Knotwerk by Ritchie Po: Reworking the Knot 2015

Like the Hobbit, I took an unexpected journey in 2015. Having known THECloset YVR’s founder Helen Siwak through personal shopping, I learned the fringe benefits of ecoluxury living and the value of great couture through luxury resale. But perhaps one of the most unexpected delights of the year was in writing KnotwerkByRitchiePo and earning the privilege of attending several great events with (and without) my statuesque editor in Vancouver.

Knotwerkbyritchiepo, Ritchie Po, EcoLuxLuv, Helen Siwak, theclosetyvr, vancouver, yvr, vancity, fashion, stylist, fashion, blogger, style

In revisiting some of the blog posts, here are the ones that stood out the most for me in 2015:

TELUS Garden: Shooting my beloved Seigo Katsuragawa limited-edition cravat in a downtown Vancouver landmark made me better understand how corporations can not only be eco-friendly, but also a thought leader in sustainable living. It is heartening to see more great companies be such great citizens and leading the charge on issues like these.

Knotwerkbyritchiepo, Ritchie Po, EcoLuxLuv, Helen Siwak, theclosetyvr, vancouver, yvr, vancity, fashion, stylist, fashion, blogger, style

2015 Vancouver Luxury & Supercar Weekend: I look forward to every James Bond 007 film, and having the chance of shooting in an Aston Martin was a giddy boyhood dream come true. It was such a great event, we had the pleasure of meeting the bi-provincial couple Darcy Kaser and Randall MacDonald, and had to write two posts about it!

Knotwerkbyritchiepo, Ritchie Po, EcoLuxLuv, Helen Siwak, theclosetyvr, vancouver, yvr, vancity, fashion, stylist, fashion, blogger, style

John Fluevog / #StepUp4CTYP Fundraiser: My lovely and talented friend Danielle Lemon put together another successful venture for local theatre. I did not get to see the BalmainxH&M capsule collection mass-market launch, but I did get to rock my vintage Balmain at this event instead. I look forward to the third edition in 2016.

Fluevog

Harry Rosen L’Arte Dell ‘Eleganza Italiana Event: Where better to wear my vintage Zegna and Dolce & Gabbana than at a national menswear institute’s fall launch? I can’t wait for the delights they will bring in spring.

Knotwerkbyritchiepo, Ritchie Po, EcoLuxLuv, Helen Siwak, theclosetyvr, vancouver, yvr, vancity, fashion, stylist, fashion, blogger, style

Goorin Bros in Yaletown: Haberdasheries are increasingly rare, but this hat maker’s Vancouver location is a favourite haunt if only for the distressed couch and incredible displays.

Knotwerkbyritchiepo, Ritchie Po, EcoLuxLuv, Helen Siwak, theclosetyvr, vancouver, yvr, vancity, fashion, stylist, fashion, blogger, style

Joey Dimz: I’ve always admired fellow Filipinos who, like me, have migrated and made something of themselves. Mr. Dimz’s Atelier truly delivers state-of-the-art men’s fashion in a current yet ever-timeless style. A bespoke suit by Joey Dimz – who has a very select but discerning clientele – is truly a lifetime investment.

Knotwerkbyritchiepo, Ritchie Po, EcoLuxLuv, Helen Siwak, theclosetyvr, vancouver, yvr, vancity, fashion, stylist, fashion, blogger, style

And my ultimate post of the year was the biggest retail event in Vancouver for 2015: the Nordstrom Fundraising Gala. We were given the privilege of shooting the blog post in the JWS private shopping suite, by Nordstrom’s PR Director John Bailey. I have been privileged to attend multiple clientele-only events in this international flagship several times since launching.

Ritchie Nordstrom

I especially want to thank Alnoor, Chris, Ramir and Carlos for always taking care of me every time I am there. It is always a pleasure to take family and friends to this glorious luxury retail vanguard time and again, and a daily visit to the eBar café is part of my daily morning ritual.

Thank you to everyone for supporting Knotwerk and THECloset YVR in 2015. I look forward to attending more events and continuing to style write for Eco.Lux.Luv blog, helping you dress for success in 2016.

Happy New Year!!

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po: Zegna with Tulip Knot

Ritchie Po Wide HeaderNothing makes a dapper man feel more assured in his skin than in a made-to-measure suit and a commanding tie. The ultimate luxury is in creating a statement outfit that announces the man to the world, which we don’t always do in Vancouver (but we should do more frequently). We photographed this week’s Knotwerk piece at the atelier of Joey Dimz at which I tied a vintage Zegna in a Tulip knot (created by Jelmer Pijnappel, and with a tutorial by Alex Krasny).

ritchie po, joey dimz, kj sims, helen siwak, atelier, bespoke, menswear

Suit: Maxwell Clothiers (MTM); Shirt: Calvin Klein; Shoes: Browns; Socks: English Laundry

The Tulip knot is noted for its resemblance to the namesake flower. It is tied with the narrow end, so start with the wide end your left-hand side, with the end at the beltline. Bring the wide end to the centre and cross the little end to the left. Create a spiral on that side. Bring the little end around the back and create another spiral on the right. Cover the two spirals by wrapping the little end around the centre, then bring it over the top over the front loop. You will then bring the little end to your right, and around the back. You will notice a triangle has now formed to your right. Finish the knot by looping the little end around the front and through that triangle, up and over and tuck it under the rest your tie.

ritchie po, joey dimz, kj sims, helen siwak, atelier, bespoke, menswear

The final look is achieved by adjusting it, so loosen the two flaps on the front to create a three-dimensional look to the knot. The finished product is like at tulip. Do not tighten up the two flaps or the shadowy effect is gone. It looks far better with the two flaps a bit loose, and works well with both wider and skinnier ties. As you can anticipate, this isn’t a tie suited for business and would be better-suited to a holiday occasion or cocktail party, where it is sure to stand out as a conversation piece.

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Speaking of conversation pieces, let’s talk about Joey Dimz and his quaint yet functional atelier. Located at the edge of Gastown and just before Crosstown in Vancouver, Joey Dimz’s process requires collaboration between both the client and the atelier from start to finish. Bespoke here truly means that every piece is customized and not just a matter of taking measurements (he does take twice as many as a conventional tailor), but also cutting and putting the final product together by hand to ensure the highest quality and the perfect fit for the discerning gentlemen.

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Dimz Colllage

ritchie po, joey dimz, kj sims, helen siwak, atelier, bespoke, menswearHe has access to an impressive catalogue of the finest in suit-making cloth, including Cerrutti 1881, Scabal, Cloth Dormeuil, Fratelli Italia di Delfino, Harris Tweed and Zegna. Every last piece is down to the client’s specifications, including buttons and finishes. In fact, Joey has exclusivity to Huddersfield Cloth – the fabric provider to the television series Kingsman and Downton Abbey. More than a matter of suit-making, it is making suits specific to each individual client which will include an expanded line including footwear and women’s wear.

ritchie po, joey dimz, kj sims, helen siwak, atelier, bespoke, menswear

Originally from the Philippines, Joey Dimz descends from many generations of tailors. When he arrived in Canada in 2003, he started his business modestly and from there grew it organically. His designs are now so sought-after that he not only works with Vancouver style icon Jason Sarai, but also with a number of institutional clients who covet his state-of-the-art designs.

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Joey Dimz Collage 2

Being Filipino myself, it was refreshing to discuss the crafting of a more formal traditional barong worn at Philippine events, and most recently as seen on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his latest visit to Manila.

Thank you to KJ at SIMScomm for assisting with this interview, Joey Dimz for sharing his world with us and hope that you look dapper this holiday season and well into 2016!

ritchie po, joey dimz, kj sims, helen siwak, atelier, bespoke, menswear

Tie carefully, yours in knotwerk,

Ritchie Po
IG: StyledLegally

To view additional #BTS photographs by Helen Siwak of the Joey Dimz Atelier – CLICK HERE

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po: Borsalino with Eldredge

knotwerk by ritchie po, ritchie po, goorin bros, yaletown, helen siwak, mad men, menswearWith the passing of the last surviving cast member of the original cast of the classic BBC series Are You Being Served?, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about haberdasheries. They do not appear to be a mainstay of the more upscale luxury department stores, but even if they aren’t being worn as a matter of custom, they will always be elegant and classic.

