What we loved at LC:M
Who caught our eye at London Collections: Men this season?
J.W. Anderson brought fabrics and details explored in his womenswear pre-fall collection through into his AW15 men's show. But he didn't just reference himself, he threw many ideas into the mix; the '70s came through strongly in suede brown slit flares and colours throughout. There were dandyish velvet coats and buttons inspired by ceramic artist Lucie Rie. Anderson’s past overt androgyny was more subtle and the many ideas contained in the show served to present a collection that felt entirely new, for a very modern man.
The word “resistant” marked many of Miller’s tops and coats in the form of zipper-pulls, summing up the designer's anti-conformist bent this season. The entire collection was constructed of furniture fabric, flame-retardant cloth he distressed and stitched back together again. But his antagonistic mood translated into whole dove grey looks with fringing, pale suits and tunics layerd over trousers – clothes that were really rather pretty.
“Her beautifully presented tableaux gave a sense of her man — romantic and masculine,” says Because’s editor Caroline Issa of the Fashion East newcomer Wales Bonner's collection. African cowrie shells lined crushed velvet suits and scarves with a rich, natural colour palette. Indulgent beaded headpieces and lush materials added to Wales Bonner’s vision of excess. The collection centred on how black people were represented in paintings in the 19th century and how that manifests today. The English-Jamaican designer, Grace Wales Bonner, might be two seasons in but she's got the industry's attention now.
Last season, Craig Green had his audience in tears, overcome by the beauty and emotion of what they had just seen. How do you follow that? Green was under pressure with this collection to prove that he could deliver twice. White jersey tops were twisted and gathered – simple but effective. The colours used – green, white and red – were intended to signal school uniforms. A sweater with a cut-out hole at the stomach was, said the designer, placed just so to show vulnerability, "in cartoons, it's where you see the soul flying away like a ghost." There might not have been tears, but the there was power to this collection.
Christopher Raeburn’s talent for repurposing materials and function reigned in his LC:M presentation. Military looks were brilliantly shaken, with some of the pieces made from rubberised cotton tents recovered from the Middle East. Industrial “this way up” arrows stamped other pieces and sturdy bright orange fabrics pieced together into a knee length coat to great effect. His neatest trick though were his puffer jackets that were actually inflatable and could be blown-up.
Stuart Vevers' first womenswear collection for Coach was inspired by the idea of a trip across America and it seems the designer can't shake the appeal of the open road. The Coach man was also on his own trip across the States. Shearling details and layers inundated the collection. Leathers and camouflage prints also made their way into the jackets and accessories. Music from David Lynch’s Lost Highway soundtracked the show while images of destitute American landscapes stood in the background. Wherever Vevers is headed, we want to hitch a ride.
James Long’s AW15 collection was inspired by counter-cult filmmaker Jack Smith and his banned 1963 movie Flaming Creatures. Long communicated the film’s controversy with conflicting material combinations. Lace was sewn into jersey hoodies, denim jackets and cargo trousers. Off-the-shoulder sweaters, bomber jackets and appliqué techniques defined the collection. Even without the puffa jackets that didn’t arrive in time for the show, the collection showed Long is skilled at pushing his creativity and making his work feel luxurious — that’s not always seen on London’s catwalks.
Mark Thomas imagined the Joseph man for AW15 running between classes, without having finished getting fully dressed. His man was probably more of a boy, since classes for Thomas meant the kind that public school chaps would attend. Thankfully, there were no garish rugby shirts and tweed suits. Thomas went for raw-edged coats, a burnt orange, knitted sweatshirt with matching knitted joggers (complete with bum bag) and fantastically cut suit trousers. The loose fit of much of the collection gave the clothes an ease. If only Eton's finest dressed like this.
A neon blue laser-like web made of thread lit the room at Kilgour’s show, defining the precision of the collection. The current freelance creative director of the brand, Carlo Brandelli, took a largely conceptual approach to the collection, reminding us that everything is made from thread. Well-tailored, traditional suits with angular lapels and overlays were done in neutral blacks, grays and whites.
Lou Dalton’s sportswear and tailoring was well crafted, and set more traditional menswear pieces in the context of youth. Her collection was inspired by a 1969 photograph of her father that captured his strength and sensitivity. Those same qualities were what made up the designer’s AW15 man. More often than not, it took not one but two coats to dress him, with nylon jackets atop of fleece coats. There was a subtle punk feel at play here too.
Pringle of Scotland
Pringle of Scotland’s LC:M presentation was the first event in celebration of the brand’s 200 year anniversary. That might be a lot of candles on the cake, but here they are, a heritage knitwear brand 3D printing and heat-sealing leather. Pixelated prints were scattered throughout the collection and heavy knits were the backdrops for front paneling that was 3D printed from nylon powder. It was a subtle nod to the future and a great example of how to fuse technology and tradition.
Covent Garden’s Swiss Church was transformed into a ski lodge for Barbour’s LC:M show of handsomely dressed mountain men that somehow stumbled into city life. Barbour’s evolution as a classic, trusted brand grows uninhibitedly, offering its current customers reliability without committing to a formula for its masterful winter gear uniform. The brand presented earthy pieces of hunter green and rust, and even some camouflage. Sporty corduroy trousers and quilted jackets mixed with sleek digital prints and tons of layers.
Perhaps an underground car-park below the House of Parliament wouldn’t be the first place you’d look for cool-guy greasers, but Belstaff knows different. The brand staged a gang of motorcycle pretty boys with mysterious mean-mugs on a ‘50s diner set. The Ton-Up Boys of the era, who rendezvoused at diners to obsess over how fast their bikes could go, inspired the collection. An overtly British feel blankets the collection with wax-cotton knits and military surplus pieces alongside shearling lined bright leathers.