Another menswear season has been completed (though this time it has been rebranded). London Fashion Week Men’s – formerly London Collections: Men as always has delivered a brilliant array of designers and a multitude of styles for the eyes to feast upon. Though before I begin, I think it has to be said that the name change which has aimed to link itself with London Fashion Week has actually managed to make the whole event feel different. We couldn’t quite figure out why as LFWM (formerly LCM) has changed season to season trying to find new hubs and show spaces after the Old Sorting Office was renovated. With LFW also making 180 Strand its new headquarters for fashion week, it seems that the commercialisation has become quite noticeable over the past few seasons and sadly, menswear is starting to feel like regular London Fashion Week and being different and stand-alone was on of the most loved qualities of LCM. Rant over, though the name and vibe is one thing, let me focus upon some of the treats of Autumn Winter 2017.
There were a few shows that tickled my fancy this year for a number of different reasons. I’ll start with Liam Hodges‘ Dystopian Lives collection and his beautiful use of glitch motifs with urban streetwear. Shades of jungle green and neon yellow blitzed down the runway like the symbols in the Matrix loading screen. There was an overwhelming blast of textures and pattern reminiscent of old computer software and VHS quality visuals creating a military camouflage feel. Photo prints featured on the garments were taken by Liam during his recent trip to China. – Side note, he lectured at the same University (DeTao Masters Academy) that I worked at a couple of years ago. This collection tickled all of my glitch-based taste buds and I thoroughly approved!
Oliver Spencer never fails to deliver an excellent collection. There were a lot of pieces this season that I would love to own and normally I find his collections to be a little tame to my tastes but this season I feel as though he had gone in a more playful direction but still maintaining the distinguished Oliver Spencer aesthetic. The ushanka style hats were a must-have accessory for winter. But the piece that stood out to me the most was the olive green velvet bomber jacket and baggy pants to match. I think I may have to start browsing the shops for my sizes now as he may well have found himself a new customer.
One designer this year was celebrating his birthday this season and had a runway show to celebrate. Bobby Abley brought his usual flair of childhood memories to life with sweaters emblazoned with Power Rangers designs, helmets and dinosaurs. We also got a nod to his previous Rio inspired collection with green, yellow and blue shorts and sweaters and of course a his token teddy bear logo made numerous features including a white leather chest harness, because nothing fuses together better than bondage and childhood comforts. The music was blasting out and the colours were a-plenty. It truly felt like we were all part of Bobby’s big birthday bash… The only thing lacking was the candles, cakes and alcohol.
And of course, the menswear collections wouldn’t be what they are without an array of presentations and parties. There were plenty of highlights in this field including Fashion East‘s Art School collection which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The presentation featured a rabble of budding young thespians all in the rehearsal stages and theatre workshops that will be incredibly memorable to all who ever took part in a drama class in high school. There was a charming ‘New Romantic meets Club Kid’ feel to the collection and nostalgia kicked in when performers all started doing a two-step jive to “Give A Little Love” from Bugsy Malone.
Wan Hung delivered all of the Asian aesthetic that I could possibly ask for. Beautifully minimalist and boxy shapes with glorious oriental fabrics and textures. Also, its hard not to enjoy looking at men in 70’s style platform boots. It was a modern take on vintage stylings and with the glorious colours and shapes of the clothing bursting forward, it truly made me want to have this collection sitting in my wardrobe as we speak. Bravo Wan Hung and thank you for the Asian sweets we were given on the way out.
There was one presentation surprisingly had me stunned. Kent & Curwen was the epitome of a showcase. David Beckham’s collaboration with the brand was something I wasn’t expecting but it made for a pleasant treat. This was his second collection with the heritage sporting outfitter (designed by Daniel Kearns). Located at the Oxo Tower Wharf, we scurried into a large warehouse through big (and heavily guarded) barn doors. We then travelled through a maze of derelict rooms, the only lighting was that of a series of projections of videos and clips from the look books. Once we finally located ourselves into the main room, we were greeted by a cocktail bar filled with mulled whiskey and traditional pub snacks like pork scratchings and fried chicken skins. Christ on a bike! The chicken skins were beyond amazing. But i’m not blogging about food today so back to business… Giant glass boxes filled with flowers proved to be a beautiful way to display the garments. Vintage look bombers, shearling jackets, sheepskin coats, rugby sweaters and boating blazers filled the room with a cheeky Peaky Blinders nod in the cap department. “What more could you ask for?” I hear you ask. My inner fan-boy then burst out as we were greeted by David, Victoria and Brooklyn Beckham. Vicky B?! Posh Spice. Without going into too much of a fan-girl mode, it was excellent, the whole presentation was stunning and to be rubbing shoulders with the Beckham’s is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that you don’t often get to have.
