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Paris Mens Fashion week just wrapped and Haute Couture week kicks off today with a bang: Dior, Givenchy and more… a nice distraction from the *real world* of inaugural protests and repealed legislation and “alternative facts”.

Winter sunshine blazing in Paris and across Europe – three cheers for that.

Notes on Maria Grazia Chiuri’s first Dior couture show: the one everyone’s been waiting for. Her first prêt-à-porter collection was /not bad/… good enough to be tantalising and leave the fashion world wanting more, but not enough to count as a home-run. Would Dior’s first female Creative Director pull off the same kind of transformational movement that Raf Simons managed a few years back with his maximalist Jeff-Koons-style fresh-flower-walls and minimalist-luxe ball gowns that had stars like Jennifer Lawrence literally falling over themselves? Only today (and time) would tell.

Watch the final walkthrough here: (credit @fran.galvao)

The setting was spectacular enough. Verdant and romantic, a magical woodland. Yet the opening looks were timid… monochromatic, respectful, day-wear couture. Chiuri’s nod to the roots of the Maison and Christian Dior’s seminal New Look. Watching the first models step out onto the moss-covered, winding runway, I felt anxious – would there just be minimally updated archival pieces (Bar jackets with hoods)? If so, the house of Dior would soon be scrambling to spin some marketing magic and forced to flex some serious LVMH muscle to win press coverage.

Fortunately there were a few things up Mme Chiuri’s (pleated, draped, open, chiffon) sleeves. Glimmers of hope as the looks drifted farther away from homage to Monsieur Dior, and closer to the looks we have seen before on the Valentino runway where Chiuri first came to global attention as co-creative-designer. Flowing, romantic, floral. A touch too theatrical or costume-y at times (think Game of Thrones meets the Raphaelite-school paintings), but still worthy of the Dior name (and craftsmanship, and price tag!). It is clear that evening-wear and red-carpet gowns are Maria’s strong suit (irony notwithstanding).

The highlights for me were the gowns which seemed to say “a woman designed this, for other women”. These gowns were beautiful, yet a little twisted, with volupté and warmth; rounded rather than sharp and sculptural. They didn’t seem exploitative, nor over-sexed (Maria is more Miuccia than Donatella).

Unfortunately, too few “strong” looks that will be instantly recognisable on a magazine cover. No “must-have” accessories (think Raf’s instant-classic bejewelled track shoes), nor distinctive styling… gauze veils and masks and feathered headpieces notwithstanding.

Verdict: A somewhat shaky but still good-enough start. The world wants a more distinctive, differentiated point of view, not a “me-too” version of Valentino 2.0. It’s tough, but Chiuri’s job will be to prove that she can really creatively direct the ateliers and design teams at Dior to present desirable product, and also a clear point of view to stamp her vision into the design history books. Hopefully Chiuri’s career at Dior will be like this show – a quiet, restrained start that blossoms to life with time.

After a quick tour of regional fashion capitals, street-style watching and scrutinising the most directional runways and magazines, here’s an observation: the chunky knit sweater is about to make a comeback in menswear.

After many seasons emphasizing fine-gauge, sheer-knit, closely-fitted sweater styles, the slouchier, manly ease of the heavier gauge sweater is looking fresh and appealing again.

Invoking the confident masculinity of sailors, fishermen, and farmers working with their hands out in the elements, the chunky, round-neck jumper is a classic wardrobe staple that’s due for it’s turn in the spotlight. Chosen correctly, it’s bulk is comforting and flattering to the fit man’s physique, and modern versions are lighter, cooler and come with cropped sleeves, unusual collar details or quirky patterns, making them perfect for wearing on their own, layered with dress shirts, or paired with simple henley tees.

All photos below courtesy of

1st column: Dolce & Gabbana FW2012 2nd column top and bottom
3rd column top: Burberry Prorsum FW2012
3rd column bottom: Hermes FW2012
Right-most: Louis Vuitton SS2013




This season, men’s grooming goes classic. Cleanshaven faces and foreheads bared, with hair slicked backed and neatly coiffed. Volume is optional (from none at Louis Vuitton, to sculptural heights at Versace). These looks are timeless, and boardroom ready. This put-together, Clark Kent style will transition seamlessly to that chic rooftop bar after work as well.

Louis Vuitton and Versace, FW2012 (courtesy of

 I have a striking mental image of an old photograph my father once showed me. It was a few of his colleagues, back in the ‘70s. Everyone looked extremely retro. Which is a nice way of saying they looked very dated. The hairstyles, the glasses, the facial hair all screamed: “’70s!!!”

For an idea of the effect, here’s an iconic 1978 photo of Microsoft’s earliest employees. Note the uniquely ’70s stylings.

