London Collections: Men AW16 – Days 3 & 4 Highlights
Having grabbed the headlines with his Grindr-hosted live stream, there was little that JW Andersen would do to raise eyebrows any further, given that his designs are already renowned for their off kilter, gender defying singularity. Looks including satin pyjamas in pastel colours and a cropped floral quilted jacket worn with knitted trousers, all accessorised with chokers, were in keeping with Anderson’s determined approach to exploring clothing that is typically defined as female. But there were also more whimsical, cartoon-like features: a snail silhouette appeared as a motif, tracksuit pockets in the form of clouds. Whatever accusations of being too out-there might be thrown at Anderson, a look back at last Autumn Winter’s cropped shearling jackets, ’70s ski wear and horizontal blocked stripes should be enough to demonstrate that he is often prescient in his menswear, however outlandish it may appear at first glance. By this time next year we may not be wearing silky PJ’s on the street, but details like the oversized, distressed cardigans and embellished camel outerwear may yet prove to be defining.
For AW16 James Long was inspired by ‘local heroes,’ the gang of friends he relies on for inspiration and support, which for him means some of London’s leading designers and creatives. But this was no self-conscious fashion love-in, the tone was relaxed if elegantly so. Grosgrain ribbon continued to embellish garments (matching riding boots with bold stripes were custom made by Christian Louboutin). Denim is always a feature of Long’s collections, here featuring unique tie-dye treatments and obligatory shearling details. A poppy print looked suitably louche as a floaty silk shirt and a longer, version with a cinched waist. Overall there was a sense that these were clothes you could pull together to make up an outfit without too much thought, a decadent dressing-up box for friends at play.
Kim Jones in conversation with Lou Stoppard
Stepping off the fashion-show/presentation treadmill on Sunday morning, it was a pleasure to hear Kim Jones in conversation with Lou Stoppard, at The Century Club. Jones appeared at ease and was typically forthcoming about life inside the luxury powerhouse of Louis Vuitton, the travel that fuels his creative process (“I’ve been to Japan around 70 times, I try to go at least 6 times a year, it’s the most mature market for fashion in the world”), his passion for teamwork and there were also fascinating insights into his working relationships with the likes of Lee McQueen and Marc Jacobs. Hopefully talks like this will become a regular feature of LC:M especially if guest speakers are of this stature, a reminder of what makes London so special.
Baartmans and Siegel
There’s been a gradual ramping up of ’70s influences in recent Baartmans and Siegel collections, and with AW16 the full glamour of disco era New York, and in particular, Spanish Harlem with all its swagger and strut, was unleashed. Camel outerwear was fit for church on Sunday way uptown, complete with exquisite fur collars in tonal shades of brown, bombers and duffels were lined with animal print fur, suggesting that luxury can be on the inside too. Soft tailoring was exemplified by wide-leg pinstripe grey trousers, cinched at the waist to demonstrate their generous proportions. Whatever the reference points, this remained a Baartmans and Siegel collection, signature details like the wool jogging pants, the easy combinability of the separates and the overall sense of easy going luxury being instantly identifiable.
Another jumping off point from the show-presentation mill, Paul Smith’s installation this morning at the rear of the Royal Academy of Arts was made especially poignant by the centrality of a certain Mr Bowie as an influence, whose death had just been announced to a shocked world. It’s no secret that Paul Smith is a collector: of cameras, robot toys, books, paintings and other paraphernalia, and the occasional piece of Bowie memorabilit. A recreation of sections of his archive provided a fascinating visual insight into his world, the installation bearing the hashtag “youcanfindinspirationinanything” was both an explanation of the designer’s world view and perhaps a cheeky nod to the tribes of editors of various kinds attending the event.
Liam Hodges show featured revved up boys in his signature utility wear in an homage to the boy racer, where go-faster stripes extended to razor hair lines and hazard yellow dye jobs.
Bringing the formal runway shows to an end, Bobby Abley’s AW16 attempted to blast some Rio sunshine and riotous Carioca energy to gloomy London. The Rio theme was expressed with carnival feathers on backpacks, the colours of the Brazilian flag on everything and a print which echoed the curvaceous lines of the pavement tiles that run alongside the beach in Rio, appropriately best seen on a sarong.
Tourne de Transmission
Taking over St. George’s church in Bloomsbury once again, Tourne de Transmission continued the brand’s exploration of cross-cultural clothing traditions from ikat kimonos, to the robe-like silhouette that is central to the collection. Dedicated to Barry Kamen, who styled the brands initial SS16 presentation and who died last year, the jewellery in the show was created by Judy Blame, Kamen’s contemporary from the Buffalo movement of the ’80s.