London Collections: Men Autumn / Winter 2016: Day One Review

Our verdict on TOPMAN, Craig Green and the other highlights from day one

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1 | TOPMAN

A new air of luxury at Topman. Where recent seasons have felt function-focused, the brand's AW'16 collection featured sumptuous fabrics, slouchy shapes and looked very comfortable indeed.

Where baggy crushed velvet ankle swinging trousers sat at the more outre end of the spectrum, beautiful loose suits in charcoal boiled wool and oversized coats with tonal chevron patterns were both wearable and desirable.

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On foot, it was all about sneakers - specifically chunky-soled tennis shoes, and on head the look was off-duty Sherpa, with saggy beanies abound.

- Teo van den Broeke

 

2 | MAN

MAN: three shows for the price of one. It can confuse even the most erudite of fashionistas. One front row-er got to his feet and headed for the exit in the brief moment between shows two and three, only for his pals to grab his hand, sit him down and (almost) save his shame.

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The rest of us knew there was a third show coming, and that eager chap was probably glad he stuck around because Charles Jeffrey Loverboy's 2nd collection for man was a real jolt on he senses. His small ragtag army of fashion conscious lost boys stomped down the runway amongst giant alien sculptures made of cardboard and cling film. They wore seemingly punk-inspired, Westwood-esque looks that Loverboy may well have cobbled together from cast offs and scraps of fabric. It was joyful and irreverent and refreshing to see a man waltzing proudly down the catwalk in tattered silk slip dress. You won't wear it to work, but it's great nonetheless.

Rory Parnell Mooney was the 2nd of the three shows, and it was very much a continuation of last season - monochromatic, slightly culty looks, especially those that featured the oversized hood. There was the odd bondagey collar, and a few kimonos tied at the hip, something we saw emerging in the summer. Almost every piece was adorned with the phrase Nancy Boy, which is a statement about something, but it's not clear what.

The first of the three, though, was perhaps the most engaging. Grace Wales Bonner's first collection for Man was a triumph that blurred the lines between genders. Tailoring was cut in at the waist so much that it gave the models almost feminine curves, and trousers were cut high and wide, and billowed down to 70s footwear. There was an ease of movement to everything, and I felt that of the music were to cut out and Northern Soul came blaring from the speakers, the boys would look right at home. The Best MAN show of the past few seasons for sure.

- Charlie Teasdale

 

3 | 1205

For a label that bills itself as 'a pure and exact survey of aesthetic principals', The Royal Institute Of British Architects was an appropriate venue for 1205's show. Paula Gerbase trained in the atelier of Hardy Amies before becoming Head Designer for Kilgour, so sharp Savile Row tailoring is in her blood.

She is often referred to as a minimalist – she favours a cooly flowing uniform in navy and white, both for herself and her creations. Yet while there was purity and restraint here, there was also plenty going on. The collection used a range of specially designed nylons, cords and synthetic yarns to give bomber jackets, overcoats and her trademark billowy trousers a texture that felt both natural and manipulated.

Relentlessly modern, 1205 is also shaping up to be the most timeless of lab.

- Johnny Davis

 

4 | Craig Green

Craig Green has fast become one of the highlights of LC:M and his latest offering at the new Marylebone show space was packed to the rafters. Expectation was high and he didn't disappoint.

Last season was all about shocking colour - emerald green and Guantanamo orange - and some unexpected womenswear looks. Yet six months later, there was neither. In their place, a more subdued palette; a sense of reflection and longevity; an exploration of aged and tarnished cloth and softer shades which created a sombre mood. In essence, an evolving aesthetic.

The familiar utilitarian workwear shapes were still in abundance, but this time around they felt more subversive. His continued fascination with themes of restriction and release manifested in cloth tied around the neck or high above the waist to alter already skewed proportions. Hoods were drawn severely around the head as if to constrict vision and long ties of cloth holding together asymmetric shapes trailed loosely along the floor. Constructed, then deconstructed - each look was as uncompromising as it was starkly simple. A masterclass in rebellious cut.

- Catharine Hayward

 

5 | Private White V.C

Season on season it seems that Private White VC grows in confidence and adds nuance to its range of workwear inspired British made apparel.

Last winter we we were impressed with the outerwear offering - there was a particularly good grey overshirt which will probably be in store now - and they've taken it all a step further this winter with big statement coats that were styled up over sleek roll necks and slick tailoring - another progression for the brand. It was a pleasant surprise to see one model in a three piece suit and tie. Clearly, PWVC's suit offering will be one to consider in the future.

The standout pieces, though, were the shearling collared coats. One a bomber in deep navy, and the other a brown belted football-manager-meets-gamekeeper overcoat. Perhaps that doesn't sound great, but it is. Top work Nick Ashley and all at Private White V. C.

- Charlie Teasdale

 

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THE SHOWS:
Topman
E.Tautz
Craig Green
***

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