Dedicated independent, specialty and vintage shops seem to corner the market on hat-making and selling these days, but one cannot deny the pleasure of trying on a witty chapeau as a topper to one’s outfit. This week we tried on some classic hats in Yaletown’s Goorin Brothers location (the name an inadvertent nod to Grace Brothers on AYBS) and tied a distinctive Borsalino cravat in an Eldredge knot (click for video tutorial).

eldredgeknot_1280One of the more complicated knots, the Eldredge starts with the wide end on your left, with the tip at your belly button or a bit below. Leave lots of room on the narrow end on your right. Make a dimple on the left and cross the little end over the front, making a triangle and drawing it to your right. You will then wrap the little end over the front, on the lower side of the triangle, keeping everything tight. This is design demands a compact design, and therefore everything should be tightened. Draw the little end over the centre to your right to create a loop, and you will then circle the little end over the front and through that first loop to your right again. Tighten that up by tugging at the wider loose ends you’ve just created. Then that is sufficiently compact, wrap the little end over the right, and re-create the design by repeating this step. Eventually you’ll realize that you’ve used most of the little end, but it also means there is minimal opportunity for loose fabric. This almost looks like a variation of the Diamond knot, which we showcased at this past fall’s Lao Feng Xiang opening.

knotwerk by ritchie po, ritchie po, goorin bros, yaletown, helen siwak, mad men, menswear

knotwerk by ritchie po, ritchie po, goorin bros, yaletown, helen siwak, mad men, menswear

Feather are beautiful editions. Goordin Bros only sells those collected from the food industry and regularly shed.

A note on the tie to use: I’ve experimented this knot with several of my favourite cravats, but I’ve learned the hard way not to use anything wide or that has a thick fabric. It is very difficult to create this look with anything except a thin necktie with a relatively thin fabric. The good news is that lovers of skinny ties (hello hipsters) are perfectly suited for this.

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We shot this week in Yaletown at Goorin Bros. on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Although we don’t get to see many hats being worn these days (not even with the Mad Men revival), the place was full of customers and virtually everyone walked out with a purchase. The connoisseurs included hipsters, stylish fashionistas, and a more distinguished crowd, none of whom were to buy them for costume or fancy dress balls. With such classic styles as fedoras of differing brims and fabrics, flapper hats, porkpies and the Indiana Jones variety (I’m thinking of Star Wars a lot lately), Goorin Brothers know exactly the type of customer who would best appreciate classic style.

knotwerk by ritchie po, ritchie po, goorin bros, yaletown, helen siwak, mad men, menswear

Shirt: Hugo Boss; Vest: Mexx; Trench: Banana Republic; Pants: Topshop; Boots: Kenneth Cole

It gives us hope that wearing hats, even on occasion, can help elevate the tone of fashion locally. I attended their Gatsby-themed party in October 2013 during the annual Taste of Yaletown event and can attest that this isn’t a mere shop, it has vision, great vibe and energy. Everyone in store this weekend to buy was in good spirits and the mood infectiously playful, even if on a drearily rainy afternoon.

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My publisher and photographer Helen Siwak, putting a power spin on the male chapeau.

Helen and I would like to thank Goorin Bros. and their lovely staff (Devin, Chris and Sarah) for allowing us to shoot this week.

knotwerk by ritchie po, ritchie po, goorin bros, yaletown, helen siwak, mad men, menswear

Tie carefully, yours in knotwerk,

Ritchie Po
IG: ritchie.po

(All photographs by Helen Siwak of THEClosetYVR)

Knotwerk Social: Chateau Latour @ Winestains

Latour Wines, Alice Zhou, Knotwerk Social, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, private party, vancouver, yvrDo you ever watch a couture show and wonder who buys them? Of course we know they’re the rich, but did you know that the pieces are already spoken for before they hit the runway? At trunk shows happening all over the world, designers present their newest lines before they hit the public eye, and so you technically cannot buy most of what you see.

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It’s the same way with certain wines, as I learned when I attended the Winestains Wine Academy’s presentation of the Chateau Latour’s most select wines, months before they hit the Vancouver market in March 2016, for a select group of buyers. Wine is like vintage couture that way: they do get better as they age (but watch that waistline).

Latour Wines, Alice Zhou, Knotwerk Social, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, private party, vancouver, yvr

Winestains is a collective of wine connoisseurs, started in 2015 and housed in an unassuming location not too far from the River Rock Casino & Resort. According to Winestains Wine Academy Director of Education Keith Nicholson, the group’s mission is to gather appreciators to partake in the most sumptuous wines of the world. Membership is still burgeoning, but they hope to attract more new wine lovers at events such as the Chateau Latour presentation this week.

A collaboration with the Broadway Wine Shop and Lifford Wine & Spirits, Portfolio Ambassador Nicole Campbell led us through a brief history of the Chateau Latour before presenting the collection. Working backwards, a selection of Latour wines from as recent as 2011 and as far back as 2000 were presented. Admittedly, as someone who has an intermediate appreciation of wine, sampling five of the most coveted vintages in the world in reverse order was a palette-opening experience. Starting with a simple 2011 Pauillac De Latour at $119, we ended up with the celebrated 2000 Grand Vin De Chateau Latour, a vintage so luxurious and revered in reputation that a single bottle goes for $2,700! It was so exciting, to savour it with cuisine was almost too déclassé a notion.

Latour Wines, Alice Zhou, Knotwerk Social, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, private party, vancouver, yvr

To say this was a select audience is not an understatement. I was one among just fifteen people who received the coveted invitations, including Boulevard Magazine’s Harry van Hemmen. I could hear whispers among the crowd talking about their summer homes and other secret locations to find amazing wines. The small but moneyed crowd lapped up the opportunity to snap up a few bottles, and my drinking companion eagerly snapped up two each of two vintages in the $500 a bottle ballpark. With access to luxury wines like these, Winestains will surely be attracting more connoisseurs in the future.

Latour Wines, Alice Zhou, Knotwerk Social, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, private party, vancouver, yvr

Keith Nicholson, Director of Education for Winestains & Ritchie Po

We’d like to thank Winestains Keith Nicholson, Barry McNabb, and Social Butterfly Club’s Alice Zhou for inviting us to partake in this event. We hear there will be more events over the holidays, and look forward to them!

Sipping and sampling my way through life,

Ritchie Po
IG: StyledLegally

(Thanks to access of the photographs by Ritchie Po & Alice Zhou)

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po: Lanvin with Linwood Taurus

knotwerk by ritchie po, mancave barbershop, sam mancave, helen siwak, ritchie po, vancouver, vancity, yvr, yaletownFeeling bullish going into the holiday season? We’ve been seeing a lot of red lately, especially from holiday décor. Maybe it’s the time of year to cocoon and watch old musicals, like one of my personal favourites Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Perhaps that’s why we were inspired to create a look inspired by the film in the middle of a barber shop, minus the Tim Burton-Stephen Sondheim bloodlust but keeping the aesthetic as fresh as the blood vampires crave. For this week’s Knotwerk, we tie the Linwood Taurus Knot in a vintage Lanvin tie, shot on location at Yaletown’s Man Cave Barber Shop in downtown Vancouver.

knotwerk by ritchie po, mancave barbershop, sam mancave, helen siwak, ritchie po, vancouver, vancity, yvr, yaletown

Tie: Vintage Lanvin; Shirt: Maxwell Clothiers (MTM); Vest: John Varvatos; Pants: Hudson

The Linwood Taurus (click for tutorial) begins with the little end choked up, just a bit below your neck. Cross over the front and create a traditional spiral on both sides of the tie. Don’t tighten up the loops, keep them slightly loose as you will need to work with them. Take the wide end and, going from right to left, feed the cravat through both loops through. Do this gingerly or the entire knot will unravel. Wrap the wide end up and over the centre, over the front. You will notice that underneath, you’ve created a central loop between the two side loops. Feed the wide end down the middle of the centre loops. This is a tie that looks bolder and better when loose, so even if you’ve tied this rather tightly, loosening the two side loops and just a little of the centre will give you an illusion of a bull or Taurus. It’s a little like the Viper Knot, where you use the tie to give an appearance of an animal. Our editor loves animals here at THECloset YVR, so playful knots like these always tickle her fancy.

Knotwer - Brush copy

This week’s shoot took place at Man Cave Barber Shop. Formerly housed only in Yaletown and Metrotown, Man Cave recently added two chairs to the new Frank & Oak flagship that opened last week in Gastown. Where else in town can dapper men get groomed, shop for the latest fashions, and emerge whole again?

knotwerk by ritchie po, mancave barbershop, sam mancave, helen siwak, ritchie po, vancouver, vancity, yvr, yaletown

We discussed the recent expansion with owner Sam, who looks forward to a long-lasting collaboration with Frank & Oak and, hopefully, will give rise to a trend of Vancouver men putting more effort into their every aspect of their look. If you’re looking for a complete experience in creating new looks or putting together that perfect holiday outfit, look no further than Man Cave and Frank & Oak.

