Inkling x Merry Christmas

Considering this Christmas is the first I’ve spent abroad, this year’s festive season will likely be less turkey-scoffing, vegetating and bad-Christmas-film-consuming and more leisurely-Christmas-morning-brunching, walks in Central Park and plenty of mulled wine ’til mullered.

Despite being far from many friends and family, staying put in NYC for Christmas has let me off the hook with the usual present purchasing for fear off bankrupting myself on shipping costs. A definite plus. The rest of you, however, should either be running the final shopping lap or already hopelessly lost amid a sea of garish wrapping paper, coated thread and frustratingly creased sellotape. If not, here are your marching orders because I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but you’ve not got longer than 24 hours to save your hide.

It’s a little late for online shopping but if it’s inspiration you’re after, then a project I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with may be just the thing to get you motivated for last minute Christmas-shopping madness.

Inkling is a London-based online gift-suggestion tool, which saves the inevitable brain-racking and possible breakdown that goes with contemplating Christmas presents. I was brought on board to flesh out their men’s style and lifestyle offering (a selection of which can be seen above), which basically meant picking out a horde of things I’d like to see waiting for the ravishing under the tree this year.

Whether you’re prepared or panicking, I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a bountiful New Year. Stay safe, satiated and mildly sozzled.
Browse Inkling


Season’s Greetings: Richard Kilroy

Not to sound like a codger recounting the past fondly, but I first came across exceptional fashion illustator Richard Kilroy’s work back in the Summer of 2009. And although I considered him and his work reasonably well established even at that point, he’s really made waves in the meantime.

Richard’s been featured so many times here, he hardly needs introduction and to gush any more here about his work would only be to repeat what I’ve said countless times before (here, here, oh and here too). Without further ado, I thank him for his generous time in collaborating, and wish him a very merry Christmas…

Male-Mode: What are your plans for Christmas and the holiday season?

Richard Kilroy: To go home to Liverpool for a week with the family and eat until it hurts every day. Also, to catch up with friends and get pissed on less than £20 on a night out.

What is, for you, the spirit of Christmas?

Christmas is a time to indulge with those around you and enjoy it without guilt. I love catching up with everyone back home. I see Christmas as more of a celebration of the year than New Year’s Eve itself. In fact, I fucking hate New Year’s Eve.

What’s been the highlight of your year so far?

Oh god, there have been a few! The big one has been putting my book together, which has meant meeting and getting to know so many prolific illustrators; the final line-up is looking incredible.

Receiving invaluable help and mentoring from Richard Gray (the illustrator, not the journalist) whom I have the upmost respect for.

This one is a little self-involved but seeing David Downton and Julie Verhoeven mention me in interviews as their illustrator to watch – pretty surreal moments for a fanboy who has followed them for years.

Going to my first menswear shows and seeing the palaver that goes with it.

Tutoring drawing classes for the first time at the Royal College of Art and working with so many incredible talents. Also, many late night conversations on Facebook chat with Tara Dougans. We’re both emerging illustrators and friends so we’re always gossiping, bitching, and relating over everything that we’re doing.

If you could give just one gift this year, what would it be?

Fuck knows.

And if you could receive just one gift this year, what would that be?

A two week holiday. Or calf implants. Or funding for the next issue of Decoy.
Learn more about Richard Kilroy and his work | Learn more about premiere fashion illustration magazine Decoy | Follow Richard’s ceaselessly inspirational Tumblr

5 Things NOT to Buy a Man for Christmas: A Guide.

It’s difficult not to turn completely Christmas-centric when surrounded by the countless lights, fake garlands, oversized trees, bedecked gardens, and rammed-full shops of the land of capitalist Crimbo. To – in a kind of roundabout, semi-negative way – aid you in your holiday shopping, I’ve thought long and hard about all those presents that prompt insincere exlamations (“AMAZING! THANK YOU! JUST WHAT I NEEDED! MARRY ME?!”), bring on genuine bafflement, and those that nudge one toward the brink of disappointed tears.
Here’s what not to buy for a man this Christmas…
1. Socks

A Father’s Day staple, it’s fairly sad to hastily tear apart gift-wrapping on Christmas morning only to find a measly pair of socks beneath. I mean, it’s not the most unbearable fate – most men do forget to regularly purchase socks and who doesn’t welcome a new, hole-free pair? Still, it’s the thoughtlessness, the immediate avowal of failing to bother to actually think about something vaguely personal that results in disappointment. Unless there’s a weird sock-related in-joke or personal significance behind it all, or excepting they’re crafted from wildly luxurious cotton, then give it a rest.
2. Generic Fragrance Sets

