Fashion Week

London Collections: Men AW13 Day 2

London Collections Men day 2 got off to a rather better start than the previous one. Having exercised uncharacteristic self restraint at the Tommy Hilfiger and Esquire Magazine party (which was AMAZE – more on that later) I felt fresh and raring to go… The fact that my first show of the day was at 12.15pm probably didn’t hurt either.

London Collections Men

I wore… Coat & Jumper: Whistles, Hat & Dress: Topshop, Bag: Anya Hindmarch, Boots: Massimo Dutti

After a rather leisurely morning of catching up on emails I headed over to the Topman venue for the YMC Show. YMC or ‘You Must Create’ is an interesting brand who follow the Corbusian percept that form follows function. Personally I’m not sure about that (McQueen heel-less shoes anyone?) but I am sure that I like their clothes. YMC are all about creating timeless, beautifully crafted garments and that was certainly evident at their AW13 show the other day. Think supple leather, rich wool and immaculate tailoring in a palette of neutrals and understated autumnal hues punctated with pops of turquoise and pink. Classic menswear staples including peacoats, blazers and biker jackets were given a quirky twist by way of unexpected yet practical zip detailing, jazzy checks and contrast trims. As usual, they offered up some truly outstanding knitwear ranging from monochrome waffle knit jumpers to ultra cosy green cashmere numbers. It was a collection that combines utility, function and fashion, exactly what YMC is all about.

London Collections Men

YMC AW13

Next on my agenda – after a trip to itsu, natch – was Christopher Shannon, a designer renowned for his innovative fabric use and unique take on sporty style. Shannon’s latest offerings showcased these skills perfectly. City slick tailoring and buttoned up shirts were combined with athletic staples and tech fabrics to create an air of effortless urban cool. My personal favourites had to be his cobalt blue leathers and playful half-face motif sweatshirts. One of the things I’ve noticed about the menswear shows is that, on the whole, the collections tend to be really wearable. I’m all for a spot of high fashion drama and a glam gown or three but in this context, showing clothes that could walk straight off the runway and into a man’s wardrobe really works.

London Collections Men

Christopher Shannon AW13

My third port of call was the MR PORTER presentation which they conveniently decided to hold about 5 minutes walk from my house. This was both a blessing and a curse because it made the temptation to go home first to check my emails and put my feet up irresistable and dragging myself back out into the cold was no easy task. With the help of an extremely large coffee I managed it and one glance and the stylish set gathered on the street outside Mr Porter was enough to make me feel positively sprightly. Why so crowded? Well the e-tail gurus were showcasing their exclusive capsule collections from hotter-than-hot designers Richard Nicoll, SIBLING, Katie Eary and Matthew Miller and no one was going to miss that. The modern venue that had been ingeniously decked out with huge telephone boxes in which gorgeous male models posed wearing even more gorgeous clothes. Once again I came away feeling that I could and would happily wear most of it myself – as you’ve probably realised, this was a bit of a reccuring sentiment throughout London Collections Men.

London Collections Men

London Collections Men

By this point I found myself flagging in energy and berating my “packed” afternoon. Then I compared it to the 12 hour’s of back-to-back shows per day during the womenswear collections and decided that maybe I wasn’t quite so tired after all. I’d bumped into my good friend, the lovely photographer Alistair Guy outside Mr Porter so we power walked together back to the Topman venue for the Oliver Spencer show. I remember really loving Oliver’s collection back in June and judging from how jam-packed the vast show space was, I clearly wasn’t the only one. With a FROW including David Gandy, Paula Reed and Caroline Rush the pressure was on for the designer to live up to last season’s standards and that he most certainly did. Inspired by the 20th century German artist and art theorist, Joseph Beuys, and his association with the 1960′s art flux movement Oliver Spencer’s collection was easily one of the finest I saw all week. Immaculately tailored wools and thick felts were manipulated into architectural shapes, referencing Beuys’ famous ‘Felt Suit’ while providing garments that felt modern and fresh. The underlying menswear message for next autumn seems to be juxtaposing the classic with the contemporary and Spencer delivered a truly delectable take on it in a mouthwatering palette of rich burgundys, olive greens and bold French blue. Bomber jackets were reworked in hearty tweeds while wool suiting was offset with tonal stripes, above-the-ankle trousers (another reccuring menswear theme) and matchy matchy wool accessories in eye-popping hues. All in all, a cracker of a collection, every bit deserving of the rapturous applause it received.

