London Collections: Men has grown up quickly. With a mere three seasons behind it, it has developed into an established affair that attracts an ever more notable slew of designers and visitors. The SS14 edition, which ran from 16 to 18 June 2013, saw Paul Smith, Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry Prorsum join the schedule, showing alongside the likes of Jimmy Choo, Pringle of Scotland, Ben Sherman, Christopher Kane, CP Company, Tom Ford, Oliver Spencer and Jonathan Saunders. Since the event brings together young and raw talent as well as more established ones, it mirrors the distinctive image of its female equivalent London Fashion Week. Polished and well organised, presentations, catwalk shows and parties were all confined to central London, making it easy to scurry from one designer’s do to the next.
GALLERY: MORE IMPRESSIONS FROM THE CATWALK SHOWS
The play on texture and the combination thereof marked many collections this season. Lou Dalton’s short suits in silk jacquard and crinkle cotton created an interesting juxtaposition, while Oliver Spencer added a playful twist to a denim jacket by reversing the fabric on the sleeves. Astrid Andersen’s daring looks in white all-over lace appeared almost as irreverent as JW Anderson’s floaty halternecks and Shaun Samson’s pink organza ensembles. Rising star Nasir Mazhar’s sports focused proposition had an almost art deco-like elegance about it, despite its literal interpretation of sportswear – complete with drawstrings, hoods and kneepads.
Pringle of Scotland’s head of design Massimo Nicosia opted to base his collection on the traditional influences of tartan, kilting and intarsia, but did so by interpreting the familiar techniques and materials in novel ways and exploring the boundaries between woven and knitted materials. Paul Smith’s outing, meanwhile, centred on RTW tailoring and the use of cloth exclusively made in Britain. The endearing designer will continue to show his main collection in Paris, but noted that his taking part in LC:M with the presentation of the so-called British Collection (one of the designer’s key ranges) was something of a natural development.
Burberry’s Christopher Bailey swapped his usual catwalk stomping ground of Milan for his beloved hometown. Said the designer: “London is the creative heart of Burberry and our global headquarters. The country's proud menswear heritage and outstanding contemporary talent give it a unique and powerful energy. It is a wonderful time to be bringing our menswear show home”. The British brand’s SS14 collection was dedicated to “writers and painters” and there was more than a whiff of David Hockney to many of the outfits; an uninhibited – and sometimes almost hallucinatory – mix of colours peeked from underneath light and tactile cashmere jackets, while stripes, polka dots and mini floral prints added further facets to the bohemian vibe.
Burberry Prorsum returned to the London catwalk with its SS14 collection
This season, the designer showrooms – and important component of LC:M– were divided between two different venues; accessories and footwear resided at the Bloomsbury catwalk space, and the RTW and NewGen collections stayed put at “The Hub” in Covent Garden’s Hospital Club. The British Fashion Council’s initiative to arrange several opportunities for press and buyers to meet and greet the designers worked well since the LC:M exhibition space is tightly edited and rather small in scale, giving designers such as Berthold, Trine Lindegaard and the talented newcomer Alan Taylor ample space within which to showcase their wares. Jean Machine took part for the first time, and its creative director Dennis Jansson was on hand to introduce the collection, which now encompasses an extended offer of topwear including jackets, knits, tees and shirts. Jeans are available in three fits – slim, straight and relaxed– all of which are available in a nuanced variety of washes and shades ranging from palest bleach-out to an intriguing shade of grey infused with a subtle hint of purple.