Monday, January 30, 2012

#2104 The facts of life

Photo: The Sartorialist

1. Imagine every American frat movie you've ever watched and you'll begin to get an idea of what my weekend was like at Penn State University: Freshmen desperately trying to drink themselves into oblivion (so long as they had a little energy left for late-night coitus); 18 year old girls in bikinis despite the negative-degree temperatures; no clean place to sleep or sit; jocks screaming at each other about the merits of their NFL quarterback over another NFL quarterback; public displays of male nudity, vomiting and sexual acts; a midnight police bust; and a long queue at the largest pharmacy in town the morning after, where I personally witnessed about 15 girls requesting the emergency contraceptive pill, in a five minute stretch. I can now officially tick 'Attend the World's Largest Australia Day Party' off my bucket list. And I made it out alive.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

#2103 Aussie Aussie Ausse, Oi Oi Oi!

Party rock.

You know when you agree to something with the full knowledge in your own mind that you're not actually going to go through with it? That was me about two months ago when Tom Bull floated the idea that a huge group of Australian and New Zealander expats charter a bus to Penn State University for the world's biggest Australia Day party. How they can lay claim to hosting the world's biggest Australia Day party is beyond me, but it sounds good, so I'm going with it. Anyway, I told Tom I'd go, I've been talking it up to everyone who'll listen, we considered buying our own bus and I even blogged about it a few times. But in my mind, I was staying safe and out of trouble and warm and dry in my apartment in New York.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

#2102 My favourite streetstyle shots from the F/W 2012 menswear season

Tommy Ton for GQ

The past few days have been crazy. Besides a bunch of freelance assignments that were due, I've been looking for my first ever New York apartment. With a 22 year old Australian. On Craigslist. I enjoy lots of things, but shopping is not one of them. And there is no more extreme shopping experience in life than apartment hunting in New York City. It's you against the world. I had a couple of criteria: Live with one other person at the very most; pay a reasonable amount; never leave Manhattan. Here's what I got: A three/flexi-four bedroom loft that costs a lot of money in Brooklyn. And since we're both non-US citizens with no credit history or guarantors, they've asked for five months rent up front. And we said yes. Good times! In other news, I finally got round to looking at all of Tommy Ton's streetstyle shots of the menswear season just gone, and these are my favourites. Holla.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

#2101 Happy friends reunion

The best thing about going home is reuniting with your loved ones. But now that I'm back in New York, I have to put up with these two winkers. No but seriously, Tom Bull arrived in New York last night from Milan and seeing him and Jenny Albright again (my current surrogate mother) after two months apart was the greatest thing ever. Here's to good friends and adopted family. By the way, if you've watched The Inbetweeners, you'll get the title reference. If not, do it now. Happy friends. Yay!


Monday, January 23, 2012

#2100 The facts of life

Karlie Kloss for Life

1. Ever had that moment when you're asleep on a plane and you wake up with a jolt just as you hit the tarmac and it gives you the fright of your god damn life? That was me yesterday. To make matters worse, the immigration officials at border control have a way of questioning you that makes you feel like a criminal no matter how legal you might be: "Why are you here? You look nervous. Why are you nervous? Is there something you need to tell me?" Kills me every fricken time. Despite that, the negative seven degree temperatures and the filthy brown snow, I'm happy to be back.

Friday, January 20, 2012

#2099 A walking tour of Berlin

Before I get started, let me give you a little disclaimer: I'm not one of those people who has beef with tourists. When I say I never do touristic things, it's not because I'm too cool to go up the Eiffel Tower or visit the Statue of Liberty or take an elevator to the top of the Fernsehturm here in Berlin. I'm simply a lazy traveller. Add the fact that I'm terrified of heights and I don't like boats, and pretty much everything is off limits for me. I do make an exception for museums and churches, but besides that I'm more of a hang-out-at-the-same-place-every-day kind of guy. But yesterday in Berlin, I got my walk on with visiting Australian Bridget Malcolm. We did it all bar the Wall – the Holocaust Memorial (speechlessness inducing), the cathedral (grandiose), the university (better looking than mine), the Brandenburg Gate (triumphant) and the palace (under construction). I'm glad I did it – I can now say with conviction that Berlin is in the top three most beautiful cities I've ever been to, alongside Paris and London. Check out the photos, below.

#2098 The benefits of bad behaviour at Hugo Boss

Mathias Lauridsen and Taylor Fuchs.

