Brands

What Jack Wills did next




Jack Wills is a brand I am endlessly intrigued by. To the uninitiated, Jack Wills comes across as a nice, polite brand peddling British preppie-wear aimed at posh teens who aspire to Abercrombie & Fitch. Jack Wills hate being tarred with the Abercrombie brush, but to the average person, that’s how they come across.

What else do I know about them? They are intensely private, know their onions and have got a hell of a brand game plan up their brushed-cotton sleeve. I was privvy to a tiny slice of information when I met one of their reps last year, which involves a plan to make much more of social networking on their site – “we believe we are onto something that is going to genuinely redefine how a brand speaks and interacts with audiences,” I was told. Wow. Last week I learnt that Venetia Scott had styled some of their shoots. Venetia Scott – only one of the most influential stylists on planet fashion! Sheesh, what other secrets are they keeping?
There is a stack of cash to be made from the UK wannabe-preppie market. A couple of weeks ago, I went to the launch of Johnnie Boden’s new venture, Johnnie B which is the new teen offer from the Boden camp. Clearly aiming to snatch up a chunk of Jack Wills’ profits (it’s certainly more affordable), I had worried for a millisecond that Jack Wills might come unstuck but ooh no, they don’t need to sweat as they have bigger fish to fry. Because Jack Wills is not just about clothes. One more nugget of info I picked up last week is that Aubin & Wills (the older sibling arm of Jack Wills) is opening its first destination store on May 20th on Shoreditch’s Redchurch Street. The 7,500sq. ft ‘concept space’ will include a gallery and a cinema, which will be run in collaboration with Shoreditch House. Well if Ralph Lauren can have a restaurant, why shouldn’t Aubin & Wills have a cinema? Like the clothes or not, the Jack Wills brand stable is only going to grow.


Nails Inc x Diet Coke




If anyone ever asks my top 5 brands I can reel them off in under 5 seconds. Sony, Gap, Disney, Levi’s, Coke. Easy.

Sony was really cool when I was growing up (hey, they invented the Walkman and had a great logo). Even though their products got less reliable over the years I still have an allegiance to them, I can’t help it. Maybe it’s because Big Audio Dynamite wrote a song about them.

Gap is just a brand I love the idea of. Great American classic wardrobe staples and their ad campaigns are always so beautifully produced. Plus, I have just found the perfect ankle length chinos I’ve been looking for all my life. Disney? Well, duh, can I just say Mickey Mouse? What other reason do you need? Levi’s – again, all about American heritage. I love everything this brand stands for, it’s a nostalgia thing. And finally, Coke. It’s weird, even when I hear bad things about the brand, all I can think about are the red and white colour combo, the iconic logo, the even more iconic bottles and those brilliant ad campaigns.

And now, Nails Inc has collaborated with Coke to launch the Diet Coke City Collection of nail polishes. WTF has Diet Coke got to do with nails? Not a lot, but I really don’t care. I’m not even a Nails Inc fan but I will be making it my business to nab one of those ruby red bottles. That’s the power of the brand for ya.

The Nails Inc Coke set is available from Boots between now and 30th June, free when you buy two 500ml bottles of Diet Coke from selected Boots (subject to availability).


Gucci Gucci Choo




So last week rammed the point home that trainers are very much back on the fashion radar. Not only did Gucci launch its shinysupersexy Icon-Temporary pop-up trainer store in Covent Garden, but Jimmy Choo has gone all social media-savvy and used an interactive Foursquare/Twitter/Facebook game to launch its first trainer collection. The idea is to follow @CatchAChoo on Twitter to find out where an elusive pair of Choo trainers will be as it flits on its travels around London. If it tweets a destination and you happen to be there, you simply find the Jimmy Choo bag, present it to the Choo representative and say ‘I’ve been following you’. The trainers then become yours, but I don’t know what they look like and how they know they will be your size. Er, maybe you get a voucher? To join all the social media dots, CatchAChoo is also on Foursquare and Facebook. I think it’s a jolly idea but it launched last Monday and I don’t know how much of a buzz it has created as it only has 275 followers on Twitter. I would have expected more. Perhaps the fact that the game is only being played in London has put a few punters off.

Over at Gucci, Frida Giannini has enlisted pop hottie Mark Ronson to design a capsule range of Gucci trainers. Ronson doesn’t have any design credentials but hey, he’s well-connected and looks good in a Gucci suit, I guess that’s enough these days. The trainers are inoffensive but not nice enough to get me to to part with £395 (for the cheapest pair).

Jimmy Choo trainers:

Gucci trainers:

I think I would prefer them if they looked more like Phillip Lim’s AW10 trainers:

Having said that, you’d be hard pushed to find me in any fashiony trainers these days. My Nike Blazers and Vandals have been neglected for years because they just don’t sit right with a skinny jean and well, I think I just generally grew out of the whole competitive trainer mania thing.

Although I did get a wee frisson at the Canoe press day when I was introduced to the AW10 New Balance collection.

I have always had a soft spot for New Balance, primarily because their old school 576 running shoe is my trainer style of choice – classic, functional with just a whiff of geography teacher. Also, did you know that many of the 576s are made in the UK? But the real reason I love New Balance is mostly to do with one Wes Anderson. The nerdy-but-stylish one has the very same New Balance 576s as me, complete with reflective logo. Fancy! Now I bet you wouldn’t catch him in a pair of Choos.




AW10 trend report: Matches press day



“Heels are coming down,” said my tour guide, Matches buying director Bridget Cosgrave as she held aloft a pair of Tabitha Simmons kitten heels. And these really were kitten heels, not the 7cm ‘higher kitten heels’ I’d been reading about in Harper’s Bazaar earlier that morning. Cosgrave told me they have been feeling it for a while and now designers like Marc Jacobs and Rupert Sanderson are fully backing it. Which isn’t to say long, thin heels have had their day by any stretch. There were plenty of plat-heels still on show, in particular a Burberry hiker-stiletto and Charlotte Olympia’s in-demand cocktail heels. But alongside were all manner of more managable heels – wedges, brogues and a super-wearable shearling-lined Burberry biker.

Tabitha Simmons

Burberry

A good in-between is the Celine boot with tall, stack heels – classic but sexy. Stealth sexy if you will…

Away from shoes, Bridget enthused about Richard Nicoll. His T dress is a top seller at Matches (“it has a stealth following”) and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a loose, easy shape that suits all silhouettes, but its fluidity offers a dressiness that makes it versatile for work or evenings.

Knitwear news: Lutz & Patmos are celebrating their 10th anniversary with a greatest hits collection. Matches will be selling all the Lutz & Patmos collaborations – Sofia Coppola’s dress, Christy Turlington’s poncho and Carine Roitfeld’s laddered cashmere sweater.

Matches’ vintage Chanel bags sold so well for SS10 that they are buying more for AW10. And they have added a selection of vintage jewels to the offer too.


Bridget also drew my attention to a new luxe label to Matches. Raoul is from Singapore and it has to be said, they make a pretty good handbag. The balance of clean lines with luxury hardwear is right on the money. Style.com have just written about them here.

Finally, coats. I couldn’t tear myself away from Stella McCartney’s strict masculine coat (below) but the real winner fair and square in the outerwear stakes is the shearling-lined aviator jacket (but you knew that already). Second to that, like it or not, is fur. As Bridget puts it succinctly, “fur demand is huge”.