want to tell you any more about it other than that it’s joining Anvil in my favourite documentaries of all time list. After watching it all, read this amazing catch-up interview with Chris.

5. This is One Direction’s Best Song Ever, as performed by dogs.

6. I made another Christmas playlist, because I figured that you can never have enough.

7. Crisis at Christmas do an incredible job in their centres and they have a slight work angle for me because loads of brilliant, wonderful, dedicated hairdressers give up their time to take care of the guests at Crisis centres. My industry is occasionally a source of humour for people, I know, but the physical and emotional benefits that an hour or two of TLC can give to those who are often on their own are fairly brilliant. For that reason, Crisis is my charity for the festive season and you can donate to them here. (You can also watch a video of what goes on at the centres here!)

8. The Spicy Bird tacos in the Wahaca cookbook are completely brilliant and, handily for everyone, also work darned well with turkey. I have been promised that Andy’s mum will make these with leftovers and, if that doesn’t happen, I might cry. The recipe is here.

9. If you haven’t seen it yet, Ja’Mie: Private School Girl is all online. Summer Heights High under a microscope. A microscope crafted of lols.

10. This whole website.

[Top pic: Vintage ads]

My kingdom for mermaid hair

mermaid-hair

Mermaid hair is all I have ever wanted in life – at least in terms of hair. I’m talking past the boobs, effortlessly wavy, red (natch), all-round-glorious. I have the wavy bit down… the length is kinda shorter than it should be at the moment ‘cos I had a lot of split ends, but it’s not far off… and the colour is perfect because my colourist is perfect. She calls my shade Ariel, so you know… mermaid-tastic.

Today I discovered Mermaid Hair shampoo and conditioner and so now, needless to say, it is my mission to get my hands on some. It gets the thumbs up from Into The Gloss, so it must be good – and even if it isn’t, the coconut and orange-flower fragrance sounds preeeetty awesome.

What else do you need to be a bathtub mermaid? These ASOS pearl pins would be good for creating a Chanel-approved, pearl-bedazzled wet-look updo (because if Cher taught us anything as a mermaid, it’s that accessories are important) and Fig & Yarrow Pink Love Salts seem like a suitably romantic and decadent way to splash around (they also do smelling salts!!).

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess is my favourite summer fragrance, although it is worryingly absent from their website at the moment. Maybe you can only buy it in summer? Regardless, just a whiff makes me feel like I’m lying on a beach. Or rock. Whatever it is that mermaids lounge on.

Finally this Topshop sequinned bralet is probably what a modern-day mermaid would wear, rather than those frankly impractical scallop shell bras. Cher would approve.

[Top picture: CherWorld]

Thank Furcoat it’s Friday

1. The pug version of Home Alone is a thing of wonder. (The pug version of Elf isn’t bad either.)

2. “Mouse eats scorpions and howls at the moon” – and New Scientists other top ten animal moments of the year.

3. Football mascots observing moments of silence.

4. Did you see that the British Library had added a million pictures from their archives to Flickr? Hats off to whichever intern was responsible for pressing upload all those times. I like this guy!

5. Turn your volume up then open this soundmap of New York in the 1920s. Thrilling!

Because pyjamas are not suitable Christmas Day wear

christmas

(clockwise from left)

1. The more deluxe version of pyjamas; all the comfort, but you don’t look like a student. If I woke up to this on Christmas day, I’d probably cry snowball-scented tears of joy. Then drop mince-pie crumbs all over myself.

2. Because if the Fonz, John Travolta and Joey Ramone taught us anything, it’s that everyone looks like a badass in a leather jacket. (And I don’t subscribe to the idea that Christmas day should be spent entirely indoors; a quick shuffle round the block makes more room for pigs in blankets.)

