LONDON FASHION WEEK MENSWEAR
It was the final day of London Fashion week and although many had fled the British fashion scene for the promise of newer, bigger and warmer, BSF stayed on and indulged in endless unique collections of Menswear. The day began early but the energy was unbelievable. Streets were lined with victims of loud, eccentric fashion, platform boots, tight up-do's and studded jackets flooded the Somerset House; where many of the Menswear shows were held, for outsiders looking in, it was a sight to see.
The first show on our agenda was Christopher Shannon an up and coming Liverpudlian designer who showcased his A/W 2011 collection in the BFC Show Space at the infamous Somerset House. The atmosphere was great, the room was buzzing with lively chat from rows of press and buyers and the photographers were ready and waiting at the end of the runway for the show to begin. Considering a substantial amount of fashions finest had taken off to Milan, it was still massively busy, there was barely a seat free. After a few minutes of madness the room quietened and the show began. Shannon put a quirky modern twist on flat-caps and used thick padded jackets and an upbeat Rihanna filled soundtrack to bring his A/W collection to life. Shannon's collection consisted of a palette of greys, blacks and whites with the exception of a neon brow or two, and had a prominent sporty theme to each piece. Even though his choice to use fairly feminine frills in his designs raised many eyebrows, including ours, much like the 'man skirt', we feel this new trend has the potential to be big this Autumn/Winter.
After Shannon the crowd of people who were perfectly still only seconds before the lights dimmed were up in an immediate rush to get out the door to the next show. Within mere minutes the room was practically empty as if nothing had been there, but at London Fashion Week there's really no time for breaks. Next was the Sibling Presentation, which was also packed with fashionable faces, Canons hanging heavily around their necks. However small the room felt, it didn't take away from the amazing collection displayed on the half-dressed mannequins dotted around the room. Sibling showcased intriguing new concepts for male fashion, cotton playsuits, sequined embellishments and black and white balaclava's playfully designed with pom-poms and patterns to make it more criminal-chic rather than just criminal. What we also loved about Siblings designs was they way in which belts were used. Rather than just creating a belt for practical purposes, say to hold up a garment, Sibling used belts to cleverly decorate scarves and to add a little something extra to minimalistic jumpers. This A/W collection was all about playing with male fashion whilst still embodying very masculine elements, and it worked brilliantly.
After scanning the room and taking in all the collection had to offer we quickly moved on to James Long which again took place in the BFC Show Space much like Christopher Shannon before him. Yet again the hall was packed, cameras were flashing even before the show had begun and the atmosphere was as vibrant as it was when we first arrived. Long's collection was bold as it was stylish, a subtle contrast between textured knits and striking leather both of which complimented each other massively. This collection seemed to be for the man who says nothing but sees everything, a lover of the outdoors with an air of mystery about him. Each piece was put together incredibly well, styled down to the last detail and would make any man look like a model this season.
Moving swiftly on we found ourselves descending upon D.Gnak by Kang.D which was held at Vauxhall Fashion Scout. This show was one to remember, chunky mustard knits, dark maroon trousers, and we couldn't keep our eyes off the patent leather rucksacks, studded with rustic copper and imprinted with regal suede crests. Following a concession of vibrant corduroy, tailored jackets and hike-worthy skate trainers, the lights began to dim and a chorus of much-deserved applause arose mere seconds after celebrating the conclusion of a wonderful collection, and unlike the somewhat coy designers before him, Kang.D emerged from the sides proudly accepting the praise. As we got ready to leave Vauxhall Fashion Scout the realisation that food hadn't been on the agenda became blindingly clear and we made our way to an elegantly decorated back room allocated especially for Press. It was possibly the most serene place we'd been to all day and gave us a chance to take a step back from every show and presentation and reflect accompanied with a tasty sample of fresh sushi and vitamin water.
The next show of the day was meant to be 'Ones to Watch' which planned to showcase the newest designers of 2011. However, due to a seemingly un-ending queue and unforgiving time slots we had to depart in search of the highly-anticipated KTZ that had been on the books for almost a year. As time crept on we left Vauxhall Fashion Scout and set our sites back on the familiar cobbled-grounds of the Somerset House to watch what happened to be our final showâ€¦ it was the best decision we'd made all day.
KTZ is a collaboration of designers whose pieces are self-declared 'youthful' and 'graphic not only in print but in shape'. They exhibited their designs for both Men and Women at London Fashion Week and turned out to be the perfect ending to an eventful and exciting day. Every piece of their A/W collection was visually enchanting; picture neon latex, unique accessories and dynamic shapes to really get a feel of this vibrant collection. If KTZ is anything to go by, then both men and women will be catching numerous eyes this winter.
As the day came to a successful close and the masses began to thin, we contemplated the day, the shows we'd seen, the pieces we'd loved and the designers we favoured the most. Even though so many had written Menswear off, I'm glad we didn't. The collections showcased that day were inspiring, exclusive and more importantly original and we were proud to come together to support those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes.
Article by Paige Lewin