Its A Man's World
There was a certain wow factor at London Collections Men (LCM) for Spring/Summer 2017. From streetwear to suiting, designers gave true Brit style an invigorating twist. Here are five trends to start mastering now
Nostalgia for the England of yesteryear ran riot at LCM. Topman journeyed from the seaside (Margate and Torquay-printed sweaters, ice cream embroideries) to the GCSE history books (Tudor roses on puffa jackets, Richard I lions on soft gowns). Agi & Sam’s house husband-inspired collection popped Del Boy’s lovable mug on a white T-shirt in amongst their boy-meets-girl silhouettes. Was Christopher Shannon shaming Sports Direct honcho Mike Ashley for failing to pay staff minimum wage with his Lovers Direct/Haters Direct logo sweats and hats? Perhaps. Certainly king prankster Henry Holland has little agenda behind his renowned wordplay, which this season celebrated old school food favourites such as Heavy Bangers (Heinz Beans), Ravers (Quavers) and All Nite (Marmite).
British menswear thrives on the battle between function and fashion. This season saw a perfect storm of both. Matthew Miller crossed kimonos with pyjamas and covered denim in John Constable clouds – all topped off with butterfly badges. Cottweiler tasked its models to navigate a catwalk covered in broken crockery wearing translucent tracksuits, combat leggings and the odd bum bag. E. Tautz paired relaxed tailoring and thigh-baring football shorts with lightweight wax jackets and delightfully incongruous Mary Janes. Liam Hodges collaborated with Dickies, turning workwear staples into a frayed patchwork of asymmetric magic. Finally, Craig Green took his cues from the most practical people of all – boy scouts. Deconstructed uniforms and scarves engulfed the body in swaths of quilted and wax cottons. Dib dib dib.
Spring/Summer 17 wants to be hugged and stroked, if the gamut of textures and tactile fabrics up for grabs are anything to go by. Astrid Andersen’s poshed-up sportswear (silky bombers, popper joggers) were laden with delectable gold fringing, lace and performance snakeskin. Bobby Abley’s Aladdin-themed collection dared us to summon up the Genie in neoprene trackies, PVC shorts and velvet jackets. Xander Zhou created a counter culture tribe dressed in leather trousers, flailing studded belts, ripped jersey and hot pink lurex hoodies. Casely-Hayford’s Skepta versus Rolling Stones collection fused paisley brocade suits, torn and mended silks and sequined denim jackets with Indian embroideries. And Sibling threw caution (and dignity) to the wind with their heady mix of towelling onesies, mini crinis and nipple-flashing knits.
Giving a small nod to the fact that 2016 is the 40th anniversary of punk – and the Queen’s 90th birthday – plaid came in many guises at LCM. Hardy Amies injected their refined aesthetic with luxe hoodies and denim but it was still the suits, including a single-breasted grey check number, that really stood out. The Jermyn Street, St James’s tailors delivered classic plaids in greys and blues. Oliver Spencer chose a neutral range of beiges for his loose co-ords inspired by Italian summers. Coach gave 1950s Americana a Sex Pistols spin via rough red checks. And never knowingly outdone, J.W. Anderson included plenty of acid ombre tartans in his ‘Little Prince’ collection, which was inspired by classic childhood toys and rock legend David Bowie.
Stripes went every which way at LCM – up, down, fat, thin – there was nothing ordinary about this timeless motif. Tiger of Sweden’s minimalist baroque offering came vertical on smart shirts and horizontal on beach shorts in varying widths of navy and turquoise. Katie Eary plunged us to an underwater world where stripes crossed fluffy jumpers, took corners on silky separates, got drowned in star cutouts or attacked by barracuda prints. Lou Dalton also went wet – her men were dressed for a rainy hike in boxy linen jackets covered in earthy stripes. Chester Barrie’s smoke pinstripe lounge suit screamed for Pimms o’clock. And Margaret Howell tucked wide-stripe boat-neck T-shirts into baggy, boyish chinos.