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Grooming. Culture and Style for the Modern Gentleman

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    Library is a new private members’ club for the eclectic literary and design communities, opened in the heart of Seven Dials, just moments away from our Covent Garden branch.

    Behind the inconspicuous entrance on St Martin’s Lane is a library door that leads towards the contemporary space.

    With the opportunity to socialise and swap ideas, Library has been uniquely created by Ronald Ndoro to provide an environment like no other.



    The venue features a spectacular main room with a double mezzanine, fireplace, stage and floor-to-ceiling bar, serving up a selection of innovative drinks.

    Marc Peridis and his team at 19 Greek Street oversaw the interior design of the venue. Hailed as London’s hub for international contemporary design, 19 Greek Street has produced projects for the likes of Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Vivienne Westwood and sketch. With such high standards to follow, Library doesn't fail to impress.

    The interior has been built using sustainable solutions and through 19 Greek Street’s in-house waste lab, they have created tiles and surface materials using old waste alcohol bottles from around Soho.



    On the upcoming event line up is a series of innovative exhibitions and installations, along with an eclectic events program covering various aspects of the creative industries.

    Opening in winter will also be the Kitchen, providing a classic club menu. Most appealing to ourselves is the whisky and wine room, with an indoor smoking terrace and several lounge areas to relax in and absorb the literary-fuelled atmosphere.

    The new year will also see the introduction of a gym space and there are already rooms available in which to spend the night and enjoy a home away from home.




    With its modern, minimalistic design in a rustic setting, the club lives up to its name in resembling a library, inviting guests to escape amongst a treasure trove of stories and create their own narrative.  It's certainly soon to become a local favourite.

    LIBRARY, 112 St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4BD


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    Dave White is a contemporary artist whose new collection, 'Albion' is soon to be hosted at Iris Studios. Presenting an eclectic mix of endangered and native British species, White’s aim is to challenge the viewer to re-connect with our natural world.

    Albion will explore the heritage and iconography of native species to Britain in White’s dynamic signature expressive style. The show will feature a large scale installation of oil paintings, works on paper, a collectors’ box set, and limited edition silkscreen prints.

    We had a quick chat with the talented artist ahead of the exhibition's unveiling to grasp the importance of the work and how we can expect it to challenge us...


    Why do you think it is important for us to pay significant attention to our native species’ at this point in time?

    We are really on the cusp of disaster, with a great number of species under threat from years of pesticide use, loss of their natural habitats and disasters such as flooding have been catastrophic on the whole eco system. I was totally blown away to hear that in less than 30 years a good number of the UK’s species will become extinct. We always think of faraway places and very specific animals that are endangered, not wildlife on our home soil.


    Have you always been an admirer of nature? Did this in any way influence a themed focus?

    I have always been fascinated with wildlife and the whole series developed organically over the past 5 years. My last exhibition was formed solely of great white sharks and although beautiful and fragile, they are extremely powerful and menacing. Each series has a very different set of challenges unique to each to explore and get right. I think there is a definitive theme in my recent works and have really enjoyed depicting them.



    Having incorporated a mixture of artistic formats into the exhibition, do you feel that it should be in an artist’s nature to generally look to explore such different methods?

    I think it is up to the artist to select and choose the format that is right for them and their intentions. The Albion show is composed of oil on linen paintings and watercolour works on paper, alongside limited edition prints and a very special Series 1 E-type Jaguar, which I painted on especially for the show. It has a very symbolic presence, it is something beautiful from the past being presented again after being fully restored, which fits in perfectly with the whole ethos of the Albion show, to see the beauty and rarity and life of things we take for granted and hopefully not too late.


    One of the key aims of this exhibition is to challenge the viewer to re-connect with our natural world – how do you feel you have achieved this with your work?

