OUT AND ABOUT: London Fashion Week

Rachel Humphreys gets to experience menswear day at the oh-so G-L-A-M London Fashion Week whilst in the attire of ’80’s divorcee meets weekend rambler’…

In five minutes I’m going to be entering London Fashion Week and I’m in a public toilet living a scene from a million Clearasil ads; girl has enormous spot, screams, is magically provided with acid-based face wash and subsequently lives a happy, fulfilled life. Except I don’t have any face wash and as I dash across the court of Somerset House I only feel distinctly unhappy about my other course of action which inevitably has only made the crater on my chin more noticeable. This is only compounded by the fact that seconds later I am sat waiting for the James Long show to start, in a room full of people who have heard of acne, but only in reference to the high-end Swedish fashion house.

Bernard Chandran by Madi Barrett

How I came to be at London Fashion Week is not important, suffice to say I’m an opportunistic student who was lucky enough to have a friend who informed me that they had a spare ticket to some of the menswear shows on an otherwise dull Wednesday afternoon.  The time was spent rushing around Covent Garden in a desperate attempt to get to various shows on time- irrelevant as they were always late- and stopping only to photograph some incredible outfits. My only lament was that my own attire – sort of 80’s divorcee meets weekend rambler (my Mum hasn’t stopped finding it hilarious that her old, oversized Benetton jumper “went to fashion week”) – was so shambolic. As the afternoon progressed however and I had time to observe my fellow audience members, I began to realise that, when it comes to London Fashion Week, anything goes. Of course, there was the usual line-up of wedged heels, leather loafers, coloured shirts, turn-ups and floor-length skirts but there was also a fruit bowl head piece, some bauble-inspired earrings and a man who had simply painted a black line down his face.

These choices, which in my conventional eyes seemed fairly outlandish, were only topped by Asger Juel Larson’s show, the last of the ‘Ones to Watch: Men’ showcase which presented four of London’s most innovative menswear designers. His was a riot of leather, chains, top hats and various re-workings of the American flag, most memorably printed on a long black cape. In short, it was Marilyn Manson’s holiday wardrobe. More functional, conservative tailoring could be found in the range from label A. Hallucination which presented a sharp, contemporary take on the classic British dandy with coats in two tone blue and brown, often finished off with an oversize toggle or pocket. Turned up jeans or chinos, oversize boots and double-breasted blazers are still very much the order of the day for autumn/winter, something that was evident not only in the work of the young designers but also in the D-Gnak show, which presented the work of Korean-born designer Dong Jun Kang. I particularly liked the bold colours of his pieces, the use of mustard yellow and burgundy red in his coats, boots and large leather satchels. The clean lines and loose tailoring of this collection were in stark contrast to the oversize rustic wools in the James Long show, which combined leather trousers with textured knit jumpers and jackets.

It seems that menswear this year is still firmly rooted in the ethos of smart-casual, with accessible, street-smart looks finished by a statement accessory. While, as someone with a limited knowledge of fashion I feel like a complete fraud saying so, I still appreciated the clothes that I saw in the collections- almost as much as the male models that were wearing them.

Read about Emma Block’s experience at the Bernard Chandran show (and more) in Part 2 of our LFW series.

Image © Madi Barrett. To view the image in clearer detail, click on it.

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