Extravagant looks are neatly stored back into the wardrobe as London Fashion Week Men’s came to a close last night. The male counterpart of London Fashion Week has become increasingly more popular since first coming to London in 2012. In the bustling Shoreditch, the heart of East London, British designers gave the show-goers what the wanted, a ton of young talent, showing innovation and the power of collaboration.
On Friday we were gathered in the St Mary-at-Hill church to admire Nicholas Daley, jazz-inspired collection. Focusing on using materials of the highest quality, celebrating the craftsmanship of the British textile industry as well as introducing Japanese hand-dying techniques. Accessories and prints were produced in collaboration with a variety of brands, yet the spirit of collaboration was culminated with the live performance of award-winning avant-garde jazz group Sons of Kemet, kicking of LFWM on a high note.
Where some designers opt for instant impact through a runway show, others decide to hold a presentation. This season's designers pulled out all the stops to make their presentation remarkable. Set in the historical Charterhouse building, dating back to the 14th century, Alexander McQueen, under creative direction by Sarah Burton, presented their SS20 collection. With delicate piano on the background, guests could admire the meticulously cut suiting up close and personal. McQueen’s signature blend between feminine and masculine was explored through delicate floral embroideries, full crystal embellishments and reconstructed ruffled and pleated appliqué coats, taking inspiration from an oriental aesthetic. Ending with a punch of colour, bold fuchsia bled into deep indigo hues, creating watercolour-inspired pieces effects on crisp suiting.
The blending of cultures continues as Rahemur Raheman merges South Asian references with a British perspective, presenting a collection of sharply cut pieces that are made from scraps of suits to create accessories while honing in the craftsmanship from his Bengali heritage.
EAST MEETS WEST
Collaborations were a common thread throughout Men’s Fashion Week. GQ China joined forces with New Generation Designer Brand 8ON8 on Sunday morning for their runway show. The CSM-alumni, Li Gong, brought his first international catwalk show to the Truman Brewery, San Junipero, inspired by the eponymous episode of Black Mirror, following his characterising retro-futuristic aesthetic. This resulted in an elegantly tailored collection with unexpected feminine twists like silky dresses sewn onto the back of structured suiting.
China was well represented this SS20, with the largest Chinese fashion retailer, Hailan Halan, bringing its premium younger line AEX to London, supported by JD.com showcasing China’s garment industry. More than 40 different suits were seen on the runway, with stylistic details setting them apart. Our favourite? The sleek black suit, embellished with gold detailing and worn with a mesh trench. Additionally, JD.com sponsored the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund Award, named A-Cold-Wall* this year’s winner. Aiming to accelerate business growth and a global reputation for British-based emerging menswear labels.
FOUND OBJECT FASHION
Completing the LFWM trifecta is the showroom space in the middle of the Truman Brewery. Visitors have the opportunity to admire the pieces previously seen on the catwalk or during a presentation as well as discover other emerging designer’s work. This year we saw a lot of young designers represented in the showroom, taking the opportunity to showcase their work over participating in the runway show. The designers showed true creativity, reworking found objects in their pieces, creating bespoke and one-of-a-kind pieces. Be it a bags made from beans, or repurposing curtains as fabric for mac jackets.
London Fashion Week Men’s SS20, was a great success, once again showcasing establishing London’s reputation as being a catalyst for young and emerging talent that is breaking the norms. As a platform that supports and promotes emerging designers, we can are excited to see the heightened interest from world-leading companies that are willing to support smaller designers, and in doing so giving them the opportunity to showcase their work overseas. If this Men’s Fashion Week proved anything, it was the power of a successful collaboration.