“The Godstar didn’t subscribe to convention, a maverick pioneer, a scholarly intellectual who welcomed fame and fortune when it forced itself upon him with healthy scepticism but never set out with any aspirations of success. Life as a Rolling Stone is complicated he confided in 1965, who knows how long it will last? Brian Jones was the soul of the Stone’s, it’s founding father with a mission to bring R&B across the Atlantic and into the homes of suburbia. For S/S17, Pretty Green have taken inspiration from the coolest Rolling Stone. The linage of immaculate polo’s, block print sweaters and psychedelic fringes harken to a time when the ace faces swaggered along Carnaby St. in search of illusive attire inspired by French cinema, ivy leaguers and rude boys. Today, their destination is clear. Pretty Green are more than a clothing brand, they’re the personification of an aesthetic.”
Words: Robert J Railton
Reference – ‘Godstar’ : Psychic TV (vinyl single 1985)
Top 3 Pieces
Pretty Green is not normally one of those brands I would consider myself to be a fan of, but after attending the Spring Summer 17 show, I had discovered a brand full of visuals that really tapped into my world of appeal.
Everything has been revamped, styles were throwing a huge nod back to the glorious days of Mod Britain subculture with a swinging nod to the cult of the 90’s Brit Pop era.
Silk Scarves were a plenty this season and my word were they a treat to behold. Glorious paisley patterns embellished with the Pretty Green branding in gorgeous mustard yellows and various shades of grey. Skinny fit, ever so long and tasselled ends draws the eye from neck to naval in a beautifully understated sense of style. Words cannot describe the joys of receiving a wee sample in our gift bag of the scarf which I have been wearing more days now than I can count.
I was rather surprised but also overwhelmingly impressed with the collaboration that was ‘Pretty Green x John Smedley‘. These knitwear polo shirts drew me in as soon as I saw them and I find myself still dreaming about the striped mustard and white polo with Black collar today! When it comes to knitwear you cannot go wrong with John Smedley and to see these two British iconoclasts of fashion come together was a real treat for the eyes.
My final must have has to be this contemporary take on the houndstooth print. A beautiful short sleeve shirt with open collar in shape with such neatness in the cut drew me in based on the effortlessly clean silhouette it produces which is juxtaposed from the almost grungy and blurred houndstooth print they opted for. A beautiful blend of Mod meeting Modern Man which I believe should be a staple in every mans wardrobe.
Top 3 List: Harry J Bartlett
I have been living in London for around 2 months now. Still career hunting but somehow surviving. So far all is grand but christ on a bike I would love some British Legal Tender to come my way soon.
Anyway, today is not a day to be a Moaning Minnie, the sun is shining and after last nights deep clean of my bedroom, I now feel like I have a rather respectable place to rest my weary head.
I’ve been on the prowl for some weird and wonderful things to make my room feel less like an old 90’s office space with a bed dumped in and more like a boudoir of kitsch and colourful fixtures and so far I have been blessed with some treasures.
My good friend (and talented artist) Robert kindlyencapsulated my sub-par handsomeness and taste for tack and presented it in a beautiful little art piece for me. This lovely little portrait was kindly gifted as “something for the wall” in the new residence.
Those of you keep up to speed with my adventures on Instagram, you will probably have seen Robert appear a few times with me in Street Style photographs taken at various seasons of London Collections: Men usually in unplanned but rather complimentary attire. We have dubbed ourselves as the Artful Dodger and Fagin of fashion.Robert’s motivations were to capture the self assembly spirit of street style, using collage and mixed media materials to emulate the sense of the subjects dress style; colour texture etc.
“As a subject, I appreciate individualism maverick spirit, i’m fascinated when i recognize traits of historical figures and icon characters in my muses…Harry is a mix of 80’s pop frivolity, regency dandy and matinee idol – a child of the Blitz Generation.”
I would strongly recommend checking out Robert’s other works: http://www.saatchiart.com/rjrailton and to get an idea of his many inspirations and escapades, check out his Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/robertjohnrailton/