London Collections: Men ended last night in buoyant mood as the capital’s menswear industry rides high on a wave of seemingly ever-growing interest in men’s fashion. The London menswear showcase is now firmly on the map for American and Asian buyers visiting on their way to the European shows and there was more to see than ever and more people here to see it. I posted my initial impressions at the start of the week over on my Guardian page, but here are my thoughts from the remaining 2 days.
On Monday evening Richard Nicoll showed his trademark simple unfussy separates in refreshing whites, gingham check and with clashing patterns in red, yellow and blue colourways. Classic low profile Adidas lace-ups were accessorised by the inimitable Judy Blame. In fact styling … Read More »
During the whirlwind that was New York Fashion Week, I took time out to meet Johnny Diamandis, lead designer and owner/founder of J.Panther bags, a range of luggage I’d seen photos of and was keen to get my hands on. I wasn’t disappointed. Regular readers will know that for me, one of the things New York is synonymous with is great luggage. And I’m pleased to say that in the flesh, J.Panther bags do not disappoint. My first reaction was ‘it looks like great military gear’, which Johnny was glad to hear, explaining that weathered, and well worn militaria is one of his key influences for the collection. There are basically 4 products: The Aviator a small uber-practical case with many internal compartments, that looks like it should hold something essential and military but would equally find a place for all your stuff; the Life Tote, which could more accurately be described as a tote to die for; the multifunctional Ruc Tote, combining the best of rucksack and tote bag and a Weekender bag with ample space for that jaunt to Palm Springs (or to Clacton if you must).
Sometimes it just so happens, that cultural trends coalesce around a central defining thing: a colour, a taste, a word, a mental image. And so it is with the blood orange, that exotic, otherworldly fruit, whose name at least in English, binds together the sensual delights of citrus fruit with the altogether darker sense of the stuff that flows in our veins. The negroni I had at Pollen Street Social Room a few weeks ago, started this chain of thoughts, as a ball of delicate blood orange sorbet melted slowly into bitter Aperol. Perfect! The emergence of Dev Hynes in new guise as Blood Orange and the release of the astounding Sutphin Boulevard single being the next link. The YouTube video of the track reveals it’s inspiration as a heartfelt paen to one of the ‘mothers’ of the original New York vogueing/drag ball houses; how bittersweet!
I’ve had a post in the wings recently with the portentous title of ‘Hopes for Menswear 2011′ as well as some more fluid ideas for trend/detail pieces. What was really on my mind was a desire to see something genuinely modern if not futuristic after a few years of obsession with ‘heritage’. And curiously, Christopher Bailey’s collection for AW11 streamed on Saturday, brought many of these tendencies together in one show. I’ve heard rumbles that this collection wasn’t brilliantly received and if that’s the case I’m happy to take my corner for what I see as a glorious combination of classic details given a vigorous, modern spin by means of a clever colour palette and some interesting materials.