Youth­ful en­ergy and quirk­i­ness col­lide un­der the huge um­brella that is london col­lec­tions: men, an event for­ever breath­ing fresh air into the ever-grow­ing menswear land­scape

DA MAN - Style - - Contents - op­po­site page burberry mod­els don stylish blan­kets for the fi­nale

While fash­ion gi­ants in Mi­lan draw in­spi­ra­tion from the move­ments of style-savvy mod­ern gents that walk the city streets, and menswear jug­ger­nauts in Paris bring home in­trigu­ing sto­ries from their lav­ish trips and per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences, London de­sign­ers bring a home­grown raw­ness to the ta­ble. Ar­guably, this is no great sur­prise given how young and pro­gres­sive th­ese Bri­tish de­sign­ers are, a fer­vent pas­sion for ex­per­i­men­ta­tion cours­ing through their veins. Ac­cord­ingly, there is an iden­ti­fi­ably in­vig­o­rat­ing en­ergy in the air at London Fash­ion Week— of­fi­cially called London Col­lec­tions: Men (LC:M)— and it never re­lin­quishes. Even “ma­ture” houses such as Burberry Pror­sum and Mar­garet How­ell still brim with youth­ful ex­u­ber­ance and wit, blended per­fectly with the time­less el­e­ments in their de­signs.

One el­e­ment of raw­ness ap­pears through style that fol­lows the theme of life im­i­tat­ing art. Even Christo­pher Bai­ley goes as far as nam­ing Burberry Pror­sum’s fall/win­ter col­lec­tion “A Painterly Jour­ney” in light of him in­cor­po­rat­ing works of Lu­cian Freud, Ben Nicholson, Christo­pher Wood and Dun­can Grant for the prints, lay­er­ing tricks and shapes of the pieces. Bai­ley also lets go of the idea that colder sea­sons al­ways call for thicker clothes, ev­i­dent through his use of bare- chested mod­els and thrown- over-shoul­der scarves. Mean­while, a more tra­di­tional “win­ter” el­e­ment does make an ap­pear­ance in the form of a blan­ket used in lieu of coat, a resur­gent trend bor­rowed from the brand’s wom­enswear pre­sen­ta­tion.

Also fea­tur­ing renowned painter Lu­cian Freud within the fall/win­ter pieces is Alexan­der McQueen, al­beit by uti­liz­ing a photo of the artist him­self rather than his art­work. Shot by John Deakin, a Bri­tish pho­tog­ra­pher known for doc­u­ment­ing the do­mes­tic art scene, images of a young Lu­cian Freud ap­pear on shirts and trench coats. Over­all, the largely monochro­matic col­lec­tion presents a gothic, melan­cholic feel­ing that is only height­ened by the nos­tal­gic qual­i­ties of the Welsch Chapel venue, which served as a trendy night­club in the eight­ies.

Yet art aside, it is the emerg­ing vi­sions of London’s fash­ion wun­derkinds that has pri­mar­ily drawn ed­i­tors and buy­ers to the cap­i­tal of cool­ness this time. Ris­ing fash­ion star J.W. An­der­son—now the cre­ative di­rec­tor of Span­ish brand Loewe—re­mains the har­bin­ger of the con­ver­sa­tion on fem­i­nine mas­culin­ity; the term “gen­der-bend­ing” seems a rather in­ap­pro­pri­ate one to use when re­fer­ring to An­der­son’s el­e­gant de­signs. Hav­ing cut its teeth at last year’s event, another new­comer Top­man De­sign also ex­e­cuted a re­mark­able run­way show with mem­o­rable and pro­gres­sive col­lec­tion pieces. The clev­erly or­ches­trated in­door pre­cip­i­ta­tion used to sig­nal the close of the Top­man De­sign pre­sen­ta­tion ex­pertly em­pha­sized the qual­i­ties of the sur­vivor-in­spired and pro­por­tion- chal­lenged clothes, the gar­ments ap­pear­ing com­bat­ive to­ward the of­ten-bleak London weather. Con­cur­rently, weather fea­tures as part of Christo­pher Rae­burn’s drive for his fall/win­ter of­fer­ing. The de­signer, who has be­come a house­hold name for cre­at­ing in­no­va­tive, eco-friendly col­lec­tions, re­pur­poses sev­eral vin­tage pieces into a se­ries of out­er­wear and sep­a­rates, ready to bol­ster the cli­mate change agenda.

On the sar­to­rial front, it is sur­pris­ing to see Tom Ford, the master of suits, turn­ing to luxe sports­wear for the sea­son. How­ever, care­ful not to de­part from his sig­na­ture style, the leather jack­ets, sweaters, coats and even sneak­ers are dash­ingly el­e­gant and dap­per—much alike his dressier trade­mark pieces. Hack­ett London, on the other hand, re­mains fiercely loyal to show­cas­ing Bri­tish tai­lor­ing. In a col­lec­tion rem­i­nis­cent of Wes An­der­son’s re­cent movie “The Grand Bu­dapest Ho­tel,” the aptly tai­lored suits, blaz­ers and trousers dis­play in­trigu­ing color ways and clas­sic pat­terns.

How­ever, the ul­ti­mate dis­play of the unadul­ter­ated raw­ness syn­ony­mous with London Fash­ion Week ar­rives on the MAN run­way. One of the most ea­gerly awaited shows of the sea­son, MAN is an ini­tia­tive that specif­i­cally se­lects young and up­com­ing Bri­tish menswear de­sign­ers to present their works along­side the iconic names of Bri­tish fash­ion. The three golden boys this year are Bobby Ab­ley, Alan Tay­lor and Craig Green. 25-year- old Ab­ley boldly turns the won­der of Dis­ney into a dis­tinctly adult out­ing by adding a sin­is­ter touch dis­played through Malef­i­cen­tesque head­gear and the use of an ar­rest­ing sil­ver mouthpiece. Tay­lor, on the other hand, toys with col­lages and cutouts that serve to suc­cess­fully el­e­vate tweeds to a “con­tem­po­rary fab­ric” sta­tus. Fi­nally, Green, an al­ready revered young tal­ent, ex­plores the mas­cu­line dress­ing of ori­en­tal cul­ture com­bined with kalei­do­scopic prints that were worked man­u­ally inside his work­shop. Among the group of young de­sign­ers show­cas­ing ir­re­press­ible tal­ent and po­ten­tial, Green is most def­i­nitely at the fore­front. His first solo run­way for spring/sum­mer 2015 gains rave reviews, be­ing called “the most mem­o­rable” and “the turn­ing point of menswear.” He re­minds us of J.W. An­der­son’s break­through sev­eral sea­sons ago, so­lid­i­fy­ing London as a birth­place of fash­ion’s next gen­er­a­tion.

it is the emerg­ing vi­sions of london’s fash­ion wun­derkinds that has pri­mar­ily drawn ed­i­tors and buy­ers to the cap­i­tal of cool­ness this time

A loud fash­ion state­ment from bobby Ab­ley; Alexan­der McQueen goes gothic op­po­site page top­man De­sign in­jects col­ors for its sur­vivor-in­spired col­lec­tion

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