    That is obviously for the viewer to decide, if I have achieved my intent. I wanted to take wildlife that we totally take for granted and depict them much larger than life. To capture their unique character through the application of the media I use, the rich surfaces that oil paint offers, or the fluid abstraction that watercolour realises. The beauty of camouflage, plumage and the various patterns and textures are totally unique to each species, which I find fascinating to explore. Representing these things triggers an instant recognition from the spectator and from afar, the works offer a realism which turns almost to abstraction upon closer inspection. I just want people to re-engage and once again become fascinated with the beauty that surrounds us and not take it for granted.



    The work on show is ‘interpreting emotive issues’, how much did the subject of wildlife play an emotive influence in planning before you picked up your brush?

    It is very clear to me that the steady decline of species is ever more apparent, I really wanted to depict not only the rare endangered wildlife but things that you totally take for granted and celebrate them. In our ever increasingly busy lives it is so easy to forget that we share the same environment with these beautiful creatures. Two years ago I relocated to Dorset which has had a massive influence on this series. I would often see wildlife featured in the show and would totally stop whatever I was doing, transfixed on them. I wanted that to come through, whether it is the rhythm of a running hare or nervous presence of a small bird, it all sparked something and I had to make these works.


    Would you agree that your style of art enables each animal to appear as raw as possible as opposed to portraying softer, more innocent creatures?

    I would say that my style is expressive and spontaneous which offers an almost animated quality and life to the works. However, there is a subtlety and beauty which has to be captured, if the works become too expressive they lose the fragility or too tight they become too twee and realistic, it is like walking a tightrope and always has been for me, an almost Abstract Realism if that makes sense. Depicting creatures that are tiny and bringing them to life in a larger scale has been a really interesting challenge and each has a unique quality in their presence, which I really focussed on.


    Does the ‘blank canvas’ that is the Loughran Gallery enable you to solely focus on the content on each page, or did you bare the gallery space in mind whilst curating the work?

    Loughran Gallery have a really fresh and interesting approach to exhibiting, rather than a static space that rotates shows, they scout locations that perfectly fit the exhibitors works and intent. From the show's inception both myself and Juliette Loughran, the owner, would meet and visit spaces. When we saw Iris Studios we knew exactly that it was perfect. Setting these almost timeless creatures in a very modern geometric space offered a really interesting juxtaposition which I hope the viewers enjoy!



    Albion, hosted by Loughran Gallery will run from October 9th and will continue through until October 25th.

    Iris Studios, London, SW10 9AE.


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    Timothy Long is the elegant Curator of Fashion and Decorative Arts at the Museum Of London. His work involves looking after the museum’s library of garments that goes from 5000 year old shoes to Zara trench coats via Beau Brummel era jackets. As well as the odd hundred cod pieces.

    With a style that pays close attention to detail (such as the George V pin he was wearing on his lapel when we met) and a careful manner typified by his soft, lilting Illinois accent, if anyone was ever born to be a fashion archivist, it was clearly Timothy.

    Now with the great rise of public interest in menswear (it has been forecast that if sales continue as they are, more men’s items will be sold than women’s by 2016) which London, is very much at the heart of with LC:M, it’s numerous trade shows and boutiques as well as designers, Timothy sees a unique opportunity to create something innovative and energising with the museum’s collection and establish London as the menswear capital of the world.

    “We need to better understand what London’s role is in the formation of modern menswear. There are a lot of opportunities for us to use our archive in a way to connect with people. London has already contributed significantly to what we wear today.”

    Revealing what also brought him here, Timothy acknowledges the city’s clear embrace of fashion: “London’s streets are a theatre compared to how other cities embrace fashion. With women it is clearer, but it’s a pleasant surprise with menswear to see that it’s not only something that men care about but also take great pride in.”

    Not only is fashion alive in terms of what England and London contribute but so too are the traditions that we know of menswear. “The way your lapel is made is the same way it has been made for the last 500 years. It’s a true tradition that we hold on to. It’s also not something you would just get however, so all of that I want to put into a really robust project that is something appropriate for the audience that is the fashion industry.”

    By presenting ideas in a fresh and exciting way, Timothy aims to create something that the general public will see, respond to and be surprised by.



