Tag : 2013

Spring | Raf Simons SS13

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This time Raf Simons wanted his school boy to go play tennis in short-shorts reminiscent of a tennis skirt with high triangle slits in front.

No! He wanted him to play grown up in what could of been someone’s suit from the 90s – it was his father’s – paired with his most colorful running shoe. The width of the trousers contrasted with the restraint and shortness that gave the short suit a certain newness, a rejuvenation. Suiting ranged in monochromatic pairings that from black and grey to navy and forest green.

An angst teenager embodied every look with the loose-wave version of an “Emo’s” hair style. But then it became a mockery: the school boy turned his parents’ expensive paintings into what is the one of the most iconic pieces in a skater’s wardrobe: the graphic tee shirt. And from that, then a graphic-dress.

Uniformity is a philosophy in Simon’s collections. The school boy uniform – white short-sleeve shirts with wool shorts – reinforces the story of the “angst-school-boy.” The bomber jacket, another part of his philosophy, came in long lengths and bright colors – pink bubble gum anyone? Is that the anti-trench coat? Maybe not, but a new version of a long rain jacket mimicing the close of a smock fastened only by push buttons.

Whether or not youth was oozing out of this collection, Raf Simons has presented a very mature collection. With strong direction that has come from the most rebellious memories of one’s teenaged years, Mr.Simons is the best to lead the rebellious menswear department.

Spring I Missoni Menswear SS13

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Homme Mode Missoni SS13a 1

For Summer 2013, Missoni evoked dreams of far off vacations to distant lands by sending tousled models strolling down a coloured sandy runway, parading the ultimate summer wardrobe for the stylish nomad. Like a sunrise over the desert, the colours began with a sandy beige, taupe and khaki before bursting out into  scarlet, saffron yellow and jade green. The use of intricate stitching and fabrics made each item feel like a treasure found during travels to distant lands.

The particular vacation Missoni seemed to have in mind was a safari adventure, with safari suits, desert boots and loose layers at the centre of the collection. The vintage leather jacket looks set to become a key piece next year. Missoni’s statement weave could be found on items such as bomber jackets and trainers.

The ultimate vacation wardrobe, this collection highlighted Missoni’s turn toward outerwear and encompassed smart layering; bomber and field jackets, and cardigans over zippers, printed knitted t-shirts; mixing multiple fabrics, designs and cultures in single outfits – with this collection the combinations seem as vast and endless as a desert horizon.

There was, of course, the inclusion of Missoni’s classic knitwear, in a range of interesting weaves that could be worn as single dateless classics, or combined for a fresh look. Layered over casual Bermuda shorts and ankle grazing loose trousers, for a stylish yet carefree summer vibe, these elegant patterns also came in statement knitted shorts and trousers for the more daring fashion adventurer.

Perhaps some of the bulkier outerwear will be favoured in cooler months but without a doubt, Missoni is providing the ultimate  wardrobe for the modern traveler – crossing from Spring to Autumn in 2013 in style.

Spring | Jil Sander SS13

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Homme Mode JSander SS13z10

Raf Simon’s Fall 2012 collection for Jil Sander – the brand – allowed us to see the Wall Street man’s inner child. Jil Sander herself seemed to find inspiration in Simons, who kept a label full of restriction continuously liberating itself, and managed to put together a collection worthy of being one of the season’s tops. Whether or not this Spring collection was inspired by Raf’s last bits leading the label, the youthfulness and not so serious man definitely served as inspiration for the designer who founded the brand and is on her second “comeback” after years of hiatus, spent mostly at japanese mega-brand Uniqlo.

For her return as creative director, Jil Sander reinvented and reintroduced the staples to the new Jil Sander man/young-man. Suiting only showed range in color like in dusty white with soft khaki. The “young Wall Street navy”  and mini dot pattern also was introduced. The high hems broke suiting out of it’s serious state. Side note: If you haven’t purchased a white dress shirt there are only two places for this : Sander or Klein.  The graphic tees looked as expensive as the suiting it was paired with. That deserves a bravo, since Raf Simons is one of the other designers who can accomplish the same. He also has the skill to send down the runway the best cobalt blue. If baggy shorts, multiple color usage, and forward-thinking male accessories are all things Jil Sander will be detaching slowly from the brand, then let’s hope she doesn’t keep the label from reaching redundancy.

Yes! Raf Simons took the label to a different light. But he made those progressions from Sander’s original idea.

