Vivienne Westwood returned home after years of showing in Milan to offer a punk-filled, riotous show that closed London Fashion Week Men’s. The independent spirit this season felt especially apt in a post-Brexit, Trump era, and the designer walked deconstructed knits with mismatching patchwork jumpers, bias cut trouser seams and exaggerated sleeves. John Smedley presented a safer collection, which offered a comforting line-up of oversized woollen jumpers in soft moss greens, rich blacks and indigoes. While there were some stand-out pieces (a jumbo scarf and hand-knitted cape) for the most part it was how these simple silhouettes were paired with a more innovative approach to materials (sheep’s wool and natural alpaca were used for the first time) that commanded the audience’s attention. At J.W. Anderson, the usual myriad of references and influences were arranged together with chaotic flair: double-breasted grey coats with white knitted, tubular sleeves and an abundance of colourful, crocheted patches adorned most of the clothes.
London Fashion Week Men’s saw a further shift towards a blurring of gender, where both collections were shown together, often in unisex styles. Whether it was Grace Wales Bonner, whose feminine rendering of masculinity easily lent itself to being worn by a few female models in her show, or an out-and-out unisex presentation, as seen at the likes of John Smedley and Belstaff, the result was to bridge the divide. Designers Sibling, Matthew Miller and John Lawrence Sullivan also embraced a dual-gender show, hot on the heels of giants such as Paul Smith and Burberry.
Blood Brother‘s collection took a lead in presenting orange as the must-have colour in our autumn 2017 wardrobes. With a collection that was inspired by the cartography of the River Thames, the creative pair showed a series of bright tangerine trousers, zip-up jackets and jumpers. Northern maverick Christopher Shannon adopted pastel shades, layering his signature faux-corporate slogans over polo necks, while at Songzio, a ribbed knit tangerine polo lifted outfits into statement territory. Meanwhile Lou Dalton paired up with artist John Booth to splash bright oranges across bags and coats, and also showed an orange bobble jumper that we’ve already put on our winter wishlist.
Surreal and Cerebral
MAN has always been a show that welcomes the unexpected, but Charles Jeffrey’s collection-cum-performance surpassed all expectations. During his show, papier-mâché ‘Goddesses’ by artist Gary Card – including a dystopian-looking mushroom, and a deformed hybrid of the US and UK flags – punctuated the designs proper. Jeffrey’s tailoring was flawless, with blood orange silk capes and stone blue suits, each outfit paired with boots combined to create a sort of apocalyptic Thunderbirds look. And then came more papier-mâché. In contrast but offering equally raw theatre, Grace Wales Bonner’s AW17 collection built upon her previous cerebral aesthetic. Within a speaker-filled room at RIBA, the designer presented exquisitely tailored brocade jackets, woollen trousers, lose fit lime green silk shirts, ivory double breasted jackets and tweed duffle jackets – all referencing a 70’s aesthetic, inspired by the idea of the streets. Stephen Jones’ bespoke baker boy caps offered a refined, stylised finish to a flawless collection.
Full Face Hoods
There are hoods and then there are hoods. At LFWM, Craig Green adopted the latter. Having recently been named menswear designer of the year at the Fashion Awards, the designer continued to build on his own hype, showing a collection inspired by the dark depths of the sea. Green’s signature aesthetic of avant-garde knots and ties across oversized tops and wide leg trousers was on display, with the additional input of drawstring hoods that were pulled tight. On the other end of the spectrum, emerging star Soo Jin Cho took hoods to extremes during the LCF MA 17 graduate show, with drawstring hoods complete with monochrome ruffle detail and billowing capes.