Breaking Norms at London Collections : Men SS16

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House Of Holland
No one was more happy than me when Henry Holland announced his menswear debut. Whenever Henry used to step out in one of his own, I always used to wish that he ventured into menswear…and now.. Yayyeee!!! It is almost EXACTLY like I would have imagined Henry Holland menswear would be bringing his fun colorful sensibilities that we are used to within his menswear. The cheeky text (that has probably become his signature), a riot of colors and the crazy prints all made an appearance within the menswear presentation. Bold geometric jumpers and chevron lined jackets were bang on brilliant. The chevron pantswere an absolute Love at first sight. Bringing on his personal quirky personality to the forefront, what Holland drew upon was ‘youth culture and tribal uniforms’ inspired by buffalo kids, raves and wild child (a very prominent theme n trend this season at LCM). With his quirks on in full display Henry Holland attempted to bridge the gap between collections and consumers by presenting the collection to consumers directly to what he describes as ‘see now, want now, buy now.’ With creative business acumen and the fun persona, he keeps guessing what is next for this designer and where and how does he take his brand forward.


The lost boys at sea was the inspiration behind Sarah Burton’s Nautical Show. Playing to the recount of Judi Dench reciting Shakespeare,  models with straggled, wet locks took to the runway. The shipwrecked and lost sailor theme was visible in the form of Sailor Jerry Tattoos which patterned t-shirts and two-piece suits. The frilled jumpers which were reminiscent of waves washing over the shore made an appearance too while the classic suit was given a patterned nautical twist (many designers did their spins on the suit this LCM as well). Captian’s jackets, nightwear shirts and monsters too made for a cheeky punctuation through the collection. While Sarah Burton’s aesthetic has that sort of mcqueen’s darkness, her presentation is much more demure!! While Mcqueen would have taken it into a much more Lord of Flies territory exploring carnal human psyche we certainly aren’t complaining against Burton’s abled exploration within disturbed hopelessness.


Charles Jeffery
Every fashion week, I come across a few new brit designers during LCM who challenge the conventions by holding up that mirror through their craft. Jeffery was definitely one of them. One of the two designers to showcase in the ‘fashion east’ exhibition, Jeffery brought out the rave, the wildness of a club night literally on the runway. Bringing forth his experiences of creating the club night that he used to put up and earn money, Jeffery’s Dalston-style ‘LOVERBOY’ night was thematically designed around the notions of heaven and hell. Rooted in 80s subculture, the dressing was larger than life with suiting given a much more of soul. It was a ‘night’ of the ‘regulars’ where they gyrated with infectious energy; no inhibitions. The clothes almost became secondary and the whole presentation created a safe haven for the precarious youth to live out their infinite hazy dreams.


Christopher Shannon
Another rave party, another outta control child. Shannon holds up the rebellious phase right in the face with his latest outing. Bursts of Vodka, podium dancing and foam parties, all the trappings of the overzealous youth, but with underlying layers of rebellion and liberation were reference points for Shannon. Shaking things up, he chopped and split garments into a look of almost-there pieces. High-cut, athletic shorts and mesh rompers alternated with hints of slouched baggy sportswear. Shirts were splintered by zippered, uneven strips, and denim were cut open and bonded together with gaffer tape. Sweatshirts were plastered with cigarette-lighter motifs and  slogans like ‘DAMAGED’ and ‘NEEDY’ while discarded bikini tops, bunched up fluorescent-coloured keychains and shaving foam clung to the models like hangover debris. Going through the collection it was a bit of a deja vu 😉 as the models strutted their stuff as if boys just returning from a long stint of hedonism on a post-sixth form holiday. And out of all the chaos, there were  details that were worth noting, from the slumped trousers and flat, flap-pocketed tunics that opened the show to the neon-sliced, thickly layered jackets that closed it. It was a show that demanded to be read much more between the lines than it was to be visually seen, making Shannon’s presentation was one of the prominent ones within the good boy gone bad genre this fashion week.


