Defining fashion by being purely 'mens' or 'womens', just isn’t apparent here; it is a fashion free for all, which only defines oneself by garments and concepts. As much as Anderson fearlessly continues his signature androgyny with each look, it is also clear the attention has been refocused – on the idea of aristocracy and dare we say it – more wearability. With every ruffled leather top (which let's be honest, wouldn’t look out of place on Emma Watson when feeling sassy), also came a smart, clean tailored suit trouser. There was a pleasing continuity, which demonstrated a refreshing and exciting progress from last season, and the appearance of more than one ‘classic’ piece – such as the camel coat, the black chino and the beige v-neck confirmed this. While his already mastered expertise in creating directional garments and Avant-garde cuts still shines through, this collection now also proves Anderson’s capability and prowess in developing accessible, timeless pieces. Mixing floral prints and solid colours, bare shoulders, transparent fabrics and peplum shirts may not have screamed winter, however these bright floral twinsets which highlighted the show, were a clear statement referencing one of Anderson’s main inspirations for this collection; the paintings of artist Vanessa Bell. These were perfectly complimented by brown ribbed shrunken knits and asymmetric tailored tunics. Overall, as always with J.W Anderson’s collection, gender has no place here, but this time classic nostalgia does, even if still sharing it's space with subversive modernity!
Christopher Raeburn definitely had a one-track mind this season – survivalism! More specifically though, the work of photographer Ragnar Axelsson and his exhibition ‘Last Days of the Arctic’ being the main inspiration. Raeburn examined the issue of shelter, protection and declining Arctic communities, which resulted in taking the audience on an ice-cold catwalk venture. Quite appropriately, outerwear stole the show; primarily the adorably oversized cream teddy fur coats. Always renowned for his recognisable cagoules, parkers and bomber jackets and signature approach to using sustainable or reclaimed materials, we were looking forward to seeing how this season’s collection would have evolved from his last. Christopher Raeburn is more often than not, a sure-fire show in which to see quality and continuity, rather than transparent shock or controversial statements. This collection was no exception; woollen tracksuit pants ticked the sportswear reference box and even the afore mentioned teddy-fur piece could have been worn by fashionista and hillside-ranger alike. His statement show-stealing pieces had once been Siberian Officer coats, prior to Raeburn reworking them in to his collection. With a pallet of clean crisp whites and soft neutral hues, all accented with the occasional burst of yellow, or blurred with a reliable navy, the whole collection’s colour wheel reflected the arctic landscape perfectly, whilst remaining relevant and appealing to the modern British gent. Technical structures and experimental detailing could be seen across a range of quilted nylon jackets, stiff duffle coats and snug inviting knits, which strengthened the wearability further.
With a colour wheel consisting primarily of blacks and blues, only interrupted with the occasional white and red highlight, James Long’s was a show that differed quite significantly in styling and tone from his last winter collection. And styling was not something this show was lacking; we were loving the models’ cobalt blue paint soaked hair which took dip-dye to new levels. Long followed suit with the classic yet unwritten menswear inventory and included staples such as bombers, trackies and sweaters; however, embodying volume, texture and geometric prints, even the staples were not without innovation. The whole collection was subtly inspired by old-school sci-fi and gaming, this was firmly brought through in the futuristic touches of mesh layering, turtlenecks and thick snake-like graphics. There was an underlying touch of sportswear, which seemed to be compulsory this season, (though we’re not complaining) but with loose-fitting pants, and treated materials, the collection appeared functional and modern. Shiny man-made fabrics and bubbly textured leathers, took us on a journey back to the future, or perhaps out into space, though somehow remained luxurious, relevant and satisfyingly fun.
Casely-Hayford’s AW14 showcase fed the fashion world's need for that perfect balance between casual streetwear and elegant tailoring, oh... and not forgetting the fundamental British punk reference. An abundance of influences contributed to Casely-Hayford collection to create an expansive 30 look range of eclectic but relatable styles. These moved seamlessly from non-conformist tartan suits and premium panelled bombers, to oversized grunge flannel shirts and dark, broken-striped sweatshirts. Understandably not only the collection, but the show itself was musically informed, due to the father of the Casely-Hayford duo, spending years dressing rock and roll icons such as Lou Reed. This was mirrored in the attitude and rebellious swagger that every aggressive-faced model portrayed, as they sauntered down the catwalk. Never neglecting a certain English satorialism, each outfit offered a refined anarchy; fitting a new generation’s identity, whilst being perfectly adaptable in the process. Though British subculture was rife within the collection, the rawness and deconstruction did not override the quality of sharp tailoring, eclecticism and almost limitless style inspiration.