Spring | Aitor Throup SS13

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By rights, the afternoon of the third day of London Collections: Men should have seen a gradual winding down – the inevitable consequence of three days of overload and newness, piling high on the brain. But Sunday was a day of first (and, in some cases, second) comings; of Richard Nicoll’s menswear debut, of Meadham Kirchhoff’s return to the fold after a six-year break from menswear design, and of Aitor Throup’s tantalisingly intimate presentation (more a preview of coming attractions than an actual showcase) at the St Martins Lane Hotel.

Throup’s career is a measure of the absolute divergence between a designer’s presence on the runways, and their impact on a city’s fashion identity. He’s shown only once before (in London) – an eerie, suspended room of wire-mannequin trumpeters in densely articulated trousers which provided one of the highlights of the first ever Menswear day back in 2009. And where the rest of that day’s names – Katie Eary, J.W. Anderson, James Long, bStore, Martine Rose – have tracked a path which has built up, season on season, show on show, into a recognisable identity, Throup seems to inhabit a completely different world.

It’s a route helped in no small part by his collaborations with Umbro and Stone Island, which have allowed him to apply his intense, spectacularly anatomical discipline to performance sportswear; and his conspicuous, patience-straining absence – broken by occasional international showcases and short-run bursts of mainline production – have only whetted the market’s appetite for more.

It’s not hard to see why – it’s the same combination of obstinate meticulousness and vivid imagination that’s kept both Azzedine Alaia and Hussein Chalayan on the radar despite their prolonged absences from the seasonal calendar, instilling audiences with ravening hunger. And Throup’s work, in particular, has always been tantalising – those dynamic, scrunched-up illustrations of figures in frozen motion which dominate his website have long been his sole representation in the real world.

So the St. Martins Lane show was significant, less for what it actually contained than for the promise it insinuated – that Throup was finally readying for the launch of a commercial range for SS13. And whilst it was more of the same (those exquisitely detailed stop-motion trousers and coats, those lines of skulls, those again-suspended wire ghosts) it was a fascinating summation of an aesthetic which has already seeped deep into popular culture. Hooligans, gods, horsemen, heroes and victims; these are the archetypes who’ve suffused the designer’s voyage through the psyche of modern menswear, evolving an armour which – instead of concealing and formalising an idealised, impervious strength – instead hunched and sheltered and warped around the body’s own deformities and oddities. The sole representative of next season’s actual collection (a range of 22 individual pieces) was a skull bag, which – strapped onto the body – got straight to the core of Throup’s uniqueness. Where the rest of menswear is streamlining and simplifying, playing with surfaces to conjure up identity, his strange-fruit protuberances come dangerously close to embodying the kind of internal, anguished masculinity which no amount of print, or colour, or structure can disguise.

Spring | Christopher Raeburn SS13

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Homme Mode CRaeburn SS13s
Raeburn scored another home run this week with his clever, sporty, outerwear style. From parkas, ponchos and baseball jackets in smart techno sports fabrics to quilted puffas and leather options the collection was both fun and inventive. Panelled cuts allowed for great shaping and the use of block colours and trim detailing in contrast tones that highlighted the panel cuts. Multiple functional pockets, zip fronts and ribbed waists also showed off Raeburn’s flare for functional fashion, he does not simply decorate his clothing he solves problems and innovates through fashion. Aside from outerwear there were great separates including tailored shorts, relaxed leg jeans, tees and rugby tops. Another strong and creative collection.

Spring | Meadham Kirchhoff SS13

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Homme Mode MKirchhoff SS13g
Meadham Kirchhoff brought their hippy hobo styling to LCM today with a layered, texture rich collection full of print and colour. The presentation setting, a ‘squat style’ flat full of make shift beds, pizza boxes and well loved arm chairs. The models wore gentlemanly striped shorts and chinos teamed with long line floral shirts over polo necks and clashing printed tees worn over one another. A chiffon like dress worn over slim jeans in shades of blue and gold was one of the more extravagant pieces. High tops in highlighter tones of blue, yellow and pink sealed off the look that often included shell suit style tracksuit bottoms. An eclectic collection that relied on styling to add a more avant garde element, however when stripped back to key separates there were several wearable and commercial pieces.