    Ahead of the large scale project, soon to open at the museum is the Sherlock Holmes exhibition, which will shed a new light on just how iconic and internationally recognised the character is.

    “In terms of menswear he is an icon in regards to what this city has produced. A lot of people don’t take him very seriously but there are few other things that have been produced from menswear that are as recognisable as Sherlock’s style,” he passionately explains.

    The exhibition looks at all aspects of Sherlock Holmes. From the genesis of his story with Arthur Conan Doyle to the mid to late 19th century. The exhibition will feature some original manuscripts that highlight the development of Sherlock’s character, alongside Timothy’s own dissection of his character. “I looked at the idea of the modern English gentleman and realising exactly what he is. From the late 19th century to today, what are the things that would have been appropriate for Sherlock to wear? By learning the collection much better and doing some really sexy photography, this has been a great experiment to see what we can apply to future projects related to menswear at the museum.”

    The museum’s vast clothing collection has been sourced predominately through public donations. With about 22,000 items in its archive, the museum of London was formerly two different institutions - the Guild Hall and the London Museum which was in Kensington Palace. This is where the Royal Collection comes from whereas a lot of the material that connects to the city comes from the Guild Hall. Numerous items have since then have been donated to the museum, as Timothy explains; “People call up almost daily and will say ‘I found my grandfather’s suit in the attic’, or ‘I was at this event in the 40s’ and propose things to us. We do buy some things, obviously there’s some financial challenges connected to that and we also buy things at auction.”




    Eye Serum Tan Wash Bag Matt Mudd Shirt Stays Beard Moisturiser


    As a bearded man, it wouldn’t be very Murdock of us if we didn’t enquire about Timothy’s own views on grooming – especially as a History of Fashion expert. He was able to provide us with his thoughts on why beards have become so popular over the last 3-5 years;

    “It’s cyclical. We haven’t had them for a while and it was just time.” He states. “Thankfully men no longer need to wear a three piece suit to be taken seriously, so that’s given us the opportunity to play a little bit with styles we wouldn’t have considered appropriate during the working week before. I think the loosening of those rules has allowed for more men to feel it acceptable.”

    It would seem that from looking at the Museum’s vast collection and then considering our technology-led culture that cycles with clothing are moving at a drastically faster rate than they used to.

    “It has sped up,” agrees Timothy. “It is very post-modern in the fact that we can wear anything, anytime, anywhere. With that said, I do feel a bit remorseful that we don’t have such theatrical fashions as we’ve had in the past. Today I could wear trousers that look a bit 60s, a jacket that looks a bit 80s and tomorrow I could wear a Teddy Boy outfit. This is wonderful and I embrace and love that, but when I look back what I find so incredible is the sort of zeitgeist of an overall trend that we don’t have anymore. It doesn’t exist.



    Quizzing Timothy on what we would tell our children the trends were today, he told us that this is actually an assignment he gives his students, to write a chapter on fashion today to be published in 15 years. “You have to describe it, its influences. One of the hardest challenges students have is trying to think ‘why am I wearing this?’ Everything we wear is of course based on something, no matter where you are in the world it’s based on reason, trying to find that reason is the huge challenge.” Considering his own answer, he explains “I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to such theatrical styles as we had in say the 60s with the hippy movement and space age. That’s the kind of excess that you rejoice in Fashion History, but that notion has now gone. They say the pendulum swings but it swings so quickly now that we really don’t have an overarching style.”

    Ending our time on a final thought in regards to the future of menswear, Timothy ponders: “When I think about being a designer one day, I have to ask what I could do that would spark the next trend. A new style, a new cut? I think although we live in London the greater populous probably wouldn’t adhere to any of those major changes. Who knows what the future of fashion will be but I definitely do feel a bit jealous of certain decades of the past.

    So what is his favourite style decade of the past then? “I would say 1830 – 18840. Men wore absolutely spectacular clothing. It was the height of tailoring in my opinion. It’s when the rules related to tailoring really were pushed and the actual craft of tailoring I think was at is zenith. It gives real rejoice of technique to make the garments fit the way they did. It was definitely ground zero for London craftsmanship then.”