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THECloset YVR Editor Helen Siwak & owner of the Man Cave Barber Shop chain Sam.

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Linwood Taurus tieing up a vintage Lanvin.

Tie carefully, yours in knotwerk,

Ritchie Po

IG: StyledLegally

(Photography and compilations by Helen Siwak of THECloset YVR)

knotwerk by ritchie po, mancave barbershop, sam mancave, helen siwak, ritchie po, vancouver, vancity, yvr, yaletown, SnickersHOS

Next Up! Man Cave Barber Shop welcomes well-behaved pets like #SnikersHOS.

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po: Brooks Bros with Diagonal

Brooks Bros Wide Header 1I was pondering the aesthetic in men’s fashion recently, and noticed on my Instagram feed that I’ve come to appreciate some of the asymmetrical looks of late. Not everything has to be mirrored on both sides of any centre, as long as it is tastefully done. Similarly, no clothing retailer has to follow the exact same business model.

ritchie po, knotwerk by ritchie po, menswear, fashion blogger, style writer, frank & oak, helen siwak, vancouver, ecoluxluv, yvr

Top: Mexx; Pants: TopMan; Shoes: Kenneth Cole

ritchie po, knotwerk by ritchie po, menswear, fashion blogger, style writer, frank & oak, helen siwak, vancouver, ecoluxluv, yvr

These thoughts crossed my mind recently when we received our invitations to the Frank & Oak flagship store pre-launch party in Gastown, Vancouver’s fashionable garment district and a great urban trend spotting site.  This upscale men’s clothier, the formerly online-only company is set to open its doors to the public in historic Gastown, allowing clients and new customers to directly engage with them in Vancouver.

Frank & Oak have turned heads with their mix of casual styles, but manufactured and served to buyers using elements formerly exclusive only to luxury couture houses. We tied this week’s opening party for an unorthodox, innovative company with a similarly asymmetric yet chic knot, the Diagonal Knot in a classic Brooks Brothers cravat.

Diagram Diagonal Knot

The Diagonal knot is both simple yet difficult at the same time. The trick is coordination. This doesn’t need a lot of fabric, so lay the tie as you would a conventional Windsor knot, as you’ll be working with the big end. Cross the wide end around the front at the neck, twice. After the second loop around the centre, feed the large end over the anchor point and pull it to your left. You should have an overlapping flap on the left, and you will see the cylinder in the middle. Loosen the centre cylinder a little. Wrap the wide end around the back and feed it – very gingerly! – through the centre cylinder. Be careful not to do this too fast, or the entire tie will unravel. This is a simple step, but doing it wrong will undo all your work. Pull the wide end down the centre. At this point, the little end may start to wander around the front, but use the big end to cover the little one, straighten out the overlapping flap and the centre cylindrical loop, and you’ve tied the Diagonal knot. This works with a slightly thicker as well as a thinner tie (although if your tie is very long, you’ll find the excessive fabric unsightly and will want something more complicated, such as the Viper knot).

ritchie po, knotwerk by ritchie po, menswear, fashion blogger, style writer, frank & oak, helen siwak, vancouver, ecoluxluv, yvr

Catching up with sales associate Tyler Yang

Originally from Montreal, Frank & Oak have become popular with a business model that thrives on a variation of vertical integration. They start off with great garments, and send them by mail order to the customer based on preference, size and price point, tailored for the right cut. Any clothing that doesn’t fit can be sent back. They produce their own clothing line and cut out the middleman by selling directly by mail order to the customer. In other words, they turn the traditional fashion retail model on its head by controlling everything from design to production, therefore incorporating the same attention couture ateliers devote to their clients but at more entry-level price points and casual styles. It’s a tweak on conventional commercial fashion activity, done on a mental diagonal (even if it’s more vertical), much like the knot I’m wearing. Frank + Oak’s ingenuity is modeled on combining high-fashion elements in more casual styles for everyday wear.

ritchie po, knotwerk by ritchie po, menswear, fashion blogger, style writer, frank & oak, helen siwak, vancouver, ecoluxluv, yvr

Frank & Oak are officially launching the new location at Saturday, December 5th at 316 West Cordova.  We were fortunate to shoot at their pre-launch event, and congratulate Sophie Desbiens and the team on their new location.

Tie carefully, yours in knotwerk,

Ritchie Po
IG: styledlegally

(All photographs by Helen Siwak of THEClosetYVR)

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po: Zegna with Parcel

 

Ritchie - Angelo Centre

Shirt: Prada; Blazer: House of Howe; Jeans: Hudson; Coat:  J.Crew; Belt: Calvin Klein; Boots: Browns

What becomes a legend most? In sports, it’s something memorably iconic like the way Beckham bends it, or Jordan’s slam-dunk, or Kim’s Olympic free skate. In fashion, it’s often the simple, clean, elegant look that’s timeless but also has that extra little attention to detail. At THECloset YVR, we love luxury that pays attention to the little details, because those are what ultimately make pieces classic and timeless.

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Recently, we attended the Vancouver presentation of famed Italian collector Angelo Caroli’s vintage couture collection, and were fortunate enough to attend the media launch of his A.N.G.E.L.O. concept store at McArthurGlen YVR. For the occasion, I chose a tie that pays that extra attention to the details: Linwood’s the Parcel Knot, in a favoured vintage Italian label, Zegna.

This is another of the “little end” knots where you work mainly with the smaller end and not the big one. Start with the wide end at your belly button on your right (as opposed to your left), leaving room for the little end to work. Start by crossing over and creating a spiral, and then taking the little end over the front once to hold the spiral in place. Take the little end through the centre loop, and then fold it along the crease in half to your right. Here’s where it gets complicated: you then loop the little end around the back and over the centre loop again, this time to your left, keeping the long fold in place. You will then create two little “piping” loops that frame the centre knot. Keep the two “piping” loops relatively loose. Take the little end through the centre from right to left, being careful not to bunch it up the middle.

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Finish it off by the hiding the little end under your collar. What will make people pay attention to this knot are the little loops framing the centre. They also create an illusion with the tie and frames the centre knot, allowing an extra little detail to make it look intricate while still being easy to tie. Needless to say, work with a thinner tie and not a thick one. This works well for wider ties as well, they will in fact make the knot pop more and create a bolder statement.

This is not our first encounter with Angelo Caroli, as our editor-in-chief Helen Siwak interviewed him (through an interpreter) in early November and wrote this profile on him. Having started his love of collecting vintage couture at 17 years old, Caroli travels the world finding and collecting luxury pieces for his Milanese home and museum, which has over 180,000 vintage, one-of-a-kind fashion pieces. Caroli has done so well as a luxury brokerage that he has an extensive list of international pop-up events.

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Soni, onsite curator from A.N.G.E.L.O.

At the new McArthurGlen YVR location, I chatted with his curator and couture broker Soni about the importance of collecting and creating a base wardrobe of luxury pieces to mark one’s self as a serious collector, which is how Caroli has done so well. The shop boasts pieces from every luxury designer imaginable, including the largest collection of vintage Valentino ties I’ve seen so far in Vancouver, and even a select number of vintage Hermès and Marinella.

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Luxury designer neckties at A.N.G.E.L.O. pop-up

For true lovers of Italian couture, the only brands that matter are Mario (father of Ermenegildo) Zegna and Marinella, and this is currently one of the few places in town to get them right now. The new location of A.N.G.E.L.O. is sure to attract luxury buyers on their way to and from Vancouver, particularly as its new location is just two stops away from Vancouver International Airport.

Ritchie Long Shot

We’d like to thank Brooklyn and Crystal at Citizen Relations for the invitation to the A.N.G.E.L.O. party, to Soni and Stefano for ensuring that we had a great time, to Bibo for the incredible catering (and congratulations on your new location!), and we look forward to spending more time at his new shop at the McArthur Glen YVR outlet.

The Discover Timeless Luxury pop-up is open until December 31, 2015.

