London Collections Men AW14: in review


Posted on 11th January, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments


London Collections: Men ended on Wednesday, concluding the busiest schedule yet. Here are my favourite themes that emerged during the week.

Forest green
While black is most definitely back, forest green and charcoal kept the mood sombre but provided slightly gentler, more natural alternatives at the shows this week. Matthew Miller showed deepest forest green to its best advantage on Tuesday but the muted colour was also seen at Oliver Spencer, Common, and YMC.

A forest green biker jacket at Matthew Miller's brilliant show.

A forest green biker jacket at Matthew Miller’s brilliant show.

Bold lines
Strong, graphical lines – often scaled up to cover the width of garments – filled runways with moving modernist canvases. Seen at E.Tautz and Casely-Hayford but also present at Nicomede Talavera (a designer showing for the first time at talent incubator Fashion East‘s presentations) and in James Long‘s strictly futurist collection.

Bold graphic lines on a capacious coat at E.Tautz.

Bold graphic lines on a capacious coat at E.Tautz.

More bold lines, this time at Casely-Hayford's triumphant debut.

More bold lines, this time at Casely-Hayford’s triumphant debut.

Sometimes the lines crossed and became a check; strongest at Agi & Sam where the oppositional contrast between black and white was maximised in a scaled-up Masai print. Bold checks also appeared at Oliver Spencer and at Casely-Hayford.

Scaled-up,  Masai check at Agi & Sam.

Scaled-up, Masai check at Agi & Sam.

Shawls and big scarves
This trend was as much evident on attendees as on the runway, with some expert draping on display. At Sibling, the multiple layers involved (all of) crochet, fair isle, fur and fringing, while at E.Tautz the texture was silky, with long fringed evening scarves exposed below jacket hemlines. Overall, whether draped, wrapped or fringed, this sized-up layer brings in a bit of personally arranged randomness. Intimidated? A longer, wider scarf is easier to manage than a full-on blanket shawl.

Sibling ensured their boys were wrapped up warm on Wednesday.

Sibling ensured their boys were wrapped up warm on Wednesday.

At E.Tautz, the scarves were long and fringed.

At E.Tautz, the scarves were long and fringed.

Texture and surface
If there was one overriding shift in direction from last season it’s the move away from pure sportiness, with an almost fin de si├Ęcle attention given to surface detail and considered luxury and embellishment.

This included embroidery at E.Tautz and Baartmans and Siegel (whose collection also included shaved and paneled fur and extravagant collars offsetting tailoring in airforce blues).

Embroidery added to the effect of decadent luxury at E.Tautz.

Embroidery added to the effect of decadent luxury at E.Tautz.

Jacquards appeared at Kit Neale (a designer better known for his prints) and in some surprisingly fashion-y oversized sweaters at Nicole Farhi.

Gorgeous, unexpected jacquards at print maestro Kit Neale's presentation.

Gorgeous, unexpected jacquards at print maestro Kit Neale’s presentation.

Jacquard sweaters stood out at Nicole Farhi.

Jacquard sweaters stood out at Nicole Farhi.

Super-texturised fabrics at James Long and Matthew Miller invited touch, as did slinky astrakhan at Astrid Andersen.

A super-texturised top at James Long.

A super-texturised top at James Long.

Alternatives to laces
As ever, winter footwear was a crucial component to the looks for next year’s inclement season. Alternatives to laces were prevalent, like the industrial strap fastening at Nicole Farhi and the zipped shoes at YMC. More irresistable still were the shoes by newcomer Diego Vanassibara, featuring details of highly-polished, wooden lacquerware.

Industrial sized loop and pull fastening on shoes at Nicole Farhi.

Industrial sized loop and pull fastening on shoes at Nicole Farhi.

Zip up shoes at YMC.

Zip up shoes at YMC.

Shoes continue to be hefty and inspired by military styles and workwear, as seen at Lou Dalton, where a collaborative boot with Grenson complimented worker inspired styles in luxury fabrics.

Grenson-collaborative boots and velvety corduroys at Lou Dalton.

Grenson-collaborative boots and velvety corduroys at Lou Dalton.

In terms of presentation, gothic London is still ever-present. At E.Tautz models emerged from the darkness as sinister, hyper-elegant fops, stepped out from the literal mist at Baartmans and Siegel like missing airmen and prowled rainy streets at Topman Design.

The London shows were big on atmosphere. Here a model emerges from the fog at Baartmans and Siegel.

The London shows were big on atmosphere. Here a model emerges from the fog at Baartmans and Siegel.

The “I missed the memo” street trend of the week belongs to cossack and central Asian hats, which were everywhere.

The soundtrack of the week for me was at Matthew Miller, where the James Murphy remix of David Bowie’s Love is Lost somehow underlined the modernity of the collection, though Sibling’s high-energy mix (including PiL’s This Is Not A Love Song) was similarly energised.

London Collections: Men (LC:M) returns in June.

A version of this report appeared on The Guardian. Keep checking in for my slow food approach to analysing the shows.

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