A return visit to Varg PR, this time for their A/W12 Menswear Press Day, once again confirmed that they have their fingers on the button for labels that represent the ultimate in pared-down chic.
Varg offer an expertly picked stable of menswear and on show for A/W12 was an intimate collection of brands, all in keeping with Varg’s signature Scandinavian ethos of laid-back cool with an edge. Adam Garcewska is Varg’s resident menswear expert and he was keen to discuss each brand and collection. Here I will detail a selection of my personal favourites.
Sixpack France, a French label that whilst not Scandinavian, adheres to the design ethic and their A/W12 collection has left me literally wishing away the summer to get my hands on pieces from the streetwise brand. Taking inspiration from the worlds of biking and figure biking, Sixpack France is a highly wearable collection based around t-shirts and also consisting of outerwear and knitwear. The “cut and sew” clothing is minimal, in dark tones (navy is predominant), with the eye-catching colours and designs reserved for the t-shirt collection. These are created in conjunction with artists and the designs are distinct and light-hearted. The “smoking devil” t-shirt will no doubt be a huge favourite of many come August – one item I would have liked to have walked away with on my back!
Won Hundred is a Danish brand who many of us are already familiar with. Their A/W12 menswear collection was another highly wearable offering that combined Danish woodsy and outdoorsy minimalism with an almost American, high-end varsity look. Standouts were the chic jersey tees, checked shirts and sharp tailoring which all run to suit the taller man size wise, making the brand a good choice for 6’2 men like myself looking for elegant casual wear that fits well.
Rascals also offered cool, varsity inspired clothing with a Scandinavian twist. The use of a brilliant brown and navy camo print (the bomber jacket has already been added to my A/W wish list) alongside other patterns and prints, gave this line of streetwear the perfect edge and the price point is deliberately kept a reasonable level to reflect the designers view that Rascals should be an accessible brand. The look and feel of the clothing oozes comfort.
Libertine-Libertine was the most outré collection on show, but by no means in a bad way. Libertine maximised on the print trend for A/W12 with an ingenious take on leopard print used on a jean and jacket combination that to look at I love, but would I wear? I’m not so sure. Perhaps more wearable were the trousers whose upturn offered just a hint of the aforementioned print. Strong pieces in this heavily updated and pared-down 90s sportswear inspired collection, were the outerwear; Libertine-Libertine’s pea coats were amazing, as was the use of colour blocking to break the monotony of what is otherwise an everyday item. The heavy twill sweatpants are also an excellent offering, taking another everyday item of clothing and transforming it into something different. These would look perfect with one of the line’s blue checked shirts, layered with a pea coat and perhaps tucked into a pair of Swedish Hasbeen’s (another member of the Varg stable) rugged boots.
On the accessories side, I was pleasantly surprised to see renaissance brand Sunpockets. This eyewear brand’s original hey-day was in the 70s; I well recall, as I inherited a pair of my fathers as a child (in the late 80s mind!). The skier’s sunglasses of choice in the 70s, these sporty vintage shades, with their mirrored lenses and bright plastic frames have been resurrected using the original factory moulds making them the perfect retro accessory. Every pair is foldable, making them easy to slip into a pocket when not in use, which for the absent-minded amongst us, means no more lost sunglasses or broken ones from accidentally sitting on them!
Proof once again, that for grown-up, minimalist chic with an edge and also for refined sportswear for those like myself, who have grown out of the offerings of Abercrombie & Fitch’s et al, Scandinavian brands have mastered the art form.
Ian Michael Turner