London Collections: Men – The What, The Who and The Why (

London Collections: Men returned to the capital on January 9th for its four day AW15 fashion extravaganza, blending the season’s styles as envisioned by over 70 designers, both old and new, with the expected artistic eye for detail and aesthetic aplomb. International press and buyers from 28 countries attended.

Run by the British Fashion Council and funded by the European Union, the Mayor of London, and UK Trade & Investment, LC:M marks the start of the annual menswear calendar wherein British brands and emerging talent are particularly promoted, and globally recognised and commended brands share space with Savile Row tailors.  After all, Britain is known for its iconic fashion staples (such as the bowler hat, tweed and tartan, and the three piece suit), while London is considered almost the origin of menswear.  As Patrick Grant of E. Tautz said, “London is the spiritual home of menswear and New York and Milan have become very stagnant.  There’s no sparkle, no fun, no energy.” 

LC: M AW15 couldn’t be accused of such a lack.  Ready-to-wear designers showcased their collections at Paul Allen and Dave Stewart’s The Hospital Club, while NEWGEN MEN and Accessories designers filled the 400-seater Victoria House in Bloomsbury Square.  Superdry’s  much-anticipated presentation kicked off proceedings the night before everything else, but Topman Design officially started the show’s four-day run at the BFC’s live streaming from the Old Sorting Office nearby.  Indeed, Friday saw the likes and wearable concepts of Kit Neale (a small, London label known for its print and colour), Christopher Shannon (who received the BFC/GQ Menswear Fund last June), and the eponymous British label, Barbour, while invitation only showcases included Coach and Aquascutum Men, among others.

The weekend proper began with Lee Roach (known for his ‘reduction and repetition’ design) and included the talents of Astrid Andersen (revered for redefining boundaries by mixing masculine street-style with feminine materials and shades), the ‘luxury artisan’ creations of Oliver Spencer, and the ‘Remade’ ethos of Christopher Raeburn (5,000 of whose coffee cups for Lavazza were provided to attendees who kept going by means of caffeine).

While Saturday saw Fashion East host the Californian-born British-trained menswear designer Shaun Samson’s catwalk show and closed with Sibling – the collaboration of Joe Bates, Sid Bryan and Cozette McCreery – Sunday opened with the ‘wearable luxury’ of Baartman and Siegel.  The day’s invitation events displayed the seasonal ideas of renowned fashion houses, including Moschino, Gieves & Hawkes, Pringle of Scotland, and Dunhill (the latter two presenting as catwalk shows for the first time at LC:M), while Joseph’s static presentation took place at 28 Brook Street and father-and-son duo, Casley-Hayford, closed the day with their fushion fashion.

All good things must come to an end, however, and Monday signalled such for LC:M AW15, GQ China presenting up-and-comer Sankuanz in the morning (who debuted in 2013 at Shanghai Fashion Week with his acclaimed ‘Tian Shang’ collection).  Manolo Blahnik returned after a break, while Paul Smith, Tom Ford, and Burberry Prorsum were just some of the invitation events of the day.  E. Tautz (winner of the 2010 BFA Menswear Designer award), the utilitarian workwear designer Craig Green, and Beijing-based Xander Zhou featured, also.  Savile Row, St. James’ & Woolmark’s invitation only event closed the seasonal showcase with style.