In a whirl of coffees, cocktails and thirsty street style photographers, the latest edition of London Collections Men has shuttered for another six months. Designers are finally sleeping. Models are finally eating. And journalists are riffling through a forest of show notes, trying to pinpoint the themes emerging from four days that proved British menswear is as diverse as ever.
But amid the cyclone of shows and shindigs, some details linger for their excellence, their oddness, or just because everyone put them on Instagram. As we reset the countdown ahead of summer’s run-out, these are the moments to savour.
Casely-Hayford’s Super-Impractical, Super-Lustworthy Coats
There was a lot to love at the Casely-Hayford runway show, which explored British subcultures through the prism of military-inspired sportswear. There was the genre-straddling soundtrack, which bounced between dancehall and fuzzy guitars in time with outfits that flitted between rude boy bombers and grungy, patchworked denim.
There was a magic eye print in a preschool palette, transplanted from paintings signed by Tommy, aged 3, to Joe and Charlie Casely-Hayford’s double-breasted suits. And there was a wealth of blingy brocade draped over knee length crew necks, as if the belligerents in the Crimean War had decided to pause proceedings for a quick game of five-a-side football.
Mostly, though, there were parkas and bombers on Miracle Grow, with fishtails that swept the runway like the train on a Tommy Ton-baiting wedding dress, even despite the elevation from special creeper-soled boat shoes, designed in collaboration with Sperry (look out for a version hitting stores next season). It was streetwear that any actual street would ruin. But which we’d wear even if it meant never leaving the house.
Lou Dalton’s Teddy (Bear) Boys
It’s testament to the scope of British menswear that Lou Dalton’s frankly sensible show was in the same space, on the same day, as Sibling’s flesh-baring knitwear (precisely how winter-ready is a pairing of short shorts and kimono, anyway?). Dalton came to London Collections by way of Shetland, for a dose of fisherman-inspired style mercifully free of beards, Red Wing boots or Shoreditch creative directors masquerading as longshoremen.
Nestled amid the rain slick-effect coats (gorgeous), relaxed-leg wool trousers (swishy) and salmon sweatshirts (pink) was a jumper-and-trousers combo that looked like Lou had killed, skinned then tailored Fozzie Bear. Though shown split on the runway, nothing looked more comfortable than rocking it as a fluffy two-piece, the on-point version to slouching around in a onesie.
YMC’s Unexpected Accessory – Tinnitus
On paper, 200 people earnestly assessing young men as they walk 30 yards, turn around and walk back is, well, weird. Which is why the sound they step to is vital: it emphasises the collection’s references (inspired by clubbers? Get UK bass jock Murlo to programme your music, è la Nasir Mazhar) and distracts from how peculiar the whole set-up is.
Most designers cede their sounds to DJs, since it’s much less faff to cart around records than a drum kit. But not YMC’s Fraser Moss and Jimmy Collins, who put together their own supergroup, Parallelogram (top), to soundtrack the show with ear-splitting Middle Eastern psych.
If the clothes weren’t especially noteworthy – you can forgive a brand marking 20 years for taking a greatest hits victory lap – the music was a wall of noise that elevated the staid stuff marching through it. More, please.
The Suit Is Dead. Long Live The Tracksuit
For all the garms paraded indoors, it’s in the queue outside you get the best read on where menswear’s at. And from the street style snappers to the magazine editors they flashbulb, this season’s LCM penned the suit’s obituary.
Sure, there were blazers sandwiched between jersey and satin, or trousers divorced from jackets and floating above lurid sneakers. But street- and sportswear has deposed the dandy, who’s scurried into Palace and Supreme in a flurry of pocket squares.
This is fashion, of course, so perhaps don’t burn your Brioni two-piece just yet. But for now, relaxation reigns, be it in a slouchy jogger or the Grand Canyon-wide trousers that fluttered down runways from Topman to Bobby Abley.
Comfort’s moment will be fleeting, of course; expect to be buttoned-up again soon, as designers rally against the now. But for the time being, embrace comfort. Now, where’s our Lou Dalton teddy bear outfit?