London Collections: Men S/S '16 – Day One Report

The verdict on Topman, Aquascutum and the other highlights from the opening of LC:M

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1 | Topman

Wide legged trousers have been sashaying around for some time now, with both traditional tailoring brands and more contemporary labels producing surprisingly wearable takes on the style.

Today at Topman, the opening show of LC:M, the wide legged trouser trend reached its zenith. Super-wide chinos, billowing cargo pants and slouchy washed silk suit trousers finished with inverted pleats ruled the runways. Teamed with cropped jackets and tight graphic tees the over all effect was very Northern Soul.

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These were clothes designed to be danced in, and were all the better for it.

– Teo van den Broeke

2 | Craig Green

There’s no designer in recent memory who’s enjoyed the career trajectory of Craig Green: recipient of the 2014 British Fashion Award for Emerging Menswear Designer, nominated for the LVMH prize earlier this year and currently being celebrated by London’s hippest shop, Dover Street Market, with a whole window display. Nick Knight, the legendary photographer and OBE, is doing his first ad campaign. Green is 28-years-old.

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Even those on shrugging terms with fashion will know him: his ‘plank head’ outfit – a model with bits of wood apparently nailed across his face on the catwalk – made the front cover of the broadsheets when he debuted at Fashion East/ Topman’s MAN co show in January 2013. The Daily Mail heralded it ‘oak couture’ and sent a reporter out similarly attired to the pub, on the bus, the National Portrait Gallery, etc etc. Fashion, eh? Bonkers.

This afternoon’s show should go some way to silencing the snickering. To one of the warmest receptions of any LC:M show and against a backdrop of post-minimalist music, Green showed a beautiful collection of monochromatic utilitarian clothing that broke out of his trademark white and navy, to offer bright orange, blinding yellow and vivid green (as well as white and navy).

Green’s many drawstring straps were complimented with quilting and reams of fabric pulled through circles cut into sweaters: directional and challenging for the man in the pub, on the bus, at the National Portrait Gallery etc. etc., but also undeniably beautiful, oddly calming and reminiscent of those jaw-dropping Chinese movies with balletic kung-fu executed in front of drapes. Models were both male and female.

As if any more proof was needed that a major talent has arrived, this was it. Daily Mail readers rest assured: one look involved male models stripped to the waist and holding a sheet in front of their faces on wooden supports. Watch out for it on broadsheet front covers tomorrow.

– Johnny Davis

3 | MAN

Though LCM is only in its seventh season (bigger, stronger, better than ever), MAN – the new designer showcase from Topman and Fashion East – is celebrating its 10th year.

The show, one of the most anticipated of the weekend, was preceded by a short film that looked back over the project's illustrious past. Having helped break the careers of Kim Jones, JW Anderson, Agi & Sam and Craig Green, there were plenty of people happy to espouse the virtues of MAN.

Then the show began in earnest, and first up was Rory Parnell Mooney. Last season we saw low key looks of navy and black, and this collection felt like a continuation, although the palette was more nuanced for spring 2015. With the occasional flash of neon, and soft beiges appearing here and there. The models, all overtly thin, seemed to be part of the same lost, dystopian-future gang wandering around in search of fashion sustenance. Highlights included a big, boxy flat-front gilet, Nehru-collared shirts and pleated accessories that hung down from the waist. They were accentuated by the fact that many of the lads were sporting only Y-fronts on their bottom halves.

Then came Liam Hodges (above). If Rory's boys were slightly aloof, then this bunch were downright threatening. The football kits – actual football kits with goalie gloves and everything – were good, as if The Millwall firm had recently taken sponsorship from Versace.

It ended with the live reading of a spoken word poem, which would of landed a little better had it not been read from the poet's phone.

– Charlie Teasdale

4 | Aquascutum

Creative director Thomas Harvey's latest collection for Aquascutum is as understated as he is.

Focusing entirely on fabric – previous seasons have seen Harvey perfecting a slimmer cut for the brand – the collection is summery, elegant and tactile.

Pure silk macs came teamed with Irish linen T-shirts and tapered seersucker trousers in surprisingly dark shades. A suede bomber in inky blue was complimented by the rough linen crew neck beneath it.

The highlight of the collection, however, was a cashmere silk petrol blue two-piece, which felt more like a tracksuit than it did a workaday outfit.

– Teo van den Broeke

5 | Kit Neale 

After a strong debut catwalk show last season, Kit Neale needed a strong follow up on day 1 of LC:M. He didn't disappoint.

Drawing inspiration from his love of flea markets and car boot sales, he riffed on the idea of mix and match oversize garments to the remixed sounds of Depeche Mode's Enjoy The Silence.

But the clothes were far from silent. Created in partnership with his partner Casper Hodgeson, silk bombers and outsize boxy shirts were printed and embellished with hand drawn characters, while loose fit jogging pants and tailored jackets were reminiscent of furnishing fabrics.

While the idea of putting a man into a pink tea dress or outsize culottes remains questionable, the show was bold and confident. 

– Catherine Hayward