I’m not alone when it comes to my opinion that every season London Collections: Men is getting bigger and better.
It was only a few years ago when London only had one day dedicated to menswear playing second fiddle to womenswear compared to Milan, Paris and New York’s full week of men’s fashion that stood on an equal stand with the women’s shows. How long before it goes that way due to the phenomenal rise of LCM? Along with MFM’s Editor-in-chief Paul McGregor, we covered all three days of shows, presentations and one or two social events along the way.
LCM kicked off with Lou Dalton’s show, a collection that included thick knit snoods which was a familiar sight across some of the designer’s shows from the week. Dalton also showcased some strong co-ordinated combinations and muted separates.
John Smedley showcased a brilliant presentation of geometric colourful knitwear in snazzy shades from pink to purple.
Next it was on to the Astrid Andersen show who showed a real strong collection of masculine, luxe sportswear.
One of my personal favourites from the week was the Topman Design show that produced some strong outerwear ranging from cropped jackets with toggles to full-length overcoats. Also on display were some bold oversized knitted roll necks and strong bi-fabric pieces to run alongside a great show set up which included the models getting drenched on their end of show lap.
Either side of the Topman show myself and Mr McGregor popped into Orlebar Brown’s jungle themed display and then to Hardy Amies modern tailoring presentation which like last season oozed class and style.
Continuing the streetwear theme from Astrid Andersen, Matthew Miller went a shade darker with his gothic edged presentation, which featured printed embossed quotes.
We then ventured to one of my favourite designers Marc Hare and his Mr Hare presentation that was held in a breath-taking venue down a tight street in Soho. Marc’s presentation included models standing tall above the visitors on an island podium showing off his newest creations from the Mr Hare range. I personally liked Marc’s inclusion of a wingtip detailing for his formal range and some clean cut silhouettes for his sneaker collection.
After a quick sit down to gather our thoughts from the day and then we were over to Victoria House to see Lee Roach’s sharp and clean collection which produced some beautifully cut pieces.
As we entered early evening we jumped in a cab from Holborn and made our way to St James where at Christies one of my favourite tailors Gieves and Hawkes were holding their AW14 presentation. It was a grand setting and a very grand presentation from Gieves creative director Jason Basmajian where he infused the brands rich tailoring heritage with a modern and contemporary touch.
Lead by beautiful combinations with rich fabrics and fantastic styling, Gieves and Hawkes really made a statement and created for a lot of people one of the highlights of the three days.
The last show of the day was back at Victoria House where Richard Nicholl known for his dandy sportswear showcased his latest offering which including colourful layering, relaxed tailoring and some really cool printed blousons.
To round off Day 1 we had a couple of well-deserved beers at the Joseph Turvey display which was produced in conjunction with the forth coming collaboration with River Island who were of course MFM were working with during LCM.
Trend’s Of Day 1
“Egg Shell” Blue and “Tomato Soup” Red at Topman Design
These two colours featured prominently across the three days and expect similar shades on the high street for AW14
“Vibrant” Knitwear from John Smedley and Jonathan Saunders
The combination of bold colours and patterns were evident from these two designers. Look out for merino creativity in 2014.
Best Dressed Day 1
Mr Phil Green ( Farfetch Personal Shopping And Sartorial 7)
Phil always looks his formal best and day 1 was no exception as he teamed separates including a cool houndstooth jacket with navy overcoat from Reiss, and a suave pair of spectacles from Archibald Optics. Phil never over steps the mark and shows that keeping it simple is an effective styling tip.
Mr David Walker-Smith (Fenwick Bond Street Managing Director)
A favourite stylish gent of MFM, Mr Walker-Smith wore a fantastic combination of a Burberry Parka over a vintage embroidered silk bomber jacket. Practicality doesn’t have to lack style as David demonstrates.
Waking up bright and early the next day I was hoping that the weather would be kind to me enough that I would not need to take my least favourite accessory along to the shows for the second day running; an umbrella! Unfortunately this wasn’t going to be the case as the heavens came down by the time myself and Mr McGregor made our way out of our digs and on our way to the first show of the morning, which was Christopher Raeburn.
Known for his technical use of fabrications and utilitarian style, Raeburn’s show didn’t disappoint. With outerwear being his trademark his collection was based around an artic theme with sleigh dogs howling over the soundtrack as the models came down the runway. The package displayed polar bear motives and interesting technical fabrics amongst measured detailing.