Sophisticatedly dubbed ‘smellies’ in my homeplace, fragrances are a safe-bet for Christmas gifting. That said, nothing says ‘I really wasn’t arsed thinking about anything vaguely original to buy you!’ and/or ‘You smell like s**t!’ like a generic fragrance gift set from the local pharmacy. 
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for scents but if you’re going fragrance-way, be sure to avoid the tacky, thrown-together-in-some-Coty-factory route. Who uses those crappy miniscule scented shower gels anyway? If you’re dead set on fragrance, either do some preliminary research and simply buy them what they like (if they say they like ‘something sweet!’, they have little taste and you should really be questioning why you’re friends/lovers/family(?), never mind why you’re buying them gifts), or scope out something a little more unique that’s not simply a money-making extension of a luxury fashion brand and/or endorsed by a soulless celebrity.
3. Books on topics he’s never expressed even a remote interest in…

That means salacious crime exposés, BBQ recipe compendia, DIY guides, and anything For Dummies. He is no dummy, give him a voucher instead.
4. Overly elaborate tool-sets

At exactly what point is he going to use all 30 of those screwdrivers? 
5. Clothing you think he’ll look good in

Unless you’ve spent a decent amount of time roaming around the interior of your recipient’s brain and/or stalking his shopping practices, then don’t attempt a clothing gift. Firstly, he may v. well hate it, and secondly, you may think you have an idea of what fits him but really you’re hopelessly beyond clueless.
Hint: optimal is, of course, a charity donation. One of those things whereby you donate a sum, and gift him a card detailing immense generosity shown by you to both him and those in need. If he seems even a smidgeon underwhelmed by this, he’s obviously not worth giving gifts to anyway.

Season’s Greetings: Sean McGirr

No stranger to the blog, London-based menswear designer, Burberry and Vogue Hommes Japan alumnus, and lover of all things kawaiiSean McGirr bids you season’s greetings…

Male-Mode: What are your plans for Christmas and the holiday season?

Sean McGirr: I’ll be working on finishing my AW 2013/14 collection around Christmas but other that that, I’m going home to my family for one week! It’ll be the longest I’ve been home for a few years actually – so christmas movies and some trashy clubs are awaiting!

What’s been the highlight of your year so far?

It’s been a really good year for my work so there are many highlights. I had fun working on a fashion film with Kevin Gaffney so we’re preparing to work on another now.

If you could give just one gift this year, what would it be?

Hmnm I’d give a subscription to Arena Homme Plus because I really like the new issues. Also, flights to Japan inculding round-trip on the Shinkansen bullet-train and bursaries for students – I’d be super generous!

And if you could receive just one gift this year, what would that be?

Roxxxy the robot!

See more from Sean on the blog here & here | Learn more about Sean McGirr

Season’s Greetings: Mark C O’ Flaherty

Depending on your disposition, this is either going to paint me the breaker of bad news or the bearer of good – it’s just over a month ’til Christmas. Now, although I’m as anxiety-ridden as the next person who has a mile-long list of friends and family to buy for, I’m far from grinch-like. To prove it to you all, I’ve assembled a few of my favourite people to join in counting down the days in anticipation.

Mark C. O’ Flaherty is a man of words and pictures. A London-based photographer, writer, and founder of global style guide CIVILIAN, O’ Flaherty oscillates between penning informed and analytical features on luxury fashion, gourmet restaurants and cutting-edge design, to photographing some of the most breathtaking architecture and interiors around the world. Above all, he does both with equal aplomb, somehow remaining modest all the while…

Male-Mode: What are your plans for Christmas and the holiday season?

Mark C. O’ Flaherty: Lots of lunches and dinners with friends and family. No email or phone. Champagne, sea salt chocolate, the Wizard of Oz (always!) and my slanket.

What’s been the highlight of your year so far?

Visiting the temples of Siem Reap, getting engaged and finally pressing “go” on, which I’ve talked about doing for years. Not necessarily in that order.

If you could give just one gift this year, what would it be?

A signed first edition of Philip Roth’s American Pastoral.

And if you could receive just one gift this year, what would that be?

Can I have two? I’d like a John Wayne Gacy clown painting and a Richard Torry herringbone sweater please.

See more work from Mark C O’ Flaherty | Learn more about CIVILIAN

A Selection for Pickie; Gift Ideas for the Guy with Relaxed Style

Who dubbed Berlin ‘start-up city’? Since arriving in NYC, I’ve come across more online fashion-related start-ups than I can shake a mouse-pointer at. It’s difficult to think of the economic landscape as particularly nurturing for a new wave of innovators what with sky-high rents, often crippling taxes and decent salaries that trump the paltry few euro-an-hour wages of the German capital, and yet, NYC is brimming with new fashion-related e-commerce concepts.
Case in point: Pickie; a new iPad app designed to make the process of gifting entirely seamless. Having just announced their reaching $1m in venture funding investment, Pickie are well on their way to carving a niche in the re-torial market.
As part of their Holiday Gift Guide, I shared a few thoughts on what to buy the more sartorially laid-back guy in your life; sneak a peek, and click through below for more…

Pierre Et Gilles: The Complete Works.

