Thursday, 1 September 2011

Style Icon - David Gandy

My published editorial - 
David Gandy, the fashion phenomenon, picked from obscurity and presented to us as the god like face of one of the world leading luxury fashion power houses this year celebrates 11 years in the making as a model, an icon and a fairy tale story of epic menswear proportions.
The fairy tale began as a boy, when ironically he was bullied at school for not being fashion forward, or one of the In Crowd and for having a bit of a speech impediment. It wasn’t until he graduated from university in 2001 that his life changed from Essex boy ugly duckling to international heart throb and iconic mega star. While David was busy enjoying himself in his dream summer job at car mag Auto Express (he’s a huge car geek for those of you who don’t read his Vogue Blog) his friends secretly entered him into a male modelling competition on Richard & Judy’s This Morning show. Not surprisingly David won and landed a contract with Select Model Management.
His first few years were not a shinning success, but eventually someone (that clever Italian duo) saw in David Gandy what we all thankfully do and a star was born. Dolce & Gabbana selected Gandy to front their ad campaign for their new fragrance Light Blue Pour Homme and subsequently he has become a brand name in his own right.
He’s had rapid success within the brand becoming the international face of menswear as well as working with some of the world most notorious super models like Naomi Campbell. He also worked on many other campaigns from Ermeregldo Zegna, Zara, Harpers Bazaar, Glamour, GQ Style and worked with some of the worlds top photographers like Mario Testino. Forbes Magazines even ranked Gandy as the third most successful male model in the world – quite an achievement for an unfashionable high school kid from Essex.
But what of Gandy’s own style? Well, his handsome smouldering good looks and perfectly tuned and sculpted body certainly help, but he also has a calming masculine confidence and charm which mirrors a style that is simple, elegant and impeccable.
His wardrobe has a strong emphasis on strong correctly tailored clothing, be it a jacket, suit or casual shirt and jeans.
His reliance on tailored clothing to accentuate his superhero-esque physique with it’s clean lines and silhouette is most apparent in his favoured staple, the two piece suit. However, for Gandy and any gentleman of good taste and a sense of style the attention is in the detail. He always adds something to give his outfit a signature David Gandy stamp of approval, whether it be a waistcoat or a scarf layered into the jacket. He also isn’t afraid to blur the edges of conventional menswear mixing formal separates with jeans or a simple (fitted) white T’s.

He’s also a man who values the importance of layering in his casual wear too, be it tweeds, woollen sweaters or leather bomber jackets it’s all done with an impeccable edit.
After an accolade like that, what’s not to love? Home grown, handsome, Grecian proportions and a personal style fit to challenge the best style icons history has to offer.
By Sam Outing

Style Icon - Pharrell Williams

My published editorial - 
Pharrell Williams comes from the school of multi talented successful black Americans musicians of his generations. A singer, rapper, record producer and composer as well a fashion designer, Pharrell has proven he’s a blinding success and passionate individual.
Along with friend Chad Hugo the musician they make up the record producing duo The Neptunes, who’s funky urban beats focus on hip hop and R&B and together with childhood friend Shay Haley, they complete the hip-hop-funk band N.E.R.D with Pharrell as the lead vocalist and drummer.
More recently Pharrell helped make up the band Child Rebel Soldier, but N.E.R.D put him on the map and made him a key player on the modern music scene releasing their debut single “Frontin” in 2003 and album “In My Life” in 2006. Along with the great and good of the genre (Jay-Z and Kanye West to name a few) he changed the face of pop-culture at the turn on the century. Money, sex, confidence and self worth along with relaxed cool and bling became the new world order and Pharrell’s young fresh face and handsome naughty puppy like looks helped prove him unstoppable.
But as far as icons go, in the style stakes Pharrell may not be an obvious choice. However, there is a lot to be said for flawlessly pulling off the perfectly put together ‘street’ look with ease. He has proved an icon of many young men who want to emulate ‘effortless cool’ which, if done correctly is seamless and by all account Pharrell has it down to a tee.
On the whole like another of our Style Icons, Kanye West, Pharrell has matured in his own tastes. From the baggy jeans and XXL crisp white t-shirts when hip-hop was at an all time high a few years ago to a now more discerning and formal wardrobe – the modern American gent – Pharrell seems to have mastered a style and taste of his own.
What gives Pharrell’s street-chic style its edge is the attention to detail and focus on bold colours and patterns. His use of layering and accessories like scarves, hats (baseball and trilby) and bandanas don’t distract form his looks, but enhance it giving a fresh depth and creativity to his style.

