I have to say, compared to womenswear week London Collections: Mens – or LCM as some people are calling it – has been an absolute picnic. 11am starts, just 3 or 4 shows a day… Much as I adore the back-to-back fashion bonanza (fashionanza?) that September will bring, this weekend’s schedule has been pleasantly relaxed. As you may have noticed, I did not wear weather appropriate clothing and subsequently spent a lot of the time shivering. But during fashion week you can generally either keep warm OR look good and since seeing some snaps of myself wearing about a million layers and looking like the Michelin man last February, I resolved from then on to always opt for the latter. I’m sure you’ll agree that a bout of flu is a small price to pay for an appearance in Vogue.com’s street style section.
I wore… Top: Boutique by Jaeger, Shorts: Whistles, Shoes: Topshop,
Bag: Anya Hindmarch
Goosepimples aside, day 2 got off to an excellent start with the MAN show in Topman’s gargantuan venue. For those who didn’t know, MAN is a joint venture between Topman and Fashion East which mentors 3 promising young designers each season and has been responsible for kickstarting the careers of James Long, Christopher Shannon and JW Anderson to name but a few. For SS13 Lulu Kennedy and the MAN panel decided to stick to same talented trio they picked last season and judging from what I saw that morning, that was an extremely wise decision. First on the agenda was Astrid Anderson, an ultra talented Royal Collage graduate who’s sports luxe aesthetic has attracted some serious industry attention. Astrid’s latest collection offered an innovative take on urban streetwear showcased on spectacularly tattooed models. Think avant guard meets haute athleticism accessorized with bum bags and attitude. Admittedly, not my cup of tea, but an undeniable feat of design excellence. What struck me most about the collection was Anderson’s incredible use of fabrics ranging from lycra, leather and PVC to faux fur and neon lace overlays.
Next up was BFF design duo, Agape Mdumulla and Sam Cotton, AKA the boys behind hotter-than-hot new menswear label Agi & Sam. As a chronic print-aholic I’ve seen some pretty fabulous ones in my quest for pattern but Agi & Sam’s really impressed me. Bombers, bikers and of course, shorts suits, had been reworked in pastel hues, jacquard prints and eye-popping upholstery esque florals. The combination of bold patterns and kaleidescopic colours with masculine silhouettes made for a playful take on modern menswear. I thought a lot of the looks had a slight Miami pensioner thing going on and a look at the show notes confirmed that I was right on the money. Entitled ‘Grandad, please can we watch cartoons now?’ the collection was inspired by ‘memories of being made to watch rubbish 80’s detective programmes in their grandparent’s front rooms’. Socks and sandals have never looked so chic!
Last but certainly not least in the MAN line up was Shaun Samson who’s show quickly confirmed my suspicion that socks and sandals will be next summer’s must-have menswear trend number three (the other two are shorts suits and 7/8th trousers, just in case you didn’t clock that already). Another urban, streetwear influenced collection, although dramatically different to Anderson’s. Shaun looked to the male adolescent psyche and his teenage years in San Diego for inspiration. The result; a truly unique aesthetic I’ve decided to dub ‘haute skater boy grunge’ – catchy, right? – combining low slung shorts and slouchy sweater in muted hues with deconstructed silhouettes, technical fabrics and splashes of neon and metallics.
Despite my best intentions, I had not been tucked up in bed by a sensible hour the previous evening and by this point was feeling a little bit feeble. So I made for the nearest itsu and after spending half an hour reading Grazia and chowing down on salmon sushi felt just about human enough to brave the crowds back at The Hospital Club. Hangover or no hangover, there was no way in HELL I was missing the Mr Start show. This was my first trip to the official BFC catwalk down in the basement of the club and the intimate show space was a far cry from the vast tent at Somerset House. There was a rather lovely atmosphere about the whole thing with Brix Smith Start wafting around wearing a fabulous blue leather biker jacket by Acne (no doubt stocked at Start London) saying hello to everyone. The venue was packed fit to burst with David Gandy and pretty much every major fash ed in the country on the FROW. According to the show notes, the collection was built around the theme of deconstruction, an influence clearly visible from the relaxed tailoring, brushed cottons and rounded collars on show. A softer aesthetic than previous seasons but each look still managed to ooze Mr Start’s trademark polish. Summer suiting in delicate blues and jersey polo shirts were paired with 7/8th length trousers, beards and facial piercings for the ultimate in Shoreditch luxe.
Finally, it was time to head back to the Topman venue for my last show of the day, Christopher Shannon. Since scooping up NewGen sponsorship back in 2012, Shannon’s been firmly on the radar as ‘one to watch’. The talented young designer has garnered consistantly rave reviews with a string of stellar collections and this season’s offerings did not disappoint. Citing tribal tourism and the British Folk movement as his inspirations, Shannon delivered luxury streetwear with a quirky edge. Distressed and layered fabrics, layering, tassles and eye-popping knits all came into play, resulting in a collection which which was every bit as wearable as it was fashion forward.
Love Ella. X