Now that the menswear offering at London Fashion Week is bolstered by a dedicated day of presentations and shows previewing home grown fashion, both established and new designers made this a great occasion for celebration. Playing to both of Britain’s strengths – the sartorial craftsmanship of Savile Row versus the creative and experimental prowess of our fashion education system, London proved that a fashion capital really can have it all.
Carolyn Massey, Lou Dalton, Unconditional, J.W Anderson and James Long led the charge for the ‘new school’ of contemporary menswear with fresh and youthful overtones. Dalton showing an eclectic but pared down and modern mix inspired by the nomadic unconformity of Romany tribes, borrowing its influence from India, Europe and North Africa.
Massey gave a nod towards Eastern elegance with a smattering of ‘functional wrapping’ while retaining her eye for quintessentially ‘English’ tailoring. Long showed his strongest collection to date, mixing marbled prints with signature laddered knits and devore pony skin for biker jackets, while J.W Anderson, pursuing his exploration of youth sub-cultures with a collection entitled ‘The Devoured And I’ showed a very grown-up approach to miss-matching fabrics, colours and prints to an almost hallucinogenic ends.
On the more traditional side of the city, designers such as E.Tautz, designed by Patrick Grant, DAKS, Ozwald Boateng and the revised house of Hardy Amies, all showed that the new direction for more formal and classic menswear was a move away from the structured tailoring of the past few seasons, and in its place a new found ease and relaxed fit, achieved through unstructured tailoring.
E.Tautz favoured jackets in soft linen, wool and silk mixes, mainly double-breasted, while at Hardy Amies, inspiration was taken from its founder’s love of the English countryside.
Burberry Prorsum, designed by Christopher Bailey fused military trenches and classics in khaki with studded black calf leather motorcycle jackets and sleeveless gillets, while John Rocha opted for beautifully architectural tailoring, sometimes featuring panels of crochet.
Not to be passed over, two other stand out collections came from Topman Design, that was so ‘grown-up’ (in a good way), with its oversized silhouette shorts – a major trend throughout the week – slick tailoring mixed with floral print shirts and Nordic inspired ski sweaters, and recently graduated Central Saint Martins student, Felipe Rojas Llanos, who showing as part of the MAN collaborative, presented a clean and minimalist approach.