Tie carefully, yours in knotwerk,

Ritchie Po

IG: StyledLegally

(Photography and compilations by Helen Siwak of THECloset YVR)

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po: Guy Laroche with Cosmo

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Ritchie Po, Telus Gardens, Helen Siwak, Guy Laroche, menswear

There are two kinds of Cosmos in this world: the drink popularized by the immortal Sex & the City in its millennial heyday, and cosmonauts. I thought of both not just when I was watching The Martian a few weeks ago and its narrative undercurrent of ecological sustainability, but also when I came across a crafty Cosmo Knot, another great hybrid knot (Hyrule was the first on Knotwerk) by Alex Krasny of Agree or Die. A clever play on the word “cosmonaut”, which is Russian for “astronaut”, this is a combination of the Van Wijk and Cape Knots, which I wrapped in a vintage Guy Laroche couture cravat. We recently sat down to delicious Cosmopolitans in the luxurious Glowbal flagship location.

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Ritchie Po, Telus Gardens, Helen Siwak, Guy Laroche, menswear

Shirt: Theory; Sweater: Mexx; Corduroy Jean: Zara; Boots: Browns

Start by creating a Van Wijk knot, but using the little end instead of the wide end. You will start by wrapping the little end three times around the centre, or “orbiting” like a cosmonaut. Once you’re done, take the remainder of the little end and finish it off tying it over and around both sides of the centre, tucking the back end into the loop, the way you finish off the Atlantic or Cape knot. The Cosmo works well with either a wider-end or narrow, thinner tie. I would caution against using a thick fabric on it, and found through experimentation that a wider tie creates a bigger Cosmo, whereas a narrower tie will be less pronounced but no less prominent in appearance. A shorter tie will also result in the little end being “swallowed” up, leaving there no Cape Knot-like finish, but it also creates a cleaner look that shows off the knot alone, to great effect. Simply tuck the little end the way Krasny describes in his video, and you’re sure to have a knot that’s out of this world.

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Ritchie Po, Telus Gardens, Helen Siwak, Guy Laroche, menswear

Guy Laroche’s designs have long been well-regarded, ever since the middle of the twentieth century. Known for his modest character, Laroche’s designs were haute couture but with a practical bend. He was among the first to create separates for women for his ready-to-wear collection. His aesthetic was particularly tied into the 1960s, a time when the world was obsessed with cosmonauts and countries competed to see who would be the first to achieve the dream of flying into space. You can see some of his design elements and a hint of the counterculture in this week’s cravat.

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Ritchie Po, Telus Gardens, Helen Siwak, Guy Laroche, menswear

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Ritchie Po, Telus Gardens, Helen Siwak, Guy Laroche, menswear

Compilation of the Telus Gardens Interiors

We’d like to thank Francis Pendon, Tara Armstrong and Monika Kodnani of Glowbal Restaurants in the eco-friendly TELUS Garden building for allowing us to shoot for this week’s blog post. Drop by and join us for drinks sometime: in your Cosmo Knot, of course.

MidRange Cosmo

Tie carefully, yours in knotwerk,

Ritchie Po

IG: StyledLegally

(Photography and compilations by Helen Siwak of THECloset YVR)

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po: Seigo Katsuragawa with Left Ostrich

knotwerk by ritchie po, seigo katsuragawa, telus garden, ritchie po, helen siwak, vancouver, yvr

When it comes to fashion, they say men like to stick their heads in the sand like ostriches and not pay attention to what they wear. In Vancouver, we often commit the sartorial sin of defaulting to rain gear or our beloved yoga pants. Sometimes we dress down, but more often than not, the dapper man knows that dressing well and looking good reflects their character and not just their fashion sense.

It doesn’t take much to dress well, and look luxurious without being a slave to fast fashion or trends, and finding a truly stylish man should not be a rarity. In this week’s blog post, we tie a limited edition Seigo Katsuragawa in the Ostrich knot.

This is what I call a “little end” knot, one where we use the narrow end to make the knot. Start with the wide end at your navel, where the bottom will rest. Loop the little end over the wide end close to your neck. Make a loop around the centre of your knot twice. Bring the little end over the centre, and to the other side. This should create a loop in the centre. You will finish the knot by taking the little end and “feeding” it through the final loop, and run it along the neck. Tuck the little end underneath your collar. The finished result is an asymmetrical knot that looks like an ostrich.

knotwerk by ritchie po, seigo katsuragawa, telus garden, ritchie po, helen siwak, vancouver, yvr

Shirt & Pants: Calvin Klein; Shoes: Kenneth Cole; Sweater: Armani; Jacket: Gianfranco Ferre; Socks: Happy Socks

Taking a little time and effort to create the Ostrich knot is not difficult, as long as you set it up properly. Similarly, taking a little time and effort to make conscious fashion choices is key to any man’s wardrobe. Investing in solid, well made basics is the cornerstone of a great wardrobe. Even a simple turtleneck can be dressed up with a blazer and slacks, or made casual with dark jeans, boots and a bomber jacket. The added effect is that you create great classic looks, spend less time at the mall replacing trends that look outdated very quickly, reduce the manufacturing carbon footprint (your wallet will thank you too) and never go out of style.

In choosing your cravat, it never hurts to be selective to make your sartorial statement. Seigo Katsuragawa is a maker of rare Japanese ties, with just three locations in New York. Made from glorious Kyoto silk and hand-sewn to perfection in Tokyo, Mr. Katsuragawa only makes eight of every one of his creations (I’m wearing #6 of that series). It’s this trend against mass production that makes the brand eco-friendly and luxurious, perfectly matching exclusivity with the environment.

Known simply as “Seigo Neckwear” in New York, the company has a simple English language Blogspot site and pricing starts at $85 per tie, a relative bargain compared to the higher-end luxury brands, and connoisseurs of the brand know his pieces when they see them.

knotwerk by ritchie po, seigo katsuragawa, telus garden, ritchie po, helen siwak, vancouver, yvr

We’d like to thank Telus for letting us shoot in their beautiful conference space at the new Telus Garden in Vancouver.

knotwerk by ritchie po, seigo katsuragawa, telus garden, ritchie po, helen siwak, vancouver, yvr

Tie carefully, yours in knotwerk,

Ritchie Po

IG: StyledLegally

 

(Photography by Helen Siwak of THECloset YVR)

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po: Balmain with Murrell

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Fluevog,

“There are no small parts, only small actors.”

The great acting coach Constantin Stanislavski said that about younger actors who are not quite ready for leading roles yet. I thought about this for this year’s annual John Fluevog “Step Up for the Carousel Theatre for Young People” (or “CTYP”) fundraiser. Now in its second year, this fantastic gala and shopping night racked up an amazing $26,000 in just one evening last November, with half the proceeds donated to CTYP, a Vancouver company that trains and puts on productions starring aspiring young musical theatre stars. We may not always see child and youth actors taking centre stage, which is why I’ve dedicated this week’s blog post to the theatre and its young stars, and chosen a knot tied in a vintage Balmain luxury cravat. (Coincidentally, Balmain X H&M’s collaboration on a capsule collection goes on sale at over 250 locations worldwide tomorrow.)

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Fluevog,

Shirt: RW & Co.; Vest: vintage (unknown); Jeans: Uniqlo; Belt: Calvin Klein; Shoes: John Fluevog; Socks: English Laundry

The Murrell knot is a special one in that it’s unexpected and almost inside-out, unorthodox and guaranteed to stand out. The knot is made almost using a standard Windsor , the twist is the little end of the knot then rides through the knot and takes center stage on its own. In fact, you will be working with the narrow end of the tie, rather than the wider end. Start with the big end closer to your navel or belt buckle, and leave some room for the little end because you will need it for the final touch. Create an anchor as you would with the Atlantic knot then wrap the little around the front to cover the two triangles. Bring the little end over the top, and weave it straight down through the centre loop, over top of the cravat itself. The effect is that my tie looks like it is wearing its own tie. This works particularly well with non-monochromatic, two-tone ties with unorthodox patterns, so that the pattern on the little end contrasts against the main design on the rest of the cravat. By analogy, we can also see the smaller supporting player take centre stage, much like the CTYP encourages its troupe of young actors to do.

http://www.ties.com/public/img/how-to-tie-a-tie/instructions/how_to_tie_the_murrell_knot_tying_instructions.png

Image credit: Ties.com

Here is the secret: it is an easy knot to tie. Once the “Windsor” is in place, that extra flourish makes it just a little bit different, yet special. However, as with the Merovingian knot , the loose little end may look unfinished, so wear a vest or a sweater over top to hide the bottom of the little end.

