LC:M in review: Installations and Performance at the London Menswear Shows
In the midst of reviewing the LC:M shows, especially going through the thousands of photos on my hard drive, certain themes start to emerge. Some trends, yes, but also ways of thinking about the visual experience of being there. So, alongside analysis of shows I particularly enjoyed, I’ve decided to share with you a series of primarily visual scrapbooks from the latest Collections in London.
My first theme is Installations and Performance. Since London’s Menswear Day evolved into a fully fledged Week one thing has remained clear: London really shines in terms of how men’s fashion is presented at installations and in more performance-driven shows. Most people are familiar with the idea of a runway show and backstage footage is now a staple in the media. It also doesn’t take much imagination to envisage what happens at a fashion trade show: rails of clothes, and (sometimes) imaginative displays of merchandise.
But the installation, in all its guises, is less familiar. Whether through choreographed movement, elaborate sets, props, music or role play, there has been a conscious movement towards disarming the viewer, and distracting attention away from the relatively static display of models wearing clothes. Which is not to say that more conventional runway shows are devoid of performance, humour or spectacle, as with the more theatrical womenswear shows, there’s plenty going on to entertain the audience within (and sometimes infuriate the tabloids outside) the showspaces too.
Below are some images from some of the most striking installations around town last week. Hopefully, they will make a change from conventional catwalk or street style photos: a peek inside the hothouse world of fashion.
In a week when Prada used complex ‘sets within sets’ involving bespoke furniture and video walls to frame their men’s catwalk show, it seems the static as much as the sashay defines how men’s fashion will be seen.
Details at the foot of the page.
From top, images 1 and 2: Kit Neale at Fashion East, 3 and 4: Joseph Turvey at Fashion East, 5: Qasimi, 6: Bobby Abley at Fashion East, 7 and 8: Meadham Kirchhoff, 9: Martine Rose.