3. To wear when you’re doing the aforementioned shuffling.

4. For when you go to the local for a drink and some weird boy from school tries to hit on you. Hit him with this.

5. Christmas shoes!! Again, I don’t subscribe to the idea of rolling around like a student/sloth hybrid on Christmas day. I see it as a perfect excuse to go all out and generally pick a ~party dress (yes, I am Veruca Salt) months in advance. These shiny, shiny shoes are a prime example of my approach to festive dressing.

6. Got to have socks for Christmas, and if you’re going home and acting like a teenager again, why not have the socks to match? Wear these to: slam your door, refuse to set the table, shout “I NEVER ASKED TO BE BORN” and sulk. Or to be helpful and happy in your family’s company, whatever.

7. My lipstick of the year by a million miles. Makes you look awake, alert and put-together even if the opposite is true (and is just a gloriously festive shade).

8. My theory of wearing big jewellery to distract from your face holds especially true over the festive season. These ASOS janglers are not just sparkly and lovely, they also kind of match the socks on that ‘things that you would wear in 1998′ theme.

Introducing the Flandana

Flandana

 

What better reason to resurrect a slightly sleepy blog than a fleece-lined bandana? Some might reckon this is a bit Millets but duh, they’ve clearly not seen Rihanna wearing it this week.

Fleece-lined anything is good (except Uggs, of course) and keeping warm is a big deal for someone as nesh as me, with as rubbish a commute as me. I gots me gloves, hats, a big ol’ coat, a scarf… but why stop at the basics when this lovely thing exists?

I’ll take red. Or black. Or white. Except I won’t, ‘cos shipping is $20 to the UK which makes the whole package… $52 for a bandana. Bit steep. UK stockist soon please?

Mermaid hair courtesy of L’Oreal Professionnel Hair Chalk

L'Oreal Hair Chalk

I first witnessed L’Oreal Professionnel Hair Chalk at London Fashion Week, when they created this mind-blowing look at Ashish. Although I was impressed by the results, I remained dubious as to whether they’d work on my hair – it’s always been too dark for any temporary colour to take, much as I might dream about it.

The other week, though, I was invited by L’Oreal to the lovely Daniel Galvin salon in Marylebone to trial Hair Chalk for myself – and trial it I did, getting chalked up in a major way. Like, more than anyone in the room. Like, crazy fangirl levels. I picked blue and green (t0 match my outfit, YOLO) and ended the night looking like a mermaid. The colour worked amazingly – amazingly vibrant, even on my dark red. I was so impressed, I even got my photo taken! And that never happens.

So what is Hair Chalk? It’s a liquid colour (think food dye consistency) which lasts up to three washes, designed for temporary transformations on any type of hair. In the salon, it comes with a sponge applicator so your colourist can paint it on, then blow-dry it in to ‘set’. The at-home version comes with tab-style applicators, which you blob the colour onto, fold over your hair, then pull through the ends – although I would definitely be tempted to get crafty with a paintbrush and do some more extravagant DIY.

I can’t tell you how impressed I was with the brightness and visibility of these shades – even on black hair I’m certain you’d get a great result. The other surprise is just how normal it leaves your hair feeling. Much as I love some of the other temporary colour products out there, most have a slightly dry or dusty feel – which is fine when you’re doing a textured hair look, but not so great if you want something more polished. I couldn’t even feel anything in my hair once this was dried in, which I think would be a big selling point for those that aren’t as grungy as me and do, in fact, brush their hair more than once a week.

As a teenage Manic Panic addict, I adore Hair Chalk. The change is instant and it really does wash out easily – in fact, they did warn me it could be five washes with my hair being so porous (polite for ‘dry’), but it washed out in two goes with absolutely no trace. Maybe if you were blonde it’d last longer, but I can only imagine it would fade beautifully.

Pro tips: plait your hair and paint on at random for the feathery effect I have. You can only see one in that pic, but I had them throughout in Garden Party and Cruise.

Hair Chalk is salon only, as all good colour should be, and you can find your nearest stockist here. You can also get inspiration for techniques here!