Port’s online and fashion features editor looks back on a year of exciting collaborations, hyped start-ups and contemporary menswear with roots in timeless design
Words David HellqvistAbove: Paul Smith British Collection at LC:M
Photography Paul Smith
The good thing about writing the fashion pages for Port’s website is the diverse style that the magazine and its aesthetic promotes. Port isn’t defined by a brand, trends, a particular style or a generic point of view when it comes to fashion. Because of that liberating lack of stylistic direction we look for fashion pieces that attract us for the same reason a piece on architecture, food or literature does: genuinely interesting personalities, fascinating stories and mind-blowing events. Those are the humble qualities we ask of a good story. Often we get there, sometimes we fail… but never without trying.
Looking back, as proven by the highlighted stories on the following pages, we’ve managed to spread the love this past year. In terms of ‘fashion’, the year is divided into two seasons, each with a menswear week where designers and brands showcase next season’s clothes in London, Milan and Paris. This gives us an opportunity to work closely with both storied and ancient design houses and new and upcoming designers to create Port-relevant and uniquely angled pieces, sometimes about the actual clothes, sometimes about an aspect surrounding the collection.
In January, when designers showed the just finished AW13 season, we were delighted that Kris Van Assche agreed to share his personal thoughts on the Dior Homme collection through a Port Manifesto. Paris-based photographer Carlotta Manaigo shot photo essays from Kim Jones’s Louis Vuitton show and at the Valentino venue, perfectly capturing the beautiful backstage chaos. Legendary show music producer Frédéric Sanchez spoke about how he creates soundtracks and work with designers, in this instance Jil Sander.We also premiered Lou Dalton’s Grenson collaboration on her show day. Other highlights at London Collections: Men included Morgan O’Donovan’s eerie visual backstage reportage from both the Richard Nicoll and Alexander McQueen shows.Above: Alexander McQueen AW13
Photography Morgan Donovan
- But, before we come back for a June dose of high-end fashion, let’s look at some of the other menswear pieces we’ve done throughout 2013. On the back of the January shows, in Visvim’s Le Marais showroom in Paris, we spoke to founder Hiroki Nakamura about two cardigans from his collection that, even though they looked similar, had been made with very different inspiration and production processes… a fascinating insight into the mind of a Japanese design legend.Other, equally interesting pieces, included an article on newcomers Soulland. As the Danish brand launched its collaborative collection with Goodhood, we spoke to Silas Adler about his love of skating. Two store openings in particular caught our attention: classic boot makers Red Wings and saddle experts Brooks. Both stories were shot by Port contributor Jasper Fry; the pieces show how a retail environment – when treated right – can also be beautiful, which, incidentally, was also a design theme in Port’s issue 12.
Above: Jerry Cohen
Photography Pelle Crépin
Above: Adam Atkinson and Becky French
Photography Jasper Fry
Jerry Cohen is the co-founder of Ebbets Field Flannels, a Seattle-based company specialising in American mid-20th century sportswear. Think flannel wool baseball caps and football jerseys. The idea of recreating timeless design and reintroducing them into a contemporary market is appealing, and it’s thanks to the likes of Cohen that we don’t just suffer from rootless design that just looks ahead without remembering its sources in the past.
Private White VC, although a coat maker in Manchester, very much works with a similar sartorial theme. We like their stuff so much that we visited their factory, spoke to owner James Eden and arranged to have a PWVC jacket given away on the site.
Down south, in his Dorset office, we found Nick Clements, an independent publisher who’s title, Men’s File, looks at revival clothing. Clements doesn’t do heritage and vintage, he believes in a lifestyle where the clothes you wear are as important as the music you listen to and the food you eat. It’s about a way of life, not a way of dressing.
Over coffee at St Johns on Commercial Street, we met Adam Atkinson from bag makers Cherchbi and Marwood’s Becky French. Together they have collaborated on a travel case for a tie and a bow tie, all three in Cherchbi’s signature Herdwyck tweed. As an accessory brand specialising in ties and bow ties, Marwood had to work hard with the stiff tweed, but the two perfectly managed to further themselves and allowed the collaboration to bring a whole new product to life.
- On Cambridge Heath Road, while getting a haircut, Tictail’s Carl Waldekranz told us about his new cyber adventure. Since our talk we’ve seen him in everything from Wired Magazine to Financial Times. He, and a few fellow young Swedes, have developed a site that allows entrepreneurs to set up E-shops and sell their goods easy and free. Waldekranz called it the “Tumblr of E-commerce”. No doubt we’ll hear his name again soon.On a line from Hong Kong, equally immersed in web technology, we found Kevin Ma. As founder of Hypebeast, Ma has gone from blogger, to webshop owner to publisher of a quarterly men’s fashion magazine. Not bad going in times like this.
Above: Carl Walderkranz
Photography Morgan Donovan
- We also tried something new in December. Port’s Fashion Editor, Alex Petsetakis and Jasper Fry shot Home Alone, a seasonal holiday story for the site – actually set in Deputy Online Editor Betty Wood’s house – featuring not only gift ideas but also suggestions for board games and the odd sport even…
Styling Alex Petsetakis
Photography Jasper Fry
Prada illustration by Florence Shaw
- That just about takes up to the end of this year. But, as promised, let’s also refresh our memories as to what happened in June, when Port’s Fashion Director, David St John-James, and myself once again went on a fashion tour of Europe. Alongside our usual mixture of exclusive stories we also enlisted an illustrator to help us bring the SS14 season to life. In her ‘Daily Doodles’ series, Florence Shaw interpreted the fashions from, among others, Kenzo, Saint Laurent and Prada.
Meanwhile, Bottega Veneta treated us to a rendition of their show soundtrack, Alexandre Mattussi from AMI gave us a print preview and Sacai designer Chitose Abe listed her sartorial ambitions for the season in a Port Manifesto. Morgan O’Donovan again lensed a few shows; a beautiful photo essay from the Jonathan Saunders presentation and an accessory highlight at Margaret Howell. CP Company gave us a film to premiere and Sir Paul Smith brought a Polaroid camera to his presentation and sent us a few snaps…
All in all, it was a good year for both high-end fashion and contemporary menswear… our goal was to give them equal amount of space and attention, and I think in that marriage of aesthetics we’ve managed to find the true Port style. See you on the other side…Left: Bottega Veneta SS14
Photography Luca Campri
Subscribe to Port Magazine annually and receive each issue to your door.Get PORT in print