After a well need hit of caffeine we headed down to Hunter Gather. This cool brand is a particular favourite of mine since David Bradshaw first launched it. Hunter Gather’s breakfast showcase was one of my favourite visits from last season’s LCM as almost all of the menswear industry elite that are in town pass through. Despite the wet and miserable weather, things soon brightened up inside the store on Wigmore Street that had been emptied for the morning’s proceedings.
The walk out presentation displayed some edgy bite with splattered paint prints being prominent across trousers, shirts and jerseys. The standout piece was the neon bomber, which certainly lightened up my morning.
The final visit of the morning came down the road at Margaret Howell where she put together a capsule of relaxed tailoring and wearable pieces with a hint of student charm.
As the afternoon started fortunately the awful weather faded with bright winter sunshine coming through as we made our way over to James Long’s show at the Old Sorting Office. The majority of looks were based around the blouson/bomber jacket which Long constructed with intricate stitched detailing.
Richard James then showed off his diverse tailoring range with Gandy, Ronson and newly crowned GQ best dressed man Nick Grimshaw gazing from the front row. It certainly didn’t disappoint the on watching attendees as James delivered a forward thinking formal delight. I personally admired even though it wasn’t my cup of tea the way he used light shades for his eveningwear.
As if that wasn’t enough of a sartorial treat we then headed over to the much-anticipated Hackett show. Once again this like last season was one of the shows of the week with brilliant tailoring being displayed in a fantastic venue, which was the Freemasons Hall in Covent Garden.
The models were lead out by a bellboy and a host of luxury luggage. Exquisite formal looks esteemed from tradition went up and down the runway with the odd touch of modernism. Jeremy Hackett and your team take a bow.
The late afternoon and evening saw a split between formal tailoring and modern contemporary menswear. One of the biggest shows of LC:M was Alexander McQueen and Sarah Burton delivered once again with a signature dark masterpiece of design.
After the McQueen show there were really strong tailoring presentations from Duchamp and Crombie. The real pleasure was from the Savile Row, Woolmark and St James presentation, which showcased many of the Row’s royalty amongst the individually set out areas in the Churchill War Rooms. The evening finished with a brilliant debut show from father and son combination Casely-Hayford that was based around British subcultures through the generations.
In the evening Paul and myself ventured round the back of Oxford Circus to the famous Beat Club to see Pretty Green’s AW14 presentation. Not only were we impressed with the brilliant DJ they had on the night but the upcoming collection showed the full range from head of design Pat Salter. Strong wearable menswear staples combined with sharp tailoring and a dash of swagger. Leopard print tee and one button cobalt blue jacket are on my wish list for 2014.
Trends Of Day 2
The Checked Suit, as seen from Richard James, Alexander McQueen and Hackett.
Checks have been big across men’s formal wear over the past few seasons, whether that is the traditional Glen check to a more modern interpretation. Check out both ends of the spectrum from traditionalist Hackett to Sarah Burton of McQueen’s extravert take on the classic cloth.
Best Dressed Of Day 2
Oliver Cheshire, dressed in a slim black Dolce & Gabbana suit, roll neck and a slick Locke & Co fedora hat. Minimal detail with maximum effect.
I woke up early once again on Wednesday morning with a buzz even though the intense nature of the first two days had started to take its toll. The buzz was due to Day 3 being what I was most looking forward to.
You couldn’t ask for a more diverse line up to showcase why LC:M is right on the heels of Milan for the number one menswear fashion week. The growing talent of Agi and Sam, the much anticipated debut show from Adrien Sauvage and well… Burberry!
Once again, Paul and myself were up at the crack of dawn thanks mainly down to two berroca’s and a four shot soya latte! As soon as the vitamin and caffeine ignited boast kicked in we were ready to go for the first show of the day at Victoria House for the dynamic duo of Agi and Sam.
Clean lines and trademark print were obvious to see from the get go. Being pretty close to the models we were able to see the amazing cuts the collection displayed. This season the boys also kept it very monochromatic with horizontal stripes prominent.
After a very quick and much needed double espresso we arrived ready for Patrick Grants E. Tautz show, which always exceeds expectations. This AW14 was no different with an excellent showing of exceptionally strong looks and statement outerwear. You know with E. Tautz you will always get fantastic outerwear and this collection showed off some fantastic geometric prints. I also particularly loved the outfitting and the attention to detail was phenomenal. Standard practice from Mr Grant. Bravo Sir!