London Collections Men

Oliver Spencer AW13

It wouldn’t be fashion week without a high speed dash in high heels and despite London Collections Men being a good deal more relaxed than womenswear shows, we still found ourselves having to leg it across town to make the Mr Hare presentation. We arrived at the venue, a stonking great Pall Mall mansion, with mere seconds to take our seats before the lights dimmed and the music struck up. Rather than displaying his exquisitely crafted yet achingly hip footwear on static models or worse, on their own, the designer arranged a full scale, gobsmackingly awesome dance routine performed by a troup of (very good looking) pros. What with all the breakdancing, choreographed leaping going on it’s a true testament to Mr Hare’s skill that we still came away raving about the shoes. Besides beautiful brogues, the collection included all manner of luxe skins, leather finishes, sculptural boots and even a pair of luxe, high shine trainers or two. If anyone was still in any doubt that Mark Hare was the coolest shoe designer of all time, this presentation would have taken care of that once and for all.

London Collections Men

Last, but certainly not least, on my day 2 agenda was SIBLING back up at the Topshop venue. Thought my knitwear was novel? Well take a look at this collection and you’ll how wrong you were. For AW13 SIBLING have taken knitwear bigger and bolder than ever before, submerging their models in semi sculptural woolen creations. The talented trio behind SIBLING are known for their playful take on contemporary fashion and this collection poked it’s tongue out at their more conservative contemporaries with worked textures reminiscent of candy floss and sugar sweet pastel hues. I suspect that the supersized snoods, hats and mittens so huge they almost touched the runway may not be cropping up on the streets next season (or I could be wrong, who knows) the colour-popping leopard print cardigans and pattern mash up knits will no doubt sell out in seconds come Fall.

London Collections Men

SIBLING AW13

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week Leave a comment

London Collections: Men AW13 Day 1

During the course of London Collections: Men I’ve been asked whether I actually write about menswear at least fifteen times. Generally speaking, the answer is no – I tend to write about stuff I’d wear/buy/kill to get my hands on – but for LCM I make an exception. Obviously the fact that I’d never miss the chance to spend a few days prancing around in pretty clothes looking at other clothes plays a part in this decision but I’ve also found that I actually find menswear really interesting. And if what I’ve seen so far is any indication, all you fashion fixated fellows out there should be very excited about what AW13 will bring.

London Collections Mens

I wore… Coat: Whistles, Skirt: Zara, Beret: American Apparel, Bag: Jaeger, Jumper: Uniqlo, Boots: Massimo Dutti

My first day of London Collections: Men AW13 kicked off with the Orlebar Brown presentation. I say “kicked off”, what I really mean is that I slept through my alarm twice and stumbled out of the house in an ever-so-slightly hungover daze before collapsing into a cab (yes another one) to Covent Garden. Still I managed to make it in time and thank GOD I did because ever look was utterly fantastic. Brown’s aptly titled Miami collection featured, as the name implies, bright colours, beach friendly pieces and even a Hawaiian shirt or two. Aside from that though, it was absolutely city friendly; beautifully crafted, wearable and “fashion-y” without veering into ridiculous territory. Think tech fabric sweatshirts in succulant shades, punchy prints, soft Italian linen shirts and skinny chinos in colour-popping hues. It was the perfect fusion of technical expertise, modern tailoring and retro deco cool… Orlebar Brown I implore you, PLEASE start doing womenswear soon!

London Collections Mens

Orlebar Brown AW13

After that it was time to hot foot it to the nearest Starbucks and consume a LOT of caffeine before moseying along to The Hospital Club to search for any friends of mine who might be loitering in the press lounge. Given my slightly fragile state I rather hoped my fellow partners in crime might be knocking about and luckily for me, they were. After half an hour’s communal whinging about our acheing heads (nobody’s fault but our own) and several fortifying pastries (LCM press room really puts on a spread!) later we decided it was time to make a move. Not that we exactly had to move far, the John Smedley presentation was roughly 50 yards down the road. Before I launch into a description of the collection I have to mention a couple of London Collections: Men’s most excellent (is that gramatically correct?) qualities… 1) It is super chilled out. I love, love, LOVE womenswear fashion week but it’s seriously hard core, there would certainly be no time to lie down and eat a Danish let alone go home for a cheeky nap in between shown. 2) Everything is so near each other! With womens the general rule seems to be that the more important the show, the further away it is from Somerset House, go figure. Anyway, enough of my ramblings and back to show, or rather presentation, number two. For those who don’t know (which I didn’t until relatively recently) a presentation involves models standing showcasing garments within a relatively static environment. In the case of John Smedley, it involved a line of extremely lovely looking male models standing on a white plinth while fashion folk admired them the clothes. There have been several occasions during LCM when I’ve looked at a garment and thought I would personally wear it. This was one of those occasions and I was rather tempted to pinch one of the polo shirts coveniently (for stealing purposes) displayed away from the main presentation. While my boyfriend insists they were invented by “some old fisherman in Alaska” legend has it that it was John Smedley who invented the Long John. I’m inclined to believe this tale as the long john’s featured in his AW13 offerings were nothing short of awesome. The whole thing was an eye-popping-yet-tasteful feast of hunter greens, mustard yellows, scarlets and royal blues further jazzed up by horizontal stripes and botton detailing. My personal fave had to be the green fair isle number with matching scarf. Menswear or otherwise, that bad boy has my name all over it.

