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By the third day, London Collections: Men began to feel like a marathon with another busy day of shows and presentations across the gamut of menswear; from edgy, emerging talent to mega brands and some of London’s most established designers. Again, I’m limiting myself to one image from each of the shows that felt like stand-outs for me yesterday, but my bulging hard drive is evidence that there is a lot of exciting menswear still to share over the coming days.
Baartmans and Siegel
Athough they only graduated to an on-schedule runway show this season, Baartmans and Siegel are already established as a reliable source of impeccably-made tailored sportswear with the very best fabric and finish. Grosgrain ribbon added a sporty element, a typically luxe take on go-faster stripes. Fur, as ever, was very evident as trim on high-end parkas, and now signature Baartmans and Siegel outlines such as jogging pants and bombers felt elegantly relaxed. A favourite piece for me was the long belted coat with a black fur collar, a classically European silhouette with a very contemporary slim outline.
Returning to his earthy roots, James Long’s AW15 collection featured utilitarian shapes elevated by luxury details such sheepskin collars at the same time as continuing his exploration of distressed denim embellished with ribbon and trim from last season. At the core of James Long’s designs is a very bohemian spirit, as the kaftan details, raw edges and eclectic mix of fabrics demonstrate. Favourite pieces for me included the denim jacket with extravagant trimmings on the back (like a run-in with a habadashery department) and the denim jacket with sheepskin patch pockets and collar. One of the most colourful front rows in London and an infectious soundtrack proves that James Long knows his audience well and presentation of his ideas is currently pitch-perfect.
Taking place in an underground car-park by Westminster Abbey Belstaff’s presentation was one of the best executed at LCM so far. With the credibility of a film set, a 50s transport caff was perfectly evoked complete with real bikers astride powerful machines in vintage leathers outside and stunning young men capable of causing havoc sprawled suggestively across leather booths and shiny chrome inside. With some of the best casting, probably anywhere, there were classic model faces here, both familiar and new. Shearling on jackets and boots, most strikingly in white and some very strong, cowl necked knitwear, defied expectations of black leather and waxed cotton and showed the diversity of Belstaff’s current offering.
In a completely different dimension (and postcode) Common’s presentation drew on another kind of subversion; Manchester’s immersion in house music in the Hacienda era, complete with Mancunian voiceover and always-evocative classic house beats. The most impressive pieces in the collection fused denim and pinstripe in a highly-technical collision of these opposites. Elements of streetwear uniforms such as biker jackets and the hazard orange of MA1 jacket linings reinforced the influence of youthful counterculture.
The father and son design duo Casely-Hayford are almost so dependable that their work can appear understated as it so unfailingly good. Last night look after look demonstrated their fluency in understanding the nuances of streetwear and current design obsessions, with oversized check, fabric collisions, volume and texture all making appearances. Vibrant hot pink and long hooded cardigans were some of the most striking pieces on offer in one of the most covetable collections of the weekend.