Ben Sherman: Kings Road to Carnaby
Ben Sherman is launching a new collection for Spring/Summer 2009 celebrating the brand's links with youth fashion and music, which began with the original button down, candy stripe shirts that made Ben Sherman's name with the Mod movement in the 1960s.
The new collection is named 'Kings Road to Carnaby' and takes inspiration from the roles of London's Kings Road and Carnaby Street in shaping youth fashion over the years. There is a distinct late 70s influence in the new collection. The latter years of the 70s (1976 to 1979), which gave us Punk, Two Tone and the first Mod revival, are now asserting the greatest influence on contemporary fashion.
The collection encompasses both men's and ladies' fashion and takes strands from Punk as well as Ben Sherman's traditional leaning towards Mod fashion. The Kings Road was the location of Malcolm McLaren and Vivien Westwood's original Punk store which defined rebellious youth fashion in the 70s. It went through several guises and renames including 'Let it Rock', 'Sex' and at the height of the Punk period, 'Seditionaries: Clothes for Heroes'.
The Kings Road was also home to Mary Quant's original boutique, Bazaar, as well as the iconic 'Granny Takes a Trip' which pushed the boundaries of fashion in the mid to late 60s.
The sub collection 'Punks Rule' is the Kings Road part of the journey. Punk may have been in the inspiration, but you will not find any ripped jeans or safety pins in the new Ben Sherman collection. 'Punks Rule' focuses on sharp tailoring and skinny trousers. You will also recognise elements of Two Tone in the smart, narrow brimmed trilbies and checked shirts with ultra narrow collars.
The illustration above shows an example of Ben Sherman 'Punks Rule'. A classic polo shirt is combined with Prince of Wales check, slim fitting, trousers, a grey waistcoat and winklepicker shoes. There is a great deal of historical reference here, but it is not an imitation. The look is much more sophisticated. Mod, Punk and Two Tone are all part of our culture and the new Ben Sherman style captures this in an amalgam.
The female, pictured right, looks more overtly Punk. Her skinny jeans could have been made in the late 70s. They were inspired by Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees. The hound's tooth check top also recalls the Two Tone era of 1979 to 1980. The 'Punks Rule' collection also has some sixties' classics, such as slim fitting, white jeans, a favourite with Mod girls as well as boys in the 60s.
The second strand of the collection is called 'Camden Crawl'. It has a more relaxed feel with check shirts and skinny jeans for the men. The model, right, is wearing a checked shirt with a silk scarf tucked around the neck, in the manner of a cravat. In years gone by the cravat was a way to look smart without the need to wear a tie. Cravats were a favourite Mod accessory, both in the 60s original and the 1979 revival. The style said relaxed, upper middle class; though the wearer was probably a working class office boy.
For the ladies this look includes a smart Mod style mini-dress.
The final strand is 'Mods and Music'. This celebrates Ben Sherman's connection with Carnaby Street in the sixties. He originally supplied John Stephen's famous men's shop on Carnaby Street.
'Mods and Music' includes the classic Mod striped blazer, popular in the sixties and revived in the late 70s.
The model, left, is wearing the classic Mod deck chair stripe blazer. However, it has a new twist with epaulets and a button down breast pocket. It has one button, instead of the classic three. His button down shirt is a sixties style classic with wide stripes. Here the look is casual with black slim fitting jeans and Chelsea boots. A more formal look would be possible with trousers and a slim tie.
You might also like Ben Sherman's 2Tone fragrance for men. The bottle has the distinctive black and white checkerboard pattern used by the Two Tone record label. Two Tone was a British music genre based around bands with a strong Ska and Reggae influence. Two Tone bands included The Specials, Madness and The Selector. Their influence was Jamaican music from the 60s. 2 Tone flourished in Britain around the late 70s.
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