This January’s London Collection Mens, which kicked with high street megalith Topman and wrapped up with another power player Burberry, marked another step in menswear’s move away from traditional suiting towards a more complex, eclectic idea of male identity. Here are my eight favourite looks to be inspired by.
Romantic louchness underpinned by razor-sharp tailoring maketh the man at Patrick Grant’s E Tautz, in a collection inspired by a 1980’s Edinburgh roller disco, I kid you not, but cut with Savile Row sharpness. Key pieces included track tops, bomber jackets and fluid nylon anoraks as well as slouchy knits, duffle coats, double breasted trenches and rain jackets.
JW Anderson – the jewel in London’s fashion crown – returned to the hectic visions that marked him out at the start, with models untrussed from the bustiers of previous seasons. There was always something joyously bohemian in early JW which has been studiously ironed out for conceptualism and gender challenge in recent collections; it was back here in spades, mixed in as always with some genuinely commercial pieces.
He may look like a handsome Alpine hiker but Christopher Raeburn’s typically recycled outerwear-heavy collection was actually motivated by Mongolia. It’s consistent but that’s only another reason why I love Raeburn’s work.
Colour, print, paint, texture, cartoon decals: James Long pays homage to friends and family, the community of local artists who are, evidently, very creative and keen on mullets.
One of their most pared back collections, Agi & Sam celebrated utilitarian dressing in a show that featured cropped neoprene tops and wide-legged, billowing trousers; hoodies in microscopic check; chunky jumpers with faux gauche over long sleeves; shearling collars; zips in all the right places. Thank God they introduced womenswear at the same time or I’d have been plundering Mr Porter.
As London’s most politically driven designer (his twitter bio reads ‘contemporary anarchistic modernist’), Matthew Miller‘s work – uncompromising neutrals in architectural lines, printed sparingly with sharp ripostes at society – resonate with neo Left Bank angst. This collection was no different and as always, with its belted trenchcoats, shithot layering and the use of a print based on Caravaggio’s David and Goliath, it was shockingly beautiful.
It can often be derivative but Topman Design has a specific job to do, which is translate high end to high street. With that in mind, they still push boundaries so high five, Gordon Richardson, design director. Wide-leg velour trousers, brocade, bashed sweaters, bleached denim, beanies, kimonos and dangling sleeves expressed a sexy foppishness that you could see on a bus seat near you soon.
Part patient, part paratrooper, part desert traveller, Craig Green’s models embodied multiple notions of physical protection in ruched, strapped, down-stuffed silk suits and coordinating hoods. Green only graduated in 2012 and, boosted by healthy sales and a cult following, stays true to his compelling aesthetic.