The new year has just started but fashion is never left behind, it always looks forward. London Fashion Week Men’s is responsible for a later office comeback, last Saturday light was shed on the collections and trends that will rule the next winter season.
The British capital is renown for its innovation and experimentation and, this time again, the curatorial aspect of the various presentations left us breathless. From the models walking through pottery urinals covered in moss to the clones and cyborgs introduced by Xander Zhou, surely London designers know how to be talked about! But, a part from scenography, what we’ve seen on he catwalks partly confirms the trends we’d already announced for 2019, revisiting menswear classics (like the full suit or the leather jacket) and suggesting to keep on playing more and more with accessories, which from finishing touches become real protagonists.
As always, our focus is on streetwear and sportswear, and here we’re listing the brands we most impressed by:
Liam Hodges is the British designer grown under the tutorage of stylist Simon Foxton, Royal College of Art, class ’94. His creation explore masculinity with a polysyllabic expressivity, translating into wide silhouettes, patch working and sportswear and streetwear. His influences span from the Hip Hop and skate wear universe to English paganism, sportswear and Post Punk culture. His latest collection “Mutations in the 4th Dimension” is a fine mix of all this. Striped polo shirts and t-shirts are finished with Fergus Purcell (the graphic designer behind Palace, Ashley Williams and AriesArise) style prints and sentences evoking martians. The collections boasts two collaborations: first with emerging brand Stain Shade, for Tye Dye prints; second with Italian sportswear brand Ellesse, with whom he revisited key skiwear pieces of the brand, turning skiing jackets and pants into comfy daily streetwear. Among the accessories, confirmed the balaclava trend for 2019 too.
Cottweiler was established in 2016 by designer duo Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty. This season they brought us to a 12-floor-underground car park, an environment surrounded by pottery urinals covered in moss and fake car flashing lights. The setting evokes the dark alleys of London’s East End and the collection pushed the boundaries of menswear codes. Golfers and cricketers, with hundreds and dog walkers, boast a formal sportswear, made of zipped up sweaters, multi-pocketed vests, and trousers with ankle bands. Completing the look, accessories (caps with Mercedes and Lotus logos and innovative buckles for the belts – could they become new Alyx competitors?) and shoes made in collaboration with Reebok, a hybrid between sneakers and loafers.
Robyn Lynch is an Irish designer debuting this year at London Fashion Week Men’s. A recent graduate from Westminster University, her collections are a tribute to her heritage. We can see it from her color palette where, next to white and deep blue, green is predominant. Her monochrome looks are made of tracksuits, zipped sweatshirts, jumpers and hunting coats. While the silhouettes (resembling 80s sportswear style) are repeated, materials alternate. Nylon tracksuits are styled with knitted jumpers and vests, while all is completed by cotton trousers and shirts. Great space is left to accessories: one-shoulder backpacks and pail & nylon or knitted beanies.
Alex Mullins launched his eponymous brand in 2014, after finishing his academic path at Central Saint Martins and Royal College of Arts. He immediately stands out for his ‘hand made’ stile, suggested by the use of custom made textiles and advanced production practices. He draws inspiration from traditional menswear apparel, which is revisited in contemporary key. His latest collection is, in fact, a reinterpretation of traditional tailorings, whose proportions are subverted: blazers almost reach the knee and the sleeves cover hand knuckles, while the trousers gain a wider and softer shape. Another inspiration source for the collection was the motocross world, from which he repurposes shapes and colors of jackets and trousers.
Born and raised in North-East London, Saul Nash is a dancer who, after finishing Performance Design studies at Central Saint Martins, dedicated to fashion design. His ‘STATIC | MOTION: A Conversation Part II’ is an evolution of his graduate collection at Royal College of Arts, where he undertook a masters degree in Menswear. The garments presented are a perfect meeting point between the two disciplines that marked Saul formative path: dance and fashion. A luxury sportswear collection showcased through a dance performance choreographed by the designer himself, allowing him to show the qualities of his clothes at best. His sportswear silhouettes are loose and soft, refined by zips and cords that enable the wearer to customize them according to own’s taste and needs.
Also within the last collection presented by Samuel Ross for A-Cold-Wall the performative element was an integrating part of the show: the public watched the catwalk from behind an aquatic path surrounding the runway, where dancers covered in grey were twisting and crawling. Guest star the barking Dobermann, who disappeared in the dark with the same speed at which he appeared. The atmosphere and music (also by Samuel Ross) referred to the anxiety and restlessness we breath nowadays. Sweat models were looking behind themselves in paranoia while walking under a weak and glinting light. The collection pulled out statement pieces of practical daily wear: trench coats, padded vests and trousers, workpants, polo shirts and turtlenecks. Characteristic were the innovative cut-outs, that allowed for the beneath multilayered outfits to show. Other then cross-bodies, bags and suitcases completed some looks too and, scarves with geometric patterns and hats covering the ears, were the final touch for a collection in full Samuel Ross style.
He also boasts a degree at Royal College of Arts on his cv. Introduced in the fashion circle by Fashion East in 2016, Per Gotesson’s collection are a personal reinterpretation and menswear essentials. His style is marked by Scandinavian minimalism, together with his capacity to deconstruct traditional silhouettes. The key pieces of his collection are the ripped multi-layered t-shirts e and muted-toned shirts left undone on the t-shirts. There’s also reversed denim and full suits in tartan or black; but the peculiarity lays within the trouser shape, getting years beyond the skinny model (we told you so!). Trousers are marked by asymmetric seam-lines that provide the garment with a bell silhouette, perfectly matched to his coats and hats with fur details.
Craig Green was winner of 2018 of British Fashion Council’s Best Designer of the Year Award. His latest collection is a result of experimenting with new tailoring techniques, textiles and materials, like the ones from industrial packaging or colorful plastic bottles used to create a complete full look – hat included. Apart from tartan suits presenting cut outs instead of pockets and on the elbows, and kaftan-necklines tops, available also in semi-transparent fabrics, Craig Green reinterprets a 60s silhouette on the trousers design and on the trench coats reaching almost knee length. Other elements we were impressed by, the pink and green prints on the raincoats, available also in grey and black, and his signature trousers with oversized pockets.
A graduate from New York Parsons, Madeline Hogan designs under the acronym of Floyd Hogan, the brand subverting stereotypes of masculinity, and she also works as a Materials Designer at Nike. Her collection is inspired by bodybuilders and the world of WWE at its peak, in the 70s and 80s. Voluminous, least to say, jackets referencing wrestler’s inflated chest and biceps, cet in contrast with the tight printed shirts and jumpers matched underneath. Trousers with sticking out bulges alternate with silky high waisted shorts and shirts with exaggerated collars. Among Floyd Hogan’s wardrobe essentials there’s also printed t-shirts and leather coats with big shoulders, available both in black and light blue.
Last but not least regarding importance and special effects, Xander Zhou, representative of Chinese New Wave. He let a series of clones, doctor-engineers and their creations, new born babies held between arms or in buggies, extraterrestrial beings and cyborgs, walk down the runway giving life to his futuristic garments. The clothes are characterized by brights colors, like the ones featured on spatial suits, finished with multi-functional belts. The doctors wear straight pants and blue polo shirts (the blue of doctors’ gowns), turtlenecks resemble the sci-fi costumes of the 70s and the leather jackets seem like they just came out of Matrix. Dominant the presence of comfy fleece sweaters, which you can see above in white and grey. The Supernatural, Extraterrestrial & Co collection explores the human and technological development, where genetically modified humans will take the place of ordinary people.
Text by Enrica Miller