Monday, 30 November 2009

Bow Ties

In Sydney, and on their way to Brisbane, bow ties from Le Noeud Papillon in silk, cotton and velvet by Holland and Sherry.

Benja's amazing paper wings at Hermes

Since opening here in Sydney I have been fortunate to meet some very interesting people doing amazing things. Benja Harney is one of them. One of his latest creations is a winged instalation in the window of Hermes you can see more of his work at

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

On the Mannequin

The weather is warming up in Sydney and so begins the difficulty of looking and feeling well dressed during the heat of summer.
Linen half lined blazer, white pinpoint with our #5#3 medium spread collar, knit cotton tie.
Denim is always a constant in our wardrobe. This is our straight cut raw selvedge rolled with tan Grenson Noble.
It's amazing the cooling effects of showing a bit of ankle.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Meatpacking on a Sunday afternoon

There's nothing like a stroll around the meatpacking district on a Sunday afternoon, especially if it's a beautiful Autumn day.

Heading East takes you toward the water (The Hudson), and Andre Balaz's Standard Hotel - a very striking building, that feels somewhat out of context.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Uptown & Tom Ford

Uptown is a different world.
We visited both the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the Upper East Side and the Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side.
Affluence abounds and you can almost smell it in the air.
One can only guess the cost of an apartment in this part of town.

This concentration of wealth Uptown means that every big international fashion brand has an presence, and often in an imposing way.
Even though we didn't do too much shopping Uptown, it was here that we had some of the best service of anywhere in the entire city.

Though we could have ventured into many stores, time was tight so we window shopped our way downtown past the likes of Miu Miu, Chloe, Zegna, Loro Piana, Gucci, Jil Sander, Dolce Gabbana etc etc.

We did manage to visit Ralph Lauren's impressive 3 level store on Madison Ave and 72nd.
The breadth of products was amazing. The full Ralph Lauren 'lifestyle' was presented in its entirety. Ralph Lauren openly acknowledges the inspirtion he draws from English country living, and this store encapsulates that. There were leather couches, open fires, tweed blankets, shooting jackets and hunting boots.
The staff were completely disarming and were happy to show us around the different levels of the store and even ride the elevator with us.
* unfortunately no photos

Tom Ford - Madison Ave & 70th St

We almost missed seeing the Tom Ford store after we lost track of time at The Met and made the trek to Madison Ave only to find it already closed.
We did come back a few days later and I'm glad for it. Although we had heard it was an intimidating store to visit, our experience was the complete opposite from the first moment we stepped inside.
Any store that has someone on a front desk to greet you as you enter is bound to frighten a few, but we were greeted with warmth by the pretty girl manning the counter, and this set the tone.

After a bit of wandering we found ourselves in the fragrance 'room' where we were met Samuel. Samuel had moved from Chicago especially to work for Tom Ford, and had been working in the store from its first day.
His understanding of the different products, as well as the vision of the man himself was impressive. 'Mr Ford' had definitely had been successful in his hiring policy.

After a tour of downstairs including trying on some suiting, we were taken upstairs in the velvet walled elevator. Here we were shown rooms such as the 'bespoke shoe room', 'VIP room', and even given a peak behind a curtain which revealed waistcoated tailors behind a glass wall working away on their machines.
Off the rack suits are altered onsite, while the bespoke suiting is made in Italy. Though you're up for $10k+ for anything that is fully tailored.

One retailer (at another store) had told us that the store had taken $25 million in its first 2 months, and you could see why.
For those with the money this place offers a bounty of temptations.

Tom Ford has done a very impressive job is creating a complete service for men. As well as the comprehensive collection of suits, shirting and jackets the store has everything a customer could want, from umbrellas and sunglasses to fragrances and driving gloves.

The store has its own 'gardener' who tends the many bonsai.

The shirt and jacket room with fragrance room at the rear.

Autumn was just kicking in so got to see the city turn shades of yellow and orange.

Another pretty view!

Its an impressive site walking back south from the Upper East Side, particularly as the sun is going down.

5th Avenue

Is that Bruce Wayne's penthouse in the distance?

No Cameras Please!

One of the big frustrations was how narky people were about me taking photos, particularly in retail stores.

As a result we weren't able to take many pics inside stores. I did my best, but once the camera was out staff were all over us.


Tuesday, 10 November 2009


It's very easy to neglect a lot of the island and to spend days exploring and getting lost in Soho, Nolita and Noho. This is a real hub for interesting stores, cafes, restaurants and in particular retail.
Prince st, Spring st, Broome st, Lafayette st and Broadway are littered with a vast array of places to easily spend your money.

Mercer St
On one of our first days we headed to Mercer st which provided the chance to check out some big name brands including the likes of APC, 3.1 Phillip Lim, LV, Marc Jacobs and Prada - which runs for a whole block between Mercer and Broadway.
Some edgier brands can be found at stores such as Seven NY (below).

Rag and Bone
Rag & Bone is a brand we've followed for a while and their store looked great. Not too much stock, displayed in an uncluttered way with enough quirks to make it interesting.

Toward the front there were some great ties, gloves and accessories amongst denim, shirting and suits, while toward the back of the store a few chesterfields and fabric books gave the impression it was set up for a tailoring service.
Staff were a little busy so we weren't given too much assistance or clarification.
The 'no cameras' policy restricted us quite a bit, but for some good pics check out this.

