Menswear day has finally arrived [ed: 23rd February 2011] and not surprisingly, the rain is pouring down continuing the gloomy outlook over the skies of Somerset House in London. Menswear day is the final day of what has been a colourful and visually appealing five days at London Fashion Week (LFW). The big names performed as we expected, with the highlights coming from Mulberry and Giles Deacon in an array of playful prints and deep colour shades.
However, once again at LFW we saw the rise of the promising young designers who – from both a trained and untrained eye – managed to rival the creative flair and ability of the established powerhouse designers. This is a continuing trend season after season, with designers such as Katie Eary and J.W Anderson showing the competence of the young Brits.
With a bright and early start in the press lounge filling up our coffee cups, the first show of the day was the eagerly anticipated J.W Anderson show. Having already showcased a womenswear collection three days previous, the hard work continued for Jonathan with him having to really live up to the exceptional standard of his own spring/summer collection shown here in September.
Starting (as standard) late as most designers do, the show presented an eclectic mix of paisley, glitter and fur with skinny insect shapes thrown in. The Swarovski top-capped shoes of last season were replaced by fur-toed shoes for autumn/winter. The collection also consisted of Galliano-inspired floor length skirts for men, something we are seeing all over the catwalk for men at the moment (I’m thinking the leather Rick Owens skirts). The most impressive thing about the collection was that even though there was potential for it to come off rather feminine, with the textual contrasts or fur and crystals, the collection was very wearable and oozed masculinity. This collection featured a range of interchangeable pieces from which you can pick and choose if you’re not feeling the whole big fur jacket and floor length skirt look.
Did he live up to expectation? I’d say so.
The next show was the widely anticipated Topman Design showcase which was hosted at the Royal Opera House just over the road from Somerset House. After a surprisingly wet journey in such a short space of time, the music came on and the models showcased a collection that raised the bar for the day. A collection inspired by a smokey Parisian jazz club, it boasted a range of cropped tweed trousers and double breasted jackets juxtaposed with leopard print shirts and fur collars. Oh and a great venue at the Royal Opera House just added to the overall aesthetic.
Topman continue to impress every season not only with their high street on trend budget collections but also by developing into major players within the high fashion world. I love what they do each season in bringing very wearable fashion forward pieces to the every day male at prices that won’t break the bank. Long may it continue.
A quick trip to Number One Aldwych for the Mr Start of Shoreditch collection. The collection was described as one which defines the modern Shoreditch man, featuring a range of velvet luxury (very Tom Ford-esque) along with tux jackets and double breasted wool suits. If a man needs modern tailoring at its finest, then Mr Start is a wise option.
Back over to Somerset House for Christopher Shannon who gave everybody an adrenaline boost for the fashion week fatigue that was kicking in with a collection inspired by Rihanna. With the Barbadian singer blasting from the sound system, the collection boasted lots of busy pieces driving towards sportswear. Last year the women went through a major ‘sports luxe’ trend and now it seems that a similar look is going to be pushed in menswear this autumn/winter.
There were lots more patterns and included lots of black and white – something Shannon hasn’t used before. The collection wasn’t very ‘matchy’ and therefore enabling you to pick out individual pieces from the collection that suit your personal style and wardrobe.
Next was one of the most hyped collections for menswear day at LFW – Katie Eary. With a commotion downstairs and people trying to get in without tickets, security ended up letting only fifteen more people into the show – me being one of them. Being made to run through the Portico room where the presentation was being held, I took my place, the lights dimmed and the show began. A host of Donnie Darko-inspired clothes were showcased, my favourite being the varsity/biker jacket with sheepskin collar.
The collection was fun, and the variety of prints, colours and textures really gave the autumn/winter season a brighter outlook. Well done Katie.
The indestructible Carri Mundane then invited us to her Carni-Cannibal-Palace, with people not really knowing what to expect. Once everyone had eventually say down, hardcore metal came on the stereo. Looking around people were not too impressed by what they heard, but once the clothes came down the catwalk that was about the change. Flowing seamlessly from merino oversized hand-knitted hoodies to tracksuits and cricket jumpers, the collection was a mix of all things rebellious and loud.
The music continued to change genre, as did the models. The show will be remembered by the variety of models on display here. There was no monotony of skinny male models and it was a welcomed change for menswear day.
A show full of adrenalin, Cassette Playa was definitely up there with the best.
London Fashion Week is over once again, and now it’s off to Milan for the womenswear shows. With a hectic schedule now over and a rest in sight, I can only start looking forward to next season already.
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