As London’s men’s fashion week gets ever smaller it becomes even harder for designers to make an impact. The four day event is really only two days with a mix of established brands and young designers trying to pad out the schedule. Like a Summer pond retreating, due to lack of rain (funding), with LFWM's decreasing pull the audiences are smaller and less important. Under this handicap, designers have a few short minutes to grab people's attention and resonate further outside of the room. When you look at the expense, you do wonder why anybody is crazy enough to do it, but that’s what makes you love the ‘art’ of fashion even more. LFWM is as much about getting together and looking at each other as it is about trends and looking forward. It’s not really even about selling clothes anymore, it’s like a social event or festival.
Left - RCA Graduates Gráinne Walley, Right - Clara Chu
On London Fashion Week Men’s opening night, the Royal College of Art graduates held a show called ‘All at Once’. The 50 MA graduates each had one look each which gradually rotated around the room. Held at a new retail development on Cork Street in Mayfair, this new way of showing ever increasing volumes of students makes it increasingly hard to see a story in people’s ideas or only gives them one chance to grab your attention. They were saying it was a reflection of the cost it takes for students to produce these collections and, possibly, a reflection of the times of not making huge amounts of stuff with one student offering ‘Extinction Rebellion’ as a reason for not producing anything physical at all.
It’s a tough task to show this amount of students in a realistic amount of time, but it might be better to possibly break them up and give them 5 looks to show in differing categories. Unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, the more stuff you produce, the more opportunity you have to mentally sell something to somebody. Desire triggers people sharing and buying things. Noted highlights were Irish graduate Gráinne Walley’s Game of Thrones type armour and Clara Chu’s food inspired accessories.
For the remainder of the fashion week, the front rows were still sprinkled with Burberry check and Balenciaga Triple S trainers, all seen this time last year, and a sign of the lack of hit replacements even though fashion giants continue to churn out incredible amounts of product and ideas.
Here are some brief highlights of LFWM SS20:
This South Korean label, established in 2013, and with creative direction by Hyun-Min Han, made its London catwalk debut. An alumni of Wooyoungmi, Han showed a sophisticated collection mixing pinstripe tailoring and sportswear with flourishes of ruching and ruffles with a finale of models all wearing branded Münn suit bags.
Following her first collection as part of Fashion East, last season, the Dublin-born returned with more of her stylish normcore. This time it was summer towelling mixed with traditional Irish knits and sports fabrics in her mono-coloured looks which are fast becoming her signature.
Nicholas Daley gave LFWM a tribal jazz happening in a 18th century church in the City of London. The ‘Sons Of Kemet’ band dressed in a warm, bold checks made from British fabrics created a crescendo of music and that quickly fell into a party atmosphere with looks referencing his Jamaican heritage.
McQueen came back to London town with its usual exquisite tailoring and its fashion as art raison d’être. As well as the all ultra smart evening wear, there was watercolour symmetry prints and bold fuchsia pink florals in the charming surroundings of the C1348 Charterhouse in Farringdon. I just wish McQueen’s accessorises were as elegant as the clothes. Those chunky trainers and boots just don’t sit right and aren’t the best of their type.
Hussein Chalayan celebrated 25 years with a walk on the street near his store in Mayfair. Lucky with the weather, and with the backdrop of a textured stone wall clean striped shirting - something that continues to look fresh - in simple shapes and a minimal palette was a reminder of this experienced technician of a designer.
For the past few seasons Lou Dalton’s collections have been dominated by her collaborations with British fine knit manufacturer, John Smedley. This season, she returned to a fuller offer with outerwear, shirting, tailoring and, of course, knitwear, but this time in fine rugby shapes, in a collection of easy and stylish clothes which don’t scream ‘designer’. A return to beautiful things?
TheChicGeek says ‘YAY!’ to Jaeger’s new home on Marylebone High Street. Situated on one of the smartest shopping streets in London, the new two-storey Jaeger store stocks the full menswear collection.
Jaeger asked TheChicGeek to pick his favourite pieces from the new store and their latest AW16 collection.
Right - A palette of navy, with highlights of orange, show Jaeger's expertise in knitwear and ease of dressing with a comfortable buttoned cardigan and large pocketed cargo trousers
TheChicGeek took to the streets of Marylebone to showcase his new look featuring a pair of Lou Dalton X Jaeger wool cargo trousers, a ginger coloured T-shirt (Obvs!) and soft wool cardigan.
It seems ginger and navy are the colours of the season as he bumped into his doppelgänger over at the Chiltern Firehouse! Twinning is most definitely winning.
