by Sara Khan
London Fashion Week Men’s was back for its sixth year bringing the brightest talents of the UK’s menswear industry to the capital. This year’s shows included Iceberg, A-Cold-Wall, Ben Sherman, Edward Crutchley, and one of our favourites from last year Nicolas Daley. This year also saw in a new ambassador through the British Fashion Council and David Beckham will support to promote the British fashion industry around the world.
Here are some of our highlights from the incredible Spring/Summer 19 shows we saw this weekend.
For SS19, Edward Crutchley collaborated with a range of creatives including artist Lucien Murat whose work focuses on contemporary mythology questioning our relationship to screen, machines, and wider society. Edward and Lucien have merged their two worlds of experience to create a series of prints and embroideries that were made in collaboration with James Bosley Studio and The London Embroidery Studio.
The classic oversized jacket was updated into a sleeveless samurai vest, archival robes and kimono vests all hinted at Edward's love of Japanese clothing. Suits were woven by Bower Roebuck, one of England’s oldest mills dating back to the 16th Century, blended merino wool and mohair to create the perfect mix between drape and volume.
Other partnerships included creating hand painted and foil printed fabrics with a kimono printers Chiso, kyo-yuzen, and created traditional kauri irate fabric made by Shimogawa used within in Hawaiian shirts and shorts giving a modern twist to this traditional fabric.
Blindness dissected the subject of ‘First Love’ and the incomparable vulnerability of those who experience it for its SS19 collection. Seeing first love as full of curiosity, confusion, naivety, emotional turmoil, lacking control, but ultimately something very natural; the label created a very romantic collection using untraditional materials and layering.
Romantic sensibilities are seen through exaggerated and amphorous silhouettes, flowing tulle and hints of opulent costume. The dream-like and fantastical influence of first love were symbolised through ruffles and use of pearls and embellishments in the accessories, masks and corsets.
Above all, the collection has a clear and precise message in its defiance of sociological binary norms and aims to be gender-fluid, cross-cultural and unafraid of self-expression. Shin and Park hope to evoke the value of diversity in love and continue to challenge cultural and political values through their SS19 offering.
Stefan Cooke’s first SS19 collection explores the initial excitement and then longing for lazy summer days.
Focusing on solid wearability and tailoring, the label garnered a selection of second-hand source pieces that recall adolescent memories of the unintentional elegance of their teenage older brothers and uncles. The looks played on social constructs of masculinity that were reflected in their use of ostrich feathers affixed to belts, and pearl necklaces that appeared around the neckline of cardigans.
The vests were hand-linked in chainmail-like webs of between 4000-7000 suit buttons. A collar, tabard, darted shirt fronts and a corset were made from machine washable paper printed with blown up imagery of charity shop-found cable knit jumpers that clung to the clothes using magnets. Motifs were designed for the collection by stick and poke tattoo artist Misty Mountain appeared as graphics on the t-shirts, printed across the back of a white leather varsity jacket, and on the labels on the back of the jeans.
Cottweiler’s show took place at RAMBERT, home of Britain's first dance company that has grown to become one of the world's leading independent dance companies. The collection featured lotus flowers and abstract graphic prints. Track suits were embellished with melted monograms, rubber prints, embroidery and embossed fabrics creating a wet effect. The Woolmark Company provided innovative Merino wool that was featured in the crocheted massage-bead tunics.
Charles Jeffrey Loverboy
For SS19 Charles took us on a journey to the futuristic world of Xanadu. This sci-fi and utopic world offers us an alternative reality where we embrace a genderless society – a post-gender Shangri-La littered with stardust!
The label takes on an amorphous new mood featuring printed duffel-bags, cycling jackets with contouring panels, a striped silk tennis dress and rugby shirt with tubular ‘tumours’, and 3D-printed caps by Leo Carlton. Playful accessories and apotropaic jewellery were dangled as charms around the body, and paint-splattered denim and distorted graphic knitwear were also featured as part of the collection.
Phoebe has been designing womenswear since 2011 and tried her hands at menswear in 2015. For SS19 she presented both women’s and menswear collection at London Fashion Week Men’s. The separate personalities of each sat side by side. The collection for men are utilitarian, paired-back with clean detailed structures. Her womenswear collection was in parts made from unused menswear material.