London Collections Mens

John Smedley AW13

I thought I had another show at 12.15 but it turned out that I’d just picked up the wrong invitation (smooth) and in fact had a break until 3pm. In an effort to be productive I decided that instead of hitting the shops I’d go home and tackle my tax return. Two hours, three episodes of 30 Rock (major obsession of mine) and not so much a glance at my invoices later I was back in my heels and off to Covent Garden for the MAN show. A joint venture between Topman and Fashion East, each season MAN supports three talented young designers providing them with funding, catwalk show production, PR support and expert advice. Previous recipients include James Long, Christopher Shannon and J.W Anderson… So you know the designers they pick are going to be good. This time around the roster included Astrid Andersen and Agi & Sam, both of whom MAN had supported last year, plus one newbie by the name of Craig Green.

Up first was Astrid Andersen. The Danish designer’s unique take on sportswear earned her rave reviews last season and this time around she explored the concept of vanity as an extreme sport. Slouchy silhouettes and ice white trainers shown on shawn-haired models exuded street machismo but Andersen’s collection was about a whole lot more than just leisure wear. Low slung tracksuits and baggy basket tanks were juxtaposed with pale purple and gold hues and innovative fabric choices such ranging from Japanese silk to mink and fox. It was bold, brash but at the same time beautifull crafted with carefully placed zip detailing, oversized pockets and expertly worked textiles. A glance at the press release informed my that Astrid sought to show the strength of the bodybuilder in contrast with his vulnerability, an aim I think she achieved without a doubt.

London Collections Mens

Astrid Andersen AW13

Designer number two was Craig Green. The show opened with a succession of models in head-to-toe black and then white, respectively, their faces obscured by headpieces resembling broken planks of wood. Suffice to say, the collection that followed was a fascinating one. According to the ever-helpful show notes, Green has an obsession with the interplay between light and dark which was certainly evident within these monochrome and strangely ominous ensembles. Each look was at once simple to the point of appearing unfinished yet also clearly a remarkable feat of fabric engineering. Cottons came in every conceivably guise from satin smooth to matt, waxed and enhanced by painstakingly crinkle pleated linings. Denim, felt and lambswool also made an appearance with treatments and hand painting transforming them into sculptural creations. Perhaps not clothes I’m going to be trying to wrangle my boyfriend into any time soon but as a catwalk collection, Craig Green’s AW13 offerings were certainly fearless.

London Collections Mens

Craig Green AW13

The final MAN designer, or rather designers, to take to the catwalk were Agape Mdumulla and Sam Cotton AKA Agi & Sam. Having fallen head-over-heels for their print-tastic SS13 collection I couldn’t wait to see what they had in store for us next and the dynamic duo certainly did not disappoint. Drawing inspiration from the Marquess of Bath, Agi & Sam delivered a playful, imaginative take on English country gent elegance. Dandy style were given a 2013 make-over in eye-popping hues and clashing patterns galore. Ingenious prints included re-imagined Paisleys with foxes and pheasants emerging from the swirls and what at first glance appeared to be a traditional hunting scene but on closer inspection, turned out to have some rather exotic prey. The designers’ inspired mash-up of classic menswear pieces extended to double breasted suit jackets with neon orrange puffa sleeves and houndstooth print trousers in acid green. Beards and beagles and sideburns galore made for very entertaining viewing but most of all I found myself wishing, yet again, they did womenswear.

London Collections Mens

Agi & Sam AW13

**UPDATE** Since posting this I found out that Agi & Sam did in fact launch a women’s capsule collection at Harvey Nichols late last year and it’s every bit as awesome as I’d have hoped! Check it out here.

