Last week I caught up with menswear designer Kit Neale in his studio. Originally known for his prints, as a designer Kit’s range is becoming known for perfectly proportioned casual wear such as jean jackets and bombers, and last season brought surprise in the form of beautiful jacquard fabrics alongside the signature prints. I was looking forward to seeing what Kit has in store for us in SS15.
Moving on from explorations of London’s less celebrated quarters (Autumn/Winter was inspired by the decaying Elephant & Castle shopping centre) next summer stretches those horizons slightly, “it’s Kit Neale goes on holiday” Kit explained, “I got sick of people asking what part of London we were going to do … Read More »
For the two previous seasons of LCM I’ve had the pleasure of dropping into the Kit Neale studio to get an insight into the brand’s inspirations as designers and to see the collection come together, becoming addicted in the process to the Kit Neale pop-art-coloured view of the world. Conflicting schedules meant previews didn’t happen for me this season so I had the quite different excitement of seeing the collection fresh out of the box. For AW14, inspiration shifted (via a quick shunt up the Old Kent Road) from the world of Peckham chicken shops and weave salons to the terminally-in-demise Elephant & Castle shopping centre. Displayed on piles of iconic debris, … Read More »
Last season I met up with Kit Neale, in his studio off Kingsland Road in central East London, to discuss his then upcoming collection for Fashion East, one of London’s menswear’s best regarded platforms for emerging fashion talent. Known for his punchy prints, which have incorporated seafood and allotment vegetables amongst other motifs, I was curious to learn whether Kit was at all worried that fashion’s love affair with print had reached its zenith.
Six months later, I’m back in Kit’s studio: there are are fresh moodboards and sketches all over the … Read More »
As anticipation starts to build for the second London Collections: Men in January, I will be speaking to some of the talent that makes London menswear so exciting, bringing you designer and industry insider insights from behind the collections.
Here I speak to Kit Neale, about his Michael Clark fixation, and the showroom/studio space he’s just opened off Hackney Road.
SL: Tell me about the showroom space…
Kit Neale: We’ve been here about 3 weeks, we moved from Hackney, the depths of Hackney. Menswear is so different from womenswear, men want to have that rapport I think; womenswear like the ‘mystique’ of it all. The decision was to set up a space, have a rapport and be able to set the tone for the brand, visually, and … Read More »
The trend for loud printed trousers emerging on the street and in presentations, is being tipped in the fashion media as being the next big trend to break. As ever with fashion, there has been a snowball effect with this one, albeit a very colourful snowball. And given the seasonal nature of fashion, there’s no obvious place to go for printed pants yet, as those appearing in designer collections being previewed now won’t be available until next spring.
Whilst everyone seems to be crediting Burberry Prorsum‘s prescience in producing this summer’s Ikat trouser, I think the credit is more deservedly due to Prada for opening the flood gates to really LOUD trousers. Prada SS12 features some really acid bright, floral, golf inspired pants – designed to give any minimalist severe anxiety attacks. By the time I’d picked up … Read More »
There are collaborations, and there are collaborations. Whilst the recent Marni x H&M link up was a rare example of high fashion working successfully with a global mega chain (mostly to do with rigorous quality control I imagine), many such collaborations end up as high end badly translated via cheap materials. It’s always a pleasure therefore to see the latest Joe Casely-Hayford collection in their ongoing relationship with John Lewis.
John Lewis holds a special place in British hearts as a vanguard of good service and quality products (if a little conservative) whilst Joe Casely-Hayford, stands for design excellence and beautiful materials, harking back to a time when fashion was less talked about but was no less cherished by those in the know. Result? Beautifully cut pieces in impressive fabrics, at accessible prices. What I love most about this partnership is Joe’s playful take on John Lewis’s traditionalism. It’s like the best pieces from the John Lewis stockroom have been disassembled and put back together with a touch of Savile Row precision and an eye for British materials. In previous collections, quilting, layering and waxed fabrics have been the stand-out approaches.
In this collection the double-breasted shorts suit and the bold, African-inspired Liberty-print shirt capture the spirit for me. Shorts suits regularly appear on the high street, but I’ve yet to find one that’s well made enough to not look awkward. In Joe’s hands the fabrication looks substantial. A shorts suit needs to have the same presence as a regular suit, but with the lower part of the trousers missing. Too often from the high street its a pair of casual shorts with a hastily-assembled jacket in a flimsy material. And regarding the shirts, surely I don’t need to say too much about print right now? The fusion here of Liberty heritage with a very African sense of pattern speaks volumes about the Casely-Hayford genius for mixing it up. Can I suggest when you next visit John Lewis you merge a trip to the kitchenware department to buy the muffin tin of your dreams with a generous look at the Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewis collection? It’s redefining what high street collaborations are all about.