Words by Anthony McGrath, Keanu Adorable & Nikita Agapovaite
The men’s Fashion industry, or it could be argued the whole Fashion Industry, is in a state of flux, fact, we have brands, Burberry, Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger etc doing away with prior viewing of their collections and moving to a see it purchase it platform. Then you have other houses, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada etc remaining with a more traditional approach. Throw into the mix the matter of many international Fashion labels merging their shows, in the past brands have shown their collections separately, menswear in January and June while their womenswear in February and September. However, Tom Ford, Burberry, Gucci etc have taken the step to start to show their collections together during the Womenswear Fashion Week. As Business of Fashion , only reported last week theat#Menswear is Dead. What’s Next? Surely this can’t true ? Surely !
As we entered the Ninth London Collections Men, London’s Evening Standard reports, “Predictions by Euromonitor show that by 2019, global sales of menswear will pass £3 billion and the industry is growing faster than womenswear”. And nothing could seem further from the harbingering of doom as we saw Internationally recognised designers such as Paul Smith and Neil Barrett throw parties to welcome in LC:M.
We kicked off proceeding in great style with Gordon Richardson and his TOPMAN team showcasing their strongest collection for seasons, celebrating a homage to Great British Seaside towns and as almost to representation the unpredictability of the Great British Weather we saw cropped puffa and Bomber jackets. Later, on the last day of LC:M Katie Eary, seconded TOPMAN’s appreciation the British coastline with a thoroughly nautical setting, offering us a fishy tale in the shape of dressing gowns, matching shirt and shorts combos and jackets all in a highly fetching fish print reminiscent of Pierre Cardin. And it that wasn’t enough of Great British coastal tales for you, Barbour celebrated its North Eastern roots by showing key pieces from its Original North Sea Outfitters collection and iconic Heritage range. The brand also previewed their Autumn16 collaboration collection that takes some of the most iconic pieces in Barbour’s 120-year old archive and reimagines them in six statement jacket styles that will be exclusive to Selfridges.
Moving a little further afield was Universal Works‘ celebration of of the Cuban rebels and Havana locals, a mix of military and workwear style, trousers with smart jackets, four pocket and point collar shirts and oversized pleated trousers. Like an episode of Wish you were here, we ventured over to Oliver Spencer, who had created a collection with a distinct 1950’s Mediterranean influence. Inspired by his favourite house, Casa Malaparte on the Island of Capri, Italy. A house famed for its imposing modern Italian architecture.
As if taunting us about needing a holiday YMC‘s offering for Spring/Summer 17 was true to form, entitled ‘Okoro’, celebrates the cross-pollination of cultural artifacts between Britain and Africa. The influx of African art that permeated British culture in the late 60s through to the early 80s.
Off on our travels again for SIBLING who took LC:M to present their Collection, inspired by the poolside life of Miami and California. The silhouettes are influenced by beach and sportswear; featuring palm prints, hand drawn doodled shapes and vibrant colours.
Now if it wasn’t British brands being inspired by far off exotic locations, it was equally exotic designers being inspired by their adopted home of the UK or more specifically, London. Nasir Mazhar‘s collection was influenced by the culture and counter-culture that make up the urban fabric of London. The The Turkish-Cypriot designer continues to make clothes inspired by technical sportswear and to experiment with interesting colour palettes on various materials such as shiny nylon, tracksuits, fur and crochet. Whereas, both Xander Zhou and Ximon Lee channelled their inner Punk. The latter using denim, leather and even transparent plastic was fashioned into angular cut shirts, jackets and uneven smocks to give each piece a unique story. Zhou on the other hand re-emphasized the London-based designer’s affinity for capturing the essence of tribal youths.
But one of the biggest trends during LC:M surely had to be the showcasing of Womenswear during a Menswear show. We had Astrid Andersen debuting her womenswear project and then Agi & Sam followed by Nasir Mazhar. Then came Casely-Hayford premiering their Female offering, Christopher Reaburn and Matthew Miller(see below). As almost a backlash against other Fashion Powerhouses who have decided to merge their menswear into their womenswear shows. Or could it have possibly been a subliminal message, trying to tell us they WANT to follow suit and merge the Fashion weeks into one ULTRA London Fashion Week in Sept and February????