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London Collections: Men - day one highlights

Drapers’ fashion editor Graeme Moran discusses the highlights from LCM’s autumn 15 day of firsts.

Kicking off the first day of the autumn 15 show season, the chairman of London Collections: Men and GQ editor Dylan Jones officially opened the latest edition of the UK capital’s men’s fashion event by reminding us of his earlier promise - that LCM would never grow bigger than its original three day schedule. But this season it has - for the first time expanding to four full days of catwalk shows and presentations - because as Jones remarked, the demand from both British and international brands finally forced its packed list of events to spread on to an extra day. From there, the day continued to be full of firsts.

While LCM’s schedule is now fuller than ever with big name labels, Drapers went to the London College of Fashion’s inaugural menswear catwalk show, discovering the graduate collections from the London university’s most recent masters degree stars. This event, which was LCF’s first ever men’s dedicated catwalk show, pleasingly illustrated just how far London has come in supporting its menswear designers, both of the present and future.

On to Topman Design, where design director Gordon Richardson presented an explosion of retro references to a front row that included everyone from the latest X Factor winner Ben Haenow, male models of the moment David Gandy and Oliver Cheshire, to Topman boss and Arcadia chief operating officer for trading David Shepherd. The collection was called Bombay City Rollers and was a somewhat random mash up of sixties and seventies references like high waist flares, extravagantly-fuzzy fake fur jackets, skinny tartan tailoring, boxfresh bowling shoes and fun fringed ponchos.

Next up came another first – the inaugural International Woolmark Prize for menswear, which went to American Label Public School NYC and its winning collection of monochrome streetwear soften with that all-important touch of wool – think hooded balaclava-style knits with cosy drop crotch joggers.

Fashion East and Topman’s talent incubating Man show saw its three fledgling designers present their collections, with Liam Hodges, Nicomede Talavera and brand new name Rory Parnell Mooney confirming London’s reputation as a hotbed for creative and boundary-pushing designs – all three offer a glimpse into what might get buyers spending in seasons to come.

Presentations on LCM’s first day included the shearling-filled, outerwear-focused menswear debut from Coach, a more polished but equally fun and offbeat Kit Neale range, an artistic installation from Universal Works that again highlighted its outerwear offer alongside its signature workwear-inspired tailoring and new name Alex Mullins, who presented a creative approach to denim. Barbour too showed looks from its latest ranges as well as its collaboration with White Mountaineering, while Aquascutum made its return under new head of menswear design Thomas Harvey’s lead – the luxed-up parka, technical quilted layering and leather bomber jacket are all key autumn trends to watch.

Signature sportswear references were again a starting point for Christopher Shannon, who just recently won the first ever GQ/BFC menswear fund prize. Chopped up tracksuits and subversions of the classic streetwear puffa jacket were key to the collection’s directional edge, while his covetable and humorous slogan knits bought smiles to several buyers faces.

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