Part-surfer, part-hippy, part-holy man, Edward Crutchley returned to London Collections: Men with only his third collection but already this Central Saint Martins alumnus is making big waves. His previous incarnation as consultant to, amongst others, Louis Vuitton Homme really shows. Luxurious sportswear is the MO here, made extra special by a passion for artisanal textile techniques and a brand philosophy focused on preserving independent craftsmanship.
Eastern influences were the touchstone for AW15 in finely embroidered Koi carp, traditional Japanese wooden geta sandals with socks and bombers, baseball-style shirts and kimono jackets crafts from silk demonstrated. They remain but for SS16, Crutchley was inspired by ideas of modern pilgrimage, ingeniously combining the figure of the holy man with modern concepts of travel.
Prints depict a haunting mix of modern pilgrims and Ethiopian religious portraiture, collaged upon wide swathes of fabric in such a way that I was reminded of both stained glass windows and beach towels. Ethnic references also provide references for shape; the draped trousers, the scarves and sarongs wrapped around structured, oversized shorts and button-up shirts spoke of other, more simmering climates. Contrasting surf-inspired elements – the wetsuit silhouettes, the blue and white patterned boardshorts – provided another depth and complexity to the collection.
The collection’s underpinnings are the highlight of Crutchley’s first fashion film. Directed by Ollie Evans, styled by Julian Ganio, models are arranged in a classical tableau: a modern day Jesus and his disciples, carrying surfboards, mounted on motorcycles, lifted by choral music and fluttering petals. Are these today’s heros, the film seems to ask? Well, yes, dressed by Crutchley, they certainly are.