Spring | Margaret Howell SS13

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Homme Mode MHowell SS13a

It was back to basics at Margaret Howell. Pants were basic slacks, either rolled up or ankle length, shorts were cut off right at the knee and kept wide. Shirts were clean cut, short sleeved v-necks, long sleeve knit, or crisp short sleeve button downs. Margaret’s colour scheme featured army green, khaki, and many shades of navy. This was definitely a “man’s” collection – catering to the men who like to shop maybe at most twice a year; purchasing great quality trousers, basic shirts, and a few jackets to mix and match throughout the season. While Margaret’s collection isn’t groundbreaking or reinventing the wheel she certainly has remained quite consistent with her offerings and keeps her customer coming back for more.

Spring | Pringle of Scotland SS13

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“Flatforms”- a shoe with a flat platform base. In the case of Pringle of Scotland, this shoe is a classic gentlemen’s brogue, a more masculine version of a flatform compared to this past women’s spring/summer season.

Flatforms accompanied every outfit on Pringle’s runway this season paired with argyle printed socks, a mainstay for the label.

The collection was mostly round neck tops, poplin shorts, and slim fitting horizontally stripped shirts in 2 or more colours. Bright orange& navy blue camouflage pullover sweaters, formal trousers that were colour blocked by juxtaposing the base colour with only one other colour.

Compared to their previous spring collection, spring carried the same formal sort of feel. With something for everyone this collection embraces some of the iconic Pringle of Scotland pieces like the argyle sweater while introducing new trends like flatforms showing their versatility.

Spring | Richard Nicoll Man SS13

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The LCM shows saw fashion favourite, Richard Nicoll dip his toe into menswear and what a well rounded and cohesive collection it was. A muted palette of white, nude and blue hues, accented by a colour pop of yellow Nicoll’s collection reflected his womenswear in its calming cuts and and soft, wearable pieces. The vibe was definitely relaxed, sporty separates with leather baseball jackets, rolled hem trousers, short sleeved shirts and leather ponchos some of the key shapes. The collection print focussed on squares with adorned both tee’s and fine knitwear in different sizes. Brocade trousers and shorts in ice blue and creamy gold tones were a particular favourite and added some rich detailing and fabric experimentation. A beautifully crafted first collection proving it was the right time for Nicoll to add a menswear line.

Spring | Nicole Farhi SS13

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Homme Mode NFarhi SS13c

There’s not quite more of a literal way to celebrate the arrival of  spring/summer than opening the show with a shirtless look, which is exactly what Nicole Farhi did.  Stripping free of the layers from their fall collection Mosimo Nicosia and Nicol Farhi kept things light and airy but with the right amount of structure. The bases of their color palette was subtle focusing more on the use of whites,shades of  nudes and gray and adding in periwinkle, cobalt and magenta looks as their pops of color.  Although the show may have started off bare chested it featured many different knits,blazers and overcoats in a variation of cuts and shapes.  Their full printed looks were simplistic and reminiscent of  pajama like silhouettes, while their suiting had an iridescent sheen keeping things polished yet relaxed.

Spring | Matthew Miller SS13

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Matthew Miller provided a collection that’s clean, sharp and to the point, and that point was subversive and very stylish. According to the show notes, Miller wanted to examine “the human in the context of his environment”, and this simple and stylish collection really evoked the tough, symetrical sillhouettes and stark light found in urban landscapes. Slim cut tailored suits covered in CCTV images of urban biuldings and his trademark digital prints packed a punch in a clean collection with a concise neutral monochrome pallete.

Miller sent out messy haired model’s oozing with an air of young, fresh, disaffected cool. His love and respect for the history of men’s tailoring’s evident and these clean, sharp cuts feel like just the ticket for spring styling. Miller added a youthful character with slim-fitting tailored shorts that finished at mid-thigh and trousers that were narrow and stop firmly at the ankle, accompanied by jackets minus sleeves and laser cutout words on shirts and suits. Miller injected a final young and fresh stamp with details such as ombre leopard print derby shoes, cut out letters and unusual materials such incorporated glass, insulation material, and aluminium incorporated into his fabrics. The striking tailoring coupled with some intriguing details resulted in a very covetable collection.

Miller’s proven that simple doesn’t mean boring. This collection’s fresh and modern; demonstrating that overall good design can speak more than a thousand words.

Spring | Topman Design SS13

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A refreshing contrast to last season, Topman Design Spring 2013 presented us with a fun, wearable collection filled with vibrancy and colour. Gordon Richardson’s inspirations were a combination of the cultural divide in early 80’s America – West Coast skater/surfer boy vs. East coast tailored man-about-town. Stemming from the American graffiti artist Jean- Michel Basquiat, Richardson wanted to create a collection that flaunted youth and rebellion, with a tailored twist.