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    The Hoxton Hotel has recently opened its second location, situated in the heart of Holborn just a short walk away from Covent Garden.

    Having popped up with a barbershop in the Old Street hotel last year not far from our Shoreditch branch, we're excited to have this new development a convenient distance for our Central London clients to reach.



    The hotel's ground floor is occupied by Holborn Grind, run by Grind & Co offering coffees for both residents and visitors to enjoy. The impressively designed lobby bar also offers a great drinks menu.

    Just like its Shoreditch sister, the meeting and events space is set up in collaboration with Soho House. 'The Apartment' is a collection of individually designed meeting rooms set around an open plan kitchen.



    The public spaces are also being run in partnership with The Soho House group. For food, visitors can gorge in the Brooklyn-style grill named Hubbard & Bell in the conservatory space, whilst in the basement the ever-popular Chicken Shop dishes out its rotisserie speciality.



    With 174 rooms of varying categories, all guests can take advantage of the complimentary healthy breakfast bags filled overnight with a granola yoghurt, banana and orange juice included.

    The admirable “No Rip-Off” policy also means that free WiFi can be accessed throughout the building. Guests are also offered 1 hour of free phone calls to landlines (and US mobiles) in the UK, USA, Australia and most of Europe. There's even a supermarket-priced lobby shop to pick up everything from sweets to champagne and fresh milk and mineral water which is totally free.


    The Hoxton Holborn

    199 – 206 High Holborn, WC1V 7BD

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    As a client or visitor of Murdock London, you're never too far away from a great record shop.

    Soho's iconic Sister Ray, sandwiched conveniently between our Covent Garden and Liberty branches have recently expanded, opening a vinyl-only space within the Ace Hotel (literally 5 minutes from Redchurch Street) whilst also moving just over the road in Soho.

    With a vast, eclectic selection of records and extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff, we saw fit to confide in them regarding this year's Mercury Prize nominations. With due respect to the official committee, we also wondered if they thought any new or niche talent had been overlooked.

    "Bookies have rightly put FKA Twigs as favourite." Claims Soho's Phil Barton. "The only thing stopping her winning is the hangover from the last kooky girl who won, Speech Debelle, whose career ended 30 minutes after she got the prize."


    FKA TWIGS [two weeks] from nabil elderkin on Vimeo.


    In regards to Sister Ray's own pick from those nominated, Phil confirms: "We like the Jungle album. It's very 'now darling' with the falsetto vocals and the 4 H's in style (Hoxton, Hackney, Haggerston and Homerton). You can imagine all of the members with beards, brogues and microbrews." Steve on the other hand thinks that the East India Youth album should get the vote, as its "a damn fine" album.

    When considering any records that should have been up for nomination, the chaps firmly praised Soundcarriers - 'Entropicalia'. "It's not our job to second guess the mighty Mercury committee, however this is a great album full of great sounds. Sounds that have been thrown into a large '60's cooking pot and stirred up with a dash of soul, psychedelia and knowing nods to kitsch. It sounds like the kind of album Andy Votel would discover lurking in an Oxfam shop in Cleethorpes but its 2014 and it was made by a bunch of cats from Nottingham."



    Other overlooked albums mentioned were Hookworms' 'Pearl Mystic' and Daniel Avery's brilliant 'Drone Logic' - both certainly worthy shouts for the attention that the coveted and potentially controversial prize can bring.

    For plenty more music advice and to indulge in rows upon rows of fantastic vinyl, be sure to pop in to Sister Ray on either Berwick Street or indeed the new Ace location and allow yourself to indulge.

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    Chris Oliver, Murdock HQ's multi-disciplinary artist has a body of work currently on show at The Peckham Pelican.

    This collection takes a focussed approach by exploring the abstract lurking nature of our subconscious realms. Through a variety of mediums Chris lifts the veil and reveals the shadows that sometimes mire our sleep.

