Tag: London Fashion Week Men’s

For their third collection, DANSHAN designers and Central Saint Martins’ graduates, Dan and Shan (see what they did there?) dug deep into the origins of where our ideas towards gender are initially constructed. Set within a classroom in Kings College London, the young designers used both their newest Spring/Summer '18 pieces and the space that enveloped them  to reflect the belief that ideologies of masculinity and gender are created at school. 

To truly immerse us within that textbook educational atmosphere, models stood nonchalantly amongst televisions, white boards, chairs and desks – inviting spectators too to pull up a seat and get back to work. Projected onto the whiteboard came the message “Learning with Danshan” as the design duo sought to educate us in both mind and body, actively inviting us to explore the fluidity of gender the collection creates, whilst unraveling the dominance the education system has over the growth of expression.

By adapting the conventional school uniform of a blazer, bottoms and school shoes -  courtesy of their sponsor, Kickers,  known to the majority of the British public as the go-to ‘back to school’ shoe) - DANSHAN were able to convey a sense of unity through individuality.  The unexpected bubble wrap trouser paired with a navy blue blazer spoke of breaking that ingrained mold of the expected - as well as reminiscing of every child's obsession when it came to popping the bloody stuff.  Elsewhere, high-shine metallic jackets pair with white and light blue shirt, merging the professionalism of the uniformed cotton with a more casual approach for a contemporary juxtaposition. 

Colour remained warm throughout, with neutrals, varsity blues and burgundy tones occasionally interrupted with flashes of break-away colour. Paired with the soft expressions of the models, flashing the occasional  school boy grin, constructs a welcoming yet intriguing feel.

The projected message, “Danshan know that vulnerability is strength”, outlines the motivation behind the collection and the narrative it portrays. The location and ambient sounds left us with a lasting question on whether the education system is progressive or regressive for personal development. School may be a distant memory for most of us, but there's still a lot more left to learn. 

Words: Habi Diallo | Fashion Week Press |
Images: Tegan Rush | Fashion Week Photographer | @Tegan.photography

For KTZ SS18,   we saw an urban utilitarian collection that was underpinned by a strong narrative of struggle. A number of looks both presented and subverted traditional icons of repression and control. Military khakis were slashed through with shards of metal, black collared jackets paired with straight leg trousers or tailored shorts and heavy black boots recalled police uniforms and yet were emblazoned with images of hands forming the shapes of hearts or slogans such as "club of nowhere". even what, at first glance, appeared to be knightly chainmail worn as vests or sleeves or even dripping from baseball caps like visors turned out to be a mesh of interlinked soda can ring pulls.

It was in this incoclasm that KTZ's SS18 collection struck a pleasantly truthful discordant note. In an age of Kendall Jenner handing out Pepsi as a tonic to a world burning down around us, it struck a slightly truer chord with the British punk spirit that ring pulls we're now being used to obscure a face rather than sell one.

The narrative of struggle become very much one of violent resistance as the collection moved into check flannel shirts and distressed denim. With skinhead models in khaki bomber jackets and biker boots a la 'This Is England' or black nylon hoodies, checked scarfs worn like masks, baseball caps and black biker gloves (with specially reinforced knuckles) the runway became a stage for defiant proletariat riot gear.

At a time of great uncertainty in British politics and economics, huge rifts in class and opportunity, and repeated violent attacks on British people and our way of life. This London collection paid passionate tribute to a great history of struggle and rebellion against oppression and was a great reminder that we will overcome. Of course we will, this is England.

Words: Mitchell Cooper | Fashion Week Press | @catsandjackets
Images: Tegan Rush  Fashion Week Photographer | @tegan.photography

Topman, more than most other brands, has always understood its clothes in the context of how and where they are worn - and their SS18 presentation and accompanying exhibition was, of course, no exception. "Transition" is an exploration and a celebration of the way modern men interact with each other and their clothes. From the first wistful indolent images by photographer and model Nick Offord through to the brand's own collection shown in the final presentation space,  we inhabited a Bildungsroman. Traversing the various rooms, a number of upcoming artists shared their sensory experiences of modern masculinity woven together less as an exhibition and more as a coming of age story. We saw men and boys taking on new clothes, new names, new experiences and learning how to live and love with other men.

The collection itself had a very youthful zeal.  The boyish models with shimmering eye make up and brightly coloured glitter-slicked hair, had their their slender frames accentuated by belted waists and padded shoulders.

The loose tonal grey and white cottons interspersed with dashes of red and orange nylon harked back to the 80's.  However it was the shoulders and shell suits and that located this collection within a distinctly New Romantic tradition.

Despite the quite tonal palette, The wide cut of the trousers with multiple asymmetric pleats and the way the  fabrics hung lightly and loosely created a very modern feel. This was not a bunch of boys from the 80's looking to the future, these were boys from tomorrow's world looking back.

