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London Collections: Men's 2014 - Day 1

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From 6th to 8th January, the fourth London Collections: Men sees the best names in menswear showcase their offerings for the Autumn/Winter 2014 season. From sharp three-piece suits to colourful knitwear that wouldn’t  look out of place on your nan’s knitting needles, get the lowdown on what to expect on shelves and shop floors come Autumn

Hardy Amies AW14Lou Dalton’s British workwear inspired collection comprised of suitably tough, iconic pieces in a neutral, almost ‘vintage industrial’ palette of browns, bleached denim, khaki, pewter, and touches of camo.  Relaxed fit trousers were teamed with fairisle knits, trench coats or suede jackets featuring aviator trims and stitched details one would normally expect to find on denim. The look was completed with lace-up Grenson boots, snoods and flat caps for an authentic farmhand finish 

It was all things knitwear over at John Smedley, who concentrated on classic knitwear shapes (no superfluous lengths or voluminous sleeves here!), given a modern twist. Bold, geometric patterns and block stripes were offset with bright, complementing colour palettes; a jagged sunset of pink, orange and crimson, or royal, navy and pastel blues.  Alongside these colourful creations were slightly more demure fitted cardigans with blazer collars, which could be easily layered with fine knits.

Astrid Andersen served up another strong sportswear-inspired collection. A largely monochrome palette was paired with pale blue, mustard yellow and metallic gold accents, used across a range of athletic pieces. Sweatpants, tracksuits, oversized football jerseys and quilted jackets were updated by mixing jersey cotton with luxe liquid-sheen fabrics, although items such as crop tops, ballooning trouser legs and skin-tight asymmetric one shoulder styles were perhaps more questionable.

The swimwear at Orlebar Brown was less Club Tropicana, more Jungle Book, with exotic plant prints seen on shorts and t-shirts. A fairly sophisticated palette of khaki, navy, white and camel avoided being too ‘serious’, with injections of flamingo print, tie dye and splashes of colour on bright gilets, courageously short shorts and fitted polo shirts. Teamed with classic aviators, this was a perfect mix of fun and cool.

Those lucky folk over at Topman Design were treated to an appearance from legendary punk poet John Cooper Clarke, who read an original poem, ‘Top Man’, before the show. Opening with an entirely black and pewter colour scheme, the collection then introduced well-cut suits and overcoats in navy and pale blue before moving on to a series of gold, cream and beige pieces such as pea and duffel coats, which  were from dull thanks to clever incorporation of high-shine, wet-look fabrics. Next came a welcome pop of stark orange against onyx, with chunky wool roll-necks and two-tone knitwear, before going full circle and back to black with muted metallic or patent leather accents. A wonderful, playful collection that takes a fresh perspective on tradition by updating classic shapes with innovative use of unexpected fabrics and cuts.

Hardy Amies produced a very wearable collection of beautifully tailored suits and coats.  Mostly consisting of shades of grey and cream, the expertly cut collection did feature occasional bursts of subtle navy and electric blue, plus the burnt orange trousers that we promise you will be desperate for  by October!  Hardy Amies kept things playful with classic check prints and contrasting prints and fabrics, while the upturned collars were rather Sherlock-esque (never a bad thing, believe me).

Similar to Topman Design, punk was a key influence at Matthew Miller, featuring a mostly monochrome collection of classic blazers and trench coats, as well as a subtly eye-catching moss green leather biker jacket.  Draped layers, chunky knits, ankle grazer combat-style trousers and shift dresses encapsulated the androgynous mood of this show, set against a fitting David Bowie soundtrack.  

John Smedley AW14Jonathan Saunders (Men’s) was a ray of sunshine in gloomy January; bright bowling and bomber jackets, bold knitwear and glittery metallic sweaters made for a wonderfully lively collection, full of vibrant prints, stripes and clashing colours. Break free from the usual shades of navy, black, grey and burgundy this winter, and experiment Saunders style!

MAN featured collections from Alan Taylor, Bobby Abley and Craig Green. Taylor’s monochrome show was far from boring, with dusky pink accents (remarkably close to Pantone’s Colour of the Year, ‘Radiant Orchid’, and neon-yellow leather gloves). Suits featured bold abstract prints and understated shimmering fabrics, while jackets with cut out hems sat atop billowing mid-length skirts. Things were certainly different as Abley’s models took to the catwalk with their mouths held open with rubber dams in disconcerting juxtaposition with his Mickey Mouse skullcaps, powder-pink, peach and grey fluffy jumpers and teddy-bear print sweaters. This strange Disney nightmare progressed as models appeared in horned skullcaps, ragged bird and barbed wire prints, and sweaters bearing the slogans “R.I.P” and “Dream On” written in Disney’s iconic font.  Thankfully, Green’s collection offered a bit of peace following Abley’s intense edginess. Calming kaleidoscopic prints and refined black and navy pieces reflected a seemingly Oriental-inspired collection of shapes – relaxed, draped, yet structured – topped with leather body harnesses.

