London Collections: Men, AW15: Day 1 Highlights
My first stop this morning was the London College of Fashion’s MA menswear show, a 25 minutes ‘best of’ showcase, where for me, the standouts were Emma Fenton Villar’s textural sportswear, Thien Trang Bui’s supremely elegant, shimmering tailoring and Jasmine Haoyao Deng’s colourful textiles.
In terms of the official schedule, things got off to a high-energy start at Topman Design with an unlikely fusion of hippy-trail flowing Afghan coats and testicle-hugging Bay City Roller suits (the collection was titled Bombay City Rollers). Brilliantly styled by Luke Day, the looks featured big hair with heavy fringes on swaggering lads with rock and roll intent. The glam rock sound track got everyone smiling at least.
There was more swagger on display at MAN where Liam Hodges’ models strode out wearing monochramatic workwear-inspired pieces with screen printed details, raw hems and multiple layers, reminiscent of aprons and canvas work bags. There’s a deep grain of blue collar subversion in Hodges’s work from the rough edges to the use of coarsely reproduced graphics and lettering. Nicomede Talavera meanwhile, showed pieces almost clerical in their sombre tones and exaggerated length, the shapes apparently inspired by the layered clash of sportswear and traditional vestments worn by Asian boys in his native Hounslow. There was real depth to this collection, with techniques such as pleating, multiple layers and slogans counterbalancing the pared back simplicity of collarless shirts and jackets.
As I’d predicted, Kit Neale’s first runway show was another highlight of Day 1 for me: with 50’s workwear shapes and faux fur brilliantly styled with porkpie hats and jewelry by the iconic Andrew Logan. As ever with Neale’s designs, the colour knob was turned up full but there was a maturity to the use of vintage typography, especially in the use of patchwork appliqué lettering. Nick Cave’s The Carny provided a brilliant foil to the all-the-fun-of-the-fair colour, a reminder of the more sinister aspects of circus, the inspiration for this collection.