Under the radar – ASOS menswear

It’s no secret that ASOS.com is going from strength to strength – half-year profits are up 68%! In the early days, ASOS’s USP was based on copying celebrity outfits stitch for stitch. ASOS – which stands for As Seen On Screen – would turn around a copy of a ‘Paris Hilton-style’ jacket or dress faster than any high street store, resulting in phenomenal sales and repeat starry-eyed customers who couldn’t get enough of its affordable take on celebrity style. These days, the brand has distanced itself from its copycat beginnings and now sets its own trends. At the SS09 press day I attended a couple of weeks ago, I did a double take at the Cacharel blouses (anyone else still in shock that Eley Kishimoto only last a couple of seasons at the helm? Travesty!), denim of every description and nostalgic florals.

But while we’re all familiar with Asos’s sassy cocktail frocks and statement shoes, the menswear offering has been quietly picking up speed. A preppie Brooks Brothers look prevails for next spring with natty seersucker checks and suede boat shoes of every hue. Then I gasped at the brands – Band of Outsiders for Sperry rubber boat shoes (quirky!), YMC two-tone loafers and a flurry of new labels – Acne Jeans, Comme des Garcons Shirt…

The ASOS mens magazine is also a bit of a who-knew discovery. Not sold in the shops, this gets sent out to customers and the quality of the book (as they like to say Stateside) is pretty damn good considering the tight constraints these things are usually executed under.

SS09 trend report: The legging that thinks it’s a jean

I always look forward the Urban Outfitters press day. This time around we saw psychedelic coloured sunnies (thank gawd they’ve moved on from Wayfarers), Vivienne Westwood totes and April 77 jeans (hmm, might these Joey jeans replace my can-only-get-them-online-from-Oz-since-Liberty-stopped-selling-them Nudies?)…

But what’s with the Legging That Thinks It’s A Jean? Urban Outfitters is wholeheartedly backing this questionable trend with no less than four, (four!) styles including a jeans-print legging, a stretch denim legging, a turn-up-jeans legging and an elasticated-waist skinny jean-legging monster hybrid. Please. No.

How do you feel about these legging-jean creations? Yay or nay?

Extreme heels: Have they reached their t(r)ipping point?

Ok designers. Can we please end it with the hellish heels? I’ve had enough of them and so have the poor models that were stumbling, tripping and flailing all over the Prada SS09 runway due to their inelegant footwear. Even Gwyneth has reverted to flats having worn a succession of increasingly challenging heels during the summer (sales at Selfridges subsequently leapt 35% due to the Gwyneth Effect – are these women crazy?).

Experts claim that high heels still have some mileage in them but I beg to differ. I can see a return to mid-heel shoes – Kurt Geiger’s little-publicised range Solea had plenty of non-frumpy sensible-height shoes at its recent spring preview while London footwear label Sumfortune is also championing the newer lower heel. I say give these a go. With a skinny cropped-above-the-anklebone jean or a 7/8 peg trouser, they’re just as chic as a Louboutin stiletto but way more managable.

[Shoe pics:
1-3: Solea at Kurt Geiger
4: Sumfotune]

I want, I want: Apple bags

Who knows where the apple bag trend started? I don’t, nor do I care. I first spotted this Missoni one (above) in Vogue last year – or perhaps it was the year before – but silly me, was too slow off the mark to scoop one up. Then there was the Hermes ‘apple holder’ outcry. Who on earth would want or use such a frivolous thing? (Um, me?)

Now, Alice Temperley has jumped on the band bagwagon with this tasty twosome in festive red and green. Hopelessly impractical but utterly delicious!