One of the major differences I find between London Fashion Week and London Collections: Men is the mental readjustment I have to make at the start of the latter.
With LFW, you expect flamboyance, a lot of clothes no-one will ever wear and the same well-known, big-hitting designers. But with LC:M, it’s a lot more subdued. And, because we’re much more used to LFW – LC:M is only in its second season – LC:M seems, initially, a bit, well, normal.
But, as I settle into LC:M, I realise this is the beauty of it – the satisfaction of each collection lies in the detail. At Mr Start yesterday, the suits and roll-necks were hardly show-stopping, but they were smart and well-cut. Navy clashed with black – that’s as daring as it got - but, crucially, the clothes are likely to sell.
I also recognised everyone on the front row, which was made up of an edited cast of influential buyers, journalists and designers like Henry Holland showing his support. No silly celebrities lacking credibility in sight.
The other great thing about LC:M in comparison to LFW is the relative democracy of it all. I’ve heard from several LFW designers how catty the scheduling can get, with the big names bagging the best spots. At LC:M, designers appear more satisfied. At LC:M, there’s a more level playing field between the established designers and the smaller businesses; the gap between the two isn’t as wide as at LFW.
I love LFW, and this isn’t a dig at the event. But I think LC:M has that attraction you only get from small-scale events.
It’s bigger this season than its debut, but you still get the sense that you’re discovering real gems in the form of smaller labels. Long may this continue.