The process of creating a fashion show – reinventing yourself each season whilst remaining true to the brand, worrying about what this season’s buttons should represent, lighting, music, who should be front row and who should be on the catwalk – it’s a monumental process, taking a monumental team effort, only for people like myself to be fickle and say ‘Loved it, but those hats!’. To those outside of this fashion world, that first discovery of the catwalk can seem boggling, complex and undeniably alluring.
However, after the music has finally settled and the final applause is being forgotten due to the after-party tequila, the designer has the hangover of an empty canvas – a new season lurking in the future, a new collection lurking in the mind. Who knows what that mind might conceive, however for the majority of designers and creative minds alike, the ideas are born onto the mood board.
To explain or even describe a mood board is futile. A projection of the mind through scraps of paper, drawings or whatever inspires the creativity, a reference point that will form the tangible clothes of the season, only to be forgotten the next.
In this new series for FashionBeans, we’ll be exploring this simple concept of a mood board; seeing what inspires us and what character can be born and created by the clothes available right now. We’re becoming the designer – finding the theme, the man, the look – but pickpocketing our favourite clothes already on the market to explore this new concept.
So let’s find out who the man of this article will be…
The Beatles went to India in 1968 to attend meditation sessions and find inspiration. It became one of their most productive periods, leading them (especially George Harrison) to explore Indian music, psychology and religion.
As the images above show, the time the Beatles spent in India was a period of flamboyance and expression through colour, print and material. The man of this mood board has an awareness of fashion and style, but is dressed for comfort in the heat of the summer – exuding confidence, individuality and quirk.
Materials like linen and silk are both cooling and stylish, while crisp whites allow colour from accessories and prints to pop, drawing the eye. This man could easily be walking through the mountains of India, looking for spiritual guidance, wandering the vibrant markets of Marrakesh or living the bohemian lifestyle from his box flat in Camden, Brixton or Hackney.
It’s the look of a romantic man, celebrating life, freedom and love through psychedelia. It also includes some interesting and on-trend pieces for the spring/summer wardrobe that could (and should) be interpreted into your summer looks as either individual pieces or as combinations.
The spring/summer 2012 collection from Topman Design explains the concept of The Beatles in India perfectly. Lead designer Gordon Richardson was clearly influenced by the colours and prints of India and its vibrant atmosphere, showing how bold patterns can be worn together and how varying materials and textures complement each other, making for an interesting overall look.
See how contrasting patterns are combined together through layering (a shirt under a jumper) or bridging the divide between tops and bottoms through a belt.
When it comes to shirts, this Indian/psychedelic look can actually be quite versatile. If wanting to stay true to that Beatles look, an oversized linen shirt in white will enable you to do so, maybe with the matching trousers. However colourful, patterned shirts also complement the aesthetic.
If worn with confidence and teamed well with other pieces, a bright or boldly patterned shirt (in almost a 60s garish, brash pattern) or a floral number can make the wearer look unique and cement the desired underlying influence. These types of shirts are currently having a renaissance on both the catwalk and the high street, so a large range are currently available and will keep you looking on trend.
As a rule, I think that an oversized or unfitted shirt will look best and provide an almost vintage appeal – giving the wearer that loose and free bohemian look. However, for those that like clean lines and a refined aesthetic a fitted, patterned shirt would work just as well.
To tone down these bold shirts, the correct trousers/shorts are important. To play it safe and keep the look more down to Earth, try to combine floral shirts with lightweight linen trousers in white or stone. Alternatively, those fitted camel, beige or light blue shorts/trousers you currently own would also help to neutralise brash patterns effortlessly.
If the above is too formal for you, try a raw denim pair of jeans with a statement belt around the waist.
Alternatively, you could opt for patterned shorts or trousers and neutralise your top half with a classic white shirt or muted lightweight blazer. This shifts the focus of your ensemble to your bottom half, providing that separation from the crowd you desire, but should still be easy enough to pull off for most fashion conscious men.
Finally, an option for the truly brave and confident: why not try your hand at pattern mixing and creating a contrast between the bottom and top half? To do this at its best, simply choose two very different patterns (in contrasting or complementary colours) and throw them together – it sounds daring but can look superb if you pull it off effectively.
This technique works better when one of the patterns is toned down slightly, like a white shirt with a subtle floral design teamed with a boldly coloured and patterned pair of shorts. Give it a try and see what works for you.
For footwear, any classic summer shoe will complement the outfit. Think loafers, boat, driving and deck shoes, fringed detailing and classic sandals. Try to keep the design quite classic and chic – opting for a more traditional style. An over-powerful and/or embellished shoe could take the whole look out of equilibrium, tipping the look into a garish mess.
Unusual or colourful shoes can work, but may need some extra courage and confidence. These types of shoes typically work best with shorts, as the shorts allow some distance between the different colour and patterning. Be brave and experiment with these to see if they complement the aesthetic you are aiming for.
However, do try different textures and materials. Alligator or snake skin, suede or nubuck leather, these differing textures will keep your feet looking chic yet individual – keeping with the ethos of The Beatles in India.
Accessories keep in the same vein as the rest of the wardrobe – bold patterning, colours and interesting materials. Paisley silk scarves or colourful neckerchiefs are nice, on trend summer accessories. Jewellery is also an option here, but too much could make the wearer look like a peacock. A simple bracelet or a single ring should keep you looking unique.
Other accessories are obvious summer pieces – straw or panama hats, quirky sunglasses and a nice tote or holdall for a picnic in the park:
Although a bold and confident look, individual pieces from the Beatles in India look are key trends for the current spring/summer season. Integrating a floral or paisley shirt into your high summer wardrobe is an easy way to look up-to-date and individual, whilst mixing lightweight, seasonal appropriate materials has always been a great way of showing individuality and giving your outfits a tactile edge.
So with the weather about to turn (surely), bear in mind the principles set out today and have fun experimenting as the temperature rises.
Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below, and feel free to share themes/inspirations you have utilised this season in order to develop your own personal signature style…