Zio Song, a South Korean designer, presented his SONGZIO SS18 collection at London Fashion Week Men’s (180 The Strand). It was the first show of the day, kicking off at 9am, but it was one worth getting out of bed for. With a pyjama feel, appropriate for a morning show, this collection featured stripes that made you want to crawl back into your loungewear and your bed.
The collection was inspired by this single phrase, “Man, in his night, searches for his own light”. Male emotion is explored throughout the collection. The idea of accepting men’s emotions and feelings, something our society is talking about more and more, influenced every piece.
The colour palette consisted of blue, orange, red and grey. Bold and colourful striped jackets were mixed with muted white shirts. The stripes peaking through on linings of coats, and pinstripes creeping in too, on a series of tailored designs. Creating a clear theme throughout.
This SS18 collection incorporated canvas paintings from Song. Hand-painted these are added to the styles, showing a range of men painted on t-shirts and shirts alike.
A range as unique as ever, it breaks the mould in more ways than one.
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.
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
The Berthold presentation was held in a dark room and made up of a rotation of models walking down the catwalk, followed by five minutes of them standing in formation showcasing the collection.
The studio walls were covered by photographs of scratches, scars and stitches, whilst the floor of the catwalk was scattered with bottles creating the runway for the models, complementing the inspiration for this collection, named ‘Asylum’.
The Berthold AW17 collection explores the rhythm of restriction. Wide, desolate hospital corridors and angular shadows inspired a larger, relaxed silhouette for both the tunics and winter coats. Some of the models emerged with thick, rough bandages wrapped around their heads, masking identities. Taut body gloves were worn over the wide leg trousers and the sportif jackets had elongated, exaggerated sleeves. Both the elbows on the bombers and skinny trousers were split open, creating a coherent look throughout.
The colour palette was a simple one, head to toe black, white and burgundy were the only three shades used. Fuzzy and crisped textures were taken from torn, soft leather and papers which created an aged finished to the clothing. Felted wools and pitted technical fabrics were paired with fluffy mohair and easy cotton suiting, creating a consistent feel throughout the collection, pulling the chosen three hues together effortlessly.
Raimund Berthold is well known for his utilitarian use of colours and silhouettes free from defined shapes, this collection most certainly followed that theme.
The Mackintosh Summer/Spring collection is all about coats and jackets. It is evident that a lot of attention and detail has been put into outerwear this season, proving again that coats will always be an essential attire.
The cream hooded jacket will be perfect for the British weather, being both stylish wear and protective wear. Next to it is a long khaki brown jacket, added with a belt. The simplicity of this jacket is what makes it so elegant.
Most of the jackets in Mackintosh’s collection are long length and below the knee.
The overall collection has a very youthful feel, but simultaneously can be worn by an older audience. The youthful feel comes from the oversized jackets. To see a lot of plaid designs is very refreshing!
The navy blue coat is very smart, which follows the same design as the other jackets in the collection. Most of the jackets have collars and are light materials, easy to be worn in both the spring and the summer.
The colour’s of the collection are subtle and are paired with simple black tops. The most noticeable accessory on the jackets are the big black buttons. They help give the jackets more edginess, although simple embellishments, they bring the jackets to life.
If you’re looking for a jacket/coat that is stylish and comfortable then look no further than Mackintosh! The collection presents uniqueness and is very fashion forward, by providing jackets suitable for all ages and most occasions. I look forward to what they have to offer next. Remember, jackets and coats will never be out of style especially in this British weather, you cannot go wrong!
Words: Elizabeth Abbey | Fashion Week press| @Elizabeth9422