2012 is London’s year: we’ve celebrated the Diamond Jubilee, are counting down to the Olympics and not to be overlooked, 2012 has also signalled the first ever London Fashion Week for menswear. This was an opportunity for London to present the designers that define it as one of the fashion capitals of the world, and in light of the recent celebrations, it seemed apt for Prince Charles to inaugurate the event. From Topman to Gieves & Hawkes, there was great variety in the style and form shown by those that chose to debut their collections.
In the tradition of the stereotypical English gentleman, classic fashion houses such as Gieves & Hawkes and Hardy Amies presented collections of well-tailored, distinguished designs. It was good to see an appreciation of the heritage that London holds, not just a focus on the contemporary talent that is on offer. As the epitome of the distinguished fellow, Gieves and Hawkes embraced the pastel trend with ice-cream coloured suits and also added accents of colour to the sensible well-structured suits with bold ties.
The high street was well represented by Topman. Combining City boy with East London, this was a collection that took its inspiration from the streets of Shoreditch. Neon shouted out from the catwalk with bright blues and pinks that contrasted from the dove grey that featured on tailored suit jackets and shorts. City boy somehow merged into skater chic, as tops became cropped, small beanie hats in bright colours appeared and bright bomber jackets hung loose on the models and yet the tailored shorts remained. Basketball was also seen to be an inspiration with numbered jerseys and a strong use of mesh within the collection. Overall, it gave the indication that next summer boys will stand bold and bright with loud colours and garish prints.
American sport was a seen to be a big inspiration for the collections, perhaps indicating the obsession with American culture that lingers in the capital. Basketball was the sport that took residence at Astrid Anderson. Taking to the catwalk in the form of a basketball team, lemon was the prominent colour and was paired with black with just the odd player sporting burgundy red or bright turquoise. Lace and mesh gave us peaks at the models’ muscular physique, whilst the shorts and trousers remained baggy.
Lou Dalton also gave a nod to this trend, but adopted baseball as her sport of choice. Baseball-style jerseys and jackets were interspersed with shorts that fell to just below the knee. Panelling was used on the jumpers and tops that enabled the use of a mix of materials and colours. At the other end of the spectrum, JW Anderson was greatly anticipated and proved that without a doubt London is the most unique fashion capital out there. He provided a collection that tested the boundaries of masculine and feminine style with sheer floral mesh, that similar to that of Astrid Anderson, featured as shirts and also as wide-legged trousers. Other standout pieces included a pink asymmetrical coat and teddy-bear cartoon like print used on vest tops.
This gives just a small overview of the designers that presented out of a very talented bunch. The first London Collection: Men embodied what the city offers. Despite such a variance in designs, this affirmed the London man to be someone who combines eclectic and yet polished outfits, embracing the diversity of the many identities of London.
Written for The 405