Boys keep swinging: Duckie Brown’s SS14 collection doesn’t skirt around the issue of what men can wear.
Duckie Brown today played up to their reputation for being New York’s premier experimentalists in the form of menswear. And playing is the right word to use, not in the sense of being pointlessly frivolous but in the idea of a childlike refusal to accept rules as rules and to continuously test boundaries, especially when it comes to what can be worn and by whom. In the opening moments, a spoken word soundtrack, voiced by children, expressed the arbitrariness of male and female dress codes and their impact on aspirations and identities, a sentiment later underlined by the lyrics of some driving adult-vocalled hip hop.
Backstage before the show, Read More »
Men’s underwear tends to be overlooked in the fashion press with only Fantastic Man um, standing out, when it comes to opinion on what men wear under their trousers. One suspects a certain coyness, certainly on the part of straight males (both journalists and readers), about lingering over details and especially photography of men wearing only a primary layer of clothing. But this menswear writer has no such qualms, and I’m pleased to report a growing interest in fine undergarments for men, and for taking as much care over your pants as those items visible to the wider population.
It’s a few years now since I spotted Schiesser underwear on sale in the old Cloak boutique in SoHo New York, later followed by boxes of the retro-looking fine German underwear brand turning up at Murdock branches in London. The recent popularity of Sunspel, primarily as the source of high-quality under layers (their T-shirts with mesh sleeves for ultimate breathability are now a staple for me) is further evidence of an increased concern for being as well dressed in your bedroom as you expect to be in the office. And now there’s a new kid on the block: Under; a luxury mens underwear range with a twin base in London and Amsterdam.
I’m finding it really hard to separate what I saw in London today and in New York over a week ago, in terms of what we may be wearing when the light returns to us next Spring. Add to that, the distraction of current streetwear trends, spottted between Shoreditch and Williamsburg, especially in our globally-warmed times..
But here goes: 10 trends from London’s Menswear Day, 22 September 2010
1. The Great Outdoors: Waxed, outdoor, wipeclean, waterproof fabrics (from Carolyn Massey’s extended cagoule pockets, to Lou Dalton’s Anglo-trad waxing), if you’re going to get wet, be waterproof.
2. Statement Sweaters: A crossover trend from womenswear (hello Henry Holland’s cutie giraffes and foxy foxes). From Carolyn’s jazzy Deco stripe, to Sibling’s Pop Art Punk to Tigersushi Furs’ colourful tigers. It’s like graphic sweaters never happened.
3. Shorts with jackets: In other, words, the short trouser lives to see another season of Alexis Petridis-flouting urban retaliation. Men got hot legs living in the big city. And short trousers need not mean schoolboy. Seen at Lou Dalton and Carolyn Massey and just about everywhere else.
4. Visible layers: the old ‘playing with proportion chestnut’. This doesn’t just mean not tucking in your shirt, though long T-shirts worn with shorter sweaters are a definite trend. Seen at: Carolyn Massey (and at Duckie Brown in NY).
5. Backpacks and camping. Also a trend for A/W. But let’s face it, aren’t you more likely to be carrying stuff somewhere meaningful outdoors when the sun’s shining? Brownie points for detail at Carolyn Massey, where the rucksacks looked positively sombre (and at Patrik Ervell, NY, where the straps were of woven horsehair).
6. Military details. Again, this is a current trend likely to be still aflame come the Spring/Summer. Olive greens, military khakis. Basically: raid your local Army Surplus store and, where possible; customise, wear stuff inside out and generally subvert it’s regulated purpose. Olive green waxed jacket seen at Lou Dalton, military pockets/cargo at Casely Hayford, and a trend that will run and run, a bit like plaid.
7. Biker. Ah, yes. Are we just working through the entire back catalogue of classic Americana? Best seen when it’s not actually in leather: Casely Hayford faux denim, Sibling knitwear etc.
8. Mustard, brick, rust, peach. Let’s just drag the colour slider over to the reds and yellows section. Colours of earth and mud. From Carolyn Massey’s Colman’s mustard waterproofs to James Long’s oil print spillages.
9. Elasticated hems. Blouson! Add an 80s touch to any outfit. See New Power Studio’s sportswear.
10. Eclectic, patchwork madness. Yes, that IS a theme. From Lou Dalton’s carefully placed, ethnic panelling, to James Long’s inky colour explosions, to the doily-clad chaos of J.W Anderson it’s partly about extravagant mixture. Long and short. Patterned and plain. Functional and exotic. It’s a long way from considered urbanity or preppy uniformity. Let’s get messy!
Bubbling under: encroaching darkness (ASOS Black, NY’s Oak), and the likelihood of a spin-off trend of raised soles once Prada’s ‘platform’ men’s shoes hit the expensivo racks next Spring . OK, this was about LONDON right? but we’re a badly defended island as far as fashion influence goes (and long may that continue).
Lou Dalton must have drawn the short straw to have the 9am slot for her menswear show today, but good fortune was definitely on her side in what turned out to be a really cohesive collection full of wearable pieces featuring lots of rich details. Taking the nomadic lifestyle of the Romany people as a theme, this allowed for a mix of utilitarian functionality mixed with a roguish magpie’s eye for combination and colourful details.
Absolutely loving these ASOS print shorts. VERY Dries Van Noten and also so much like the batik-print shorts I bought last summer from UNIS in New York that I’m prescribing myself from ordering. Probably. Being limited edition these lovelies are all but sold out.. and if you are a 36 waist you probably shouldn’t be contemplating them. I particularly love the Ikat print with its suggestion of Balinese elegance. Of course, in Britain Summer is a myth, not seen for many years. So you’ll have to wear them elsewhere on your travels. Perfect for stepping over that steaming New York manhole cover and ducking the water hydrant as you stride out for the evening, tote over bronzed shoulder bared in pastel vest en route to that fabulous bar on Elizabeth Street or joining friends on their roof in Williamsburg. Dream on dream on..