As Florence’s Pitti takes the relay from London in the fashion calendar, Schön! takes a moment to look back over the four days of London Collections: Men. With a newly expanded schedule, the London menswear scene proved, once again, that, while its heritage in the field of sartorial excellence is unfaltering, an emerging generation of designers is also making its mark on the world’s fashion system. From Savile Row to MAN, the showcased designs were as rich as they were varied.
In true London form, the MAN showcase was rife with creative boundary-breaking, whether it be with a newcomer to the scene, Rory Parnell Mooney, or with the branded, logo and slogan heavy designs of Liam Hodges. Minimalist punk silhouettes – with volumes of cloth – had a slight Japanese feel in Rory Parnell Mooney’s collection, whilst Hodges paid tribute to the populations inhabiting London’s markets.
More dark forms were seen at Todd Lynn, where a 1990s punk revival was staged, to the sounds of a sulphurous Slaves soundtrack. Bowie met the rebellious crunch of the Sex Pistols, with dark tailored looks seen striding a close quarter stage in Victoria House’s basement.
Similarly sloganned pieces were seen at Christopher Shannon, where consumer culture was tackled head on, with overt references to an austere (you could almost say derelicte) political and economic climate. Brilliantly deconstructionist in his use of fashion as a vehicle of consumerism, Shannon proved satire and sartorial go hand in hand in more than one way.
Fabrics spoke volumes at the Lou Dalton show, where layer upon layer of wools, tartans and nylon delicately reworked the functional nature of traditional outerwear. Brilliant boiler suits were included, highlighting the workwear inspirations behind the textural games.
High-shine was on show at the Astrid Andersen show, where glossy fabrics met the Hagakure-inspired theme of the collection. With habitual flair, Andersen distorted urbanwear gender codes, with sporty pieces elongated to create sleek silhouettes.
A nostalgic collection for all things childhood was presented by design duo Agi & Sam, where bold, graphic colour blocks were complimented by some incredible lego face masks. The wonderfully haphazard construction of the pieces (perfectly monitored chaos, of course) was a poetic tribute to the playfulness of tender years.
Matthew Miller’s Resistant collection unpicked the very construction of the fabrics, with ripped, shredded and repaired pieces that showcased the fibres of the fire-resistant cloths. Attacking the very root of sartorial stuffiness – the cloth that weaves are made of – Miller presented a collection that subtly went against the very grain of the fashion system.
Christopher Raeburn took his audience on a nautical expedition – one that saw rubber pieces and a shark motif build a wayfaring leitmotif. Of particular genius were the inflatable gilets – a dangerous field to venture into, but that, reworked in true Raeburn manner, became an entirely new garment.
While the first two days of the collections may have been dark in terms of colour palettes, the wealth of fabrics and textiles on show brought texture into the spotlight. Black may be back en force, but we’re happy with that. The deconstructionist nature of the pieces showcased on the opening days of LC:M meant functionality took a back seat and experimentation came to the front line, once again.