The magazine Man About Town was first modern consumer style magazine for men in the 1950’s in UK and it later became the basis for FHM.  Now we all know what the latter entails and I am in full disbelief that the UK male population are all content with having a lot of tits and arse with some poor dedicated fashion pages thrown at them.  This simply can’t be the case. 

The variety and range of womenswear when compared fo menswear can be extended to magazines as well.  When in Borders, the boyf can take 5 seconds to look to see what is out there for him whereas I can spend a good 5 minutes sussing out all the titles that are out (and this is ever-growing…).  By all means, guys are welcome and do read magazines aimed at women but the number of magazines dedicated PURELY to the subject of sartorial elegance in menswear, touting the importance of style over flash in the pan trends, which in my opinion is something that is more of a consideration for guys than girls, because of the nature that menswear is sold; the publications are few and far between.  Fantastic Man is well….pretty Fantastic and quirkily originates from Netherlands.  Vogue L’Uomo, Homme International do the job but with an aim of pleasing everyone so can be quite all over the place.   

However, the latest rag to hit the stands has taken the name of that 1950’s magazine and has been reborn as ‘Man About Town’, a biannual journal for men featuring Ryan Rhilippe on their first issue.  The boyf declared if a fiver well spent as it’s quite thick and unlike Fantastic Man, has some glossy action going on in it.  It’s for the man who isn’t after style direction or pointers but rather it assumes the reader is discerning and in the ‘know’.  An even mixture of arts, practicalities (e.g. the process of the tie) and editorial, if you do consider menswear mags to be a tad on the dry side, do try and pick this one up.

As Milan Fashion Week has come to a close and whilst a lot people overlook it in their anticipation for Paris, I’ve been digging and nosing around in my local bookstore and came out with a little booklet called ’40 Years of Italian Fashion’, of drawings and sketches of supposedly the most famous Italian fashion designers, published in 1983.  I’m ashamed to say that flicking through, half the names drew a blank for me and after much Googling, a lot of the names yielded very little.  Of course, the names we all know that are still around today feature (Versace, Armani, Fendi, Pucci, Missoni etc…) but others… I feel a little foolish at my lack of knowledge of Italian fashion.

The house of Carosa belonged to one the oldest families of the Italian aristocracy and attained great commercial success especially in the United States but closed in 1974 due to the changing structure of the company.

Sorelle Fontana is a name that does ring a bell but no images come to mind. In 1950’s the sisters Zoe, Mico and Giovanna took their label ‘Sorelle Fontana’ to great heights in the United States and I believe you can still find some Sorelle Fontanta branded names under some licensing agreements.

Jole  Veneziana was originally a fur designer but expanded to haute couture in 1946 and her work was known for being influenced by the stage and theatre.  The label closed when Veneziana retired in the early 80’s.

Perhaps the most well known of all and the one which I should really slap myself for not knowing more about is Emilio Fererico Schuberth who began as a milliner in Rome but then opened his atelier in 1940.  He became couturier to many an Italian and foreign aristocrat.  His fans also included a great many actresses and is best seen in this clip with Gina Lollobrigida showing off her Schuberth-designed gowns in the film ‘Fast and Sexy’.

It might strike some of you as odd that I write about this seeing as ‘old fashioned glamour’ is not something that has particularly interested in but I am rethinking definitions of timeless-ness and seeing as these designers have been somewhat maligned to one side, it’s good to to some self-teaching on a lazy Sunday.

It’s a little sad that these names have almost been erased from memory as Italian fashion, since the 30’s have fought to free themselves from the French famed houses and now, it is probably still the French houses that live on amongst the fashion-lovers. 

On a more positive note, the label Krizia is still very much alive today and I’m loving this hugely exaggerated pliss√© blouse from the 1960’s.   

It’s not the A bomb that has hit my house.  It’s me tearing through my wardrobe in a nervous state of frustration and panic.  This is of course me, overreacting.  I’m merely trying to pack for Paris next week where I’ll be attending some shows (what shows, I know not yet…all will be revealed when I arrive at the hotel to find either a nice stack of envelopes or absolute squat…).  Shows or no shows, packing for Paris is a nightmare as I currently have the most ridiuclous notion in my head that I have no clothes…  This is again complete lunacy.  What I probably mean when I wail ‘I have no clothes’ is ‘I have no clothes that are suitable.’ 

So some augmenting, changes, DIY fixes need to be made this weekend in a mad rush to cram a somewhat decent wardrobe for 6 days in Paris.  The augmenting part is not helped by the fact that I’m transfixed by these silver trousers from Topshop that look to be made of chainmail but have been described as ‘silver sequin black jeans’.  This images occasionally flashes up on the Topshop website and has been in the press for a while, but as yet, I haven’t spotted them in-store or online.  Daily Topshop checks are pretty sad and I find it a little shameful that I’m hankering for something that probably will be all over the streets.

Nonetheless, the ticking trouser-watch continues until about Monday when I’ll have to forget about silver trew time in Paris.  Pity as I so wanted my legs to sparkle like the Eiffel Tower when those Rugby World Cup lights are sparkling…. (I’m constantly reminded of that line in the penultimate episode of Sex and the City where Aleksander Petrovsky’s daughter Cloh√© declares those lights as ‘eeeedeous, just eeeedeous!’. 

A redux to Tokyo is in order since the times I have been there have been very unfocused fashion-wise.  To be frank, planning a return to the city for the purpose of shopping is mind boggling stuff seeing as the city’s NUMEROUS boutiques, malls and local haunts/treasures/finds would be complex to cover in one trip.  Seeing this shop installation by Przemek Sobocki (whose illustrations for Hintmag have twice been talked-up here… thus I’m a self-proclaimed fan…) at the Desperado boutique in Tokyo just reminded me why I need to get my Tokyo Redux back on track.  It was on display from the 7th to 12th Sept and Desperado constantly changes their window dressings of what they call ‘buyable art’ which can see from their archive.  It’s certainly lighter in tone compared to Soboki’s previous illustrations but given the nature of Desperado’s store, I’m thinking the full-skirted ladies walking the cute dog are perfectly apt.       

It’s a tad on the shallow side that my eyes are trained to be drawn to interesting displays but more often than not, what a store does with their aesthetics points to the quality and selection of their goods, which in Desperado’s case leans towards ‘intelligent cuteness with a quirk’.  Brands include Peter Jensen, Marimekko, Ghulam Sakina, Rittenhous and Baum und Pherdgarten.

On a sort of cute shop display related note, has anyone walked/travelled past Harvey Nichols and been tempted by a cupcake or two, or three…