Fluevog Shoe CloseUp

The Step Up 4 CTYP gala is sure to be a night to remember. Join us to shop for strikingly delicious Fluevog shoes, donate to a fun local charity, nibble and sip on a series of delights from local caterers, and partake in our silent auction. Tonight’s gala, like last year, will once again be hosted by Todd Talbot of Love It or List It Vancouver and shall feature musical performances from some of the young up-and-coming stars of CTYP. Tickets are only $5 online or $10 at the door and include a drink ticket, which you can purchase here. You’ll be sure to find a pair you’ll find in love with, check out the “Privacy” mirrored shoes I picked up for last year’s charity event (which I also wore to the Nordstrom gala).

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Fluevog,

We’d like to thank Stephen Bailey at Fluevog’s flagship location on Water Street in Gastown, and look forward to seeing everyone at tonight’s gala!

Tie carefully, yours in knotwerk,

Ritchie Po

IG: StyledLegally

(Photography by Helen Siwak of THECloset YVR)

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po: Vintage Lanvin with Viper

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Styled Legally, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Lanvin, Viper Room

I’d like to think that I’ve been dapper since birth, and that’s why I never truly got into Halloween. I never truly dressed up for it (except for a few isolated incidents in my early 20s), and when asked for costume ideas when I was a kid, I always wanted to wear a suit or something Prince would wear, and got laughed off the playground. So it was never truly an occasion for me, except for the odd horror movie and the Peanuts special. But for me, Halloween was forever ruined in 1993, when River Phoenix died outside the Viper Room on Halloween night in Los Angeles. The night has been somber for me ever since. To mark the occasion, we’ve decided to do the Viper knot in a luxurious vintage Lanvin Paris cravat.

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Styled Legally, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Lanvin, Viper Room

Shirt: Theory; Jacket: H&M Bike Lanes (Special Edition); Boots: Browns; Jeans: Uniqlo

The Viper knot is tied the same way as the Cape knot, but repeated. You will need a lot of fabric for this, and the thinner the tie is, the easier it is to pull off the look. Tie the basic Cape knot, then wrap the little end around the knot, but leaving the bottom of the knot exposed. You will then wrap the little end around both sides of the tie, essentially repeating the Cape knot but layering it. The result is a Viper knot, named because the two triangles in the Cape, when covered over, resembles a viper snake’s exposed fangs. This is a tie with plenty of bite, and a lot of attitude, so we recommend you wear it if you want an edgier look or if you’re going to a particularly aggressive meeting (with say, your nemesis or to a family reunion where you hate everyone).

If you’re not partaking in the Halloween madness, watch a stylish horror film instead. As a fan of period costume dramas, my three favourites in this category will always be Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Interview with the Vampire or Pan’s Labyrinth, chased with any episode of American Horror Story. But if you’re of a certain age like me and want to remember River Phoenix, another viewing of My Own Private Idaho will always be a welcome addition.

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Styled Legally, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Lanvin, Viper Room

Wherever you go this Halloween, stay safe and drink responsibly.

Ritchie Po
IG: styledlegally

(All photographs by Helen Siwak of THEClosetYVR)

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po: Vintage Fendi with Hyrule

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Hyrule, Fendi, Vancouver, YVR

It’s been a busy autumn so far in Vancouver, with numerous events such as the Nordstrom gala, the Luxury & Supercar Weekend, the Lao Feng Xiang opening and the presentation of the new Harry Rosen in Pacific Centre. More people are asking me which of the many knots I’ve tried has been my favourite. Although I’m partial to a simple Pratt or classic Windsor knot for business, I’ve started wearing the Cape to mix it up. While pondering how I could wear different knots at once with a single cravat, I found a video that … does exactly that. Frugal Fellows Fashion has invented the stunning Hyrule knot in a rare vintage Fendi necktie.

This knot starts off with a simple Pratt knot, using the wider end. Pull the knot into position as you would the Pratt (Shelby), and ensure you have room on the narrow end at the back. The more fabric you have on the narrow end, the easier it is to tie the Hyrule, but it is not a requirement (unless your tie is very short). Take the narrow end and wrap it around the base of the Pratt knot, taking care to fold crisp corners so it does not bunch up. Pull the narrow end over the right and the left of the cravat as you would a Cape or Atlantic knot, then finish by pulling what’s left of the narrow end through the back of the knot. The result is a gorgeous, luxurious hybrid similar to the stunning Diamond knot we wrote about a few weeks back.

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Hyrule, Fendi, Vancouver, YVR

Shirt: DKNY; Jacket: Parasuco (vintage); Boots: Kenneth Cole; Jeans: Uniqlo

We have many more events to look forward to this fall, including the newly-opened La Maison Simons, Hudson’s Bay’s annual “Guys’ Night Out”, the opening of several exciting luxury boutiques and shopping nights at The Closet YVR in the coming weeks.

My friends at the Carousel Theatre for Young People are partnering with John Fluevog once again for the annual “Step Up 4 CTYP” fundraiser, have you gotten your tickets yet? If not – buy them here. I hope to see you at one or more of the upcoming soirees. Remember to dress impeccably, more than what our “Pacific Northwest town” (as our critics call us) considers acceptable for events. Wherever you go, tie carefully …

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Hyrule, Fendi, Vancouver, YVR

Tie carefully, yours in knotwerk,

Ritchie Po
IG: ritchie.po

(All photographs by Helen Siwak of THEClosetYVR)

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po: Jim Thompson with Trinity

Trinity, Jim Thompson, Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Vancouver, YVR, THECloset YVR

Previously, we did a luxurious Diamond knot for the Lao Feng Xiang Vancouver opening on Alberni Street. In that post, I mentioned that knowing how to tie the Trinity knot is great preparation for tying the Diamond. Of course, I got ahead of myself and actually pulled a switcheroo, I did not actually draft a Trinity Knot blog post! For this week, if the Diamond knot was a bit too much to handle, we are giving you the simpler but hipper and no less distinctive Trinity knot.

Trinity, Jim Thompson, Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Vancouver, YVR, THECloset YVR

The Trinity is tied with the little end. Start with the wide cravat at just above your waist. Using the little end, create a “spiral” and let the little end fall behind the wide end. This is essentially how one ties an Atlantic knot, but don’t finish off by tucking the little end into the loop. Instead, loop around the front to hide the spiral and loop over the top. You will be weaving the small end through the main loop. This is easiest done if you think to create small loops and weaving the little end through. Do this three times as seen on the diagram and in the video, and finish the third and final step by pulling the little end up and hiding this under your collar. You can make the Trinity Knot big and wide, or you can tighten it up and make it more compact. This is great for showing off bright colours or bold yet simple patterns.

This distinctive knot is meant to be evocative and announce itself to the world every time you step out wearing it. It’s not always the best thing to wear to a board meeting, but it can certainly turn heads if you work in upscale luxury retail or are a creative professional.

Trinity, Jim Thompson, Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Vancouver, YVR, THECloset YVR

Shirt: DKNY; Shoes: Fluevog; Shoelaces: Stolen Riches; Belt: Calvin Klein; Socks: Happy socks; Pants: AG

Speaking of creative professionals, this cravat’s designer was certainly one. American business Jim Thompson was born in 1906 and was an architect by training. During World War II, he was a field agent for the CIA’s forerunner, and eventually became a wealthy silk merchant whose garment house specialized in Thai silk. Most famously, his Thailand-based company provided the silk for the original stage version of The King & I.

Incredibly, Thompson vanished while on holiday in 1967, his disappearance left as a cold case. However, like other cold case vanishings, his legend grew, and his company still flourishes to this day. We like to think that his legend adds a bit of mystique to his brand, and hope that you’ll remember the stories behind your ties and how you got them.

