London Collections: Men AW15
For most people, the New Year is exciting simply for the prospect of a fresh start with a clean slate. For those of us affiliated with fashion, however, the dawning of a New Year means only one thing: the start of the Autumn/Winter Fashion Week schedule! Starting us off this January from Friday 9th to Monday 12th were the British and international fashion designers, who displayed their latest collections at London Collections: Men Autumn/Winter 2015.
Overall, more than a hundred incredible designers showcased their work on the catwalk and in showrooms across London, and I was lucky enough to receive invites to a significant number of shows, presentations and events. So, for anyone who didn’t manage to make it themselves, here’s my round-up of some of the fantastic shows I attended, and some of the overreaching, key menswear trends.
As the son of Laura Ashley, Private White’s Creative Director Nick Ashley has fashion in his blood, so it’s no surprise that his latest collection for this classic British heritage brand was a real success. Though the atmosphere at the show may have been very laid back, the clothes were anything but, with sharp, gentlemanly tailoring in rich autumnal colours and an underlying military edge (in keeping with the brand’s own military inspired history). For anyone looking to layer up come autumn time in quintessentially British, quirky, yet still practical garments, Private White should be their one-stop-shop.
In terms of theatrics, it was hard to beat Universal Works, who collaborated with Billy Craigan-Toon, a Nottingham Trent Fine Art graduate, to showcase their AW15 collection in a choreographed performance titled “Pass”. Set to the beat of a drum and with St Georges Church as a backdrop, the performance had models standing in a circle to showcase a number of innovative outerwear garments in traditional greys, blues, browns and blacks. Perfect for the modern male who wants functional, fitted clothing to fit in with his lifestyle, the clothes still managed to remain true to the distinctly British vibe of the brand as well.
Several’s pared-back, elegant, nautical themed collection and presentation was a breath of fresh (salty!) air! Inspired by Chris Killip’s ‘Skinningrove’ series of photographs, the collection combined North Yorkshire youth culture (including trainers, skinny fit trousers and stylish scarves) with a more rugged traditional fishing type of style (such as thick, wool jumpers and practical jackets), culminating in a wonderfully modern, versatile and well-tailored take on classic seafarer style.
Staying true to its signature preppy style, Thomas Pink presented us with a visual treat that perfectly mixed bright colours and snappy tailoring. Although the brand is most widely renowned for their fitted shirts, this collection proved that they can do so much more, showcasing noteworthy pattern/colour combinations, sharp jackets, bold jumpers and brilliantly eclectic accessories. On the whole, the collection was perfect for a confident, slightly eccentric modern gentleman looking to add an element of intrigue to their style.
Bespoke boot and shoemaker John Lobb chose to present the Autumn/Winter 2015 collection in a truly immersive way, with an installation of specially commissioned nature films providing a beautiful backdrop for the collection itself. Showing everything from casual boots to formal footwear, in materials from suede to polished leather and colours from aubergine to forest green, John Lobb proved once again that its shoes are true investment pieces that will last a lifetime.
Turnbull & Asser
Renowned shirt makers Turnbull & Asser have dressed world leaders, politicians, royalty, film stars and even 007 himself. As you would expect from such a high-quality, bespoke clothier, their AW15 collection – titled “Deadly Dandies, Tea and Treachery” – was basically English gentleman style personified, with an array of impeccably tailored pieces, inventive, flamboyant styling and eccentric accessories such as delicately patterned pocket squares and neck ties.
The Chester Barrie presentation in particular was cleverly put together to be highly interesting, with interactive models and corresponding mannequins showing off each outfit, a DJ set, and a live movie to give attendees a greater insight into the brand. The clothes were similarly well thought-out, with a mixture of tonal tailored casual and formalwear combinations impeccably cut and made from modern, light-weight materials.
Gieves & Hawkes
A Savile Row institution, Gieves & Hawkes presented a contemporary twist on traditional city style at iconic auctioneers Christies, with looks ranging from luxurious velvet jackets and fur trimmed coats to elegant dinner suits and turtleneck jumpers. Using a dark, seductive colour palette and sumptuous materials that, combined, evoked thoughts of the twilight transition from work to hedonistic play in London, Grieves & Hawkes proved why they deserve their reputation as Savile Row’s flagship gentleman’s outfitter.
High quality materials and construction coupled with simple cuts were central to the E-Tautz catwalk show, which showcased designs elegant in their simplicity – featuring traditionally high waistlines and a relaxed fit at the shoulders. Savile Row Golden Boy Patrick Grant drew parallels between the 1930s and 2010s through his use of oversized outfits, sophisticated shapes, and modernised English gentleman style, all in sophisticated colour palettes of green, grey and black.