The last time I went to a Hugo Boss show in Germany was three years ago in the summer of 2009. It was held on the outskirts of Berlin and featured a 10 metre tall propeller spinning at the end of the catwalk, a star-studded guestlist (including Adrien Brody and Sienna Miller) and a 100 foot long barbecue at the post show after party. I was not invited. In order to get in, my friend and I arrived three hours early and snuck past security to hang backstage and shoot the models before it all began. Today in Berlin, Hugo Boss picked me up from my hotel, escorted me backstage and then walked me to my very own seat. Whoever said bad behaviour wouldn't be rewarded was a foolish man. Highlights included Bryan Boy's sky blue HUGO suit (from the current collection); Karlie Kloss opening the show – I swear the girl is unmatched on a runway; Jared Leto arriving in a huge coat and scarecrow hat; the razor-sharp tailoring in crazy colours like royal purple and tobacco orange; a pristine white auditorium location with natural light flooding in from skylights in the ceiling; and the enormous white Hugo Boss umbrellas we stole from the buckets outside the venue (at this rate they'll be appointing me CEO next). I'm going to check out the collection in the showroom tomorrow, but until then, check out a couple of photos I snapped, below.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

#2097 Bryan Boy, Berlin and Boss

This time yesterday, I was sitting on my couch in New York eating a cheese and egg sandwich from the deli downstairs. Today, I'm hanging with Bryan Boy and Ward Simmons at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Berlin. We're all here for the Hugo Boss show which takes place at 2:00pm tomorrow and promises to deliver a fail-safe mixture of celebrities, top models and good times. Since arriving we've done a walking tour of the central city sights (including the enormous domed cathedral where the little old ladies manning the bathroom refused to let me pee without donating 40 cents to the coffers); driven to the outskirts of town to visit a costume store that Bryan really really needed to go to; eaten Asian food; accosted a few hotel staff and consistently been the noisiest trio wherever we go. It's always a crazy reunion catching up with Bryan – I worked out today that I've been in more countries with him than just about anybody else I know, and he is always on top form. The above photo was taken in front of a slice of the Berlin Wall that's been decorated with thousands of pieces of pre-chewed gum, some of which still has a couple of minutes' worth of flavour left. Who'd've thought? Nein! Ja! Guten morgen!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

#2096 (capsule) A/W 2012 – the film

What beats walking around the world's best menswear tradeshow perusing racks on racks of amazing garments you're not allowed to buy for six whole months? Running around the world's best menswear tradeshow with a video camera peer-pressuring stall-holders to perform death-defying stunts (you should see what Bahzad from Naked and Famous Denim can do with a pair of jeans), eavesdropping on conversations and generally making a nuisance of yourself, in my humble opinion. On day one of (capsule) New York, Alexander Norton and I did exactly that; with a little tea-drinkin', shoe-shinin', face-shavin' and glad-handin' thrown in for good measure. Featuring a whole raft of familiar faces like Messers Wooster, Mashburn, Emrich, Hotchkiss, Chung and Ovadia, here's the full (capsule) experience in less than 120 seconds... Just in case you didn't happen to make it along for yourself. Please enjoy.


Monday, January 16, 2012

#2095 Highlights from (capsule) eve

(capsule) New York begins tomorrow, so this afternoon I went along for a preview with Noah Emrich of NOVH fame. Highlights thus far include this collegiate cardigan by Ovadia and Sons (and finally meeting the brothers Ovadia in real life); the selection of bobble-topped beanies from Wooden Sleepers; everything by Monitaly; Mark McNairy's herringbone blazers; catching up with Sean Hotchkiss who returned from Florence yesterday, and who, in my opinion, covered Pitti Uomo better than anybody else on the ground; meeting the fine gentlemen behind Outlier and discovering that they purchase all their merino from my old friend Fraser Wood at Auckland-based company Designer Textiles; and smelling the insane selection of all natural, handmade room sprays, incenses and soaps by Juniper Ridge. I'll be on the ground at (capsule) for the next two days shooting a video with filmmaker Alex Norton, it's gonna be a good time.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

#2094 The big chill

Hot diggity dog it's freezing in this city. Today it got down to minus two degrees (28 Fahrenheit) and I ventured out for my first foray on the cold, hard streets of New York. Luckily, I packed heavy so I feel well-prepared to deal with the chill, but nothing can really get you ready for an icy blast running down the avenue that causes instant-hypothermia-of-the-ears-and-nose. I'm at a stalemate with the bus seller – yesterday he cancelled the 6:00pm appointment because it was too dark, and said we'd meet at noon today. Today he called me to say I should meet him at 7:00pm. How's that for logic? I swear he's trying to lure me up to the Bronx for an old fashioned snatch and grab with a little murder thrown in for good measure. We've agreed to meet tomorrow during the day and I'm taking my trusty sidekick/bodyguard along for the ride. Two thugs rolling dirty. I'm sure we'll be fine.