The show opened with fine, pastel grey, tailoring teamed with thoughtful bursts of bright prints, moving into florescent basketball tops, floral prints combined with a powerful cut out brogue. Lazer cut jackets and neon knits were worked in with sheer organza and oversized tees, whilst light macs and parachute parkas were teamed with fluro graphic shortsCycle shorts peaked through tailored shorts and were worn with black socks, styled with colourful beanies, oversized backpacks and skateboards. . FIASCO specifically noted down the tailored grey boiler suit, a daringly wearable look which, fingers crossed, could be a potential essential for next summer.

Boasting an impressive front row of Ronnie Wood, Alexa Chung, David Gandy, Reggie Yates and Sam Sparro, Topman Design has yet again put high street menswear  on a whole new, incredibly exciting level.

Spring | Martine Rose SS13

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Homme Mode MRose SS13l
There’s a great line in The Go-Between where an earnest schoolboy writes to his mother about something he’s been forced into, and which he feels may be “Rather Wrong, and perhaps Very Wrong”.

In London today, Martine Rose’s latest collection was packed full of Rather Wrong, with a fair bit of Very Wrong thrown in for good measure. Bleached denim, boiler suits, cycling shorts, stocking masks, lushly sleek patent snakeskin, high-waisted trousers and clumpy sandals: piece by piece, it felt like a greatest hits roll-call of what not to wear. But together, incredibly, they worked: a bracing, shifting set of skins that folded and overlapped each other, pitting contoured neoprene against printed silks, and undercutting the dishevelled denim surfaces with second-skin cuts of cobalt and orange.

The inspiration tracked back to a random encounter with a Bernini sculpture, and to the dynamic, spectacularly volatile aesthetics of the Baroque; a world of gravity-defying marble-winged angels and monsters, which triggered a densely-layered exploration of surface and substance – of materials defying their own nature and become something utterly transformed. And there was that same sense of wrestle between the two-dimensional world of image and the three-dimensional world of real encounter that made Rei Kawakubo’s last womenswear show so powerfully resonant. And in and around that, the smaller details (graphic tags, retro tees hanging off the backs of shirts, and worlds-apart garments tucked into each other) fleshed the picture out with the designer’s ever-present sense of what and how men really wear clothes.

Rose is one of a slew of young names – alongside J.W. Anderson, James Long, Christopher Shannon, Katie Eary and Lou Dalton – whose burgeoning careers have followed the same trajectory as London’s menswear showcase itself. Back in 2009, when the event launched, her shirt collection came as a vibrantly balanced dialogue of opposites: surreally random circles of quilting, or Aertex, or silver foil fused into soberly-cut fabrics. Three years on, that simple collision of streetwear and sartorialism has blasted into a whole other, far more complicated yet still fantastically clear, dimension.

Spring | James Long Menswear SS13

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This season James Long, presented a collection of navy, black,  and white.  Shorts were long and often in gingham, leather and pleated. Sweaters were a abstract take on Mr Cosby sweaters, featuring lines darting this way and that reminding me of a Bauhaus era Kandinsky piece, in Navy black and white, often on the front or isolated on sleeves. White button downs were featured in both long sleeve and short sleeve styles, with simple line designs like a abstracted draft for a building or art piece. Also featured were sleeveless gingham tops, a gingham draped cardigan and sporty hybrid gingham and leather vests and jackets. Whilst there wasn’t alot of colour this season from James Long, what he lacked in colour he made up for in design, and cut.

Spring | MAN(Astrid Arsen, Agi&Sam, Shaun Samson) SS13

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Astrid Andersen

There was a noticeable shift between the first and second days of the London Collections shows. Day 1 was a gentle overture, with refined, classic tailoring undermined with subtle provocation and jarring dislocations; but Day 2 (kick-started with Sibling’s visceral, high-volume knits and armoured surfaces) was a no-holds-barred jolt into the future.

It’s fascinating to see how much the city’s menswear scene has fractured in the space of a few short seasons; seven years after Fashion East first launched its’ MAN group show, its’ latest crop of designers presented three very distinct aesthetics – but shared a common ground of searingly contemporary youthfulness that stood in stark contrast to the silhouettes and sensibilities of the initiative’s early shows. Back then, challenging sartorial traditions and evolving new strains of menswear out of the embers of the past were the dominant forces, driving towards a new definition of British masculinity which has now grown comfortably familiar; but the next generation are aiming for a very different territory.