All- Weather Fashion
Iconic country lifestyle brand Barbour played to their strengths for their first ever outing at LC:M with a rustic yet elegant AW15 collection that employed largely traditional (and waterproof) fabrics such as tweed and wax cotton in both staple pieces and also in more innovative, contemporary ones. Influenced by their recent collaboration with White Mountaineering, the brand stuck to their traditional influences in terms of colour, functionality and practicality, but also added an element of adventure with a new take on camouflage and a handful of contemporary details mixed throughout the collection
Known for taking sportswear to the next level, CP Company displayed their latest utility sports jackets in one of the more unique ways I saw: by draping them over mic stands! This allowed the coats themselves to take centre stage, and it’s safe to say that they did indeed steal the show! There were heavy duty goggles incorporated into hoods, detachable thermal linings in electric colours, innovative light-weight fabrics, and a subtle military theme which was omnipresent at many of the LC:M shows. Combined, it cemented CP Company’s position as innovation leaders in the sportswear market.
You know you’re a rising star in the fashion world when celebrities like Tinie Tempah attend your shows! Remaining true to his signature of “reduction and repetition”, Lee’s Asian-influenced AW15 collection, which was shown through the medium of a “fully interactive design, art and sound project”, featured contemporary clothing that managed to be both daring and refined, by employing a central colour palette of black and white that was nicely offset with blocks of silver, orange and yellow.
The creative brainchild of Alexia Hentsch – the trained graphic designer with Swiss and Brazilian heritage – Hentsch Man showed off a collection inspired by Americana and 90s grunge, with a variety of bold prints and patterns as well as more traditional knitted jumpers, wool coats and slim jeans. Not for the feint of heart, the colour palette included electric blues, bold reds and evergreens, yet the collection still managed to be inherently wearable for a broad range of customers.
Titled “Noir Desir”, it is not surprising that Ada+Nik’s AW15 collection was among the darker and more enthralling of those presented. Taking influence from 70s punk silhouettes in order to create ultra-modern outerwear, the collection was designed and manufactured with sustainability in mind; using natural fabrics, bi-product leather and working to reduce waste and increase energy consciousness in their production process. Thanks to endorsements from Miley Cyrus, Jack Whitehall and more, Ada+Nik’s rise looks set to continue going forward, with new stockists in Japan and Hong Kong set to pick up designs in 2015.
Baartmans and Siegel
Self-described “modern traditionalists” Baartmans and Siegel put on a relatively understated show compared to the majority of others, but by no means does that mean it was boring! Set against a vivid backdrop at Victoria House, the collection was relaxed and unpretentious with a sporty edge, defined by bold, horizontal stripes and geometric patterning in a predominantly black and blue colour scheme.
Huntergather is a creative community based around the collective talents of a number of writers, designers, photographers, stylists and architects. Their work involves hunting and gathering the very best images, written pieces, clothes, design and furniture to create a range of edited material, including fashion collections. Set against a minimalist backdrop that allowed focus on the clothes alone, the AW15 collection included redesigned classics – brogues, pea coats and blazers – alongside contemporary printed suits, all with a distinctly 70s vibe.
Recent winner of the Fashion Forward Award for his instantly recognisable aesthetic, James Long worked closely with stylist Luke Day to present one of the highlights of London Collections. His “luxury streetwear” show exhibited a spectacular blend of denim, lace, leather, shearling and print (among other materials) in outfits that left a lasting impression.
Another new entry to the LC:M schedule, Scandinavian artisans Soulland arrived with a bang, standing their models in front of green screens which revealed a beautiful backdrop when viewed through a camera. Design highlights include their printed shirts and trousers, which were coupled perfectly with their more subtly designed wool coats and leather jackets.
Also representing Scandinavian design this year was CMMN SWDN, comprised of designers Saif Bakir and Emma Hedlund, who met while studying in London and worked with Kanye West before starting their own label. They returned to London this year with their progressive design and bold use of sharply contrasting colour schemes in an effortlessly youthful, tailored collection.
Slam Jam/ Martine Rose Launch
This exclusive capsule collection was organised by Milan fashion agency Slam Jam, who proudly presented the team up of Martine Rose and US based DJ and art collective #BEENTRILL#. Their team up allowed their collective street aesthetic and love of street culture to work in unison to create a unique 15 piece collection of zipper trousers, bomber jackets and leathers inspired by the sights and sounds of the streets.
Bright, boyish and insouciant, Katie Eary’s street style designs brightened up the day! The whimsical, vibrantly coloured clothing included jumpers, shirts, sports trousers and trainers, all patterned with glossy, colourful depictions of organs and matching graphic face paint. Eary’s offering was fun, tongue-in-cheek approach to menswear dressing, for the man who likes to have fun with his clothes.
That about summarises the highlights of my London Collections: Men experience… check back soon for a recap of the womenswear collections too!
Liz Sargeant Styling is a luxury fashion, celebrity and personal styling consultancy based in London; offering a bespoke approach to women’s, men’s, bridal and VIP fashion styling needs.