Our best of the best only comes once a calendar year, which is why, when we do bring you our annual ultimate personal shopping guide, it’s to help you stay ahead of the curve, in both your winter and summer wardrobes.
Photographer: Tom Fraud
Photographer’s assistant: Joseph Fordham
Stylist: Michael Miller
Stylist’s assistant: Tabby Richards
Hair: Diego Miranda
Make-up: Olivia Newman-Young
Model: Hugo Woddis at Supa
Location: Factory 311 Studio, London
Ultimate Watch – Omega
The Omega Speedmaster is one of the world’s most famous watches thanks to the fact it was on-board all six NASA lunar missions. This new version boasts a number of upgrades to the original, including a co-axial movement, bicompax design, sapphire crystal glass and a very cool matte black look that uses zirconium oxide ceramic on the case. More than worthy of its awesome name, the 12,000 USD Dark Side of the Moon is pricier than a stainless steel Speedmaster principally because it takes Omega twenty times longer to make one.
Ultimate Shoes – Paul Smith
The use of coloured contrast soles, which became a footwear fad last year has continued through this winter. The difference is that designers were being bolder before but have since realised that if the sole is bright, we’d rather have the rest of the shoe as sober as possible. Paul Smith has done exactly that with these 350 USD Mertons but the playfulness of the aquamarine soles is also complimented by a high-shine leather.
Ultimate Jacket – Dior Homme
Following Hedi Slimane is no walk in the park but Kris Van Assche has done it with aplomb at Dior Homme. Softening the maison’s aesthetic with some more relaxed cuts, he has also brought in a new athleticism that is bold and avant-garde and very much in keeping with the brand’s trend-setting ways. Take for example this sunny yellow sailing jacket, which was shown on the Summer 2015 runway. The price may be upon request but don’t be put off, you won’t find such designer adventure-wear anywhere else.
Ultimate Designer – Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood is a hugely influential designer, largely responsible for bringing modern punk and new wave fashions into the mainstream. Through her Man collection, she consistently shows her ability to surprise and delight with fabulous shirts, uniquely tailored suits and bold and graphic prints. But it’s her provocative T-shirts such as this 280 USD flamboyant floral number that are perhaps the easiest way to add poetic presence to your wardrobe.
Ultimate Coat – Bottega Veneta
With men’s cuts getting ever slimmer, there was bound to come a time when there’d be some back tracking. This has now happened, at least in the form of oversized coats. Our pick of the crop is the reversible 1,965 USD Shetland coat by Bottega Veneta. It’s got some clean, structured lines, a wraparound design, a reversible double check fabric and a detachable belt that will accentuate the coat’s generous volumes while keeping your figure trim.
Ultimate Collection – Dolce & Gabbana
“Every woman wants one, every man wants to be one,” said Stefano Gabbana after the Spring/Summer 2015 show, referring to the bull, which he and Dolce were inspired by for this collection. It gave the Italian brand license to take on a much more Spanish influence than we are used to. And if, like us, you’d like to believe you’re a bit of a modern matador, then the plethora of reds, raging motifs and ultra-tailored cuts should more than satisfy those whims.
Ultimate Boots – Giorgio Armani
Lug soles are back. Not seen since the late 1980s and early 1990s, these thick rubber soles are staying strong as we move into 2015. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to go for the full on punk look. As you can see from these 900 USD Giorgio Armani Chelsea boots, it is possible to be lug-chic. With an interesting palette that ranges from a deep dark brown at the toe to a light cocoa at the ankle, these boots will be most handy if you’re around rain or snow this winter.
Ultimate Casuals – Vince
The worlds of loungewear and ready-to-wear have merged as never before with sports-inspired apparel becoming a big trend for designer brands. Equally, there has also been an emergence of new contemporary labels in this field and none are hotter than Vince. Known for its understated yet elegant clothes, specifically cashmere sweaters, leather jackets, cufffed sweats and perfect-fit tshirts, the Angelenos brand is a firm favourite of the fashion-forward.
Ultimate Trainers – Adidas
Thanks to the 75 USD Stan Smith, Adidas is rising to the top once again. The model, which has been around since the 1960s and was named after a former world number one tennis player, was actually officially terminated in 2012. But thanks to surging interest from global bloggers and trend-setters, the powers that be changed their minds and began a smart re-introduction strategy that included soft launches at stores like Barneys New York, Colette in Paris, Andreas Murkudis in Berlin and Dover Street Market in London. They’ve been selling out ever since.
Ultimate Bag – Gucci
Every man should have a dependable weekend bag and this particular one is a beauty by Gucci that combines natural cotton linen with full-grain leather. Ok, so it costs 1,990 USD but it is brilliantly convenient. Light, unstructured, capacious, foldable and therefore easily stowed, it can be flung over the shoulder or carried by its top handles. Plus, we don’t think you need to worry about protecting it too much as a certain aged patina will only add to its appeal.
Ultimate Tuxedo – Ralph Lauren
A traditional tuxedo should have a one-button jacket, peak lapels and be worn with a cummerbund but double-breasted suits are all the rage now and they do have one advantage in that you can ditch the cummerbund. If you want the best then get yourself a double-breasted Ralph Lauren Black Label tux. Designed with an old-world silhouette, it’s been tailored with a cooler cut than the more classic Purple Label.
Ultimate Sunglasses – Mondelliani
Based in Rome since 1975, Mondelliani is a small and lesser-known manufacturer of sunglasses. The brand has made a strong case for itself when it comes to quality, combining frames that have been handmade by artisans in Veneto with the world’s best lenses, produced by Carl Zeiss. There are loads of styles to choose from, but we would go for these flattering 295 USD black Alicudi shades from their Eolie collection. Go ahead and get yourself a pair. You can thank us later.