At noon is was the Oliver Spencer show, which had a bit of drama attached with it. Just before the show was about to start half of the front row got spouted with water from the above staging fixture that caused a 20-minute delay. Not ideal with an incredibly tight show schedule that afternoon but after the problem was rectified we were ready to go.
I expected Spencer’s collection to be decent. I’ve always been a fan of his unstructured wearable menswear, but what I got was a real treat. I would go as far as saying my show of the week. The show featured a great set up, with The Specials drummer John Bradbury playing a live set during the show. The collection blew me away; it had swagger, attitude and punch. The collection being inspired by a luxury urban aesthetic was full of strong menswear pieces based on fabrics and print.
I also loved the inclusion of the very cool Gary Kemp on the runway who gave it plenty. He totally embodied the feeling of the collection. I on the other hand wasn’t a fan of using the goofy Alex James but there you go. My favourite piece has to be the burnt orange suede bomber. Awesome.
It was then the turn of the very talented and eccentric Katie Eary, which was one of the most popular shows to go to of the week. When we all eventually pilled in we were treated to Eary’s usual exuberant styling. Using her trademark reds and oranges, Eary took us on a punk journey with more than a nod to Mickey Mouse!
The look of the week has to be one of four models wearing a Perspex Mickey helmet down the runway. Away from the visual eye-opener, you know you’re always going to get fantastic prints from Katie. I loved what she did with her infused colour pallet as always plus what she did with the Mickey motive.
As a place at the Burberry show was very hard to come by, we had to settle for watching the show on a massive screen at the very impressive Regent Street store of the iconic British brand. I have to say we were extremely well looked after by the staff in store before and long after the show had finished. Anyway let’s talk Burberry AW14 and what Christopher Bailey had up his well rolled up sleeve.
I found the show and collection very romantic actually; I loved the relaxed silhouettes and nature of the outfits. I think it’s very evident that the last couple of seasons Bailey has been more expressive with his full collection than say when he was showing a very tailoring-heavy package in Milan. That comes with the mantle of success and being one of the very top luxury fashion houses around.
Getting back to the product on show I really liked the draped silk scarves with the embossed maps of the six selected cities Bailey has chosen for this collection to use. He has also used the six cities for his distinctive “St Ives” oversized bag where he also displayed vibrant prints and colours.
The Ivy Club is a wonderful venue and that evening was the setting for my personal favourite presentation of the week from Savile Row residents Chester Barrie. Roulette and craft tables, impeccably dressed models mixing in with the crowd and an ultra-cool video montage on the big screen of Frank Sinatra and the “Rat pack” boys. This event oozed style and that was before having a glance at the impressive selection of tailoring Creative Director Chris Modoo had placed on viewing.
For the readers that don’t know Chris, he is the epitome of a “modern dandy” who dresses impeccably well for fun. He also has an exceptional sense of flair when it comes to his formal dress and that was evident in the styling of the presentation.
So for the final show of the evening and it was Adrien Sauvage’s LC:M show debut… and what a debut it was. Sauvage is known for masculine sharp tailoring infusing traditionalism with modernism and a huge twist of unadulterated style. Key looks from the show included tartan prints, signature Sauvage bombers and razor sharp contemporary tailoring. A fantastic end to a marvellous three days of exquisite British menswear design.
Our evening wasn’t quite over as we rounded off the week by attending River Island Fash On Film event which showcased some brilliant visual work. Here is designer Joseph Turvey’s video for his collaboration with the high street retailer.
Trend Of Day 3
The Print – We saw the full range of print design on Wednesday from the simple to the outrageous. Geometric prints on E. Tautz outerwear, digital city skylines from Burberry and digital mouse motives from Katie Eary. Whatever your cup of tea there was a print for you on day 3.
Best Dressed Day 3
Mr Paul McGregor ( Mens Fashion Magazine Editor-in-Chief )
This may be seen as sucking up to the boss but I can assure you my motives are purely style appreciation related, though a few brownie points wouldn’t go a miss! No seriously Mr McGregor brought his A game on Wednesday; tweed Hardy Amies jacket, made to measure Norton & Sons shirt, vintage Yves Saint Laurent knit tie, Reiss trousers and the most gorgeous pair of tan brogues from Duggers of London. Take a bow boss.
So there we have it, our three day round up. What a great event it was, and congratulations to all of the designers and people involved.
Who was your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.