Find out more here
Open now - 12 Marylebone High Street
Get involved #JaegerStyle
Left - Twinning is winning when TheChicGeek met the doorman at Marylebone local, Chiltern Firehouse
Below - TheChicGeek doing his best Gene Kelly impression - minus the rain - in new season Jaeger menswear
From the frow to standing at the back! TheChicGeek was all over the recent menswear shows at London Collections: Men. Here are the trends that caught his eye:
Copper - That highlight orange has become slightly dirtier and more grown up.
From Far Left - Craig Green, Katie Eary, Hopman Design, Oliver Spencer
Grunge - Nobody’s ever made money from selling grunge, it’s kind of the point, no?
From Far Left - Topman Design, Burberry, J.W. Anderson
Neck Scarves - Double knot it for accessory impact.
Both Margaret Howell
Soft 70s Teddy Bear Hair - Layers, Bowl Cut, or simply ask for an 'Abigail's Party' next time you're at the barbers.
Below From Left - Lou Dalton, Burberry
Cropped Mid-Driff - Not since Mark Owen in the Relight My Fire Video have I been this excited about the male midriff. AW16's new, chilly erogenous zone!
From Far Left - Agi & Sam, Astrid Andersen
Inside Out Sheepskins - You could just turn last year's inside out, but it probably won't look as good!
From Far Left - Coach, James Long, 1205
Sequins - These were dress-down sequins on sportswear and simple tops.
Burberry, James Long
Silk - Menswear bedroom eyes with luxurious plain or printed silks in bedroom shapes.
Below - Katie Eary, Topman Design
LC:M hit a milestone, this season, when MAN turned 10 years old. What was a day, then, tagged onto the end of women's fashion week, has spawned into the LC:M menswear showcase we have today.
One of the few designers there from the start or thereabouts was Lou Dalton. While I've often been frustrated about the inconsistencies of her shows, this season, it felt like a shift change. While the music - Joe Smooth's Promised Land #tune - cited a 90s influence it was much cleaner than that. I know she's spent some time with Cerruti, recently, and it seems some of that Italian polish has rubbed off onto her own collection.
This is exactly what men want NOW: sporty, practical, colourful, chic and fresh. Men want to be liberated away from their totes and phones yet still carry whatever they need with them. Lou Dalton made a feature of these practical concerns with large, multiple pockets overblown onto the sides of jackets, trousers and shorts.
The new hands-free male wants to travel light while being prepared for everything. Gone are the frivolities of menswear to be replaced by this dressed sports aesthetic. The peacock is long dead and it's now about blending into the background, well, for a few seasons at least! This was a collection of desirable pieces which worked individually or all together and would seamlessly fit into any contemporary man's wardrobe.
The colour palette of orange, light blue and white, featuring a distorted gingham and multiple layers, gave it an innocence. It felt of summer, but would work just as well under the grey skies of Manchester. The best menswear is one which feels ageless, meaning any man could wear it. Linked by a modern attitude, these are the guys who look timeless yet change all the time. Lou Dalton defined this man for SS16
With thanks to Smart ForFour
Left & Below - Lou Dalton SS16
The home of TheChicGeek and menswear, London was a four day spectacular of the creative East London meeting the more refined West. Here is TheChicGeek’s scrapbook of men's trends for #SS16:
Designers have realised that we no longer want to be handicapped by our manbags while we still have the issue of having many additional things to carry. So, why not make a feature of your bulging pockets?
From Left - Lou Dalton, Hardy Amies
Men have become so brave, today, with colour that neon is no longer the scary super tone it used to be. More of an accent, think of it like your wardrobe highlighter.
From Left - Hardy Amies, Topman Design
Horizontal, vertical, anyway you like. It may look a little 'Inmate Chic', but, hey, it's all about the swagger.
From Left - Topman Design, Agi & Sam
The luxury item of SS16. This season, suede is a hybrid between a shirt and a jacket. Just make sure it's in the softest, butteriest suede in an earthy reddy brown tone.
From Left - Oliver Spencer, Gieves & Hawkes
Male lace or 'Mace' can be as dangerous as it sounds. It's probably best layered with glimpses, rather than full on out there, unless you're as a skinny as a Burberry model.
Left - Both Burberry Prorsum
Yabba dabba doo or don't depending on how you feel about animal prints. These should look like fun animals: the kind you'd win at the fair!
From Left - Coach, Burberry Prorsum
I always feel Winston Churchill's boiler suit inspires these kind of bomber/Harrington type suits. The new dress down dress up for those wanting to look put together while looking young, sporty and contemporary.
From Left - Dunhill, Topman Design
Peter Pan, Princess or plain old PJ, the shirt colour is light, relaxed and open for the forthcoming SS16 season.
From Left - Alexander McQueen, Hardy Amies
With thanks to Smart ForFour