Kicking off day three of London Collections: Men, fresh from winning the British Fashion Award for Best Emerging Menswear Designers; Agi and Sam presented their latest and we believe most successful collection yet. Titled Watu nguvu, meaning “people power” in Swahili, Agi & Sam's Autumn Winter 2014 was inspired by Agi's 2013 trip through Masai territory to explore his heritage, exhibiting a heavy focus on African masai patterns. Being greeted outside the show by rigid models yielding large placards brandishing the same oil logos we later saw in the show (such as DICK OIL) included the humorous style we have come to love and expect from the label, this was the first hint of things to come. The second was the sudden soundtrack provided by a group of live drummers dressed in typical African work wear. The pair revealed an unusually toned down monochrome pallet, sharp display of layered tailoring and flowing pieces. This obvious development from their classically colourful style, was strengthened by the inclusion of the occasional shocking red and green, which successfully broke up the collection. Also the combination of some traditionally western garments with those typically worn by African tribesmen, was executed perfectly and showcased an exciting growth & new direction for the boys. The ideal balance between a subtle seriousness and their signature element of youthful fun, was demonstrated by the use of fake African Oil company logos highlighting exploitation in third world countries. This collection was referred to as "deeply personal" for both Agi & Sam, and was an immediately well received leap forward from their familiar dapper vibrancy (which will still be fondly remembered!), overall the show felt united, fresh and powerful.
As soon as the first model stepped on to the Sibling catwalk, a statement was made, but not of shock, inexplicable style or silliness, but of smiles. Yes that's right, we, the audience were greeted by a parade of happy, smiling, cheerful looking models, emphasised further by the light show environment and it's chirpy soundtrack. This emphasis on love and happiness had been hinted at in our AW14 Sibling show invite which stated "Hands like spades and a heart full of love" alongside a vintage photograph of a seemingly emotional workman. The whole show proceeded to pay homage to generations of these grafting gents as well as a feeling of frivolity and love. The fun and colourful vibe of this collection, shone through with every garment revealed, from chunky crochet knits in electric blue to minty green denims, there was a delicious colour pallet throughout the whole collection. Sibling have made a name for themselves as being daring in previous seasons, and featuring fur, leopard prints, bold patterns and thick oversized knits, this one lived up to that name. Although wearability was definitely a box which was also ticked, with inviting cable knits and winter sporty looks. The inclusion of cropped sweat pants, fitted sweaters and chunky gloves teamed with massive fur scarves and throws, this collection covered all bases for a style savvy winter wardrobe. Sibling's reputation for being daring and adventurous was demonstrated by their bold take on mixing layers and colours which should typically be impossible, but somehow these guys make it work, as we overheard someone next to us saying "Never before have 'miners' been so well dressed."
Titled 'Bi-Polar' and soundtracked by The Pixies' 'Where Is My Mind’ - the AW14 Katie Eary show unquestionably oozed Punk culture from the word go. Said to be influenced by the Irvine Welsh novel "Filth" and the "obsessive world in which we live today" her beautifully provocative collection left the audience positively riled and inspired. As with many designers Eary exudes that classic "don't give a shit" attitude, but the difference is she does it well. Cleverly combining the dark rebellion with light hearted humour for instance with her reference to Disney. Eary continued the Mickey madness seen on Day One in the Bobby Abley show with the oversized Mickey Mouse headpieces in bold colours and accented further with envy inducing rainbow pony manes. The obvious punk reference seemingly drew on a loving admiration of Westwood's Seditionaries era with lots of tartan, oversized zips and some serious latex. The main colour throughout the collection was a heavy bright red and a continuing print was a similar leopard which harked back to last season. With glossy cheekbones, fair hair and a consistently drawn out, pale faced look, the models had a naturally innocent look which perfectly opposed the confrontational bold pieces they were showcasing. Collaborating with Savile Row tailor Richard Anderson, a series of straight jackets were created and also working with rainwear brand Hancock enabled Eary to produce the cape-like jackets which hung effortless from the models shoulders. Structured and oversized backpacks, severe statement chest braces and even the addition of these bondage sleeves and pleated capes, only strengthened the collection; keeping it firmly placed in the contemporary world, and somehow ensured the 'punk' reference was not dated, old or done, but fresh, exciting and evolved!
"All in all, Bi-Polar is a collection about the extremes in our culture, in our fashions, and in our selves. It's a collection that understands that bad can be beautiful, and that beautiful can be bad. And it doesn't fear the darkness that lies behind all of us."
Everyone's favourite fashion Liverpudlian, Christopher Shannon has had a lot of attention surrounding the direction of his last few collections. With at least a loose reference to the 80's Terracewear of Northern England particularly, there has always been a slight consistency throughout, whilst simultaneously sharpening and evolving with each season. At this season's LC:M, as the room overflowed with people and anticipation, the host of press, bloggers, stylists and fashion obsessives embraced a parade of damp haired models stomping glumly on to the catwalk. Very quickly one was put in mind of four key influences which were clear throughout the collection; 1980's childhood PE lessons, patterned acrylic tabletops and floral vinyl kitchen-cloths, as well as classic cigarette packets. With a far less streamlined feel than previously, the separates we saw this season were not tailored, but tracksuits; in fact a range of combined sporty pieces, with multiple sleeves, trailing hems and layered up jackets. The oversized fag-packet jumpers with super fun slogans such as "Monday Nights" and "Good Times" (certain every ex-smoker in there was considering taking it up again just to don one of these bad boys btw) broke up the continual stream of cool yet strong leather tracksuit pieces and premium caghouls. Styling wise the bleakness of the models' soaking wet hair, their sad vague expressions and the severity of the overly pointed collars gave the show an overall darker edge, which was a contrast with the colour pallet of oranges, minty blues and bright prints we saw throughout. An interesting addition was the jewellery piled on around the models' necks; a collaboration with Judy Blame to create some exclusive pieces primarily made of safety pins and fake money, strongly referencing the early days of Thatcherism significant of the era Shannon favours as a continual reference. The show highlight for us was seeing the models parade the room in the finale, to the soundtrack of Dane Bowers and Victoria Beckham’s ‘Out of Your Mind’ - excellent work guys.