The jarring patterns, stripes and colours seemed exuberantly thrown together as the models themselves by turns lounged, fidgeted and chatted amongst themselves. You got a sense you were looking at a the beginnings of a futurist party where a bunch of trendy kids had really run with an 80's throwback theme.

As the music and spoken word duo The Rhythm Method came on, their front man (in this instance, embodying the character of "Salad Cream") paced the stage with a camp confidence and melodramatic delivery reminiscent of  Suggs or Squeeze and asked if anyone had ever felt drunk and horny at a house party. This writer couldn't help but fondly remember the boldness of youth and how He had picked up stupid nicknames and drunkenly slurred "I love you man" every Friday and Saturday night for a year or two.

Words and images: Mitchell Cooper | Fashion Week Press | @catsandjackets

WATCH THE TRANSITION SS18 FILM

The Berthold catwalk show at 180 The Strand is a collection made up of predominantly black menswear and womenswear. That’s why when the primary colours yellow, red and blue start to make an appearance, the impact is all the more striking. They crop up subtly in the details before they dominate the pieces from head-to-toe, as if they have completely engulfed the previous darkness and left in its place rays of sunshine.

The symbolism originates from a darker subject matter altogether. Research for the collection involved gathering photographs of child soldiers in Sierra Leone, Uganda, Liberia and Nigeria.

In one of the photographs, a group of young boys wear shorts with oversized pockets and belts that dwarf their frames. Yet still, they pose confidently, as though they are men – faking it until they make it, but betrayed by their ill-fitting clothes and youthful faces.

For Spring/Summer 2018, Berthold recreates these contrasts and documents the life-defining transition from boy to man. Enlarged sleeves are left loose to hang, extending past the models’ fingertips. Funnel necks are paired with cropped tunics and wrap front trousers are billowy rather than fitted.

Technical fabric and cloth, cottons and summer wools ensure you’ll stay cool in the heat rather than absorb it in all of those dark layers. Blankets (picnic, anyone?) are draped over cross-body bags. The bags – whether they’re oversized with several pockets or small and sit across the waist – make it easy to dip your toe into colour if you’re not willing to take the plunge just yet.

The colours allude to the optimism and brightness of youth. For the female models, sharp, geometric eye makeup created by Maria Comparetto is worn in the same primary colour palette.

The abstract graphic print reimagines shapes from traditional costumes. Influence is derived from the theatricality and majesty of the Dinka tribe in South Sudan, the Bashada people of Ethopia and the Ndebele and the Khoisan people of Southern Africa.

Now, we too, can join a tribe of our own – the Berthold tribe.

Austrian-born Raimund Berthold is the man behind the brand, which was established in 2009. He is now based in London and received his master’s from Central Saint Martins in 2005.

Words: Laura Rutkowski | Fashion Week Press | @Laura_Rutkowski

Images: Berthold

The Ben Sherman catwalk show at Two Temple Place is an intimate affair and one that allows the models to strut their stuff for the collection deemed the ‘Peacock Revolution’.

The name is taken from the 1960s term ‘Peacocks’, used to refer to men who adopt a distinct and colourful dress sense.

On arrival, the seats are gifted with goody bags filled with Ben Sherman cleansing soap, moisturising soap and body lotion with piercing citrus, bergamot, floral and musk notes – along with a British flag pin. Models sport similar ones on their jackets.

Peacock feathers are showcased in glass cabinets in the lavish wood interior. Guests are split across three rooms for the models to navigate.

The Spring/Summer 2018 collection is a flurry of patterns inspired by the Bohemian and psychedelic movements of the Sixties. The models bring sass and swagger to printed shorts, deconstructed summer blazers and soft linen separates.

Where it can be, the models’ hair is worn long and shaggy, topped with a bucket hat, while their eyes are shielded with sunnies or oversized geek chic glasses.

Indigo and denim are the designated shades for outerwear, paired with brick and tan, while jerseys and shirting come in burnt sienna and pineapple – ideal hues for the summer months.

Suede jackets, a hooded parka, lightweight wool drawstring trousers and a warped gingham shirt are the standout pieces of the collection – seen in dark denim, claret reds and soft pinks.

Daring patterns, such as florals, can often be overpowering, but Ben Sherman tones them down with classic stripes and checks. The peacock pattern is a particular highlight as an ode to the collection’s overarching theme. Peacocks wear peacocks with aplomb.

Inspiration is also drawn from the music and festival posters of the Sixties. The Ben Sherman aesthetic is not lost, as it injects originality into the traditional shapes. A two-toned black and orange jumper bursts with flowers to spell out the word ‘MOD’ – the mods being a British youth culture known for making the Ben Sherman shirt part of their uniform.

The legacy of Ben Sherman, which was first launched in 1963, lives on five decades later. There is no better brand suited to design a collection dedicated to the decade of its inception. ‘Peacock Revolution’ reintroduces what was popular in the Swinging Sixties to a new audience of men ready to adapt the styles and make them all their own.

Words: Laura Rutkowski | Fashion Week Press | @Laura_Rutkowski

Images: Ben Sherman