Tag: London collections men

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My last show of the season was rounded off with a very exciting one indeed, and I managed to watch it all unfold from the front row! Founded by South Korean designer Zio Song in 1993, SONGZIO is a contemporary menswear brand that made its LCM debut on Monday. While this is impressive enough in itself, it was also the first time in 10 years that Song has displayed his work outside of Paris Men’s Fashion Week. The brand is based in Paris, where Song graduated from the acclaimed ESMOD, and Seoul. Proving that SONGZIO is one to watch, this season’s collection, ‘Ocean,’ started just like all of Song’s previous ones – by taking paintbrush to canvas.

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The designer first conceptualises his ideas by using oil paints to create soft brushstrokes. These are then transmuted into printed textiles to produce ‘wearable art.’ There is no denying that fashion is an art form, and indeed, that art can be fashionable. The prints on the catwalk at 180 The Strand were paired with sharply tailored cotton, linen, and vinyl silhouettes.

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Ultra blue, aquamarine, and compose blue overruled splashes of yellow and red, while occasional white and green pieces made a fleeting appearance during the oncoming wave before they were washed away again. There was a good amount of black, exactly what I like to see, to capture SONGZIO’s signature aesthetic: ‘Paint on Black.’ This concept is one that runs through all of the collections to signify the power of the colour when it’s combined with SONGZIO’s art prints.

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In another first for SONGZIO, eight womenswear looks, which are part of a capsule collection created for COUTURíSSIMO, paraded down the runway. Actress Naomie Harris wowed in the front row in a black and white waistcoat and trousers ensemble from the collection, which will be available to the public from July 3rd. I fell in love with an androgynous tux, in fact worn by a striking androgynous model, and its matching loafers.

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The whole uniform vibe in general was a success without being overpowering – from the clutch bags, to the gladiator sandals, to the towering heels, and of course, the all-over prints on the jackets, shirts, trousers, and dresses. The only style that didn’t quite hit the mark for me personally was a men’s long shirt and trouser combination, where the model was a vision in bright turquoise. It was a little less couture and a little more Cillian Murphy from 28 Days Later in his hospital scrubs (not that that’s a bad thing, but maybe save that one for when you want to style out the zombie apocalypse).

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Men and women, look no further than SONGZIO for your next jaw-dropping, minimalist in design yet maximum in impact, suit. Jackson Pollock devotees, eat your heart out.

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Well, that’s a wrap for this season, folks! With a complimentary bag of Propercorn popcorn, an aesthetically pleasing bottle of Evian’s raspberry and verbena mineral water, and a July issue of GQ in tow, I left my first LCM feeling exhausted, but happy – ready to do it all over again next season.

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Words: Laura Rutkowski | Fashion Week Press | @Laura_Rutkowski

Images: Phoebe Fox | Fashion Week Photographer | @_phox_

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Tourne de Transmission cryptically urged, ‘CHOOSE YOUR ESCAPE ROUTE ->>>,’ at the first floor presentation space at 180 The Strand on Monday. I was led into a bare, dimly-lit room, all but for a wall lined with black and white photographs. Some of the faces were instantly discernible, such as McFly band member and LCM regular Dougie Poynter, while others were not. The palpable tension began to build and I fervently looked for an escape route, in case I might actually need one.

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Tourne de Transmission translates directly to ‘rotating transmission’ and stems from the desire to marry visuals with the written word. For the SS17 collection, Creative Director Graeme Gaughan liaised with New York City-based contemporary artist Chris Dorland. Although they did not collaborate on this project, an idea manifested, as is often the way after two creatives interact. The result? Sliced and diced billboard imagery from the 90s-00s, a bombardment of visuals, and then the comedown.

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Relocating to the next room, I was greeted by a set design constructed by Johnny Buttons. The peeling posters and rundown structures comprised of various materials reminded me of an abandoned skate park, not least in part because of the ramp situated at the far end of the room. The models were nowhere in sight. Imagine my delight when I discovered that we were not witnessing a strict presentation, but a mini catwalk show with the added benefit of examining the garments afterwards.