These stylised tweaks only add to the creativity of his music and ooze a confidence and charm that makes him stand out of the every day guy pimped up in hip-hop street style fashion that today often looks dated and out of touch. Partly what makes Pharrell so successful as an icon is how accessible his style is. Easily mimicked and translated into your own sort of ‘street wear’ it’s all about looking cool, relaxed and comfortable in your own skin. Saying that, he’s mastered dapper formal dress too proving a true icon is comfortable and effortless in anything. It’s the confidence and the ability to be able to construct a meticulously put together outfit that’s key.
This creativity and flair for fashion is evident in Pharrell’s own work as a fashion designer. Teaming up with the Japanese design craftsman Nigo, founder of The Bathing Ape/Bape brands Pharrell produced two lines of clothing called Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream in 2005 which have gone from strength to strength, even gaining cult following in the US and British markets.
In 2005 Pharrell was  voted the Best Dressed Male by Esquire magazine cementing his credibility and confidence as a force to be reckoned with.
By Sam Outing

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Style Icon - Don Draper

My published editorial -

 Never before has TSK featured a Icon who well, simply isn’t for want of a better word, real. Dynamic and mysterious, yes, but fictitious? No.

Every now and then a character so inspiring because of his wit and whole misdemeanour as well as a devilishly sharp and polished style has to make it though the sartorial net – who better to do so that the maddest of all Mad Men, Don Draper. To coincide with the launch of the BBC’s The Hour, which aired last night and is a spin off of the successful US franchise, we thought it only the done and proper thing to salute a masculine style icon who has epitomised an era in time and captivated audiences so successfully.

Those of you who don’t know (the rest of us will try to forgive you – but it’s really your own ignorant fault) Don Draper is the lead protagonist in  the American TV drama based in early 1960’s Manhattan in a top dog-eat-dog Madison Avenue Ad Agency. The show itself is flawless and captures the 60’s in all it’s political, social and visual glory. Blatant sexism, homophobia and racism go hand in hand with post war optimism, hedonism and an overwhelmingly sexually charged environment where the new and old orders collide. Mix with heavy drinking night and day, endless smoking and a wardrobe to die for and you have a sartorial recipe for success.


At the centre of it all played by the handsome, dishevelled and puppy like Jon Hamm is Donald Draper who in contrast is a constantly internally conflicted but outwardly confident (even arrogant) brooding, smouldering man. On the surface Draper is devastatingly attractive with deep sparkling eyes, a gravely rich voice, confrontational stare and an impeccable sharp suit proving the embodiment of the strong, silent type. His chauvinistic manner and disregard for human frailty combining with a manipulative animalistic urge to get what he wants is matched with an irresistible charismatic charming, over powering sexual magnetism and fear of his own shadow.

The real power of the Hamm/Draper colab is that combined, they have made all men fall in love with the suit again. A neglected wardrobe essential for the discerning man who takes his attire seriously the suit has become a focal point for men to show off the physique, personal style and appreciation of fine tailoring and design classics. When we look at Draper though, we don’t just want to look like him, but we pine for the past that he emulates. A past that for most of us has only been attainable though vintage advertising or family photos and news reels.

Draper evokes a time were men dressed like men and were proud of it. From a tailored suit (grey, single breasted with that classic streamlined 60’s cut- very Ivy League), freshly starched shirt and impeccably polished shoes to the additional, but essential personal nuances; a pocket square, knitted tie, tie clips and a desk draw packed with fresh shirts in case you’re faced with an all-nighter, waking up in the loving arm of a women who’s not your wife.

That’s another reason we love Draper – he’s a cad and a complete womanising scoundrel. Despite this, women love him. Because he’s fictional Draper can get away with things most men wouldn’t dream of and because of this, men love him too. He’s every man’s alter-ego, the fantasy us we could never be but hope our Grandfather’s were. Women want him and we want to be him.

In this case fiction proves too irresistible to refuse – particularly when he’s sipping a strong drink, looking seamless and brutish in a moody bar.

By Sam Outing

Style Icon - Richard Gere

My published editorial -

 From Philadelphia, to the London stage and back to America and the splendour of Hollywood Richard Gere has become the epitome of 1980’s masculine cool.