Friday, January 13, 2012

#2093 The facts of life

Pitti Uomo has begun. Photo: Tommy Ton

1. The world's biggest Australia Day party takes place on January the 28th at Penn State University. My friends and I are all going. But instead of paying 50 bucks each to catch a train like normal people, we're buying a bus. That's right, we're literally purchasing a tour bus. The problem is that I'm the only one in New York right now – everyone else is overseas – so I have to be the guy who catches a train up to Midtown, meets some guy off Craigslist and hops in his car to go to the Bronx to test drive said bus. I know this is all going to be safe and happy because nobody has ever gotten into trouble from a dodgy Craigslist deal involving thousands of dollars in cash, right? If, however, the bus turns out to be not a bus and instead a Saw-esque rape dungeon, you're all invited to my funeral.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

#2092 Return to Oz

Photo: Doctor Taco

I am back in New York and back in the game. After 20 hours of travel time from Auckland – LAX – JFK, I've landed and I am ready to work. First stop this morning: BPMW for a meeting about a video I'm shooting for (capsule) tradeshow, then a quick bit of writing, then a haircut, then dinner with the team. Feels good to be back! Jetlag, however, is an utter bastard. I couldn't get to sleep at midnight so I took a sleeping pill, it didn't work, then I stayed up till 4:00am obsessing about the first Little Brother collection and exchanging emails with Murray Crane about our thoughts for the range. At this stage it looks like we're on the same page – lots of black with hints of 90s raver fluro and a sophisticated take on the map-of-Aotearoa tee shirt. (Just kidding.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

#2091 And the new Little Brother Creative Director is...

Photo: Katherine Lowe

Nine years ago, in 2003, Murray Crane gave me my first job in menswear. I was a retail assistant at his brand new Newmarket store and worked there a few days a week while I was at university. When the Newmarket store closed, I went to the High Street store for a while, then the Richmond Road store for a long stint, and spent countless hours ironing shirts in the workroom and delivering stock to Crane Brothers in a white column-shift van. I've stayed in touch with Murray over the years, and his collections, made-to-measure suits and tailored cotton pants have been regular topics covered on my blog. I like to think we have complementary aesthetics, and we've exchanged a few thousand emails about the state of menswear over the years.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

#2090 Real men wear baby blue

Photos: Katherine Lowe

I've been having the time of my life over the past couple of days getting back into all my old clothes. Pity Auckland's weather sucks every day, otherwise I'd be busting out my Summer best. That said, yesterday we did get a few hours of sunlight, so I ditched my woolen sweaters for a plain white tee and these Dr Denim light blue chinos. I've got a feeling they're going to be amazing over top of some long johns in the fast approaching New York winter (I'm back on Tuesday). Black is for the ladies. Real men wear baby blue.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

#2089 The ultimate corduroy jacket

Photos: Katherine Lowe

I've been hunting for the perfect corduroy jacket for ages. It all started last (last) year when I watched A Single Man – Nicholas Hoult's tobacco-brown shell jacket looked like the best piece of casual menswear I'd ever seen. I imagine it was Levi's, or Tom Ford's take on a Levi's classic, but try as I might, I couldn't seem to locate one for myself. Fast forward 18 months to today and I was checking out the new store LOFT on O'Connell Street in Auckland. Alongside a full range of suiting (both made-to-measure and off-the-rack), the store stocks Iron Heart denim and jackets. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the company, it's a denim-geek's denim brand – famous on the forums among those who care to discuss the benefits of 24oz versus 16oz cloth. The label's corduroy jacket is based on the Levi's Type 3 denim jacket and comes in double weave pure cotton cord that's so rigid it feels like raw denim. At $499 it's a little on the pricey side, but it's still cheaper than anywhere else in the world (even on Iron Heart's own site). Can't argue with that. I'm sold.