By the third day and with most having been tempted into a late finish the night before, it was difficult to tell who or what was in, or out, any more. Christopher Raeburn’s painfully early 9am show however, brought people back to dry land with a strong collection, evolving his ‘recreated’ aesthetic.
Baartmans and Siegel created a multisensory cinematic experience at The Odeon on Shaftesbury Avenue, confirming their mastery of the presentation medium. Models lined up on the stage against a pulsing red screen as the specially commissioned soundtrack stirred up the drama and fashion editors slurped frozen yoghurt. Not that the collection needed much window dressing, as the soft tailoring, luxury materials and deftness of touch contributed to one of the most desirable collections of the whole week.
J.W. Anderson is not new to controversy, but given that this menswear week has received more press attention than ever before, it was always the case that his determined pushing of gender boundaries would ignite opinion in the tabloids. His collection focused on that little-seen part of a man’s anatomy: the thigh, as models in peplum-frilled shorts and matching rubber boots flashed major leg. Between these more controversial items, however, were slim fitting trousers, graphic sweaters and pastel overcoats and as a whole, the collection packed a strong visual punch.
MAN graduate Shaun Samson’s show moved the action away from the LA gang-wear with which he is associated, and into the hockey ring. Bulky shoulders, oversizing and the use of iridescent fabric on parkas created a very impressive outline, blankets worn as shawls and scrawled with the Serenity Prayer recalled Nostalgia of Mud-era Westwood. The genius styling by Matthew Josephs meant that this was one of the most polished shows of the week.
E.Tautz always manages to heighten the sense of elegance at menswear week. Showing in the cavernous Sorting Office space however, meant foregoing Patrick’s characterful verbal intro to the usual salon show. But the drama of the clothes made up for any lack of intimacy. Inspired, as ever, by Patrick’s Scottish origins, the stand out pieces featured strong contrasts between rust and black and distorted, scaled up tartans and argyles.
Qasimi showed a powerful collection full of lush fabrics such as astrakhan, shiny surfaces and small-scale graphic patterning in perhaps the most claustrophobic space of the whole week.
Matthew Miller left behind the print obsession of last season and went for slogans instead. Black business suits and raincoats were disrupted with red details and confrontational slogans like ‘Born to Fail’.
Xander Zhou’s show was an unexpected highlight, featuring more slogans, ‘Boys will be boys’, capes, shrugs and futuristic, luxurious fabrication. A banging soundtrack by London DJ JonJo Jury ended, appropriately enough, with a touch of David Bowie.
The final show of LC:M came from a rejuvenated Peter Werth; here in collaboration with tailoring house Nutter’s, and where models broke out their Northern Soul dance moves.
London Collections: Men II was simply more accomplished, more celebrated and more fun than the first one six months ago, as London reveled in the here and now excitement of the moment.
Featured image by Eva K Salvi