As a ladies man and sensational romantic heart throb he was the man of the decade; seductive, charming, handsome and perfectly turned out in the appropriate YUPPIE trends, Gere gave the girls someone to swoon and romanticise over and gave the boys a style icon with wit and charisma to idolise and embody.

Three films summarise Gere’s success and iconic status; American Gigolo, Pretty Woman and The Officer and the Gentleman.

These films, with there sex appeal and flare of the decade of excess that was the 80’s gave Gere the edge and the embodiment of many words that come to summaries the age; money, success, sex and flirtation.
All three films ooze Gere’s natural charm and cool, confident misdemeanour but one in particular launched his career as a Hollywood star and made him the icon of men’s style with alluring confident he is famed for. American Gigolo.

In American Gigolo, Richard Gere plays the well chiselled and sexually confident gigolo who can seduce and give sexual gratification to any woman he wants. After all, every man has one talent, right?
The plot has the normal high and low of a Hollywood block buster and of course the necessary love interested (Lauren Hutton), but what makes the biggest impact in the film (yes, part from his impeccable body, charm and killer theme tune) is his perfectly put together wardrobe. Seamless in style as he is in looks and in the bedroom department Julian Kay (Gere) boasted a preppy and perfectly constructed look.

Julian Kay was debonair and soave and proved it with a lifestyle and personal style that reflected it. His wardrobe was refined, the attention in the clean cut colour coordination and capsule collection of perfectly matching pieces. Always seen in tailored suits in various stages of undress in shades of grey, charcoal and chocolate brown with matching ties and shirts so crisp and body hugging that very little was left to the imagination.

The trousers were appropriately high-waisted for the films 1980 release and everything from his soft top, wrist watch, and the beautiful women he seduced suggested Kay was a smooth talking gentleman with an eye of style and good taste lapping up his luxurious and hedonistic lifestyle with confidence.

Kay had a distinctive American preppy look with a flare of European elegance; think Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren meets Armani.

In any of these three film with three very difference roles, Gere delivered everything a woman wanted; a confidence, seductive and handsome man who takes great pride in his appearance (but with no fuss) who also has a sensitive and venerable side. There to rescue and be rescued himself.

By Sam Outing

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Style Icon - JFK

My published editorial -

 Mr John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy 1917 – 1963, but JFK to his friends and the world at large who all seemed to cherish and admire him was America’s 35th President serving just three years from 1961 – 63 until his assassination. For a man with such a short flurry if the public’s eye he made a heavy and influential mark on history as well as society and style, proving iconic and unforgettable.

As well as welcoming in the new world of optimism and American national pride after the war, his sort term in office was also  amassed by hugely historic events from the Cuban Missile Crisis to the Space Race, the building on the Berlin Wall and the beginning of Vietnam and the American Civil Right Movement.

This turbulence did nothing to shake JFK’s resolve and he carried himself with firm confidence and casual relaxed nonchalance that put the country at ease. With this natural sense of dignity the Kennedy’s where seen as the nearest thing the American’s had to royalty. JFK’s family were shrouded in political clout and Jacqueline Kennedy, a Bouvier came from America’s social elite and they carried and presented themselves accordingly with all the expected charm and elegance of their class.

The Kennedy’s were the IT couple for the early 60’s and represented the iconic nuclear family of WASP-ish America which was forever immortalised in the advertising campaigns by the Mad Men of Madison Avenue. She was graceful devoted and demure and he was confident, calm and a born leader.

JFK also became the poster boy, along side other iconic men of the era like Paul Newman and Steve Queen for what was popularly coined the Ivy League Look which as a style came to represent what was at the heart of the American people; decency, modernity and confidence. Originated in the universities of the US East Coast the Ivy League Look had a simple clean silhouette built out of a compact capsule wardrobe that every man could construct and keep to.

Kennedy’s style was easily defined and is simple to imitate because of its simplicity and masculinity, a strict attention to detail and no fuss. Clean, sharp and understated it comprised of sharp narrow tailored suits (think Brookes Brother’s) with tight shoulders and a relaxed body favouring two button single breasted jackets in black or charcoal with a narrow tie. The other side of his wardrobe was classic and casual and came to define lounge wear for the man’s man of the mid-twentieth century.

Boat shoes (Sebago’s we hope), loafers, rolled up chinos or slacks just above the ankle, wayfarer sunglasses and a cable knit sweater or sports jacket. Practical, but with a strong design ethic Kennedy created a look of youthful power at play.