By this point I was starting to feel a little on the ropey side so I made for the nearest Starbucks to replenish my caffeine levels before heading to my final LCM engagement of the day. Hunter Gather is a truly ingenious new retail concept. I could wax lyrical about them all day but given that this is turning into a bit of an essay (sorry!) I’ll try to keep it short. Basically it’s a collective or creative community that will hunt down the best in design to create a range of edited material. To kick thing’s off, they’ve released a men’s capsule collection and I’ve been assured that womens will follow shortly. They decided to host an afternoon event during London Collections: Men to showcase the collection and celebrate the launch of the Hunter Gather London flagship which is oh-so-conveniently located approximately 10 minutes walk from where I live. I won’t pretend to be an expert on menswear but as far as I’m concerned, Hunter Gather have concocted the ultimate male wardrobe. Encompassing everything from fluoro bomber jackets to modern peacoats, bold print t-shirts and super luxe cashmere jumpers (I was very tempted to buy one for myself) it had just about everything a fellow could ever desire and at very reasonable prices!

London Collections mens

London Collections Mens

London Collections Mens

London Collections Mens

London Collections Mens

After having a good, long snoop around the super chic, modern store and ogling the installation downstairs I headed for home… Via Sandro, where I somehow found myself buying a coat.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 1 Comment

London Fashion Week SS13: The Instagram Diaries

Well I couldn’t exactly do New York and not do London, could I!? Since I’ve been back a lot of people have asked my how different fashion week is in the two cities. It’s impossible to say exactly but I reckon that NYFW is more what you (or at least I) imagined fashion week to be like as a 14 year old dreaming of growing up to be Editor of Vogue. Glamourous and in-your-face with formidable black clad PRs, impossibly well-dressed women and flashing cameras every way you turn. It’s London Fashion Week, times ten. Let me put it this way, we had to show ID to enter the Alexander Wang venue, a demand us Brits would never dream of placing upon invitees. While New York did in some ways seem like the ultimate in fashion week fabulousness, returning home reminded me that London offers up its’ fare share of mega brands, international industry elite and sartorial spectacle too. Not to mention our stellar independent designer contingent (two words: Christopher Kane) which, quite frankly, is unsurpassed. But enough about that, here are a few of my favourite moments from this seasons shows, FROWS and of course, parties…

London Fashion Week

Read more

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week Leave a comment

New York Fashion Week SS13: The Instagram Diaries

Ok, so I know it’s a little late in the day to be writing about New York Fashion Week and I quite understand if, after the sheer volume of posts, tweets, instagrams and facebook updates I’ve already devoted to my experiences in the Big Apple, you don’t want to hear anymore about it. But let’s face it, there are just a couple of Paris shows left to go until fashion month is officially O.V.E.R and if the weather we’ve had so far in London is anything to go by, it’s going to be a long, cold gloomy Winter. So why not relive the past four weeks’ fabulousness one last time? Plus, I suspect that there might still be some foolish people out there who aren’t on Instagram and therefore missed out on these snaps during my fashion week social media bonanza. Technophobe’s, this one’s for you…

New York Fashion Week SS13

Read more

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week Leave a comment

London Fashion Week SS13: Day 5

So finally we come to the last leg of my 12 day sartorial extravaganza. I’m not even going to attempt to count the numbers of shows I attended, glasses of champagne I guzzled, Starbucks lattes I drank or blisters I accumulated. Suffice to say, this time last week I was feeling achey, exhausted and ever-so-slightly pickled but of course, I’d happily do it all again tomorrow. Well maybe not tomorrow… Anyway, I digress. Enough reminiscing and back to the matter at hand, London Fashion Week day 5.

London Fashion Week

I wore…
Skirt & Jumper: Boutique by Jaeger
Shirt: Gap
Hat: American Apparel
Shoes: Kurt Geiger
Bag: Mulberry
Socks: Pantherella

First up was a show I had been looking forward to a LOT… Mulberry. As you may have gathered by now, I’m more than a little obsessed with the purveyor of gorgeous bags and just about everything else, so any chance to ogle Emma Hill’s delectable designs is an absolute treat. One of the many things I love about Mulberry is how each season they pick a theme and bedeck their venue, goodie bags and later showroom accordingly. For AW12 Hill looked to “Where the Wild Things Are” for inspiration and Claridges was transformed into a fairytale forest, complete with giant gold monsters. This time around the venue looked more like a fantasy, country garden than one of London’s smartest hotels thanks to grassy floors, luscious foliage and gnomes everywhere from the lobby to the ballroom and even the loos!

Read more

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 3 Comments
« Previous   1 2 ... 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 ... 20 21   Next »