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Luxury Essentials by håndværk

håndværk

håndværk

Premium materials and craftsmanship make for the foundation of håndværk, a collection of highest-quality staples by NY-based husband and wife team Esteban Saba and Petra Brichnacova. The couple’s shared interest in textiles inspired them to create the handmade and finished collection, based in three generations of small-scale family production. The elegantly minimal pieces perfectly strike a balance between luxury and necessity, and this theme extends to the handsome branding by Savvy Studio.

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In New York, you can find håndværk’s collection at 3×1, at 15 Mercer Street, it is also available online.

More at: håndværk

Men’s Sandals: Not a Problem

Men's Sandals

The subject of men’s sandals is, unreasonably, a controversial one. There is the school of “NO,” and also the trend-obsessed that build their collection around each year’s round of flashy, over-the-top status sandals. It is strange that there is so much taboo about a man in open shoes; the sandal is not a modern invention, we know enough from history (and, well, “historic” films) to be sure of that, yet somehow the flimsy flip-flop has become an American standard. It doesn’t help that the ubiquitous sandal primers of men’s magazines seem to be more filler and “the latest” than guiding. As it turns out, the sandal game is much easier than we’re led to believe.

This is not a discussion of open shoes as a whole, not the post-surf appropriate flip-flop or gym shower slides, but a beautifully crafted sandal that can comfortably work casually or dressed up. And as fine materials don’t always make for inexpensive (a reminder to check the racks come end-of-season), it is smart to invest judiciously. Perhaps the most important note in selecting the right design is to err on the side of classic, not necessarily a matter of being safe, but considering the life of the shoes. There are modernized, minimized, and amped-up versions of time honored designs that will be as valuable in your wardrobe a few summers later, and this consideration of amortization and enduring style should be prioritized.

A trend in 2014 Spring collections was leather-strapped fisherman sandals, a classic style that doesn’t overdo it; a great thing about a solid design like this is that you can accommodate trends around it (see Carven’s SS14 presentation: a palette-concious, 1940s sock and Greek sandal look).

Men's SandalsSpring 2014 looks at Christophe Lemaire and Carven.

The bottom line is to tread carefully, but not to be scared. It may be a luxury to have other options in the closet, but just like snow boots, you only really need one first-rate pair.

Above, six picks that will live as warm-season staples for some time: 1. Jimmy Choo Hayman, $595; 2. Lanvin, $540; 3. Carven X Ancient Greek Sandals Cleon $364; 4. Givenchy, $690; 5. Marni, $660; 6. Costume National, $795

3.1 Phillip Lim FW14

3.1 Phillip Lim Menswear F/W 2014

Phillip Lim’s version of the western man is a cool one; not the Marlboro Man and definitely not in the Ralph Lauren realm, his look is city smart, but on an American West canvas. This cowboy inspiration in Lim’s 3.1 Fall 2014 collection made use of the expected: leather and denim, but Lim also made a good effort to work in a bit of the future, with metallics and textural combinations that keep the collection from looking too calculated.

The simpler pieces really carry the presentation, where the clothes don’t read as having an agenda (the horse motif might be a bit literal). The fits aren’t always traditional, and it is a good thing; tops are flowy, but fall perfectly, and the layering doesn’t come off baggy, instead clean and just a notch below “too much.” Oversized sweaters could not be more effortlessly hip, and my favorite homage to the cowboy, Lim’s interpretation of the classic silk range scarf, is surprising in that it actually works.

See the complete collection at: 3.1 Phillip Lim

Photos: Marcus Tondo

Opening Ceremony SS14: Into the Light

Opening Ceremony features their Spring/Summer 2014, street racing-inspired collection in this short film, Into the Light, directed by Maryam L’Ange. Alongside model Martin Cohn, you might recognize Olympic fencer Race Imboden as one of the leads in a narrative the director describes as “a glimpse into a New York love story.”

Viktor & Rolf Monsieur FW14

In the city, sometimes the least expected but practical clothing combinations can make the most sense sartorially. Take for instance the chic, carefreeness of a suited man off-the-clock, perhaps just leaving the gym, still donning his tailored trousers cuffed over sneakers, and with a perfectly fitting sweatshirt on top; it can work very well. This amalgamation can also go terribly wrong: a full suit with a baseball cap, women on the train in stockings and their “comfortable” sport shoes, etc., business-meets-sport it isn’t an easy game to play. The good news is, Viktor Horsting and Ralf Snoeren know exactly what they are doing.