Why is it that whenever you’re in desperate need of buying presents for a someone else, you come across several options for yourself instead? The past few weeks I’ve been traipsing around trying to conclude the Crimbo wish-list but – being the selfish lout that I am – I’ve been steadily adding to my own wish-list. Top of which is this…
^ Pierre et Gilles Complete Works by Taschen
For those of you who are not Jean Paul Gaultier-devotees/Madonna-obsessed/homo-themed art dealers/avid fans of kitsch, Pierre et Gilles are a duo of French photographers who construct some of the most stunning portraits renowned for their unabashedly gaudy and gay aesthetic. 

^ Le Petit Communiste Christophe (1990)
Their work is heavily constructed with most of the portraits featuring sets and costumes designed by the pair (who are also lovers – cute!), half-naked models (most often male), mythological overtones and serious re-touching to give the effect reminiscent of cheap religious artworks (for Irish readers, think your Granny’s old Sacred Heart in the kitchen). They’ve also created invites for Thierry Mugler shows and count legendary Parisienne actress Catherine Deneuve as a fan. 
^ St. Sebastian of the Sea (1994)
^ La Madone au coeur blessé (1991)
^ Mercury (2001)
I’m not denying this is all youth-adoring fetishism and barely veiled (probably not at all, really) homo-eroticism but who said art had to be high-art in order to be appreciated? 
Anyway, it’s not all glitter and vacuousness, the Madone au coeur blessé is really quite subversive when you think about it – a pretty boy in drag as the Madonna? Religion, something usually seen as persecuting homo- and non-normative sexuality, is quite openly given a good bashing. What say you?

Cabin Fever.

At this stage, looking out the window at a housing estate that looks as if it were encased within a snowdome, I’m pretty much convinced we’re enduring the coming of next ice age. Still, with cabin fever having set in (I now conduct lengthy conversations with myself on the merits of wholegrain pasta…wtf!?), I’m prepping myself to make the 30 minute walk trudge down to the Luas in order to visit a city-centre friend for a day filled with premature Christmas baking, much mulled wine indulgence, and maybe even going out depending on how much Dutch Courage we gain…
^ Apologies for the lack of lighting – apocalyptic skies don’t really lend themselves to outdoor shoots. Wearing: black donkey jacket by Dexter Wong for Topman LENS, mulberry cable-knit crewneck from New Look, slim grey jeans with side panel from Bershka, black leather military boots by Grafters. (Oh, and I’ll probably be throwing on a black snood from Penneys, too, just in case you thought me raving for baring my neck…)

^ And here’s what I’m absent-mindedly staring out at…
PS. If I don’t update within the next few days, you wouldn’t mind sending a rescue team, would you?

A Very Merry Christmas to All Those in Mode.

Thought it best to remove myself from all the mulled wine and mince pies merriment (post-Xmas sale purchases aren’t of much use unless they actually fit…) to wish one and all a very merry Christmas. Should you find yourself growing weary of rich-food-induced family debate, I recommend logging on and perusing the sales; when that last roast potato’s ingested and the conversation turns to Sarkozy, I know it’s time for oki-ni. And Topman. And Reiss. And River Island. And bespoke. You get the idea.

Jakob Hybolt by Björn Terring for Kings Magazine

Image from the Fashionisto

Were They Rich Christmas Wishlist No. 2.

You know (and this is not intended in a SATC-fashionista way) you can never really have too many bags. There’s a good reason the majority of luxury companies make their bucks on accessories and fragrances/cosmetics. They’re practical, wear-with-whatever (provided you make a sensible choice i.e. no bedecked-in-multi-coloured-jewels mlutches) and not quite as expensive as that suit you’ve been perving on for that past while.
Thus, it’s bags again for wishlist post the second. But these are bags I’d actually sacrifice a sister for. Ally Capellino is a brand that prides itself on its pragmatic, but nevertheless aesthetically-pleasing, approach to accessories. Founded by Alison Loyd (she spent some of her formative years in this here city of Dublin) and her then partner Jono Platt in 1980, the brand has dipped its finger in everything from womenswear to design consultancy, but it’s its bags that have come up trumps and have seen them enrapture the Japanese market to boot.
But enough of the background and onto the bags…
‘Richard’ polished leather satchel – £392 (personal fave right here, it comes in navy, i mean, ’nuff said)
‘Blackfriars’ leather travel bag – £336
‘Wayne’ high glossy leather weekender – £336
‘Timothy’ waxed cotton rucksack – £196
She’s also collaborated with Apple to fashion a range of v. covetable casings for your MacBook. Sleek, no-fuss fashion just doesn’t come any chic-er than this.
Note: If you’re reading this, Ursula, I’ll refrain from sacrificial activities provided I find one of the above underneath that tree next week…
Images from Ally Capellino