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The models fiercely stormed out, men on a mission, in what I would call derelicte chic à la Zoolander, but done right. Pink and blue war paint was smeared across their legs and faces. At the end of the show, they marched to their positions on the set and the crowd just tentatively stared at them, while they purposefully didn’t make eye contact with us. Gone was the carefree spirit I’d witnessed from previous models, replaced instead by an intimidating embodiment of l'enfant terrible. They all just looked painfully cool in their luxury grunge attire. A voice from the crowd prodded us, ‘You can go up now!’ He didn’t have to tell us twice.

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Oversized rain ponchos and military parkas were designed using tailoring fabrics. Biker jackets were stripped to their bare bones, because who needs frivolous add-ons? Jumpers with overextended arms might have been given a fleecy texture, but there was nothing soft about them. Kimonos and long shirts were awash with plaid, that eternal angst-filled favourite. Unfinished, frayed edges, patchwork, and stepped hems gave the illusion of a ‘throw it on and go,’ ‘I haven’t buttoned my jacket correctly, but I don’t care’ philosophy to the clothes, but you know that each outfit was designed meticulously, consciously. Gaughan thought of it all, from the floppy Simon and Mary hats, to the Ace & Tate sunglasses, all the way down to the choice to lace models up in Converse footwear.

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The most inspired element from the collection, in my opinion, was the ‘ejector seat’ ripcords. They were scattered all throughout the designs, either hanging conspicuously on an arm sleeve or hidden more discretely. On the back of a jacket, the words ‘ESCAPE ROUTE ->>>’ materialised again, the arrows angled up towards the model’s head, while another was branded with the tag, ‘THE LATEST VERSION.’ On the bottom of shorts or tucked away in a waistband were the words ‘CHOOSE YOUR ->>>’ peeking out just enough to be visible.

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I think we all know the answer to what the escape route of choice is in this case. It’s to find your way to the nearest Tourne de Transmission stockist and pick up some new clothes. This is an emergency, after all.

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Words: Laura Rutkowski | Fashion Week Press | @Laura_Rutkowski

Images: Phoebe Fox | Fashion Week Photographer | @_phox_

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Men's fashion is often criticised for going one of two ways: too safe or too far. This is the fundamental reason behind Agape Mdumulla and Sam Cotton's decision to form their own brand, Agi + Sam.

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The pair met whilst working for Alexander McQueen and realised they share a belief - fashion should not be taken too seriously. Their humorous approach to fashion combined with their incredible eye for design results in an aesthetic that is innovative, relaxed and wearable.

For Spring/Summer 17, the duo presented at 180 The Strand showcasing a new innovation in Merino wool in collaboration with The Woolmark Company and Dormeuill.

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Looks were layered in beige, navy and white with the occasional injection of colour in red, orange and turquoise. Texture was built up through ponyskin jackets and fringed stripes. The bed-head hair added to the aesthetic with long messy waves, curls and afros. This laid back styling gave the clean lines of tailoring more of a modern edge.

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Pinstripes and grid print ran throughout the show tying the looks together. A few pieces in vintage floral lent a slight eccentricity along with the neck ties and large blooms adorning the model's faces. References to manly military jackets were softened with the addition of leather marigold gloves, turning traditional gender roles on their head.

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In line with the brand's sense of humour, a white tee featuring an image from Only Fools and Horses' lead character Del Boy certainly turned heads and acted as a gentle reminder to the amused audience that fashion is not to be taken too seriously.

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Words: Sunna Naseer | Fashion Week Press | @sunna_naseer
Images: catwalking.com

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In the heart of Westminster, inside the QEII Centre, a dry desert scene provides the backdrop for Belstaff's SS17 presentation. Amongst the earthy dirt track, lie abandoned tyres, racing bikes and a rusty green Chevrolet on which models are perched looking effortlessly cool.

The theme was inspired by Bruce Brown's influential 70s film, On Any Sunday, that chronicled the international sport of motorcycle racing. Like the film, the collection celebrates the carefree attitude of the guys and girls from the bike tracks. Taking key references from this along with Belstaff's own archive pieces of the same era, a celebration of vintage design is transformed with contemporary innovation.

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Just like the brand's from the late 60's, the collection experiments with leather dyes and patterns, resulting in uniquely customised clothing. A hand-waxed jacket mixing mustard stars and stripes takes inspiration from flat-tracker Keith Mashburn, known for riding in black and yellow. A red striped leather plays tribute to the diamond-quilted shoulder jackets designed by Belstaff in the 1970s.

