Thursday, January 6

Wednesday, March 3

SHOES: Maketh the man

(SHOE JARGON BUSTER; click above for larger view)

A good friend of mine recently asked me to impart my knowledge of Gentleman's Brogues; a sort of 'buyers guide' in layman's terms if you will, so true to my word here it is... but where to start?

With so much to say, and so little time, I should begin by stressing that a man's shoes are the most important items in his wardrobe and should be treated as such; well-cared for shoes always make their wearer looked well dressed, and needless to say will prolong the life of the shoe.

It should also be said that when buying bench made or indeed hand grade shoes there should be an appreciation of the living craft of shoemaking, a craft which blends centuries-old traditions with classic styling.
Sure, your nearest high st retailer will undoubtedly present you with an array of multicoloured footwear options to choose from (to my mind, more often than not, beastly, mass produced, cheap and distasteful...excuse the rant)

Personally, I'd rather invest my English pounds in shoes that will not only protect my dainty trotters from the toil of everyday life and look rather fetching, but showcase an art form that has been refined over the course 4000 years.

For basic types of classic men's shoes look no further than the 'Oxford' and 'Derby', both are categorized mostly by their style of construction, and both available as a plain, semi-brogue, or full brogue.
The quintessential 'Oxford', my shoe of choice is considered the most elegant, whilst 'The Derby' generally worn in continental Europe has a more 'robust' aesthetic.

The 'Brogueing' process is essentially a series of geometric holes punched out along the seams and/or toe cap of the shoe which produces decorative finish, as popularized by the Prince of Wales in the 1930's and countless gentlemen since.

For me, Northampton, synonymous with quality footwear is still the best place in the UK to buy high quality mens shoes, and indeed men's brogues. There are several factory shoe shops open to the public with a variety of shoe 'brands' for sale at reduced prices, and if you have particulary deep pockets shoemakers that still offer a bespoke service.

I could eulogise about the everlasting merits of John Lobb, Crockett and Jones, Church's, Tricker's, and Grenson (amongst others) but I fear I'm in danger of 'preaching to the converted', and if not, then where have you been gents?

To help you along your way, I have posted a 'Jargon Buster' guide to shoe terminology courtesy of Grenson (Please see the top of this post, and click for larger view)

Should you feel the need to dig a little deeper, then I can recommend the fantastic book 'Handmade SHOES FOR MEN' published by KONEMANN where you'll find a wealth of knowledge. (pictured below)

Credits: Handmade Shoes for Men by Lazslo Vass by Laszlo Vass. Copyright 1999, printed in Germany. 216 pages. ISBN-10: 3895089281

Monday, February 22

TWEED RUN: Sartorial elegance & push bikes..

(click on  image for larger view)


Registration opens on 27 February 2010 via

Suitably attired ladies and gents embark on a gentle saunter across the capital, the day's schedule is as follows:

"...We'll be setting off from central London at Midday, on a 12 mile route passing the Tate Britain, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace (no word yet on if ma'am will be joining us), Savile Row, stopping off in the park for a spot of tea in Kensington Gardens, St Paul’s and ending with a bit of a knees-up in the City of London near Bishops gate.
Tweed suits, plus fours, bowties, cycling capes, and jaunty flat caps are all encouraged. I hate to be a bore but please, no beastly denim..."

One suspects that all participants will be immaculately turned out, not a 'hooded scoundrel' in sight!

Personally, I can't think of a more pleasurable pastime, anyone care to join me?

Visit The website (link above post) for more details.
CREDITS: Artwork /

Thursday, February 18


(click above to view larger image)

Two years ago TRYVERTISING was born:

Not surprisingly, an entire TRYVERTISING infrastructure, from 30 second samples on iTunes to firms specializing in relevant product placement is now in place, enabling consumers to try before they buy.

"There's not even a 'relationship' anymore; there's a cold, calculating, experienced, and demanding consumer, and there are humble companies. So introducing yourself and your products by letting people experience and try them out first, is a very civilized and effective way to show some respect.’’

My personal favourite 'Tryvertising' campaign to date...

Nike Trial Vans are currently touring the UK/Ireland, France, Italy and Spain, stocking 1,000 pairs of shoes. It’s a free trial, no strings attached. To deliver on the crucial element of TRYVERTISING, total relevance of placement, the vans will pop up in places where people actually run. From athletic events to well-known running spots.

Source: One of the world's leading trend firms, sends out its free, monthly Trend Briefings to more than 160,000 subscribers worldwide.

Friday, February 12

ART: Relief for HAITI

Screen print was made for 

This is a collaboration with Studio Number One's Cleon Peterson, Casey Ryder and Shepard Fairey (of whom I am a big fan) Photography by Tao Ruspoli. 

All proceeds go to Haiti. 
18 x 24" Screen Print, Signed/Numbered, Edition of 450

Tuesday, February 9

PACKAGING DESIGN: Kraken spiced rum

The devil is in the detail...

What is there not to like about the packaging and branding for 'Kraken Rum' designed by Stranger & Stranger?
Who would have thought a bottle of booze could evoke such a unique user experience and largely through design....even if you were teetotal, how could you resist an object of such beauty?

Named after a sea beast of myth & legend; "PUT A BEAST IN YOUR BELLY" the slogan says, and weighing at 94 proof, one imagines Kraken spiced rum does exactly that.

As part of an integrated campaign, creative agency 'Dead As We Know It' were charged with the task of  revealing the backstory of the rum and the kraken; they produced a three part web movie which is both stylish and humorous. I have added 'Chapter one' The Anatomy of the Kraken' below this post for your viewing pleasure.

Oh, for those of you interested, I'm told the drink itself has a solid kick, and a strong molasses, cinnanmon, and vanilla flavour, nevertheless it almost seems criminal to open the bottle.

Wednesday, November 11

RETAIL: Cochon Butcher

As far as retail spaces go, Cochon Butcher in New Orleans is impeccable.
A space where form + function are perfectly balanced; Cochon Butcher boasts its very own curing room + perhaps unsurprisingly, all artisan meats + sausages are made on the premises.
With a nod to 'old world meat markets', this ranks among my favourite retail concepts'.
They offer small dishes to take away, or eat in the cafe-restaurant.
The 'bar food' menu is mouth watering, here's a taster;
  • Butcher chicken wings with sweet potato hot sauce + blue cheese
    Pizzetta with orange marmalade, Butcher bacon + spinach
    Iceberg wedge with tomato, guanciale + basil buttermilk dressing
    LA crabmeat 'au gratin'
    Garganelli pasta with Butcher sausage + peppers
    Truffled mac'n'cheese
    Foie gras torchon with peach jam + brioche
    Slow cooked pork tongue with cilantro, pickled onion + cabbage
    Chorizo + potatoes
    Duck Slider

    ...A Butcher by trade, my old man would be proud.