This time last year the Men’s Collections in London were an add-on to Fashion Week; a one-day affair that was sometimes hijacked by the start of Milan. Now 'London Collections: Men' is arguably one the most exciting fashion events of the year.
Men’s fashion is a fast-growing field – men are spending more on their personal style and designs are more experimental than ever, so much so that some women are opting for men’s clothes rather than begrudgingly accepting nipped in jackets and trainers with a flash of pink. There were female models on the catwalk, mirroring the Andrej Pejic’s of previous women’s weeks. There’s been a notable commercial shift towards unisex.
Monday and there was a strong, mixed crowd out for the shows, as serious as at any fashion week but far less uptight. If anything was to prove that men’s fashion now easily parallels women’s in significance, this three-day event was it. Here are some of the strongest and most interesting trends which emerged.
As well as being worn head to toe at Topman Design, orange, red and rust were used as accent colours in the majority of collections, including on shoes at Agi and Sam and jumpers at E. Tautz, and at Richard Nicoll, all against a backdrop of greys, navys and tans.
There were oversized checks – never too perfect or ordered – at Hardy Amies and Lou Dalton, and oversized stripes at John Smedley creating a relaxed formality.
A complete lack of denim or jeans at the shows – rather, a continuation of the streetwear and sportswear of last season. Astrid Anderson picked up where he left off last season with a winter wardrobe of basketball gear and bright silk trousers. There were silk trousers at James Long, too, with subtle prints, and American football with a distinctly London feel at Casely-Hayford. Despite it being Autumn/Winter, there were also still a number of shorts. But having seen a few bold men at fashion week wearing leggings under their basketball shorts, it’s a strong look.
Many chose navy as a backdrop and shades of blue, teal and cornflower littered collections and stitching.
There was a sense of rebellion from the younger designers whose style has come to represent men’s fashion in London – less a punk ‘Fuck you’ and more ‘I’ll casually shut this door in your face’. Matthew Miller’s items bore the statement ‘Born to fail’ and among Sibling’s fragmented knits were pretty flowers spelling out ‘Please kill me’.
At Topman Design, explorers wore safety orange, fur and snowsuit white with walking boots. A lot of shows opted to continue the hiker/exploration trend, whether that be vintage inspired or futuristic (CP Company Menswear) or somewhere in-between (Bobbly Abley’s spacemen looked like kids from the 70s in their pyjamas, making a space den). Arguably, although it was mostly quite urban, Craig Green’s collection also had elements of exploration – models had pieces of driftwood attached to their heads.
James Long was one of many to design casual trousers, making tailoring more accessible and relaxed and hopefully rivalling jeans and chinos on the streets. Richard Nicoll did the same, teaming his with short jackets and beanies or German-looking, structured hair, created by Shon at Fudge.
JW Anderson took unisex to the next level with their frill-edged shorts and boob-tubes. We’re not sure how much he’ll pull it off sales-wise, but if the show was making a point about the blurring of gender it certainly achieved it.
Across most shows, hair was slick – either short back and sides, side-parted or long and sleek. At Meadham Kirchoff, James Pecis took a slightly different approach, giving male models soft, romantic waves in their long hair. We spoke to James Pecis about what influenced his styles: “I wanted them to look like Catherine Deneuve, to juxtapose or work against the clothes and bring a new aesthetic to men’s fashion.”
At James Long, Fudge’s John Vial complimented the neat, playful pieces with super polished, side-parted hair. John was also responsible for the hair at Christopher Shannon, creating more nerdy looks by leaving hair looking greasy but combed over to one side, working with Christopher’s OCD-inspired collection. We spoke to John exclusively behind the scenes, asking him how he creating those unique styles at Christopher Shannon and here are his first-hand instructions on achieving those looks:
"1. Apply Fudge Hot Hed Style Whip generously to the hair. 2. Use a thin comb to create a deep side parting. 3. Scrape hair over the face roughly and tuck loosely behind the ear. 4. Finish by liberally applying Membrane Gas for a greasy look across the forehead and through the ends of the hair. For girls though, follow the same steps but miss out Membrane Gas so the finish is matte. Leave most of the hair behind the shoulders allowing a few tendrils to fall in front."
Look out for more fashion week updates on AYA.