London Menswear Collections: Dystopia and back-to-work functionality on third day of shows
Day three of London Collections: Men was preoccupied by two distinct and strikingly paradoxical themes; intergalactic dystopia and back-to-work functionality. J.W.Anderson got things rolling with a collection inspired by narrative – particularly that of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s fable The Little Prince where a young boy from outerspace encounters a series of offbeat characters on his journey to Earth, crash-landing in the Sahara Desert.
The influence could be felt enormously with goggle-like aviators, breezy linen tunics and quilted tabards matched by makeshift crowns and flight suits fit with utility pockets. The Northern Irish designer retained some familiarity though as the collection continued to build on a modern interpretation of gender with glossy shoulder bags and cartoonish men’s and women’s faces set amongst puzzle pieces. His trademark androgynous aesthetic was quite literally taken to astronomical heights.
For Christopher Raeburn, the theme took a more literal shot at merging fashion and science using cutting-edge fabric innovation and referencing the early years of the Race for Space as inspiration. Synonymous with sustainability,
J.W.Anderson referenced Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s fable The Little Prince
Raeburn uncovers the power of functional fabrics such as Nomex and Airbrake to create stark white parkas with modular compartments and oversized Velcro straps that resemble space-wear. More literal elements saw lunar-inspired motifs emblazon jerseys, backpacks and detachable woven badges. Looking to the literal stars, this season space is positively en vogue.
Perhaps one of the greatest design challenges of all, every day life served as the inspiration for Margaret Howell and Christopher Shannon who strove to create collections that utilised functional fabrics while serving a purpose. Howell is renowned for her ability to remain undeterred by the short-lived fads of the fashion world and this season was no exception.
Margaret Howell show, Runway, London Collections Men, Spring Summer 2017 (Rex)
With a pragmatic colour palette of navy, ecru, khaki and medallion yellow a refined collection of solid classics was born; oversized boxy shirts, fisherman’s jumpers and high-waisted, cropped pants. The designer continued to explore more graphic elements too with stripes and polka dots contributing to a more playful feel.
Christopher Shannon show, Runway, London Collections Men, Spring Summer 2017 (Rex)
Known for his leisure wear staples, Christopher Shannon put a new spin on an old favourite trading in technical fabrics for hard-wearing textiles such as denim and cotton. Monday mornings and a desire to return to a focus on fabrication lead Shannon to experiment with four different washes of denim spanning a verse of decades; 80s funnel neck tracksuits and 90s baggy jeans were fashioned with multiway t-shirts and double denim combos stitched with belt loops.
Well known for his take on recognisable insignia – from cigarette packets to carrier bags – Shannon incited the branding of British retailer Sports Direct reworking their logo on t-shirts and sweatshirts to read “Lovers Direct” or “Haters Direct”. With an experimental take on masculine sportswear the Liverpudlian designer has won us over with a modern, relevant and playful collection.