Craig Green
One of the front runners this season for the relaxed fit and aesthetic akin to japanese was Craig Green. His  love for craft, construction and ‘making’ was pretty evident through out the collection. Twisted nipple knots, quilted texture all displayed his love for construction. Relaxed trousers that echoed judo suits and quilted jackets made an appearance in the bright hued collection. But everything seemed much more breezier rather than being weighed down by these elements. With an aesthetic that floats between Japanese workwear, medieval armour and ethereal ceremonial robes, Green stuck to his guns to show what he does best. The fact that he used female models was a sort of nod to the androgyny that Green played with so effortlessly while striking the balance between signature style and creativity. Green’s clothes have this certain ambiguity and mystery about them that makes the gender irrelevant. Firmly planting his feet, it is now waited to be seen, how far is he able to change up this sensibility for consecutive seasons and the direction he takes the brand in.


James Long
As a designer, personally, I always want whatever I make to be in sync with its wearer or its styled so that it inhabits the persona of its wearer. James Long in his recent collection does that so effortlessly that I am almost JEALOUS. His clothes and presentation had a character of a person, so much so that you pretty much forget that these are newly made pieces. This personality is the one that is hard to achieve. Long’s approach towards conceptualizing his ensembles by drawing upon real-life characters rather than diving into abstract concepts gives his collection a certain ‘real’ quality that is a breath of fresh air. The one to induct individuality, his clothes and styling seemed very spontaneous… pretty much opposite of the studied carelessness many try to achieve. He mixed together various elements including ruffles, patch worked denim (my fav. was that long coat), tie and dye and patterned knit into a concoction of textures; the styling..well was delectable and spontaneous, sort of reminiscent of the wild night, with models with smeared glitter and an unapologetic ‘walk of shame’. The informality of the fabrics and pieces hit all the right notes with their perfect balance of not too OTT outlook.


Kit Neale
Hip to the core, Kit Neale stayed true to his colorful aesthetic transitioning from lego to Car boot sales this season. For this season we witnessed Kit Neale bringing onto the runway the charm of rummaging through garage sales, thrift sales, going through crap and exploring the ideas of throwaway consumerism. His collection had oversized jackets, trousers in vintage scrawny floral prints as well as color blocks. The whole recycled, reused and hand-me-down vibe was pretty much the order of the day for the designer.  With such comment on consumer culture, who knows what one may come across during a haul through these sales coming across pretty much like a treasure hunt for the young vibrant youth who loves to mix things up rather than sticking to rules.


J.W Anderson
Cerebral designer J.W. Anderson’s collection are contextual and conceptual.. so much so that you have to google it quite a while before you even begin to understand it. With a mish mash of references from a zen like quality to sci fi to a boyish charm within his silhouettes, he continued his obsession with space and other worldliness that allowed him to experiment with the androgyny that he loves. Not veering too far away from his space (all puns intended there :P) the references to space combined with obvious  ideas of youth, naivety and space, and a boy in space doing his own thing. The little charms arranged in a talisman-like grids echoed the wishful youth adding preciousness to something of no value in their time by doing what they want and give it whole a bit of DIY vibe. Stripping back to basics with gauze tops with feathers, thick paint strokes or silver tape laid over them, and billowing pleated trousers. The relaxed silhouette provided the laid back vibe of the young boy while the dumpy Mary Janes were the perfectly added not in-your-face quirkyness.


