Wearing: Whistles coat, Maje blouse, Coach skirt & Shoes, Alice + Olivia bag, The Gallic Rooster beret
Image by: David Nyanzi
Can you bloody believe that it’s fashion week time already!? Those crazy so and so’s who cover the international men’s shows as well as couture and women’s will be travelling from now until my March. I can’t even begin to imagine how one would pack for that. But anyway, I digress. Before we launch full throttle into the women’s shows it’s time to have a look at what the boys will be wearing come autumn, not to mention what many of the fellas in attendance were wearing at LCM AW15 last weekend. There was some pretty striking looks around…
Those in charge of the London Collections Men schedule this season made the inspired decision to kick off proceedings at midday on day 1, which was a major relief for woefully unprepared me as I we still had our Cath Kidston x Gola shoot to get done beforehand. The sun was shining, the snaps all worked nicely and I found myself arriving at Covent Garden with enough time to grab a gallon of Starbucks and mosey around The Hospital Club before heading to my first show, Topman Design.
The crowds were already thronging outside, vying for a snap of famous attendees of which there were guaranteed to be a fair few. After a quick catch up with the very dapperly dressed Jim Chapman and Daren Kennedy I headed inside with just enough time for a coffee before taking my seat. Across on the opposite FROW a pap frenzy was taking place thanks to Douglas Booth, Oliver Cheshire, Jack Guinness, David Gandy, Dermot O’Leary, Nick Grimshaw, Henry Holland and Tinie Tempah all squashing in together on one bench. While this ensued, I took a gander at the show notes. Entitles “Bombay City Rollers”, Topman Design AW15 promised tartan glam rock, Stars and Stripes, Far Eastern psychedelia and zany bowling shoes. Bright colours, clashing patterns and sparkle? All music to my ears, as I’m sure I don’t need to tell you. In fact, the collection kicked off not with shimmer and shine but an array of 70s silhouettes in earthy neutrals, think chocolate shearling shag coats, charcoal wool ponchos embroidered in burnished gold, patchwork faux furs and texture play a’ plenty. An obmre wool peacoat provided a savvy transition into neat pinstriped tailoring paired with slim fit turtleneck and box fresh sneakers, with an air of debonair in strong supply thanks to back combed hair and guy liner. Layering was key in the collection and tonal colour blocking on point, as demonstrated perfectly by an all blue look involving a star detailed denim shirt and oversized navy overcoat.
As the show continues, the promised pizazz surfaced. Out strutted fabulously frenzied pattern clashing and matching in highlighter bright tartan, star patched suede jackets, gloriously gaudy prints and slim fit bombers. 70s race car driver meets punk with 60s mod undertones… The decade mash up beloved by brands these past few seasons continues at Topman for AW15.
After the show finished I wandered out into the bright January afternoon, had the happy realisation that I had a good 2 hours before my next show and hot footed it to Itsu to gorge on Salmon sushi. Sated and iPhone recharged I moseyed on to The Hospital Club to visit Nik where he and Ada were exhibiting before heading upstairs for a drink with the lovely Daniel Peters to catch up and chat about his pop up shop plans for the coming year… Yeah, I love LCM, couldn’t imagine that kind of relaxation during the women’s shows! But of course, it wasn’t all afternoon cocktails and gossip. We soon realised it was time to get our arses into gear for the MAN show.
MAN is always a menswear must see and responsible for kick starting some of the hottest Brit based menswear designers in the business including J.W. Anderson, Christopher Shannon and Christopher Raeburn. This seasons line up included two previous MAN protégées, Liam Hodges and Nicomede Talavera plus newcomer Rory Parnell-Mooney who got proceedings off to a suitable conceptual start with a fest of contemporary noir, all rebellion, sculpture and distress in a midnight palette of inky black and navy hues.
Rory Parnell-Mooney AW15
Very directional, as expected for a MAN candidate and Central Saint Martins graduate but his work was underpinned by an unexpected elegance. Cleaner than clean lines were combined with artfully raw edges and immaculately articulated fabric distress while the European rioters, whose images Parnell-Mooney had been influenced by, were referenced in face obscuring headwear. It was angsty, in a chic way. Luxury and rebellion may not the easiest of bedfellows but they were here thanks to flawless craftsmanship and high quality fabrics with subtly subversive sentiment.
Next on the MAN AW15 agenda was Liam Hodges whose show title, “Totally Safe Classics”, made me chuckle. Inspired by the sartorial distinctions sported by quirky characters, like the “old gent working on the haberdashers’ stall”, Hodges offered up a haute take on make-do-and-mend market stall chic. Layering, fraying and hard wearing utility staples were combined in over washed and work worn whites and deconstructed British lambswool knits styled with baker boy caps and lashings of wideboy swagger.
Liam Hodges AW15
Last but not least came Nicomede Talavera whose collection conceded that it will all about layering for the fashion forward fellow come autumn. Talavera’s layering came in the form of cropped skater style baggy trousers under long line pinstriped collarless shirting. The skate vibe came merged with an urban sophistication that shone through the designer’s use of fabrics such as ponyhair, suede, velvet, silk and neoprene. Tassled wide legged trousers reminded me uncomfortably of my Avril Levine wannabe teenage years but it was a smart dissection of of style tribe staples; the varsity jacket, camel coat, pinstriped tailoring, skate pants; city boys, skaters, surfers, Parisians, preppies deconstructed to be remixed into something new.
Nicomede Talavera AW15
Next it was time for, you’ve guessed it, another leisurely break (yay for LCM!) before heading to the Institute of Contemporary Arts for the Aquascutum presentation. Sometimes presentations are a nice change of pace from catwalk shows and this was a nice one, champagne on tap plus plenty of
boys clothes to ogle and fashion friends to mingle with. The collection itself was arguably my favourite of the day. Aquascutum is a Britsh heritage brand renowned for it’s elegance and quality, both characteristics than shone through beautifully here. But the brand had clearly modernised this season. Besides their trademark trench coats we saw sleek bombers, neat fur trimmed bombers and shorter, narrower, altogether more contemporary trouser cuts. It was the kind of stuff I’d like to wear, if I was a boy.
Finally, it was time for a mad dash to Christopher Shannon which I made by the skin of my teeth, an expression I use without even remotely understanding. I was damn glad I did though as this show turned out to be one of the major LCM talking points. Sweatshirts adorned with motifs such as “broke” and “thanks for nothing”, a comment on the financial struggles of young designers some said. This was made all the more plausible by the plastic bag theme, some even adorning models heads, which sent The Daily Mail readers into a raging frenzy when they decided to feature Shannon’s show. Strip away the styling and catwalk show atmosphere and in fact got really quite a wearable collection. Velcro embellishment and sheer tracksuiting married with wool tailoring and custom made CATERPILLAR boots. And of course those sweaters which will sell out in seconds, you mark my words.
Christopher Shannon AW15
LCM AW15 day one, over and out! Well, almost. There were still a few parties to go to…
Love Ella. X