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The coloured leather concept continues with the introduction of new additions in rich tobacco, summery blue and burnished black. The palette is sun-bleached, reflecting the distressed, vintage finishes applied to the fabrics. White jeans are decoratively frayed and torn in purposeful ways and fabric is patched together in panels. There's a very tactile, hands-on feeling to the construction.

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Leather shirts feature tie-up fastenings and trousers include ribbed sections - a pattern continued within the knitwear. A women's jumper is pieced together in different textures of cream knit creating beautiful surface interest. The hard motorcycle look is slightly softened for women's line with the addition of printed silks and lace.

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This season, Belstaff introduce a complete accessories line too, inspired by the concept of adventure travel. Their signature Colonial bag (a celebrity favourite) has been updated with leather trims and new hardware. Limited edition aviator sunglasses are designed in collaboration with Native Sons and come in two finishes - antique gold or matte black. Models also wear neck ties and scarves to complete the biker look.

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SS17 proves to be yet another success for the luxury brand's spirit of adventure ethos. Mixed with their rich heritage, the collection embodies the fearless explorer and fashion enthusiast's dream creation.

Words: Sunna Naseer | Fashion Week Press | @sunna_naseer
Images: Courtesy of Jason Lloyd Evans

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Upon entering 180 The Strand on Monday for the unveiling of Katie Eary’s Spring/Summer 2017 collection, my attention was already captured hook, line, and sinker. Fluorescent orange (I’m sensing a burgeoning colour trend from LCM) nets and buoys stretched across the length of the catwalk, intertwined with lobster traps. The setup was indicative of the spectacle to come, just as indicative as the excess of fish emojis Eary used on her Instagram prior to the show, and the barracuda-ridden invitation. That’s right, this season was all about the dark, murky depths of a starry sea, and I do mean dark.

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‘Begbacuda,’ a mash up of Francis ‘Franco’ Begbie’s name (you know, the psycho one from Irvine Welsh’s novel Trainspotting) and the vicious-looking barracuda, summed up Eary’s inspiration. Welsh’s new book for 2016, The Blade Artist, revisits Begbie who, although not for lack of trying, can’t seem to put his violent past behind him. Although the combination might sound kind of ridiculous, it actually really worked. Eary reveals, ‘All the subjects I’m inspired by are a reminder of reality, even if they originate in classic fiction as the kind of inspirational characters we normally dare not admit relating to.’

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When the male and female models strode out, they looked as though they’d all freshly emerged from the sea, with wet, slicked back hair that would give Begbie a run for his money. Slivers of colour, reminiscent of purple and pink reflective fish scales, coated segments of the models’ strands. I chatted to Oliver Proudlock, of reality television series Made in Chelsea fame and founder of clothing brand Serge DeNimes, after the show about our mutual admiration for the look. In jest, he likened it to the consistency of PVA glue. Fudge Professional was in fact responsible for creating the slippery sheen, while make-up artist Bea Sweet gave models mirror shine eyebrows and aquatic eyelash drops.

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‘Let me slip into something more comfortable,’ whispered in my most seductive voice, is the best way I can describe Eary’s SS17 collection. Stars, stripes, and predator fish were mainstays of the designs. In salmon and navy hues, slinky dressing gowns, slips, and eccentric pajama-style shirts blurred the lines between whether the clothes were intended for sleeping or for a different kind of nighttime activity altogether. When clothes look that good, I doubt you’d want to waste them on slumber.

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Silk shirts, fur coats, and trouser slits harked back to a former time, while the ellesse sliders planted us firmly back in the present. One of the innocent-looking fuzzy jumpers illuminated under black light shouts in aggressive capital letters, ‘RADGE C***,’ a Begbie insult – naturally. I like the idea of something lurking in the water just out of our psyche’s awareness. That unhinged undertone might not always be on the surface, but cross it at your peril, just like the creatures of the deep blue sea. Giant metal chains looped through the models’ trouser belt loops and cutout star vests are reminders of this disturbed sense of rebellion.

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I could see Begbie wearing all of Eary's designs and challenging anyone who so much as looked in his direction with a slightly manic, unblinking stare and a scathing, 'What are you looking at?!' (definitely with more expletives) – a natural-born barracuda.

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Words: Laura Rutkowski | Fashion Week Press | @Laura_Rutkowski

Images: Phoebe Fox | Fashion Week Photographer | @_phox_