It helped that two of the three are foreigners: California native Shaun Samson, and the Danish Astrid Andersen. It made for a freer sensibility (or, perhaps, just a different set of preoccupations). And it also helped that this is the trio’s second time showing together: it seemed as though, by osmosis, fragments of language and surface had filtered between each collection, stamping them with a common identity of loose layers and gently vivid colour. Andersen built on her full-throttle, locker-room debut with an at-times-startlingly delicate assembly of sheers and lace and flocked wools, twisting archetypal performancewear shapes and details into something that felt far more subversively luxurious, whilst Samson replaced his show-stopping blanket-wool fusions with a quiet, almost monochrome sequence of flat-cut planes and gently fluid shapes. And sandwiched in between, Agi & Sam’s charmingly eccentric tailoring – which should by rights have been the most wittily conventional – managed to skate far closer to the edge than previously, with an eclectic mix of models in tapestried patterns and broken planes acknowledging the often uncomfortable relationship between youth and maturity.

There was still plenty of clear space between each collection’s intentions, from melancholy grunge-inflected androgyny to athletic intensity to disturbing father figures. But as a group force they shared a powerful sense of possibility; in the best possible way, it would be amazing to think that – another few seasons down the line – this, too, could be another wave of designers’ definition of normal.

Spring | Katie Eary SS13

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Katie Eary has become a somewhat unlikely hero of modern menswear. A firm personal favourite, I remember borrowing pieces from Katie from her MA collection and have enjoyed watching her progress season on season, it is design talent like Eary that London Collections is clearly made for.

This was definitely Katie’s most commercially led collection yet, strip away the styling and you have a solid collection of printed sweaters, trousers, shorts and asymmetrically buttoned shirts. The styling like at Topman was geared towards skaters as models carried their boards and were styled with long slim line trousers layered under shorts. The digital prints seemed to lead on from the trend for mirror printing but also used an almost tie dye like effect as a base. White pvc trousers and shorts were also joined by trousers with an almost reptile skin like effect.

The palette of bronze, gold, orange, brown and blue hues was bold and while it seemed all these tones should fight with one another, they definitely worked cohesively.

There was almost an element of urban chic to the collection and the fact that Eary has been working with Kanye West definitely showed here, I could see Kanye in any number of the pieces shown today.

Katie Eary has for several seasons mixed women’s wear into her collections and today female models wore printed bikini’s with leather biker jackets or gold sequined swimsuits slashed to the navel.

A bold and refreshing collection adding variety to the London Collections.

Spring | Oliver Spencer SS13

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Oliver Spencer showed at the Topman show space in the old sorting office. The eclectic collection of tailored suiting and smart separates played host to slim cut jackets and rolled hem chinos in neutral, bright blue and several hues of reds. A country heritage vibe also filtered through with waistcoat and matching jackets in brown tweed hues.
While shirting played a key roll, blazers were also layered over abstract circle print tees. Collarless baseball jackets were interspersed with the more traditional suiting styles to add a younger touch to the collection and came in both canvas and in suede styles as well as suede and leather bodies with canvas sleeves. A touch of the ‘pyjama’ trend from the womenswear shows remained with paisley printed suiting.
Ushering in a trend for understated, elegance.
The mix of young and older grey haired models signalled Oliver Spencer’s style for suiting a range of clientelle and while his more youthful client may reach for his parka style jackets his more discerning customer had more city mac styles.
Trouser legs were slim cut with rolled hems, again showing the versatility of the brand for smart and casual wear.
A varied collection but with a strong signature style for block colour and easy to wear pieces.

Spring | Lou Dalton Man SS13

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Homme Mode Lou Dalton SS13b

Endell Street is only a baby, by London Standards. It didn’t even exist till the mid-nineteenth century, when a clutch of Victorian philanthropists joined forces to eradicate one of the West End’s most notorious slums. In its’ place they created a miniature ideal city – church, orphanage, workhouse, swimming baths, schools and hospitals – which epitomised the era’s forceful aristocrats-know-best do-gooder spirit.

So it seems a little appropriate that a modern initiative which has more than a little element of philanthropy about it (salvaging Britain’s menswear industry, instead of starving street urchins or women of dubious virtue) should make its’ home in Endell Street’s old hospital. And it seemed appropriate, too, that the first day of the London Collections: Men shows should start with Lou Dalton – a low-key but fiercely passionate designer who’s been embedded in the capital’s menswear scene for several years now, straddling the conflicting worlds of historic craftsmanship and contemporary instinct.