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.