Around came another season of London Collections: Men (LC:M), London’s offering to the global menswear fashion scene. Filled with emerging designers and well-established fashion houses, London is building with great strides its reputation as a formidable menswear hub, now bringing Italian fashion house Moschino to the London schedule, as well as reorganising future schedules to no longer clash with Florence-based trade show Pitti Uomo, which means some of the best of the men’s talent will be able to remain in London for just that little bit longer. While that might seem like a bit of garble to the non-fashion readers, what it essentially means is London is simply being taken a bit more serious on the men’s fashion side, which could be noted by the increase of internationals flying in to survey the shows, as well as a hell of a lot more street photographers to make the ordinary feel like local celebrities. This season I spent most of my time getting in the way backstage for Toni & Guy and Johnnie Sapong (which will be covered in the next post), but I did manage to see some pretty good shows, and more importantly, some very lovely friends.
Maharishi rehearsals with less than 30 minutes to go. The protruding shadow on the right is Johnnie Sapong’s rastacap, who oversaw the hair
I’ve always reinforced the idea that the best thing about LC:M is the school-like reunion. Every six months you walk to the local venues, you see the familiar faces (or familiar outlandish styles) and embrace, moaning about how long it’s been (six months to be exact). You go see a few shows together, menially comparing tickets and seating arrangements and then heading to parties together, where you see how far you can tip the intoxication scales until the possibility of getting up for that 9am show gets blurrier, and all the prints and colours and eccentrics in one room seem to mould into one giant fashion haze. It might sound like I’m moaning, but it’s great fun - where holiday meets work.
one of the many grooming stations at Oliver Spencer backstage, also headed up by Johnnie Sapong
The three days were pretty brilliant this season. Aside from meeting some lovely new people, the show standard definitely stepped up a notch with people adopting some impressive theatrics, such as Oliver Spencer incorporating a live-drum ensemble, and a series of carnival dancers during the final walk, who definitely stole the hearts and attention of the male models backstage (and unfortunately all the photos of the guys hitting on the dancers ended up blurry). I’ll never forget the shock horror that hit the faces of the front row during Sankuanz’s show, who is new to London as Kay Kwok’s successor for representation by GQ China. Sankuanz’s show featured an all-white catwalk, until the music skipped a beat and the “safeness” was replaced by Russian-like carnival music, eccentric ceramic giant gloves/claws and make-up inspired by Japanese manga/anime, providing insanity that I don’t think London’s tailoring scene is quite ready for. GQ China had some pretty big shoes to fill after Kay Kwok’s AW14 show being one I’ll never forget, but I think they did a pretty darn good job.
Enjoyed this season’s COMMON presentation as much as last (and actually invested in one of their shirts earlier this week..!)
Other personal highlights included British designers Matthew Miller and Casely Hayford, who both shared a love for pinstripe which I’m always keen on. The COMMON presentation was quite a stand-out as well, with much of the collection being all-white with the occasional piece of denim. Design duo Agi & Sam had some really memorable prints on their shirts - pieces I’ll be keenly investing in when they hit the stores next year. I spoke to a fair few newcomers this season, who when talking about some of the shows and designers, simply said “I didn’t like it. I just didn’t get it”, which fair enough is a pretty valid statement. I think fashion shouldn’t really be objective, and ultimately it’s okay to have tastes and preferences. You shouldn’t like something just because someone told you the collection is meant to be a masterpiece - if you don’t well, you just don’t. And it’s okay to have opinions, despite people’s hesitancy to go against the norm.
"Not getting it though" - I believe that comes from people perhaps not realising that what you see on the catwalk isn’t necessarily what you’ll be seeing on the streets. The catwalk should be something you take inspirations from, and think of ways to incorporate it into your own style, as very few can really take a look off the catwalk and look just as eye-catching (at least for the right reasons). For example, I’m not the kind of guy who’s going to wear James Long’s boxer-inspired hoody, bomber and leather pants combination, or Maharishi’s Middle East camouflage, face mask and bucket hat ensemble, but I know the James Long blue bomber is going to go great with these blue tailored trousers in my wardrobe, or that Maharishi has just the varsity jacket I’m looking for. For me, it’s about seeing the presentation as a spectacle (as a hell lot of thought goes into it), appreciating the collection and then thinking about ways of wearing it in my own context. And I think if you see it from that way, you might get past the whole pretentiousness that the fashion industry is judged with.
Harmony, one of the few female badasses who walked the Matthew Miller show
I think that’s all for the spring/summer 2015 round-up, filled with the usual highlights, observations and usual Mr. Boy ramblings. In the next post I’ll be covering a bit of backstage work, as this season I’ve seen some truly remarkable things, with hair and make-up done with seconds to go before the catwalk begins, of which the sight is then polarised with another show seeming almost completely chilled before the crowd has even taken their seats. LC:M was pretty memorable this season, and that includes the lovely people, giant monster claws and absolute backstage mania.
- Mr. Boy
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