Tom Ford
For all the pop art fans, Andy Warhol is not an unfamiliar name. The guy who rose to great heights within the genre of pop art setting the barometre so high that he himself is still the yardstick for brilliance in that genre. This genius still continues to inspire artists and designers alike in this day and age. Tom Ford took a step back from seventies to swinging sixties this time around with his menswear. His usual polished aesthetic was bang on the money combined with hints of Studio 54 to produce a series of looks that was period and contemporary within a single ensemble. One of my favorites a gun metallic slim fit suit was an absolute delight with fabric and color cut to perfection to give it a streamline look. While it was fluid it was a constructively brilliant with the box framed fitted blazer shoulders and razor sharp tailored trouser pleats. On point hair styling and hose wide rimmed shades and the model seemed like a splitting image of the artist that was hard to ignore. For daywear, shrunken biker jackets, breton knits, roll necks, white jeans, a classic mac layered over a slim denim jacket and a mock neck jumper to leather and suede looks with iconic slim-fitting jackets, all drawing inspiration from the sixties made their way into the presentation. Statement jackets in kaleidoscope effects, printed on silk or in multi-coloured jacquards (I got a couple made for myself on my own too last year and I love my metallics 😉 ) were pretty much those modern day classics that had that timelessness about them that sit in your wardrobe for years and feel like that one bling guilty pleasure that is a must have in your closet


Was it bringing the all American Jock onto the runway or making fun of those jocks out in the open through studding their clothing with sequins or outing them to the world to be fabulous, Sibling’s lashed out seemingly tackling all of these themes within their presentation that was high on testosterone and the all american football culture. Sequined tanks, oversized shirts and patterned shrugs, hint of bum exposing pants and laced up crotch pants were the highlights of the show. With peek a boo window on the thigh-hugging bumster trousers exposing butt-cracks and tightly laced up corsets, while they played with the new sexual attitude in men’s fashion it also was holding up a mirror up to the male gaze by sexualizing unexpected parts of the male body. On the other hand, the laced up crotch areas were a nod to homo-erotic undertones that the sport is associated with. Thick laces, shoulder pads and raffia-trimmed hoods all came together for this male bonding session of boys just being boys – guys hanging out together, getting a beer and just having a good time. We also got two suits, a first for the brand, contrasting the whole collection with streamlined and sharp tailoring against the exaggeration within the whole collection.


Katie Eary
The designer overturned a childhood symbol over its head to showcase the loss of innocence and the rebellious teenage phase that is pretty much highly active and wild. Subverting childhood motif with sex, the prints were pretty much ‘designed to overthrow innocence’ – My Little Ponies with giant cocks. Referencing the polished 50s where kids were a nightmare and piggybacking on the history of the overtly sexual and rebellious teenager, Eary, debased innocence by combining such symbol with giant penises – a very stark and brave move. The print actually demands a second look since it is hard to spot what’s wrong and is a punch when you realize it… much like the young models showcasing the innocent childhood boy who has grown up (the same boy who liked these ponies) but is a shocker that this boy also has harmones and pretty much wants to fuck everything that moves. Eary’s removal of innocence was pretty much a shocker to everyone who liked that particular memory. Using satin, silks, poly blends  – fabrics with sheen to represent plastic toys, the silhouettes were boyish in tees, shirts and boxer shorts tackling themes of hedonism, growing up and loss of innocence owing to sexualization and overt exposure that seemingly robs off them of being ‘a child’


The duo harks on childhood inspiration and imagination like their previous showing. This time around the inspiration came in the form of nightmares of baddies and ghosts. Loose silhouettes and hand scrawled prints in browns, slate, denim and midnight blue took the childhood into darker territories. The smeared face styling sprinkled with stars hinted at night and fear of these men. Odd proportions added a dynamic feature to the whole look while the muted color palette kept the look from screaming like its last outing. The mysterious broding strangers that our mothers warned us about, the boogy man and the bruised bad boys all made an appearance during the presentation in an array of layered looks. Dramatic in its own way, the whole collection was rather cohesive and complete leaving no room for wanting more or editing out.

*All images belong to their respective owners

2 thoughts on “Breaking Norms at London Collections : Men SS16

    N'war said:
    June 24, 2015 at 1:33 am

    Wow, the one with My Little Pony theme caught my eyes. So is it a trend too to show your butt a bit…

      owais responded:
      June 24, 2015 at 6:04 am

      Haven’t teenagers been doing that for quite a while now anyway 😛

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