What We Learned From London Fashion Week: Men's
London, unlike its contemporaries, is one of the more unusual fashion capitals—and its men's fashion week is no different. While Paris, Milan, and New York so often go classic, you can find our beloved capital city breaking the rules, shouting about it, and probably smoking indoors at the house party. This season was no less disruptive. Which is a good thing. What's more, London's stock is on the rise, with once 'cult designers' becoming proper serious commercial entities. A thing, if you will. So to unpick the trend, highlights, and general what-you-feelingry, our resident style team dish their take on show season's rowdiest window.
Green Is Back On The Color Wheel
It’s not a classically stylish color, green. Navy, yes, and black and white, and we’ve had about three summers of dusty millennial pink. But deep forest green has recently been in the doldrums, reserved for classic cars and park rangers. I like the shade, despite it being tricky to pair with other colors— especially red, unless you like to dress like Buddy the Elf—and a series of designers at this weekend’s shows in London demonstrated how to wear it well.
From left: Oliver Spencer, E. Tautz, Kent & Curwen
Patrick Grant at E. Tautz used dark green to great effect in suiting, and one really mega oversized scarf. Oliver Spencer, known for his expert wielding of autumnal jewel-tones, sent a corduroy suit down the runway at the Royal Academy that was the color of an old pine tree, and the texture of the fabric only deepened the hue further. It was worn with a roll neck in a brighter shade of putting green, which looks great in a runway show, but perhaps less so in the office. Finally (although I’m sure there was more), Daniel Kearns at Kent & Curwen deftly peppered his collection with tweed and khaki, used best in a pea coat with massive lapels and big trench warfare buttons.
And let's give an honorable mention to Daniel W. Fletcher, too—a surprise favorite, to be honest—and Kent & Curwen's cricket snood. Not sure why neck layering hasn’t been a thing before, but it’s coming.
—Charlie Teasdale, style director
Young Blood Flows Fast
A new year; a new venue; a renewed vigor for London Fashion Week: Men’s in early 2019. The big guns of yesteryear are now a distant memory—defected to other fashion timetables—and, in their place, the young guns have risen phoenix-like from the corporate ashes to take their rightful place on planet fashion’s runway of creativity.
From left: Edward Crutchley, Alex Mullins, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy
From Spitalfield’s Truman Brewery in London’s East End, the creative partnership of Eden Loweth and Tom Barrett—known collectively as ART SCHOOL—kicked off proceedings with a message of proud representation for their debut standalone show. Then, Edward Crutchley’s homage to an eighties Grace Jones—complete with Stephen Jones hats and embellished secretarybird cloaks and printed silver foil jackets—was impressive; Alex Mullins' neon pink, denim-that-wasn’t-actually-denim collection was confident and desirable; and Charles Jeffrey Loverboy’s ‘Darling Little Sillies’ was an homage to the story of Peter Pan (with a touch of Lost Boys, Lord Of The Flies, and Warhol thrown in) added a theatrical, over-the-top close for a Saturday night in a disused Wapping power station.
David Beckham’s ambassadorial presence at Kent and Curwen’s breakfast salon show certainly sprinkled some celebrity stardust over the weekend, but it was the roster of cool, fledgling designers—now with experience and commercial minds—who make UK fashion so influential on the global fashion scene: punk, gender fluidity, and inclusiveness.
—Catherine Hayward, fashion director
Tailoring Goes Back To The Future
Yes, London is home to Savile Row. We're aware. So it's natural for up-and-coming British designers to showcase what the British do very well: classic, masculine tailoring.
Pitti Uomo, this was not, though. Instead of harking back to the golden era of Mayfair members clubs, designers looked to the future: boxy tailoring. Oversized tailoring. A little bit metallic, too. It's the type of stuff that is just as at home on a Blade Runner set as it is a New York smoking terrace.
From left: Edward Crutchley, E. Tautz, Daniel W Fletcher
We saw it in Edward Crutchley's neo-film noir tinged collection, in suits that flowed without absolutely drowning the models in pinstriped fabric. All that was missing was a one-liner about what it means to be human and a bioengineered romantic interest. Then, E. Tautz went wide with more classic shapes, adding a contemporary element to the fail-safe old school—something Daniel W. Fletcher doubled down on, blasting the suit into the nearest post-apocalyptic anime by way of colorful cummerbunds and sports-led power dressing.
Replicating in real life was once difficult, especially if you didn't want to look like an overexcited attendee at Secret Cinema. But now? London's stock of talent has made wearable on the future perfect.
—Murray Clark, digital style editor
The Power Of Polyester
Luxury outwear used to be so simple: a long overcoat in the most expensive natural fiber or skin imaginable. Wool, cashmere, wool-cashmere, suede, mohair; angora, alpaca or vicuña. The logic being that nature knew best. But that was before man and machine took over.
In London this January we saw the strongest case yet that synthetic materials have properly cracked high-end fashion, especially when it comes to coats. Nylon is no longer a dirty word. In fact, it was everywhere. From Kiko Kostadinov’s quilted tracksuits designed in collaboration with Asics (the new power suit?), to the sepulchral shapes of *A Cold Wall, where rough and worn ultra-long-line parkas with frayed hems and in-built compasses were styled with mock necks and nylon windbreaker trousers.
From left: Kiko Kostadinov, Cottweiler, Craig Green
At Cottweiler there were bright, primary colored shell suits, earthy puffas, and dark trenches worn over royal blue track tops, while Craig Green saved his most surprising creations for last: a series of hooded macs in high-tech fabrics featured beautiful Japanese-style screen printing on the reverse, like something you might see on a rice paper shoji screen in a dim Kyoto parlor. Proof, if it was needed, that polyester has plenty to offer the world of expensive and avant-garde clothing.
—Finlay Renwick, deputy style editor
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.