Trinity, Jim Thompson, Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Vancouver, YVR, THECloset YVR

Tie carefully, yours in knotwerk,

Ritchie Po
IG: ritchie.po

(All photographs by Helen Siwak of THEClosetYVR)

Knotwerk City Social: Harry Rosen L’arte dell’eleganza italiana Event

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Harry Rosen, Pacific Centre, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Menswear, Tom FordAt this time of year, I always watch The Talented Mr. Ripley. Effortlessly stylish despite its rather grim tale, the film has always made me think of Italy at the end of summer, when a golden hue sets over Venice and San Remo, bathing the country in one last glorious glow before the autumn fits in. The current issue of Harry magazine by Harry Rosen evokes this glamourous, timeless era, and we were fortunate to have seen it on display at their recent L’arte dell’eleganza italiana event at Pacific Centre in Vancouver, sponsored by the Italian Cultural Centre to show off their newly renovated location including the much-anticipated Tom Ford boutique. For this blog post, we chose to tie a vintage Boticelli-esque shell print Zegna tie (originally required at Harry Rosen years ago) in a Van Wijk knot.

knotwerk by ritchie po, von wijk, ritchie po, helen siwak, tom ford, pacific centre

Originally credited to artist Lisa Van Wijk, this is a variation of the Prince Albert knot with one twist: literally, one extra twist is all you need to achieve this look. Tied with the big end, leave a lot of room for the Van Wijk knot. Start by crossing and loop the larger end over the narrow end once. Bring the wide end around the base of the knot and keep one finger to hold it in place. All you need to do is loop the wide end twice more around that finger. You’ll have made three spirals with the large wide end. Pull the look together by pulling the wide end over the centre and through all three loops and straightening the tie. To finish the knot, pull gently on all three loops and separate them slightly so that they overlap. The finished look is a three-tiered overlapping effect that once lengthens the knot while also creating a structure that recalls an armadillo. It’s sophisticated enough to wear out to a business lunch, yet so chic you can wear this to an early evening picnic in the countryside.

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Harry Rosen, Pacific Centre, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Menswear, Tom Ford

The Van Wijk knot is great for plain solid ties. The fewer distractions there are, the better it is to show off the intricate layering in its design. And yet the tie is truly simple to pull together. If you are not comfortable with the standard Windsor (such as in my first post here), but desire something structured yet at once easy to tie, the Van Wijk knot is a home run for you. If nothing else, all you need to remember is to loop once to create the base, then loop it around your finger three times and loop the wide end through.

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Harry Rosen, Pacific Centre, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Menswear, Tom Ford

Left: Mike Peters, Regional Director for Western Canada. Right: Harry Rosen CEO Larry Rosen.

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Harry Rosen, Pacific Centre, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Menswear, Tom Ford

We thank Harry Rosen and in particular menswear consultant Leona Lam for inviting us to the launch of their new boutique, and look forward to visiting the new Tom Ford capsule shop more often this fall.

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Harry Rosen, Pacific Centre, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Menswear, Tom Ford

Ritchie Po, style writer from Knotwerk by Ritchie Po – vintage jacket by Angelo Litrico, shirt by Dolce & Gabbana, pants by Varvatos, belt by Varvatos and boots by Kenneth Cole.

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Harry Rosen, Pacific Centre, Ritchie Po, Helen Siwak, Menswear, Tom Ford

Helen Siwak, CEO of THECloset YVR, in Tom Ford wearing vintage Issey Miyake, Valentino trousers and Balenciaga Obsidia Midi Tote from Modaselle. Hair by LaBiosthetique.

Ritchie Po & Knotwerk City Social signing off until the next event!

(Photography by Helen Siwak & Ritchie Po of THECloset YVR)

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po: Perry Ellis with Caldwell Swagg

ritchie po, caldwell swagg, perry ellis, menswear, helen siwak, pidgin, yvrI’ve been asked lately if Knotwerk will be doing bow ties soon. Admittedly I have little to no experience with bow ties, as I’ve been dedicated to cravats my whole life.

Vancouver is, next to Portland, Brooklyn and San Francisco, hipster central. Wearing a bow tie is part of the norm for millennium and the younger Generation Y professionals in our tech-savvy Pacific Northwest city. One day I will take the challenge of making a bow tie, but in the meantime I found way to tie a knot gives the appearance of a bow tie, without actually making one. How do you make this fantastic trompe l’oeil? It’s simple if you know a couple of basic formal knots, and gives you a dapper look even if you don’t have a bow tie lying around. This week I give you Patrick Novotny’s Caldwell Swagg Knot, and how to tie it.

If you haven’t already, have a look at the full Windsor and Onassis knot articles I did this summer. If you know one, you know how to tie the other. It’s best if you tie the cravat the way you do an Onassis. A thick or wide tie works perfectly well with this one. You will need to button your shirt all the way up. When you tie up the Onassis, you’re most of the way there. The twist in the Caldwell Swagg Knot is a literal one. Flip the wide end over your shoulder, twist the little end hiding underneath so that the seam side shows up. Unbutton one of your shirt buttons while you do so, the one just below the top button will do. Once you’ve done that, feed the little end over top of the entire knot. You will take the little end and feed it over the top or your shirt and feed it through, so that it sits over the top. Pull the little end through the opening in your shirt and you do, you can button the shirt back up. Pull the collar down and you have the appearance of the bow tie without actually getting one. It’s a fun trick if you’re tired of the usual knots and want a tie with a bit of swagger.

ritchie po, caldwell swagg, perry ellis, menswear, helen siwak, pidgin, yvr

Shirt: Mexx; Pants: Gaultier; Boots: Kenneth Cole; Belt: Calvin Klein; Coat: Boycott

Since I don’t know how to tie a bow tie, the cravat works very well. And speaking of swag, this will serve me well throughout the fall events coming up, including the Simon‘s launch at Park Royal, Prabal Gurung at Nordstrom and Proenza Schouler at The Room. Many of these events may include swag, so why not have a tie that goes with it?

We’d like to thank our neighbours, the award-winning Pidgin restaurant, for inspiring our photo shoot. It’s fast become our favourite haunt to have an after-work drink or as a pit stop en route to and from the many other happening events in Gastown.

ritchie po, caldwell swagg, perry ellis, menswear, helen siwak, pidgin, yvr

Tie carefully, yours in knotwerk,

Ritchie Po
IG: ritchie.po

(All photographs by Helen Siwak of THEClosetYVR)

Knotwerk City Social: Luxury Supercar Gents

Luxury Supercar Weekend, knotwerk, ritchie po, vancouver, bc, vandusenStyle is something that’s never bought. It must be learned or cultivated organically, and reflect a person’s sensibility and aesthetic. At last month’s Luxury & Supercar Weekend at VanDusen Botanical Gardens in Vancouver, we came across two dapper gentlemen who embody the spirit of their style. Let’s meet Darcy Kaser and Randall MacDonald.

Luxury Supercar Weekend, knotwerk, ritchie po, vancouver, bc, vandusen

Darcy Kaser & Randall MacDonald

A longtime couple, Darcy and Randall are entrepreneurs who divide their time between Edmonton and Vancouver. Local celebrities in both cities, their stately home was profiled a few years ago in the Edmonton Journal and makes Liberace’s own estate pale by comparison. Baroque yet modern, the couple’s style clearly has classical Neapolitan flourishes with a chic modern European twist. The same can be said for their outfits at the Luxury & Supercar Weekend.

Dressed in a Polenzo Italy suit, Michael Kors shirt, Gucci sunglasses and Gregory West shoes from Harvey Nichols in London, Darcy goes for London’s High Street with a vengeance. The piece de resistance of the outfit is a bow tie from the Victoria Albert Museum in London made from actual newspaper and coated for a shine. It’s the ultimate in upcycled ecoluxury, yet never betrays the luxurious British aesthetic. This is how one mixes fashion in an eco-friendly manner while still looking ready for the runway and a gala.

On Randall, we have shoes by Johnston + Murphy, a made-to-measure monogrammed Executive shirt, coat by Edge New York, Live Gerber boutonniere and Armani sunglasses. Setting off a European sensibility, the belt is a Spanish red snakeskin purchased in Madrid. And for a classic American touch, the pocket square and bow tie come from Izod. Mixing rare one-of-a-kind pieces, bespoke and a more mass-market brand are pulled together for a refreshing look perfect for an end of summer day.

There’s much to admire and to learn from two seasoned fashionable professional men about town (heck, men about more than one town!). As long as gents like Darcy and Randall continue to elevate the tone fashion-wise, the world will always be a stylish place.

Ritchie Po & Knotwerk City Social signing off until the next event!

Luxury Supercar Weekend, knotwerk, ritchie po, vancouver, bc, vandusen

Outside of the Oakridge Mall fashion stage with Michelle Phaneuf of LaBiosthetique Canada.

(Photography by Helen Siwak of THECloset YVR)

Luxury Supercar Weekend, knotwerk, ritchie po, vancouver, bc, vandusen

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po: Donna Karan with Diamond

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Ritchie Po, Diamond, Donna Karan, Vintage, Necktie, Trinity, Knotwear, Helen Siwak

China Rich have been driving the global luxury economy for the last few years now, and it’s no surprise that the brands to which they’re most loyal would follow their expatriate customers.