The two have made it clear that they love grey flannel; it has been a staple in past collections, and after decking their new Saint-Honoré store in the material from head-to-toe, they use it as a canvas for a major portion of their Fall 2014 menswear collection. Forgoing soft-spoken, ultra-traditional suiting, the material has been reinterpreted with an infusion of sport. The athletic theme could easily read as excessively playful, something Viktor & Rolf have a reputation for siding with, but this is restrained in all the right places: athletic tape seals seams, sweatshirt material find its way into suiting, and sneakers that err on the side of sport, not fashion, look smart.

Their continued collaboration with fellow Dutch artist, and founder of the hip street label Rockwell, Piet Parra, has resulted in a successful execution of a fashion formula that isn’t entirely new, but rethought. The collection certainly is not old-fashioned office or evening wear, but we know that isn’t the target. These are pieces for the creative gentleman that is allowed a little experimentation in the wardrobe department; nothing dusty here.

More at: Viktor & Rolf

Irregular Vases by Acne Studios

Acne Studios has just released a limited collection of irregular glass vases, available only in specifically chosen Acne Stores. The sculptural, one-of-a-kind forms that initially evoke a sense glasswork gone wrong, are a covetable collector’s item, etched at the bottom, and presented in a specially-designed Acne gift box.

$460, available only in Acne stores; to find out if they are available near you, contact [email protected].

Winterizing with Bally

With cold weather approaching, it is time to take advantage of the comforts of winter dressing. One of my favorites for this winter is Bally’s Everest-inspired collection. Sure, a reindeer boot might seem over the top, but when put into context, it makes perfect sense. You see, in 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first two men to summit Mt. Everest; Norgay in a pair of reindeer boots by Bally. That historic event served as the guide for Graeme Fidler and Michael Herz’s collection celebrating the ascent’s 60th anniversary. Pulling all the stops with cashmere, marmot, and down, as well as buttery leather, these may not be basics, but they are certainly staples in the most luxurious form.

More at: Bally

Ami SS14

With the Palais de Tokyo staged as a 1950s airport terminal, Alexandre Mattiussi presented his Spring 2014 collection for Ami; a direct nod to the traveling man.

This man-on-the-go was either headed out on vacation or returning from one, combining his polished, practical travel wear with perhaps a piece or two from his journeys. Those tailored, simple staples, artfully mixed with tropical prints and camouflage, remind us that Ami is all about separates; that is to say a collection that can be mixed easily with other pieces from the line (or your closet), but one that lends itself to an uncomplicated pulled-togetherness, Mattiussi’s hallmark.

See the collection at: style.com

Photos: Ami

Bally Menswear SS14

In 1952, Bally sponsored the Tour de Suisse, a major source of inspiration for Michael Herz and Graeme Fidler’s Spring 2014 collection. The bicycling theme carried from an update of an archive cycling shoe, to the technologically-advanced materials used. This sport-minded collection nicely intersects function and luxury: smartly fitted, but totally moveable, with a handsome palette that works beautifully with the materials, ones we are all too used to seeing in plain black or obnoxious neons.

See the collection at: style.com

Photos: Bally

Acne Studios Menswear FW12

Acne’s Fall 2013 collection for men was inspired by the “father” of modern Swedish literature, August Strindberg. A prolific and highly knowledgeable man, Strindberg was a playwright, poet, novelist, essayist, painter, telegrapher, theosophist, photographer, and alchemist. Above all, he was a supreme self-promoter. Shameless, and interested in the idea of the self-sell, Strindberg used his own image as a branding mechanism, printing portraits of himself on cards he distributed.

Studying these portraits, you’ll find that Strindberg was quite the dresser, a dapper man in strict collars and tucked ties. This 19th-century style translated in a way that is a bit of a departure for Jonny Johansson and Acne, but maintains the clarity and strength of line and simplicity that set the label apart. In lieu of the cliché bow tie or a dandy-approach to coats and outerwear, the collection stays decidedly Swedish, but still nobby, with a lot of loose, long shirts, sport and military-inspired coats, and a signature cropped pant. Neck scarves, bits of lush shearling, tall boots, and Florentine prints, straight from the books of another time, elevate the collection to a place of subtle, artistic elegance.

Photos: Acne Studios