For the girls there is plenty to look at including Agent Provocateur, which we had to visit.
With NYU just up the road, there were plenty of snappy students out and about, and this is one of the stomping grounds for Scott Schuman (the sartorialist).

It's an easy street to find, and after a few hours we decided to go hunting for some less obvious gems.

Lafayette St

Lafayette runs parallel to Broadway and it was where we stumbled upon LafCo hidden behind some scaffolding. This was one of the best of this style of store I'd ever been in. The staff were fantastic and very helpful. They stocked an extensive range of soaps, fragrances and candles under their house brand, as well as Italian brand Santa Maria Novella, which has apparently been around for some 600 years. Their candles in particular were very good.

Just down the street and the past the massive G-Star flagship (which we bypassed), there was In God We Trust, a store with an interesting mix of clothing, jewellery, shoes and accessories. It was in a cool cluster of stores that included a hole-in-the-wall florist, a few vintage stores and the Ladder 20 fire station - whose Dalmatian made friends with us.

One rainy afternoon we were heading up Broadway, fighting the wind and rain, and stumbled into Uniqlo. A few days earlier one of the retailers had mentioned it was worth a look, and he wasn't wrong.
For a low priced department store this Japanese brand really delivers. Due to the season we were somewhat restricted, but their jeans (japanese selvedge), and basics were extremely impressive. All manner of knits and scarves in wool, cashmere and mixes were also on offer at very competitive prices.
2 hours later we were done, and laden up with 2 bags of goodies.

Across the road on Broadway I ducked into a newsagent and was very excited to see Aust magazine Men's Style on the shelves.

And flicking through the new Monocle it was fantastic to see a piece on Brisbane architect Paul Owen (Owen & Vokes), including a pic of him snapped in his black cotton Cloakroom suit.
Also Monocle had a piece on Richards & Spence (Adrian Spence is Brisbane interior designer and Cloakroom customer), and architects Donovan Hill (where our part-time house model James works, as well as a number of guys with pieces from us).
Brisbane was everywhere!

Around every corner there seemed to be a monument of note off in the distance.
Often when I'd lost my bearings I'd just try and find the Empire State Building and then I'd know which direction we were walking.

Lower East Side

The Lower East Side is rapidly becoming the next cool place. As rents in Soho and Noho become prohibitive people are moving east.

The area is a mix of the old and new, and includes institutions such as Russ & Daughters and Katz's Deli right alongside the new kids such as American Apparel, as well as a burgeoning art and gallery scene.

But we had come for the food!

Russ & Daughters - East Houston st

This deli has an impressive selection of caviar, but it's their cured salmon (lox) that they're best known for. They've been around for almost 100 years, and it feels it.
Men in white deli (lab) coats happily supply sample tastes of what is on offer.

After sampling a few it was their famous Grav Lox bagel that we went for. The fresh bagels (which are made onsite) are smeared with a generous inch of cream cheese and layers of thinly sliced Grav Lox (dill cured salmon).

Katz's Deli - East Houston st
Just down the road is the more famous Katz's Deli. The walls are testament to their reputation, and are littered with photos of the owners posing with NY mayors, Soprano's cast members and sports stars.

We couldn't go past their very well known 'Pastrami on Rye', and it was everything we'd hoped for. The pastrami is warm and is sliced thick, but is so tender that it melts in your mouth like butter.

Katz's is where Meg Ryan famously showed what a fake orgasm could sound like in When Harry Met Sally.

Perhaps she was just enjoying the pastrami?


Impressions of New York

As many of you know I was lucky enough to take some time off in late Oct/Nov for a short holiday to NYC and Montreal with my (now) fiance'.
Although it was only 8 nights in the great city there was enough time to see some of the main attractions and for me to explore the city for the first time.
Also it provided a great opportunity to see how our Cloakroom concept and product stacked up against the best there is out there.
The city is a labyrinth of stores and tiers of retail, from the Uptown swankiness of the flagship Tom Ford store to the character of Freemans Sporting Club in the Lower East Side.

At the end of the week we'd walked more miles than I could have imagined, but my two pairs of trusty Grensons were more than up to the task.

Over the next few days I'll offer my thoughts and impressions on what I saw, what I loved and what I didn't.

It's a long flight, and with a stopover, but our arrival into LA at sunrise was quite spectacular.

And then into NY from the south east across Jamaica Bay.


Thursday, 5 November 2009

Lunch time Reservoir st

Wet and cold, but if you live in Sydney you didn't need me to tell you that.

Monday, 2 November 2009

The Chelsea

I have made a quick stop into Brisbane while Andrew is on his way home from New York.
Being a creature of habit I try to get to at least one of my favourite spots.
Over the last couple of years I have got to know Steve Ackerie. Even before we met he was known to Nadi and I as 'stylish Steve'. It was rare for me to ever see him not wearing a wide spread button up with textured ties in flat colours of either wool or cotton. He just had that natural ability to wear things without it looking like he spent any time deciding on his outfit.
You know what I mean. Something I'm still searching for!

He now has his own venture in Paddington.
The Chelsea is a small bistro eatery with a warm Parisian style fitout by the very clever kids at Richards and Spence.
It has been my dependable breakfast location and somewhere I would ride to from the shop in the afternoon for a Campari or glass of Pinot.
Sunday's lunch was no exception - lamb rump on a bed of mash washed down with a glass of chianti.

By the way he is also a keen cyclist with some enviable machines in his arsenal and a sprinkling of good cycling books at the bar.
Thanks for lunch Steve, looking forward to seeing you in Sydney soon.