    The show is coming to and end next week, so be sure to pay a visit to the cultured venue whilst it is still running.



    Visit Holy Materials for more info on Chris' work and to keep updated on future projects.


    92 Peckham Road
    SE15 5PY

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    The New York Times have delved into their '36 Hours' archive and compiled an expansive selection of European getaway guides for their new book '125 weekends'.

    With hundreds of possible adventures published, this mammoth of a country and city guide targets places of genuine interest. Gone are the days of unconvincing pamphlets and lacklustre tourist recommendations, this is a thorough compendium of exploration.



    Culture, history, natural beauty, fine cuisine, artistic masterpieces, acclaimed architecture and style occupy the book's pages. Ticking off just about everything that a MurdockMan seeks to experience on his travels. With the right guidance, you can go far in a single weekend and the stylishly written and carefully researched content offers 125 crafted itineraries for quick but memorable European trips.

    Not ignoring the expected, recognisable inclusions such as the Renaissance in Florence, surfing in Biarritz and flamenco in Seville fulfil the more traditional options. Veering on the unexpected however, you'll find Sicilian mummies dressed in their Sunday best, a dry-land toboggan ride on Madeira and a hotel in Tallinn with a KGB spies’ nest on the penthouse floor.



    World capitals, ancient nations that once ruled wide domains, tiny countries with big personalities - it’s all Europe, and all fun to read about (whether you actually intend to go or not) in this handsomely designed and illustrated book.

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    It's autumn and the nights are firmly drawing in, so grab whatever you need to get comfy and let the hours pass by reading one of these new novels from Vintage.



    Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon

    It is 2001 in New York City, in the lull between the collapse of the dotcom boom and the terrible events of September 11th. Silicon Alley is a ghost town, Web 1.0 is having adolescent angst, Google has yet to IPO, Microsoft is still considered the Evil Empire...

    With Paul Thomas Anderson's cinematic adaption of Inherent Vice on the horizon, now couldn't be a more appropriate time to indulge in Pynchon's elusive writing talent.



    A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard

    Knausgaard may need a visit to the barbers, but there's nothing wrong with his writing style. This, his first book in a series of seven chronicling his life has been setting the literary world alight with excitement.



    The Enchanted Wanderer and Other Stories by Nikolai Leskov

    The award-winning translators of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky now bring us a Russian writer ripe for rediscovery whose earthy and singular stories, have never before been properly translated into English. This is a collection of weird and fantastical tales from the Russian master.

    'If you like Russian, and you like funny, you will love Leskov' - Gary Shteyngart

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    The latest iPhone software update caused hysteria recently with such features as the new smart keyboard and a revised Photos app sharing most of the marketable limelight.

    One of our favourite new adjustments however came in the audio department. No, we're not talking about the mandatory sight of the new U2 record, but rather the now mandatory Podcasts app.

    Podcasts are fundamentally great. They make commuting to work a pleasurable experience and the limitless catalogue means that information and entertainment can be accessed across every subject. Let's face it, those five albums that you were able to squeeze on your iPhone are growing pretty tired.

    Here's our list of 5 essential genre-spanning podcasts to get your collection going.


    The Economist

    The Economist podcast offers a refreshing weekly take on the news, with a focus on economic, political and social trends. Solid reporting, insightful commentary and a shrewd editorial sensibility combine perfectly.


    Sunday Supplement

    For non-football fans, the idea of watching four journalists sat around a breakfast table discussing the week's topics on a Sunday morning likely comes across as a form of torture. Fans of the show can rejoice in this podcast however, as rather than losing Sunday's lie in and essentially watching people talk, you can hear the programme's audio when you want. The levels of insight and opinion from the weekly contributors beats any other source of football news by a long shot. If you consider yourself a fan of football in general, this is the podcast for you.



