With Yu Masui outside the MAN show
After a much needed itsu pit stop it was back to the topman venue for one of my favourite LCM shows, MAN. MAN is the menswear equivalent of Fashion East AKA three insanely talented young designers handpicked by a panel of industry leaders (think Style.com Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks and Lulu Kennedy) and supported through their first catwalk shows. Like their Fashion East counterparts, MAN alumni inevitably go on to big things with J.W.Anderson, Christopher Shannon and Katie Eary among their ranks. As such, the FROW read like a who’s who of major industry players with the likes of Caroline Issa, Natalie Massenet, Caroline Rush and Dylan Jones poised to see what the three menswear prodigies had in store for AW14. On a side note, throughout the day I thoroughly enjoyed retelling my Christmas in the dark horror story which, thanks to the fact it elicited the desired response of shock/sympathy every time, almost made up for missing the Educating Yorkshire special and not showering for 3 days. However I suspect it may have got old for my LCM partners in crime who heard it umpteen times by this point but anyway, I digress. After recanting the tale yet again, I took my seat and the show began.
For AW14 the MAN panel decided to stick with the same line up as last season, kicking off with Dublin born designer, Alan Taylor.
Alan Taylor AW14
Since making his catwalk debut just last season, Taylor has established a name for himself with his innovative take on tailoring, transcending the Saville Row set to capture the avant guard attention of W Magazine, Vogue Italia, HERO, Dazed & Confused as well as Selfridges who named him in their 2013 Brigh Young Things. The designer combines a close collaboration with a traditional Irish mill to create bespoke woven fabrics with a renegade approach to tailoring which sees his luxury tweeds contorted into powerfully modern objets d’art. For AW14 Alan Taylor continued the masterclass in reinventing heritage staples with an array of pieces that, by some magic, managed to appear both raw edged and utterly precise. Earthy neutrals were brought alive by pops of highlighter bright neon while sleek jackets came paired with enveloping skirts. Collage played a central role by way of tweeds patchworked with dusty pink wool crepes, silk organza, faux fur, leather and even glimmering, coloured metallics. Not a collection for the faint hearted fellow but a fash pack favourite for certain.
Next up came Bobby Abley whose unmistakeable SS14 collection I bumped into fabulous Japanese fash ed, Yu Masui at the AW14 MAN show. If you’ve so much as glanced at his designs then the fact Abley worked at Jeremy Scott and Alexander McQueen will come as no surprise. You wouldn’t necessarily expect a label whose logo bears the shape of a teddy bear to come up with a collection entitled “Phantom Manor” but then, Bobby Abley’s take on playful print is a rather unusual one. The models swaggered down the runway rocking scraped back, dracule esque hair and menacing, grills style mouth. Combined with cartoon prints and baby pinks, it made for a faintly disturbing but utterly compelling array of ensembles.
Bobby Abley AW14
A glance at the show notes confirmed that Halloween had played a central role in dreaming up a collection that told a tongue-in-cheek tale of playful, pop cultural subversion with a ghoulish twist. Sculptural neoprene and jersey adorned with brain and barbed wire motifs sat alongside tactile furry shorts and mohair jumpers topped off with Piers Atkinson hats designed in homage to Maleficent. As with many a men’s collection I saw this season, it all seems terribly “fashion” on the catwalk but strip away the styling and you’ve got many wearable pieces that will zoom out the stores like hot cakes.
Last but not least on the MAN AW14 agenda was conceptualist newcomer, Craig Green. Remember his sculptural wooden body sculptures last season? Well, Craig did not disappoint this time around delivering faintly post-apocalyptic head gear, proportion distortion and masterfully sculpted silhouettes galore. The fabrics alone were a remarkable feat, think painstakingly worked textures, canvases and labour intensive hand painted patterns splices and stitched together to create truly one of a kind pieces.
Craig Green AW14
After piling out of the MAN show, Naomi decided that in lieu of working we’d hit the topman pub and make the most of the drinks vouchers left on every seat in the venue. Several hours and glasses of Pinot Grigio later (daytime drinking is totally acceptable during fashion week, rather like Christmas although always remember, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon) it was time for my penultimate engagement of the day, the Mr Hare presentation. For those that don’t know, Mr Mark Hare is one of the coolest men’s footwear designers/people ever; dreadlocked, stylish, seriously smart and as I learnt at the Esquire party that evening, one hell of a dancer. Known for taking classic men’s shoe styles and luxury fabrics and reworking them to concoct modern, strong and achingly awesome designs that every fella worth his sartorial salt should have a pair or five of. Mr Hare’s AW13 collection was aptly named “everything a man needs disguised as everything he wants” which captured it perfectly. Buttersoft Italian calf leathers, strokeable suedes you just wanted to reach out and stroke, high shine patents and exquisite detailing felt deliciously decadent. But each and every design, from glimmering wingtips to louche leather high tops, were fundamentally wearable and that, I suspect, is the secret to Mark Hare’s phenomenal and thoroughly well deserved success.
With an hour or so to kill I headed to the Hospital Club where I found Naomi, Simon and Gurd lounging in the press area pretending to work. Or maybe they were working, but I put a stop to that pretty swiftly after pitching up. A good gossip later it was time for a show I was extremely excited about, Ada + Nik, the brainchild of two very talented people I absolutely adore. Some time last year womenswear wunderkind Ada Zanditon and fashion creative Nik Thakkar decided that their respective businesses and hectic work schedules weren’t enough. No, they needed to launch a menswear brand as well. The duo debuted last season with a presentation of super luxe, modern mens pieces including some of the most sumptuous leather bikers I’ve ever laid eyes on (and have been badgering Nik to make me one every since). This season they took things to the next level for the first I what I predict will be many catwalk shows.
“The Dark Wolf” opened with a specially created fashion film by Ada + Nik in collaboration with Oz Thakkar starring emerging rapper SMITH LDN, model du jour Diego Barrueco and illustrator and model Nikita Andrianova. The dramatic graphic visuals gave way to a powerful soundtrack and an even more powerful collection. A palette of midnight black provided the perfect foil for experimentation with texture and silhouette. Oil slick black leathers were married with slouchy jersey, sheer mesh and bold, geometric cut outs. The models were, for want of a better word, HOT and I can say in all certainty there are a couple of jackets I’ll be pestering Ada + Nik for in the months to come.
Ada + Nik AW14
Cracking start to LCM AW14, and the night was far from over! Until next time mes amies,
Love Ella. x