London - Day 3 of London Collections: Men began with the British Fashion Council revealing next season would see a name change for the growing men's fashion week. With some of the world's leading menswear brands deciding to show in London, the four day show week is proving to be one of the most important on the industry calendar. Leading the pack on day three was J.W. Anderson and veteran Margaret Howell:
Muse or man, J.W. Anderson continues to refer to his creative stimulus as a "little prince," as he did for Autumn winter 2016. Anderson described next season's collection as “opulent in a childlike way. I was looking at different naïve childhood references and tried, using the vocabulary we have, to make it more sugary.”
This resulted in models wearing aviator goggles and crowns that could have been made out of Lego, elongated tunics with bibs or puzzle prints, bags adorned with medallions, jumpsuits and sweaters with sleeves so long they trailed on the floor.
Not all brands on the London catwalks are about dissecting the meaning of masculinity and challenging the fashion status quo. Joseph is one of those brands who seem to always have been around, but that is worthy of revisiting. With menswear under new creative direction from designers Mark Thomas Howard and Louise Trotter, it proved Joseph's pared-down sportswear, this season emphasized with utility influences and workwear, will be a commercial hit.
Knitwear and outerwear were the strongest, and a deconstructed trench coat, seen in multiple fabrics and colours, felt light yet masculine. For fashionistas it came in bleached denim cotton and for the more conspicuous customer in the perfect military green. Elsewhere a shirt jacket cum harrington in deep indigo featuring tab detailing had subtle sailor references. There was enough ammo here to defeat the fashion frontier; there will be plenty of retailers fighting for the same consumer to shop next season.
At Margaret Howell there is rarely a fashion revolution or overhaul of styling required. She is a seasoned designer who's aesthetic has won her plenty of loyal customers, particularly in the UK and Japan. Why change a good thing when a label is working just fine?
So for SS17 there was no sudden tack or change of direction, instead Howell oped for lighter fabric choices such as linen-cotton tank tops, paper-thin Gore-Tex trenches and slouchy yarn fisherman’s knits. Particular hero pieces include a deconstructed grey trench from look 10 and mustard yellow sweater from look 20.
Christopher Shannon eschewed the tricky tech fabrics he has a penchant for using instead opting for the universal of all fabrics, otherwise known as denim. But make no mistake, the most basic fabric was anything but common in his re-interpretations. The way Shannon re-worked the jean was striking, from his dark paneled deconstructed overalls to the denim sweatshirts and layered jackets, one which came stitched as a jean jacket trifle. Trousers that were part shredded and part fused to a second tone of denim were beautifully contrasted. Denim track suits anyone?
Sibling on Sunday showed both its men's and women's spring summer 2017 collections, the first brand to fully merge both lines on one runway. Logistically speaking, the idea seems genius, to streamline deliveries if the majority of your business is wholesale. It allows for manageable production and ordering fabrics, rather than having a three month break between collections. The women's market is in September, however, and it will be interesting to see how the buyer's will respond if there isn't a show to go to. Three months is half a season, and in a current industry where the 'see now, buy now' model is becoming more and more widespread, that is practically aeons. Still, the clothes stood their own, a triumphant showing of knitwear that struck a good balance between entertaining and wearability.
Images: Catwalkpictures.com and The British Fashion Council