HIS­TORY IN ITS MANY FORMS

LONDON’S FASH­ION WEEK HAS BEEN AT THE FORE­FRONT OF MOD­ERN FASH­ION FOR QUITE A WHILE, AND THIS TIME, THEY GO FOR­WARD WHILE LOOK­ING BACK THROUGH HIS­TORY

DA MAN - Style - - Report -

London, one of the world’s most ex­cit­ing cul­tural hubs, has al­ways prided it­self on show­cas­ing cre­ativ­ity. From Burberry to Vivi­enne West­wood, Agi & Sam to Stella McCart­ney, London’s ma­jor fash­ion houses have been shap­ing and defin­ing styles and trends for decades. Over the last five years, London Col­lec­tions: Men—now dubbed London Fash­ion Week Men’s (LFWM)— changed per­cep­tions by bring­ing in a new kind of aes­thetic.

A long time be­fore LFWM be­came a main part of the world’s fash­ion cal­en­dar, London has al­ways been char­ac­ter­ized by strong looks based on tra­di­tion with just a hint of re­bel­lious­ness. Now, however, it’s a whole dif­fer­ent story as London’s designers ex­press them­selves freely by merg­ing con­tem­po­rary streetwear and the city’s legacy in tai­lor­ing.

One of the high­lights from this LFWM is the way Alexan­der McQueen tells its story for the season. The brand’s think­ing seems to go: Who needs that has­sle of going to a fash­ion show when you can see the en­tire collection through im­agery?

Through an at­mo­spheric cat­a­logue of pic­tures— pho­tographed by Ethan James Green¬— Alexan­der McQueen pre­sented an ode to the one and only Os­car Wilde. The brand’s creative di­rec­tor, Sarah Bur­ton, drew in­spi­ra­tion from Wilde’s dan­di­fied style as he jour­neys from Tite Street to Saint- Ger­main- des-Prés.

The collection starts with wool coats and three­piece suits in classic Bri­tish fab­rics as a ref­er­ence to the typ­i­cal London gent, fea­tur­ing jacquard-wo­ven pea­cock feath­ers and Pais­ley smok­ing jackets. The final look of the show show­cased a full-length cer­e­mo­nial cape with a pair of pea­cocks em­broi­dered in gold thread in trib­ute to Wilde’s last mem­o­ries.

It would cer­tainly seem that his­tory is the main in­spi­ra­tion for this LFWM. Christo­pher Rae­burn, for in­stance, turned to Ellsworth Kelly and his in­volve­ment in the his­tor­i­cal Ghost Army (a group of artists drafted by the U.S. Army dur­ing World War II to cre­ate in­ven­tive cam­ou­flage tech­niques) for his fall/ win­ter ’17 collection shown at LFWM.

Rae­burn managed to re­pur­pose mil­i­tary fab­rics to more fash­ion­able ends and crafted ab­stract in­ter­pre­ta­tions of this utility staple. Think track­suits us­ing para­chute fab­rics and khaki parkas with utility straps crafted from bomb- dis­posal gar­ments. Fur­ther­more, the collection also in­cluded quilted camo, neon knitwear, a heavy knit patch­work sweater and a gray duf­fel coat em­bossed with camo pat­terns.

Much like the pre­vi­ous two brands, Ben Sher­man’s fall/win­ter collection came with a nod to its her­itage. Specif­i­cally, the brand is cel­e­brat­ing the “spirit of mod.” In­spired by iconic Bri­tish mu­sic leg­ends such as John Len­non and Paul Weller, the collection takes sport influences and com­bines them with sharp tai­lor­ing, then uti­lizes vin­tage mil­i­tary sur­plus gar­ments over classic tai­lored suits.

Sport jackets and jerseys are worn with smart coats and jackets, while the classic hound­stooth pat­tern was worked into but­ton down shirts and parkas. Mix­ing smart and casual el­e­ments, this theme looks to the func­tional and timeless style of the Mod sub­cul­ture, el­e­vat­ing into the con­tem­po­rary through mod­ern fab­rics and colors.

Still, other designers managed to bring out of this throw­back move­ment even fur­ther. Bel­staff’s newly ap­pointed creative di­rec­tor, Del­phine Ni­nous, in­jected

“Who needs that has­sle of going to a fash­ion shoW When you can see the en­tire collection through im­agery?”

“it’s important that We as an in­dus­try ex­plore neW Ways of shoW­ing things to our cus­tomers”

a healthy dose of Parisian- cool into the Bri­tish her­itage brand for its fall/win­ter ’17 of­fer­ings. Nau­ti­cal sta­ples are the key this season and are re­al­ized through Bre­ton stripes, waterproof parkas and wax jackets—ref­er­enc­ing heroic sailors, sub­mariners and the en­dur­ing gar­ments cre­ated for the Royal Navy dur­ing World War II.

An­other bit of stand­out news from the lat­est fall/ win­ter LFWM came from Tiger of Swe­den. After sev­eral show­ings in London, Tiger of Swe­den opted to take a break from the city’s run­ways and opted instead to show­case its new fall/win­ter collection by ap­point­ment only.

When de­sign­ing for the fall/win­ter ’17 season, Tiger of Swe­den’s creative di­rec­tor An­dreas Gran said that he thought about what makes the suit rel­e­vant to­day. The an­swer? Bri­tish tai­lor­ing with ’90s ref­er­ences, along with V-neck sweaters, T-shirts, and sneak­ers in looser sil­hou­ettes. Also seen were baggy trousers in dark green, navy, gray as well as black-and-white check pat­terns, along with dou­ble-breasted jackets with sharp shoul­ders.

This is a clear move away from last season’s prints in fa­vor of darker colors which add depth to the fab­rics. The outerwear se­lec­tions, from satin bomber jackets to an over­sized parka, were also quite eye­catch­ing, espe­cially as most were clearly in­spired by utility wear as seen from the ad­di­tional straps.

On a final note, there has been a poignant de­par­ture from the usual sense of un­pre­dictabil­ity that has been present in LFWM for the past cou­ple of years. This time, the pre­dictabil­ity of an over­ar­ch­ing theme be­came proof that his­tory does re­peat it­self.

Per­haps Christo­pher Bai­ley from Burberry said it best: “We’re just test­ing new ways of do­ing things. The world is chang­ing dra­mat­i­cally and it’s important that we as an in­dus­try ex­plore new ways of show­ing things to our cus­tomers and peo­ple that love fash­ion and de­sign and cre­ativ­ity.” Sure, he was talk­ing about the see-now-buy-now trend that changed the face of the fash­ion in­dus­try; but again, it was a per­fect sum­ma­tion of this fall/win­ter’s LFWM.

left to right alexan­der mcQueen’s trib­ute to os­car wilde’s last mem­o­ries op­po­site page ben sher­man’s “spirit of the mod” look; Tiger of swe­den’s bri­tish tai­lor­ing with ’90s ref­er­ences; Christo­pher Rae­burn’s mul­ti­lay­ered gray track­suits; bel­staff’s nau­ti­cal jacket ref­er­enc­ing sailors

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