Opening this week in downtown Vancouver’s luxury district on Alberni Street, the Chinese jeweler Lao Feng Xiang opened its doors on September 26 with a media launch and glitzy invitation-only gala reception. For more on Lao Feng Xiang, here’s my article with Retail Insider’s Craig Patterson from last February. To get ready for the launch, there was only one knot I could use for this particular event: the diamond knot, in a vintage Donna Karan tie.

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Ritchie Po, Diamond, Donna Karan, Vintage, Necktie, Trinity, Knotwear, Helen Siwak

Jacket: Ted Baker; Shirt: Maxwell Clothiers (Made to Measure); Pants: Zara; Belt & Shoes: Kenneth Cole

Invented by Anatoliy Zhygarev, the tie is a slightly more complicated version of the Trinity knot you may have seen around, which is a favourite of my fellow blogger SIM G. Essentially it is tied like the simpler Trinity knot, but all you need to top it off is make an extra loop around the base of the knot and pull it up towards your neck. This requires you to pull, tighten and adjust at various steps, so one does not rush tying the Diamond knot. The final flourish is to pull up the little end towards the top and hide the tail under your collar. When you pull down your collar over the knot, you have a finished tie that looks like a diamond.

Try as we might, we were unable to find a diagram on the diamond tie with in either English or in Russian (using my rudimentary Google skills pa Russkii), but we will instead link you to the original video.

The only other “Diamond knot” we were able to find were for lanyards, which is useful but not suited for a luxury menswear blog. Since Anatoliy works through the presentation very slowly, with English subtitles, going step-by-step is easier done than said. Just remember to mirror his steps and you will get the desired result. However, if you want an English-language version, Patrick Novotny has done a mirrored tutorial here.

This tutorial does go faster though, so you will want to pause at certain points. Remember that the trick to making this knot a sharper version of the Trinity is that you will need to selectively pull and tighten as you go along, creating a more defined look. It has a more sleek, refined look that cuts a figure the way diamonds cut glass.

We’d like to thank Andy Chu of FMA Entertainment for the invitation and Katherine Xu, Vice President of Lao Feng Xiang Jewelry on Alberni Street for allowing us to photograph in their new space. Congratulations on the location in the luxury district, and welcome to Vancouver!

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po, Ritchie Po, Diamond, Donna Karan, Vintage, Necktie, Trinity, Knotwear, Helen Siwak

Tie carefully, yours in knotwerk,

Ritchie Po
IG: ritchie.po

(All photographs by Helen Siwak of THEClosetYVR)

Knotwerk By Ritchie Po: Joseph & Feiss with Merovingian

knotwerkbyritchiepo, ritchie po, ediety, merovingian, helen siwak

One of my favourite fall activities in this city is the annual Vancouver International Film Festival. Although not as glamourous as Venice or Toronto, our festival schedules 200-300 films from around the globe in an intense three-week period, and every year includes several eventual Oscar nominees and winners, not to mention favourites from Cannes.

Canadian luminaries often premiere or showcase their films here, such as Atom Egoyan, Patricia Rozema and Xavier Dolan, whose one-and-only screening of his 2014 Cannes winner Mommy ran an hour late and nearly caused a stampede at the box office when angry pass holders were denied entry into the overbooked showing at the Playhouse. In 2009, the then up-and-coming Lee Daniel appeared in person to promote his Sundance breakout Precious, which drew a long and rapturous ovation from a sold-out crowd and resulted in a long greeting line of nearly a hundred weeping patrons personally congratulating him on producing a landmark work of art. (He eventually got an Oscar nomination for that film).

In tribute to VIFF, we’ve decided to go with a luxurious-looking knot that is straight from the Matrix film series: the Merovingian knot (aka Ediety) in a Joseph & Feiss tie.

knotwerkbyritchiepo, ritchie po, ediety, merovingian, helen siwak

Image credit: matome.naver.jp

This knot starts off like a Pratt or Shelby knot, but in reverse. The idea is to work with the large knot and leave yourself a lot of room with the fabric, as this will eat up a lot of it. Once you’ve started off with the Pratt, you will eventually wrap it around the knot and loop it back over. Eventually you will end up with the little end laid overtop the wider or large end, giving the appearance that your tie is wearing its own tie!

There are a couple of things to note here. First, the way the tie finishes off is a bit unsightly, with the little end laid over it appears it does not work well when you move. To get around this, wear a vest, jacket or waistcoat so that the overall appearance is held together in place. The tie is secure, but having the small end “flap about” like a fish out of water is not the most elegant, so a vest or jacket prevents that. Second, this looks works best with either a monochrome or non-uniform pattern, so that the smaller end becomes its own showpiece and you can best appreciate the intricate work. Wearing it with a pattern the way I do warrants a second look, but only if you want everyone to come up close to see the knotwork. This is not a tie meant to be work for business, but it will certainly make you a hit at parties.

knotwerkbyritchiepo, ritchie po, ediety, merovingian, helen siwak

Jacket: Members Only; Jeans: Rogue Nation; Boots: Browns; Vest: Reaction by Kenneth Cole; Shirt: Giordano (Hong Kong); Watch: Fossil; Bag: vintage (unknown – available at TheCloset YVR!)

Tickets are now available for VIFF. A few years ago I covered VIFF for my old hobby blog, and if you need a survival guide on what to expect and how to prepare check it out. Some of the tips are a little specific to its time, due to the closing of the Granville Cinemas, but the principles will save you time, money and general hassle, especially if you’re new to VIFF or need a refresher on protocol. Having been a volunteer, patron and guest of VIFF at galas, premieres, press conferences and the publicist’s office, I speak from experience and a couple of drenched evenings standing in line in the rain.

knotwerkbyritchiepo, ritchie po, ediety, merovingian, helen siwak

Hope to see everyone at the festival!

Tie carefully, yours in knotwerk,

Ritchie Po
IG: ritchie.po

(All photographs by Helen Siwak of THEClosetYVR)

Knotwerk City Social: Nordstrom Gala Opening

Ritchie Po, Knotwerk Social, Nordstrom, Helen Siwak, The Closet YVR

Gala attire: Shirt by Prada, vest and jacket by John Varvatos (TheCloset YVR). footwear by John Fluevog, pants by Zara, neck tie by Alexander McQueen, socks by Psycho Bunny.

“Style and fashion aren’t the same thing. After a while, you’re just buying clothes.”

So said Crystal Carson to me at this week’s gala opening of Nordstrom Vancouver, and she’s right of course. We here on the “Wet Coast” have a reputation for transitioning our yoga pants and rain coats into evening wear, because we dress practically and eschew luxury as being excessive. That’s about to change with the opening of Nordstrom’s stunning international flagship, as the access to fashion has just expanded exponentially as the city’s fashion scene is now coming of age. I dressed for the occasion by consulting with Helen Siwak of The Closet YVR, and learned the value of working with a stylist.

People assume that working with a stylist will set them back thousands of dollars in fees. That may be true, but working with a stylist can be cost-effective because you never have to worry about looking terrible, and that can’t be measured in currency. In this post, I’m going to tell you how I prepared for the gala.

It started with a pair of stunning mirrored black panel shoes from John Fluevog purchased at last year’s fundraiser for the Carousel Theatre for Young People. I knew these would work for a special occasion since they were a statement. With that in mind, I knew that the rest of my outfit could not overwhelm the shoes, and told Helen that I needed to dress in an elegant style that would fall somewhere between a cocktail party and a night at the opera. Sometimes putting together an outfit means working with a colour scheme and with what you have on hand, and only then getting a few pieces that work with the whole look in mind. When I received a stunning Alexander McQueen black-and-silver tie for my birthday this year, we knew that the rest of the outfit would fall into place. I tied the cravat with my favourite knot, the Cape Knot.

Ritchie Po, Knotwerk Social, Nordstrom, Helen Siwak, The Closet YVR

At the recent opening of The Closet YVR, I was given free rein to “play” with pieces and have fun putting together a look. When I fell in love with a silver-tinged vest and a light pinstriped Nehru jacket from John Varvatos at the store, the rest of the look started to come together. After experimenting with colour patterns, we decided on a neutral dark olive Prada shirt from Helen’s collection. Notice I said that “we” worked on the look, because the value of a stylist lies not in having them inflict their taste on you, but in knowing your personal style and cultivating a look that works for you. The only thing missing were the trousers, and having decided on a dark sheen finish, Helen recommended that I head out to the Zara end of summer sale and pick up a pair.

