Following on from my dour-noted menswear/LC:M/fashion/life rant, I thought I'd make amends with something more chirpy. The point I was really trying to make re: all the "What man would wear this?" type comments, which dominate mainstream menswear discussions (especially on newspapers), is how joyless and patronising they are. Is it physically/spritiually getting in the way of your day that these designers are creating these collections? Can you be 100% sure that there is no man in the entire world that would wear this? Is it not much better that someone is out there creating such clothes so that elusive "man" does have the option to wear halterneck tops/lace onesies/floral tracksuit bottoms should he choose to do so.
I'm oddly beginning my LC:Menswear round-up with two pairs of shoes – one is a pair of Jeremy Scott x adidas Originals pair of men's penny loafers and the other a pair of Topman Design trainers. Both were intended as menswear but luckily bought in small enough sizes so that I could get in on the action too. The conservative folk might ask that key question: "What man would wear them?" Well plenty as it happens with sizes purportedly sold out. So let's just renounce that question as pointless and redundant shall we and shelve it away, shall we?
LC:M was a hotbed of designers, who also threw that question right out of the window, to design not as the market dictates but as they saw fit. And quite rightly so. As a first time goer, I can only echo other menswear regulars' thoughts and say that the energy was throbbing and from my perspective, because I didn't quite know what to expect from some of the designers who are just starting out or cementing their aesthetic, it was genuinely exciting to watch. And even though it's besides the point, you can definitely count on this wo/man here to get onboard with pretty much everything you see in this post. It may not be a designer's intention but once it's off the rail and paid for, these are clothes ready to be "borrowed" by women should it take their fancy. They're options, choices and fashion in general is made all the better because they exist.
Astrid Andersen - Florals + Basketball + Sweat = One sexy summer where the court could fry an egg and the boys shooting ball are staking claim on a visceral looking floral.
Agi & Sam – Ahh‚Ä¶. a reference to the wonderful buses of London and their myriad of bad taste/amazing textiles. Give it up for Agi & Sam, who have toned down the twee and upped their game in terms of designing a fully rounded collection. The prints haven't gone away entirely though. They're familiar in a good way. You might have sat on them on the number 43. If anyone does buy into these prints, PLEASE do me a favour, find a bus that matches the print and take a pic. HEAVEN.
J.W. Anderson – What hasn't been said about yet another collection that has been banally portrayed as an act of heinous gender provocation. I doubt J. Dubs minds though. He's glad he's provoking. And he's certainly glad that it divides opinion. The whole collection was "bent" (no, not in that way‚Ä¶) by way of geometric altercations. He's really growing into that asymmetry, which really took shape in the A/W 13-4 womenswear collection and is getting lots of people hot and bothered because of it. More please‚Ä¶
Sibling – Jolly. Upbeat. All smiles. Sibling's East Side Story boys came out coiffed and buffed in Bruce Davidson-tinged Americana meets British zane. I definitely liked the zane. Especially in the collaboration with artist Richard "woodgrain" Wood and the loose plastic friendship bracelet yarn knits, inspired by Ndebele tribe decoration.
Shaun Samson – There's no doubting that Samson is from Southern California. The medley of West Coast rap made sure of that. The hip hop vibes were made sensual and tactile through Samson's fascination with felting seen here where grey wool segues into silver foiling. It's still a great signature style calling card to play, evident by the fact that half the room were wearing something by Samson.
The Fashion East menswear installations provided another bonanza of concentrated newness. It's where I bounced around the happiest, from one world to another to get up close and personal with the clothes.
Joseph Turvey – From the dalmatian spots of last season Turvey turns to the legendary female NASCAR driver Ethel Mobley and her female influence on a sportswear-infused collection. Hand drawn florals meet Rothko-esque colour blocking in a convincing way. Spray painted hair optional
Liam Hodges – Morris Dancers meets Metal. I liked the sentiment of this mixing pot of a presentation. Hodges mixes up his own version of the band tee with patchwork folksy elements as well as paint-tinged workwear for those that graft hard and drink hard.
Kit Neale – Whammy! That's exactly what I felt when I walked into the presentation and that's exactly what Neale called his collection. Son of Rambow meets Lord of the Flies meets Peckham and Love Shack. That's quite the cacophony and it works! Behold, the intricacies of the genius "Peckham Riviera" print or the neon hues inspired by that B52 video. I'm busting to get pretty much everything in this collection. Neale thankfully doesn't mind.
Craig Green – It was brilliant to resee the beautiful paint-slicked cardboard explosions which adorned Green's models at the MAN show. They make sense by themselves and in situ with the clothes (which are all beautifully made and entirely wearable in spite of media protestations). It was also a chance to see Green's collaboration with Purified footwear as it resulted in a set of slip-on trainers with unique silicon straps.
Photography by Quentin De Wispelaere for Dazed DIgital
Marques Almeida– It was inevitable that Marques Almeida would give some love to the guys who wore their ripped, distressed and thread-bare womenswear. It is but a small capsule collection for Opening Ceremony but it's ever evocative with denim camouflage carried over into oversized tees and a patchwork ponyskin biker jacket that is definitely a stand out piece.
And some others which I didn't see but wanted to HURRAH anyway. HURRAH for Richard Nicoll getting together with artist Linder Sterling again for a triumphantly beautiful menswear collection, his best yet. I hear there's more Nicoll/Sterling pieces on the way for womenswear too, which I'm obvs excited about.
Photography by Arnolt Smead for Wallpaper
Hurrah for Jonathan Saunders turning up sensual heat on city slickers.
Photography by Quentin De Wispelaere for Dazed Digital
And HURRAH for Christopher Shannon and his youthful rave of a collection complete with this stunner of a biker jacket using a medley of Liberty tana lawn fabrics.
Photography by Piczo for i-D Online
… which will be luv-ver-ly with my newly arrived Liberty x Nike ID Air Maxes. Trying hard to keep these pristine…