    This documentary podcast is the first spin-off from the 'This American Life' radio show. Hosted by Sarah Koenig, we are guided through a high school murder case from 1999. 'The tragedy is undisputed. The conviction is not', and each episode delves deeper into understanding what actually happened through sheer curiosity and investigation. Bemusing, tense and insightful, this podcast takes the concept of thrilling drama and entertainment to the next level.


    Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film Reviews

    Taken from Radio 5's Friday broadcast, Mark Kermode discusses the latest film releases with Simon Mayo. Impressive guest stars and directors join the chaps every week to make the show an essential for film fans.


    Desert Island Discs

    Another BBC selection, this time from Radio 4. Desert Island discs is a simple, brilliant concept in which a celebrity guest is asked the question, 'if you were to be cast away alone on a desert island, which eight tracks would you choose to have with you?'. They discuss what each selection means to them, providing a relatable sense of emotion regarding our own choices. Guests in the past have included Steve McQueen, Russell Brand, Morissey and David Cameron.

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    To launch our new Beard Shampoo & Conditioner and Beard Oil, we met four Clean Bearded MurdockMen who all naturally understand that if you want to make something the best it can be, its success depends on its preparation. 

    They say style is all in the details and that certainly rings true for Mr Timothy Long. As Curator of Fashion and Decorative Arts at the Museum of London he presides over an archive of thousands of historical pieces of clothing where each shirt button or stitch pattern tells a bigger social story.  We met him at our Murdock London at Hackett King Street shop in the heart of Covent Garden.


    How would you describe your work?

    My work aims at documenting, preserving, researching and exhibiting London’s history through what people wore.


    How important is attention to detail in your work?

    Both the attention to the bigger picture and detail is paramount to my work as a historian and curator. A significant component of my work is research and with both viewpoints in mind I can plan, execute and publish my work.



    How do you prepare yourself for an important day at work?

    I start the night prior and make sure my clothes are selected and ready. I make sure the wheels on my bicycle have air and that my beard is not unruly. I plan out my route to arrive on time and make sure I get a good night’s sleep, probably the most important step of all! A checklist of all I need to do at work also helps…


    Have you ever experienced beard envy?

    Daily. London is filled with inspirational beards.


    Have your opinions of beards changed in the last couple of years?

    I’ve always loved beards. As a historian and curator of menswear, who has worked in the field for nearly 20 years, my opinion on beards matures with each new year. I often find inspiration for my own beard from my work, as I come across antique photographs of hirsute men who often catch my eye.



    What is your beard grooming regime?

    A minor trim at home almost every other day. I also regularly condition my beard as I like it when it shines.


    Why do you think it's so important to pay attention to detail in your appearance? 

    Because while the whole picture is more than just a sum of small details, each one detail makes a unique contribution.

    Photography by Mr Toby Lewis Thomas


    See all our Clean Bearded gents here>


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    The Museum of London is currently showcasing a Sherlock Holmes exhibition in honour of the public fascination and attraction that still widely exists towards the legendary fictional character. The show aims to go beyond film and fiction, setting the scene in authentic Victorian London through the mediums of early film, photography, paintings and original artefacts.

    Timothy Long, one of our four Clean Bearded MurdockMen talked to us previously about his role as Curator of Fashion and Decorative Arts at the Museum. In addition, the well-groomed menswear aficionado put the work behind the exhibition and its overall aim into his own words:


    The fashion of Sherlock and Watson


    “In terms of menswear, Sherlock Holmes is an icon in regards to what this city has produced. Some people may not take him very seriously, but there are few other things that have been produced from menswear that are as recognisable as Sherlock’s style,” he explains.

    The exhibition looks at all aspects of Sherlock Holmes. From the genesis of his story with Arthur Conan Doyle to the mid to late 19th century. The original manuscripts being displayed highlight the development of Sherlock’s character, alongside Timothy’s own dissection of his character. “I looked at the idea of the modern English gentleman and realising exactly what he is. From the late 19th century to today, what are the things that would have been appropriate for Sherlock to wear? By learning the collection much better and doing some really sexy photography, this has been a great experiment.”

    Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die is running from now until 12 April 2015.

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