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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Love Ella. X