London Collections Men AW14: in review
London Collections: Men ended on Wednesday, concluding the busiest schedule yet. Here are my favourite themes that emerged during the week.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 siècle 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).
Super-texturised fabrics at James Long and Matthew Miller invited touch, as did slinky astrakhan at Astrid Andersen.
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.
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 “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.