LONDON FASHION WEEK MEN’S 2019 (AW19)
OUR AUTUMN/WINTER 2019 RUNWAY AND PRESENTATION HIGHLIGHTS
We’ve been attending the men’s fashion week in London since we began in 2012, and this was also the first year that UK menswear got its own platform to shine. Back then it was known as LCM and we've seen the ups and downs over the years. This year it was held in East London for the first time – within the Truman Brewery in Shoreditch – which would have felt like home for many of the designers who work from this area of London. An area of old mills, historic streets and urban art everywhere you look, it was heaven for the street style photographers and it worked really well as the new home for LFWM. Over 40 designers showcased their latest collections over three days and the British Fashion Council announced new data for the menswear fashion industry highlighting that consumer spending is up 5.1%, meaning menswear now accounts for 26% of the total clothing market. This event marked the 13th edition and as usual here is our round up:
This season, Thomas Mailaender’s creative use of light in his 'Illustrated People' photographs, hugely inspired the two designers to discuss the abstract relationship between light and individuals through their designs. For their fourth London collection, Pronounce further extends the language of the brand. AW19 is a visual poem of relaxed tailoring and more, appreciating the beauty of crafted structure lines. Delicate hand-sewn piping techniques were one of the highlights, which represented beams of light.
For AW19, Bobby Abley takes inspiration from his family and hometown of Scarborough, where he worked on the collection. Abley revisits his childhood; balaclavas, scarves and baby blankets are all replicated, and hand knitted by his mother and relatives and incorporated within the collection as one-off pieces. The family team of knitters also created cardigans and jumpers in fluorescent colours – a palette which recurs throughout the collection. The rest of the colours in the collection are inspired by Abley’s favourite characters from Pokémon. Fiery oranges of Charmander, soft lilac of Mewtwo, powdery blues of Squirtle and of course, the unmistakable sunshine yellow of Pikachu.
Band of Outsiders
Band of Outsiders’ Creative Director Angelo Van Mol looked at the moon landing as a pioneering event. One source of inspiration was Damien Chazelle’s recent movie First Man, starring Ryan Gosling. But instead of focusing on the moon landing itself, Angelo turned to the people experiencing it while watching this happen in front of their living room’s TVs. The collection is very much about the feel of the end of the 60s and beginning of the 70s. The choice of colours and fabrics embodies this: warm hues including spice orange, burgundy and olive brown are balanced with camel, navy and black. That era was also one of protest, empowerment and challenging ideologies which led to a more open-minded society. People wanted to break barriers in every way, especially style, and explore new territories with the moon being the most unreachable and fascinating one.
Fashion has overdone nostalgia that attempts to cash in on your impossible longing for a perfect you and a perfect time. Liam Hodges has collaborated with Ellesse for AW19, reworking the firm’s ski-wear, using prints of salt crystals taken via a powerful microscope. The tracksuits draw from the projection of tesseract, a four-dimensional cube that exists within mathematics but that can only be rendered in 2D. The collection’s motif is a figure stuck between dimensions, knowing inside out all the people we’ll never meet, the books we’ll never read and the mixtapes we’ll never listen to.
Signature experimentation and free draping is teamed with investigations of tailoring that are respectful of tradition. Per has learned from the experts in new fields, from a tailor on Savile Row to an skilled digital pattern maker, to broaden his knowledge of draping and cloth techniques. “I was thinking about what it means to come from a simple place to a big complex city, like London. It’s about dreams of travel, ships in a bottle, experimentation with new forms and learning about traditions.”
Fake news, disinformation and post-truth politics dominate today’s media landscape. Lou Dalton has looked to those individuals who have historically challenged the ‘false reality’ created by incumbent rulers and regimes. Taking inspiration from the ‘severe style’ movement, namely Azerbaijani artist Tahir Salahov, Lou has adopted the utilitarian silhouettes of the industrial workers depicted in these works, combined with the sparing palette of contrasting vibrant and muted tones originally used to accurately portray true life in the Soviet 1960s.
Inspiration for this collection came from Robyn’s father’s style, and archive footage of players and fans at the Dublin GAA games: both what was worn, and how they wore it, from a time before the self-consciousness of digital present day. “It’s that crowd, that camaraderie. How would they wear that now, if that boy, those men, were here right now?” she says. As with her graduate collection, block colours were used in blue, white and green. Aran knit appears as a white sweater vest, with nylon inset in the sleeves to bag them out. Jeans are cut wide at the top and then belted high, as if a pair borrowed from your Dad. Nylon shorts are lined with fleece, cut high enough in the waist for there to be space to tuck your Aran sweater inside. Drawstrings at the hem of the knits add extra tension to the silhouette and logo backpacks have one or two straps, while cross-body bags are slung over the shoulder.
Going back to the brand’s thrifting roots, there is an emphasis on treasured yet attainable pieces. This collection explores the idea of blatant glamour achieved through subtle but clever techniques such as ghost printing which creates flash photography motifs such as lace, vintage doilies and tassels left as precise resist imprints. Diamante, too, is caught on camera but not found in person for a feeling that recalls the low-fi glamour of a teenage house party and combines it with the fabulousness of a Studio 54 scenario. Chainmail continues this fascination with shine for standout pieces that refer back to the previous SS19 collection. Leather takes its reference point from the elasticated strip detail of a Chelsea boot to create a jacket and trouser that spectacularly split and open as they move. Knitwear stems from a manual-style 1950s book found in a charity shop with its front cover depicting a mosaic of girls playing hockey. Tailoring has an armour-like quality with waists taken in on coats and proportions lengthened.
A sophisticated collection with a unique mix of male models such as Fat Tony, Hu Bing, Isaac Carew and Shaquille-Aaron Keith. Not only did Oliver Spencer himself admit that this collection is one of his favourites, but he announced it is the start of a new path for the brand. That new path will include a core focus on sustainability whereby 30% of the collection will be made from eco fabrics such as heavyweight linen which can be worn all year round. AW19 is an Alpine journey of slow fashion with eco wools leading the way in beige, ochre, green, navy, and velvet and cord also play a large part. This collection is influenced by Alpine utilitarian clothing mixed with contemporary luxury. The stand out fabric is a woollen seersucker made into go-to suits, home-grown in Lancashire.