Tag: London Fashion Week Men’s

“We Shall Not Wilt” is the bold and powerful statement BODYBOUND makes for its presentation at 180 The Strand and the message is received – loud and clear.

Taking inspiration from the protest marches, anti-war slogans and flower power movements of the Seventies, BODYBOUND recasts the humble flower as a symbol of rebellion.

The timing couldn’t be more apt, as we are marking the 50th anniversary of 1967’s Summer of Love, which is when the hippy phenomenon bloomed. With London Fashion Week Men’s entering its fifth year, there is clearly more than one cause for celebration.

The speakers blast a cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as the models stage a catwalk show before allowing us to examine the mixture of dainty and raw details up close.

This includes embroidered barbed wire peace signs, flower patches and military pockets and boots, with the addition of platforms.

Since BODYBOUND draws on trends from the Seventies, it’s a given that the brand delivers denim – here it’s worn overdyed – wide-legged grunge trousers and round sunglasses. They have all been adapted for the modern man, which means they’re not overly nostalgic, but they’re still unmistakable tributes to the era. As well as the navy blue colour palette, blacks, greys and whites mainly feature.

The collection strikes a good balance between the politically-charged undertones of the barbed wire patterns and the fragile vulnerability exposed by the sheer see-through fabrics.

Not once do we question the masculinity of the collection, however. It is masculine to its core, but where it blossoms is with a nod to florals and with unexpected elements, such as the scarves tied around the models’ necks.

‘NO FIGHT, NO FUTURE’ and ‘WE SHALL NOT WILT’ are mantras reiterated and embroidered on the pieces. Models clutch a small bouquet of flowers each – defiantly, but hopefully. As we know, flowers are not all sweetness and light. Some come packed with thorns. In this rocky political climate, perhaps one of our best outlets for expression is through fashion. After all, BODYBOUND shall not wilt anytime soon.

Textile designer Kim Wilkins and photographer Pliny Champion launched BODYBOUND in 2012. They were selected by Yohji Yamamoto as finalists of the Hyères Fashion Award. Wilkins attended Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art. He has been a consultant menswear and knitwear designer for brands including Katie Eary, Matthew Williamson and Alexander McQueen.

Words: Laura Rutkowski | Fashion Week Press | @Laura_Rutkowski

Images: Amie Charlot | Fashion Week Photographer | @amiecharlot

The Phoebe English Man presentation is held in a makeshift plastic-wrapped pottery studio at 180 The Strand. Models retrieve balls of clay from a set of wooden shelves, where previous creations are on display.

They gather around tables moulding miniature items – baskets, bowls and even cars – and look effortlessly cool while doing it. Their arms are marked with long black lines, their fingers tinged with the taupe clay. When they’re not sculpting, the models are posing in front of the shelves to show off the true art form – the clothes.

Rather than pomposity, the Phoebe English Man capsule collection channels functionality, which is a mainstay from previous collections. The garments are shown in easy to wear, understated shades of oatmeal, khaki and periwinkle.

There are no delusions of grandeur here – just quality designs, which include shirtdresses, cotton joggers and loose collarless cotton trench coats.

Slouchy rucksacks, in regular and oversized options, can be fashioned into either backpacks or shoulder bags. The nautical theme is embraced with muted black horizontal and vertical stripes and topped off with cotton rope fastenings. Patchwork in varying blue hues makes the pieces pop and external seams give them the edge.

Chunky socks are paired with just as chunky boots and trainers in outfits styled with perfect colour coordination. Although the models might be working in their ensembles, we think all work and no play makes the Phoebe English man a dull boy. No, these clothes are too good for a day of hard labour – put them on and show them off.

Phoebe English began as a womenswear label and quickly became known for its focus on construction as opposed to decoration. Its first foray into menswear was seen with its Spring/Summer 2016 capsule collection and, much to our benefit, the brand hasn’t looked back since.

Words: Laura Rutkowski | Fashion Week Press | @Laura_Rutkowski

Images: Amie Charlot | Fashion Week Photographer | @amiecharlot

The name Stephen Webster is synonymous with fine jewellery – some forty years in the business has made him the go-to guy for timeless designs that scream sophistication and luxury. This summer his pop-up exclusively for men arrives at Harrods, looking to reestablish the relationship between men and this unique art form that has so long been dominated by women. On a sunny Saturday afternoon of LFWM, we headed to Mayfair for an exclusive preview.

Strolling around the Stephen Webster showroom at 130 Mount Street, gin and tonic in hand, was nothing short of divine. Surrounded by the books and artworks that inspire him, mirrored walls and plush carpets, his new menswear designs were showcased in glass cabinets, separated into collections.