This is the secret of working with a stylist: the idea is to develop a look beyond pricing and labels, and creating a look that reflects your comfort level. I could have gone for a complete head-to-toe outfit from any high-end brand, but I knew that no matter the price tag, they couldn’t buy me peace of mind in what I wore. Nobody wants to show up at an event looking like their outfit is wearing them. I loved my outfit at the gala and received compliments from other designers and stylists, and even turned a few heads.

From a pair of shoes to a total look, working with a stylist is worth it. The Closet YVR offers complimentary styling services for new clients with their lead in-house stylist Dominique Hanke.  She will work closely with you on style development within your budget – a great first step in your style journey.

Whether you choose a specialist boutique or a luxury retailer, remember that different inputs are valuable and ideas from different stylist sources can work well together. With so many other events like the VIFF (Vancouver International Film Festival), Vancouver Fashion Week, the Symphony, concerts, business functions and galas on the calendar, I’ll be working more closely with Helen in helping me further refine my style and cultivating my eye for fashion.

We’d like to thank Nordstrom PR Director John Bailey for the use of the VIP Lounge for this special edition of Knotwerk by Ritchie Po. Congratulations to Nordstrom on the opening of its international flagship store, we look forward to having you in our city for many years to come!

Ritchie Po, Knotwerk Social, Nordstrom, Helen Siwak, The Closet YVR

Knotwerk City Social signing off until the next event!

To view additional #BTS photographs by Helen Siwak of the Nordstrom Gala event – CLICK HERE

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po: Bill Blass with the Balthus

KnotwerkByRitchiePo, Bill Blass, Balthus, Helen Siwak, Ritchie Po, Vancouver, BC, YVR

Suit & Shirt: Maxwell Clothiers (Made to Measure); Shoes: Browns; Pocket Square: Nordstrom

Who doesn’t love a big luxury car? One of the ultimate status symbols is to make the one major luxury vehicle purchase that announces your good fortune to the world everywhere you go. Be it old-world classic BMW, Rolls Royce or Mercedes, a flashier Ferrari or Tesla, or even a more democratic luxury brand like the Lexus, the name of the car you drive is the vehicle industry’s answer to couture labels.

This weekend in Vancouver, The Closet YVR and Knotwerk paired with our friends The Social Life to bring you coverage of the 2015 Vancouver Luxury & Supercar Weekend and Canadian Concourse d’Elegance. We’ve also covered the much-anticipated opening of Vancouver’s first-ever Nordstrom for Retail Insider. For such occasions, a bold knot built like a powerful engine worthy of James Bond was needed, so we turned to the Balthus knot for this week’s blog post.

KnotwerkByRitchiePo, Bill Blass, Balthus, Helen Siwak, Ritchie Po, Vancouver, BC, YVR

Image credit: Agree or Die

The Balthus knot starts off like the simpler Nicky knot: that is, upside down and on the other side. The idea is to create a bigger, bolder knot than the more prominent Windsor. This eats up a lot of fabric, so be sure to leave the narrow end a little higher than your belly button. Creating the anchor is key and builds the basic structure for the shape. The knot is essentially created by looping the wide end and crisscrossing (or overlapping) it a total of three times in succession. Once the third crisscross has been tightened, loop the wide end around the front of the knot, to cover the base. The finishing move is to loop the wide end up and over and through the central loop. It may not look all that different from the Windsor family of knots, but in person the effect is seen because it appears larger. This works well with wide, long ties that have a lot of fabric to eat up. If your tie is a bit too long, this is the perfect knot as the third loop by necessity uses up the remainder of the tie.

One thing to note in the video tutorial is that there is a way to make the Balthus knot even larger. You can do so by leaving it sitting high up to exaggerate the bulk of the knot. This works well if you have a bold pattern and want to show it off. However, you need a vest to cover up the bottom as the whole tie sits higher up and it makes it appear as if you tied it too short. As Alex Krasny mentioned in his tutorial, this look was popularized by the recently-ended NBC series Hannibal, and although it looks like a standard-issue Windsor, stands on its own.

KnotwerkByRitchiePo, Bill Blass, Balthus, Helen Siwak, Ritchie Po, Vancouver, BC, YVRThe beauty of the Balthus knot is that it anchors so well, it stays in place all day long. Even when zipping around town in an impeccably detailed luxury convertible, the wind shall not wreak havoc with your cravat. (We only ask that you never, ever drink and drive). It’s perfect for business and also for the ultimate event of the social calendar, this evening’s gala fundraising reception at Nordstrom in Pacific Centre.

If you’re looking for that perfect cravat for this evening’s event, a bold print like this vintage Bill Blass I’m wearing in the Balthus knot may be just want you need to blend in (or stand apart from) the glittery, moneyed guest list in attendance this evening. For more of our coverage from Nordstrom’s media launch last week, click here.

KnotwerkByRitchiePo, Bill Blass, Balthus, Helen Siwak, Ritchie Po, Vancouver, BC, YVR

Tie carefully, yours in knotwerk,

Ritchie Po
IG: ritchie.po

KnotwerkByRitchiePo, Bill Blass, Balthus, Helen Siwak, Ritchie Po, Vancouver, BC, YVR

Thank you to Stephen Millen of Autoform Performance on Clark Drive for the loan of the Audi R8 Spyder for this shoot.

(All photographs by Helen Siwak of THEClosetYVR)

Knotwerk by Ritchie Po: Ediety with Four-In-Hand

Four in Hand, knotwerk by ritchie po, ritchie po, Helen Siwak, vancouver, yvr

Everyone remembers the first knot they’ve ever (tried to) tied. Usually it’s for a wedding, or church, or school. In fact, a lot of men know only one way to tie a knot and it’s the Four-in-Hand knot. The time after Labour Day is often when most men have to put ties back on, as those returning from summer vacation return to work or school. The simplicity of the design and its slightly off-kilter look is commonly seen everywhere not just in Vancouver but in any place in the world: schoolboys, interns, executives, your family and friends. Sometimes the sheer luxury of menswear is best displayed with simplicity and understatement, so that the intricacy of the knot does not take away from the design aspects of the cravat itself.

The Four-in-Hand is perfect in its simplicity. This is tied using the wide end, and is versatile enough to tie from the right or left even if one is not ambidextrous. Bring the wide end over the middle to anchor it, bring it around to form a loop, then bring the wide end up and over through the loop. It is that simple. The Four-in-Hand is often described as asymmetrical because the knot appears to be a bit lopsided at the top. However, the trade-off is that the minimalist instruction allows the knot to be tied using any kind of necktie, regardless of width, length or thickness. This is in fact one of the very few knots I know of where you can lay out the design of the tie before putting it on, and then simply put the whole thing over your head, tighten it up and it would fall into place. The Four-in-Hand is the one tie you simply cannot screw up, and the basis for all ties (we refuse to acknowledge the existence of the clip-on variety).

Four in Hand, knotwerk by ritchie po, ritchie po, Helen Siwak, vancouver, yvr

Image credit: Ties-knots.org

The understatement of the piece can be worn not just with just about any type of cravat, but also helps to show off the beauty of a statement piece necktie. It’s the same reason Parisians dress minimally: they use it to show off one spectacular piece like a brooch, scarf, jacket or necktie, without overwhelming the outfit by being too busy. If you’ve got that one bold, beautiful tie you just want to show off without worrying about creating a complicated knot, this is the one for you. The Four-in-Hand is also easy enough to pull off, even literally, without exhausting or wearing out the fabric as you would for more intricate knots.

You may wonder where the name “four in hand” originated. The term was initially attributed to the single rein that allowed a carriage driver to control four horses with one hand. The name then transferred over to fashionable English aristocrats in the nineteenth century who were also sporting a then-new kind of necktie, thus giving the phrase that we use today. The Four-in-Hand was how the contemporary necktie was first worn, moving stylish gentlemen away from bow ties and flappier, more old-fashioned knots. (The more you know!)

Four in Hand, knotwerk by ritchie po, ritchie po, Helen Siwak, vancouver, yvr

Shirt: DKNY; shoes: Johnston & Murphy; belt: Calvin Klein; Jeans: Levi’s; watch: Fossil; bag: Basic Design

I hope that after the more intricate knots I have introduced you to in August, a simpler knot will help you as you’re rushing out the door on your way to the office or school. Hopefully you will look effortless and actually require little effort to do it!

Four in Hand, knotwerk by ritchie po, ritchie po, Helen Siwak, vancouver, yvr

Tie carefully, yours in knotwerk,

Ritchie Po
IG: ritchie.po

(All photographs by Helen Siwak of THEClosetYVR)