The Fat Duck Review

A man should always be seen at some of the most important places all over the world. The places that take ages to get a booking or require some secret code to get into their sanctunmed walls. A gentleman, should he find himself in such a position should take stock of himself, and propose the following question:

What the hell am I going to wear?

(Well there might be a few other questions he might want to ask himself).

I also hear you say, why is he only talking to the men, why isn’t he addressing the people who really count?

Well the fact is I am talking about the men is because it was this question that I had to pose on the morning that I found myself on the receiving end of a wonderful Sunday lunch invitation

The only other thing that kinda preoccupied my thoughts was that I wondered how long it would take to get to the Fat Duck Restaurant, 16,000 km away from my home in Australia!

The Fat Duck is the temple of gastronomy tucked away in a village outside London. It is perhaps the most amazing blend of theatricality surrounding food that I have ever had the privilege to experience.

To be lucky enough to secure a booking is like wining the Lotto because it means you had beaten 3,000 other hapless fools to the punch. You heard me! 3,000 enquiries for reservations make it to the Fat Duck’s booking lines every week! The fact that three Aussies got one of the golden tickets to the Willy Wonka chocolate factory, is a testament to the sheer will of …..well u know who u are!

So onto the task at hand.. What does one wear.

Well the fact is, you can wear almost anything, because there are hardly any rules when it comes clothing anymore.
But wearing anything comes at a cost. It means that youre expecting an ordinary everyday experience, and that is not what you get from the Fat Duck.

A Gentleman should always take his A Game to an extravagant 14 course culinary spectacle like this, be aware of his surroundings and appreciate the effort that has gone into the dinning experience he has had the privilege to be invited to.

This also extends to the wardrobe he chooses to adorn his body. Will it be classic gentleman, or trendy young upstart. Will it be preppy private school boy, or 60’s inspired Don Drapper?

It matters little what style you choose, but it is important to differentiate these special events than those in your everyday life. It’s a way to remember, and put into perspective those things that rise above the everyday or the mundane. I compare it to flying in first class when all you’ve ever flown is economy or cattle class.

So if it’s a classic white shirt that you choose then make sure you take it to a cleaners to have it pressed and starched just right. It’s the little things, things that don’t cost a lot but that indicate you are making an effort. Wear your best undergarments, socks without holes, and polish or clean your shoes. If your wearing a suit then pair it with a crisp pocket square, and perhaps my thing of choice at the moment a deep red carnation.

Life throws special little gifts your way every now and again, so the last thing you want to do is ruin it by feeling like you have not made an effort. Not everyone can be dressed by a stylist or have the looks of a modern day leading man, but you can go to the hairdressers or barber and have your locks tressed and your beard shaved and face what is an unforgettable experience…..and who knows you might just be rubbing shoulders with Angelina and Brad or Bono, and if u do tell them I said hi!
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Enter the mother ship.

Whatever you thought about fashion and fashion retailing, then you need to take another perspective.

I had heard about this store for many years, in magazines and in blogs. I had heard about how it was the Holy Grail of retailing, and how it helped to challenge the notion of the way a small independent boutique could operate.

I had seen the pics, and thought that I had it under control, that I had it’s measure. A little like a prize fighter studying up his opponent…intimidated but ultimately confidently cocky.

Well I was wrong.

Colette, that uber store of all things chic, in the middle of Paris taught me that my cockiness was misplaced… It taught me that sometimes the hype is worth the paper that it’s written on.

However this fashion dream came into being and whomever is responsible, the fashion community is richer for it’s existence.

Its part installation, part warehouse, part hangout spot, but totally amazing. Even the packaging is displayed in such away that for a split second I was fooled into thinking that it was this seasons must have!!! Such is the skill to sell the fantasy

People were spilling onto the streets, tourists walking by wondering what kind of happening was happening, and cranking beats filled the air.

“No cameras in the store Sir”, I was asked as if taking photos would kill the soul of the shop, so I was reduced to taking it all in the regular way, sights and sounds and smells.

The store is on 3 levels and a couple of mezzanines. Ground floor is the street filter section of tshirts, sneakers, eyewear and accessories, plus some chic giftware. Each piece carefully selected to reflect the street culture of today, and each section is guarded by a couple of workers..they are protective here so don’t mess about..

Up a flight of stairs you find the serious mens and womens collections, which are punctuated by lots of mannequins also wearing some of the collections. This section is for the serious shopper and probably the reason why most people come to the shop. The collections include Yves Saint Laurant, Thom Browne, Comme des Garçon, Dior and the lesser known labels such as Opening Ceremony, Band of Outsiders and Ice Cream.

Delicate fabrics and sequins stand alongside hoodies and skate shoes. Each asking for the same amount of admiration from the customer. It is this concept that makes this experience so exciting and energizing, valuing design for it’s merit and not by it’s monetary value.

If your keen there is a level for art installations and a beauty bar a couple of steps down. And if the experience of emptying your wallets has left you needing a lift then the basement is where the cafe is at.
They have left no stone unturned. It is a total lifestyle experience.

If you are in the area, or making a trip to Paris, I would make this fashion destination one to mark in your schedule. It is well worth a visit.