Celtic-inspired crosses and chains, accented with emeralds, sat across from his Beasts of London themed designs, featuring glowing ruby red eyes. Each collection was the perfect combination of exquisite design and menswear aesthetic – beautiful depictions of aggressive bulls and roaring bears become signet rings; chainmail weaves itself into dark bracelets and snakes slither into supple black belts.

Always one to experiment in combinations of his jewellery talents with other objects, a cabinet in the far corner of the room contained chefs knives featuring animal textures and elements visible in the jewellery, as well as vape pipes encrusted with intricate jewelled details.

Describing menswear as the fastest growing category in the sector, Webster sees this first dedicated men's fine jewellery boutique in Harrods as the antidote to years of distance between men and these finer things in life. And as we stepped back out into the midday heat of London's streets, we couldn't agree more. With LFMW turning five this year, the buzz in the presentation had been about how refreshing this season has been with new additions, such as Webster's, to the schedule – we hope to see it as a permanent feature in the seasons to come.

Words: Katharine Bennett | Fashion Week Press | @misskatebennett

Images: Amie Charlot | Fashion Week Photographer | @amiecharlot

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The Private White V.C. presentation on Friday was held at the brand’s flagship Duke Street store in Mayfair, with an unexpected guest. A bulldog roamed around downstairs at the feet of mannequins and attendees alike. For this Manchester brand, it doesn’t get more quintessentially British than that.

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The label takes its name from Private Jack White, who was born in Leeds in 1896 and signed up to the Royal Lancaster Regiment when he was 18. In 1917, he earned the Victoria Cross medal for his courage in battle.

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He then moved to Manchester and undertook an apprenticeship as a trainee pattern cutter at the local factory. He worked his way up to become general manager, and eventually, the owner, before dying in 1949 at the age of 52. In 1997, White’s great grandchildren took over the company.

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They continue to make clothes that cut a dapper figure for the modern-day gentleman who has a little bit more about him. The London Fashion Week Men’s presentation demonstrated how you can have it all with both function and style.

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The collection paired utilitarian boots with a peek of cherry red socks and head to toe tweed with an orange beanie. The mannequins rocked popped collars, roll necks, and fur trims.

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Private White V.C. demonstrated its superb ability to layer, especially with a blue pinstripe coat and trousers with a draped chunky grey scarf. A mannequin in a forest green parka-cum-cape with a burnt orange cravat and a mustard zip-up knit was the focal point of the room, arms spread out to emphasise billowing sleeves.

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Carabiners were secured through belt loops and attached to ropes while wooden hands casually rested in pockets, as if to indicate that these are what all men carry. These are accessories for rough and ready men who are prepared for anything, just like Private Jack White was. The ropes alluded to how he received his Victoria Cross by using just some humble telephone wire tied around his waist. If he was here today, he would have been proud and stylish to boot. At ease, soldier.

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Words: Laura Rutkowski | Fashion Week Press | @Laura_Rutkowski

Images: Amie Charlot | Fashion Week Photographer | @amiecharlot

 

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GQ China presented XIMONLEE at London Fashion Week Men's for AW17. An ongoing collaboration for GQ China and LFWM, Ximon Lee joined an ever growing list of Chinese menswear brands to showcase their collections internationally. This collaboration highlights the importance of Chinese menswear in the global arena, as well as putting London at the heart of men’s fashion.

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Ximon Lee, a Berlin-based, Chinese born Korean designer, graduated from Parsons with the Best Menswear Designer Award in 2014. He was the first menswear designer to win the H&M Design Award in 2015 which spurred him to create his own line XIMONLEE. So yes, we can expect good things from this AW17 collection.

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Ximon approaches each season as a study, his AW17 collection was his third, named ‘Shame’. He started with the Chinese symbol of ‘shame’, which is a combination of the ‘beauty’ and ‘ugly’ Chinese symbols - this lending itself to the exploration of the lines between the conscious and unconscious.  This title also plays on material memories, whether the models are covered with tapered corsets hiding the body or more revealing cut away designs.

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A mixture of beaded embellishments, harnesses and cut out designs were walked down the runway for this collection. Made from velvet, sheer and leather materials in a colour palette of grey, black, dark green and rust, the clothing had a truly wintry feel.

This AW17 collection from Ximon Lee was a much anticipated one, and one that didn’t disappoint.

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Words: Andrea McCaul | Fashion Week Press | @andreaelizam
Images: Amie Charlot | Fashion Week Photographer | @amiecharlot