In this photo my father showed me, however, one man was cleanshaven, with his hair neatly combed back, very Steven Seagal-esque. The striking thing was this one guy looked like he was visiting the ’70s from the present using a time-machine. In other words, he looked timeless, classically well-groomed and just plain good.

So this season I’m taking inspiration from this and wearing my hair up. After many seasons of a modified mop, and variations on the Justin Bieber shag, that’s a big change for me. So far I’m happy with the change, even if it does necessitate time each morning with a blowdryer and styling wax (my previous harstyle required literally zero attention in the morning).

Take a close look at these runway grooming looks from Roberto Cavalli, Burberry Prorsum and Etro, and maybe you’ll be inspired to let your hair up as well.


Roberto Cavalli, FW2012:

Burberry Prorsum, Etro:

And one more from Versace, FW2012:


Wardrobe-wise, everyone’s always searching for the perfect thing – that single wristwatch, briefcase, sunglasses that will rule them all.

Today I’m wearing a pair of shoes that comes close. A gift from my sister, it’s a pair of sold-out Louis Vuitton FW 11/12 Atlas lace-up convertible boots in dark grey textured Taiga leather and suede.


Ever since seeing them both in stores as well as in the Lookbook months ago, I’ve hunted for these shoes everywhere. But they’ve been sold out of my size in Australia, Italy, Germany, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong etc. They weren’t even sold online, so it makes it extra special for me that my sister thoughtfully found these and surprised me with them not long ago.

Characteristics of the perfect shoe:

1) Should effortlessly match as many outfits as possible, from formal work meetings in suit and tie, to nights out on the town, to weekend morning strolls. When travelling, I find footwear to be among the bulkiest item to pack. Since I inevitably bring a pair of running shoes for the gym, I really only want one other pair for everything else.

Solution: Dark grey lace-ups in a combination of leather and suede are the ultimate neutral/chameleon. Textured dark grey will go with both dark or light tailored pants as either a subtle match or pleasing contrast. And they will go just as well with casual jeans and corduroys in browns, blues, tans, and pretty much any other colour.

2) Should be classic enough to be appropriate for formal events (both boardroom meetings and cocktail receptions) as well as interesting enough to be memorable (and win a place in your heart). I’m sure you’ve read in various magazines that women notice a man’s shoes most of all in any outfit, and judge the overall package accordingly!

Solution: Convertible oxford/ankle boots in a mix of textures and tonal shades of grey and a functional zip-around detail both whisper sophisticated refinement and yet announce your bold individuality.

3) Should be both comfortable and hardy enough to withstand the rigors of exploring a new city, doing a site inspection, or dancing the night away. Yet all with inscrutable grace and distinction.

Solution: Impeccably crafted by Louis Vuitton in Italy from the the finest materials, you will be able to stand toe-to-toe with both rough-and-tumble work boots as well as bespoke beauties from the likes of stores like Leffot, and never be found wanting for comfort, quality or style.

Incidentally, I strongly favour the ankle boot style of shoe, ever since my days in the military. I think it’s easier to shop if you have a signature style that you can use as a guide to help narrow down the choices.

In an interview published in the November 2011 issue of PRESTIGE magazine (Hong Kong), Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were in China, and revealed that they had visited China for the first time in 2010. A few short months later, the Dolce & Gabbana FW 2012/13 menswear runway show on 14 January 2012 showed the striking effects of that trip’s influence. Not in the clothes, which were molto Italiano, baroque and a touch costume-y, with Pavarotti-inspired curled hair (matching Pavarotti on the soundtrack) and lots of brocade and velvet, but rather with the models themselves. Out of 74 outfits shown, 9 were worn by Chinese-looking models. Meanwhile, there was just a single black model in the show, given the next-to-last outfit in the presentation. (After the jump: See pictures from the show)

At other luxury menswear designer runway presentations the trend continued….

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This has been a while in coming. I can’t wait to start, properly.

I probably should have done more research beforehand, which would have shown me that the Internet is filled with lots of excellently written and curated style and fashion related blogs, even luxury menswear sartorial specialists. But since luxury fashion is truly my passion, then it should be enough that I want to have an outlet to write about my pet topics. And that’s why this site exists. It’s a luxury that’s all mine to share with the world 🙂

I look forward to having this project grow, and take on a life of its own, and take the world by storm. But in the meantime, I envision a mix of curator-ship (a sort of best-of-the-Web along the lines of the extraordinary Arts & Letters Daily), personal observations, mini-essays and shopping wishlists. I hope you enjoy the content as much as I do!

Tell me: what do you want me to write about next?