The footwear and accessories at Mr Hare were presented entirely in black.  A risk, perhaps, but saved from being staid and boring with the use of contrasting textures. Sleek matte and glossy patent leather worked in perfect harmony with rich suede, while loafers also shone with shimmering metallic uppers.  Ankle boots featured strap and buckle details not dissimilar from styles seen over AW13, while accessories such as wallets and circular purses were given an edge with embossed punctuation symbols.

Beijing-based Xander Zhou used the words ‘reinvention’, ‘regalia’ and ‘furry’ in a press release to describe his collection, and he certainly kept to his word.  While ‘regalia’ may conjure images of all things excessive, Zhou’s collection was best described as minimal.  With focus very much on outerwear, including his signature trench coats, modern tailoring was given a twist with elongated proportions and surprising details. Bold, diagonal slashes of colour were painted across black, off-white and pewter coats, although pops of purple, orange and red were also seen embellished with royal crests, and topped with floor-sweeping scarves.  Knitwear with asymmetrical shoulder draping seemed to follow the diagonal lines that held the collection together, as did starched regal sashes, while fluffy pom-pom polka dots added a new dimension to the slashes of colour seen earlier in the show.   

Louis Leeman Paris presented a stunning array of footwear, including steel-capped baseball boots in luxe fabrics and rich winter-favourite shades of burgundy and black.  Brightly coloured ponyskin lent an update to slip-on loafer styles, while gentlemanly velvet slippers in burgundy, teal, crimson and leopard print were embellished with tassels and gems. Others featured discreet waved patterns traced in glitter, while some continued the trend for steel toe-caps, providing an interesting contrast against traditional, soft fabrics.

Lee Roach looks set for an androgynous AW14, if the catwalk show is to be believed.  Minimalist shapes and light fabrics were complemented by a suitably neutral colour palette of black, beige, navy and camo print, while models appeared with dewy faces and polished, slicked-back hair.  Nipped in waists and apron skirts lent heightened feminine accents to collarless coats, all the while contradicted by masculine baseball caps, black leather and beige suede loafers for an intriguing take on androgyny.

Bobby Abley, MAN AW14Creative Director of Gieves and Hawkes, Jason Basmajian, said that the label’s AW14 collection concentrated on making country clothes feel appropriate as city-wear: "I love the country colour palette worn in the city…to me, it’s quite urban."  The brand’s sophisticated tailoring appeared predominantly in black, dark blue, olive green and grey, along with classic tweed checks. Undeniably beautiful in design and cut, the collection was saved from being too ‘safe’ by introducing tomato red velvet jackets, shimmering luxe fabrics, slightly pimp-ish fur lapels, oversized or upturned collars and one exquisite single-breasted teal coat.

Tailored jackets at Richard Nicoll (Men’s) were paired with hooded zip-up jackets, or given an update with brightly coloured fur collars. Simple elongated gingham and striped shirts were layered under slogan sweaters and cable knits for a look that will be wonderfully easy to wear throughout autumn and winter.  While Nicoll claimed inspiration from Brian Eno’s 1975 album ‘Discreet Music’ and the way that the words suggested opposites, the fluoro organza and ruffle details,  bomber-cum-tailored jacket hybrids and bright satin shorts, were not his strongest looks – even if they were intended to illustrate the idea of chaos versus order. Nicoll’s tailoring can be quite beautiful, with subtle yet innovate details and vibrant, harmonious palettes of deep plum and delicate lilac, icy and royal blues, citrus yellows or poster-paint and gemstone reds. 

The first day of LCM was rounded off in style by Thomas Pink, whose dapper models draped themselves around various levels of scaffolding while dressed in impeccable tailoring. The Pink gentlemen is certainly a modern one; models were of all ages, some clean-cut, others bearded or wearing beanie hats, but each and every one bedecked in a stunningly cut suit. Pink livened up classic cuts, checks and stripes with pops of colour and quirky accessories such as bright braces, block-striped scarves, colourful shirts that clashed with striped ties, bow-ties and handkerchiefs; a truly charming, youthful take on classic tailoring.

All images courtesy of the British Fashion Council




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