He was the epitome of modern America with all the honour of the age as a Second World War hero and a man who loved the finer things in life but also represented family, and devotion, not just to his own but to a nation and sartorially will for ever be seen as an icon of a time so specific in history that he’ll never be forgotten. A brave hero and ambassador for a positive new generation he summed up the youth and energy of a country and gave the Ivy League it’s national emblem of pride.

By Sam Outing

A Big Splash

My published editorial -

Paul Smith have collaborated with the London based guide to trends, fashion and the arts Urban Junkie to create A Big Splash – a guide to the worlds most interesting and inspiring swimming destination.


There couldn’t be a better collaboration for Urban Junkie than the arbiter of British menswear and dandy cool than Paul Smith. The guide promotes a varied mix of places all over the globe from luxury pool and spa’s to the rugged outdoors.


Starting with London’s very own Hyde Park’s Serpentine for a healthy a brisk outdoors swim the guide jet sets around America via Las Vegas’s newest resort on the strip The Cosmopolitan which  boasts three pools, a desert island and casino, The Hamptons in New York and the Big Sur in San Fran. UJ continue the tour back through Europe and some of the continents hot spots like The Ritz in Paris and Bulgari Hotel in Milan and finally ending in The East stopping off and W Hotel in Hong Kong which has one of the worlds highest roof top swimming pools.

w hotel hong kong

Along the way Paul Smith promote there latest swimwear rang Swim to ensure where ever you are in the world you’re best dressed and waving the flag for cool Britannia.

By Sam Outing

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Style Icon - David Beckham

My published editorial -

 David Beckham; a name, a face, a brand, an inspiration. So iconic and ingrained in our psyche he’s become as famous and notorious our other much loved household brands as well as the ones he’s put his name too. From 90’s tracksuit wearing hero of the work classes and lisp-y East-end lad to football superstar, British brand ambassador, international heartthrob and icon.

His transformation from the pitch to his now explosive status as an instantly recognisable brand and his long lasting relationship with Victoria (Posh Spice) Beckham who also rose from nothing to international stardom, has made Beck’s so iconic and loveable. After all us Brit’s love tails of the triumphant under dog and a rags to richest success story.

He possesses a steely cool persona and a relaxed nonchalance and grounded calm approach to his life and career. This with his cheeky grin, sultry sexy body and an overwhelming sense of determination has made him the icon he is today.

David’s success began when he joined the Brimsdown Rovers youth team and fame followed with Manchester United at only 17. His time there bought the team huge success winning the Premier League 6 times, the FA Cup twice and the UEFA Championship League and was made captain of the English squad. Subsequently his talents were seized by top international teams; Real Madrid, AC Milan and LA Galaxy.

Beck’s success didn’t stop with footie and unashamedly became the embodiment of the modern man – a metrosexual. On the pitch Beckham loves being in the thick of it but is just as comfortable being one of the lads as he is taking care of himself and loves to pamper and preen. Self assured in his own masculinity he takes pride in his appearance and is famed for enjoying regular pedicures and has a physic and wardrobe to rival that of any A-list LA celeb and his fashionista wife.

Once again Beckham proves the sign of a true style icon isn’t just to pull of a signature look flawlessly, but to look perfectly at ease in anything. From sharp suits to sportswear, leather, workmen’s boots, sarongs and the skimpiest of skimpy swimsuits Beckham gives it his all and manages to look both smouldering and endearing. These naturally god-like looks have seen him springboard into lucrative world of modelling and advertising where he has become synonymous with sex appeal and style.

Key to his iconic status is his dedication to keeping on trend as well as knowing the basics about menswear and dress. He also isn’t scared to break the fashion rulebook every once and a while and has the confidence to pull it off.

Beck’s is back in Britain with family in toe and another bouncing baby on the way (with God parents like Elton John how could a little bit of iconic stardust not rub off on you) and we couldn’t be happier. A home grown success story for a nation to be proud of he’s a loving dad and caring husband (we’ll ignore the nanny incident) with an obvious compassion for humanity with ground breaking projects like the David Beckham Academy football school.

Combined with his alluring persona and polished, dare devil approach to fashion he’s more than proved he deserves a place in the TSK Icon’s hall of fame. The TSK team also won’t be surprised if we hear the words ‘Arise Sir Beckham’ sometime soon – we say an OBE simply doesn’t do the Adonis justice!

By Sam Outing