Everything you need to know from the first day of the autumn 17 edition of London Fashion Week Men’s, including the key shows and trends to know.
Travel is a theme several designers have touched on recently and it dominated Craig Green’s autumn 17 show. Green, who recently won the Menswear Designer of the Year prize at the British Fashion Council’s Fashion Awards, riffed on his signatures but also took them to new places. There were simple workwear shapes and utility jackets alongside some new tailored blazers, both elevated through Green’s trademark drawstring ties and complicated fastenings in deep sea blue or dusty lilac. Quilting made a return but in new chubby padded versions that had a protective feel, layered with safety vest and life jacket-like sleeveless vests. There were new chunky wool coats too – another evolution of the designer’s strong outerwear offering – wrapped with bands that looked like oxygen tubes from a diving suit. Thick padded and puffy outer layers were also new, protective like an astronaut’s space suit. The prints from spring also came through for the new season, but now as textural wool coats that were reminiscent of carpets – magic carpets for a magical trip.
There’s nothing like an explosion of acid bright fluro neon colours to wake us up as we enter the new season, and that is exactly what Topman Design delivered as the official opening show of LFWM autumn 17. These eye-burning brights came as part of a 1980s to 1990s acid house and techno raver flashback (complete with bucket hats), patchworked across sporty bombers, quilted coats and lightweight nylon anoraks, as well as oversized hoodies and fun knits emblazoned with trippy colourful prints and psychedelic pattern mash-ups.
Bobby Abley has made a name for himself with his cartoonish, tongue-in-cheek take on the sportswear trend that has been dominating the past few seasons – past collections have taken Disney’s Aladdin or The Little Mermaid as central themes. For autumn 17, Abley turned his attention to 1990s TV’s The Power Rangers. Hoodies, loose, baggy jumpers, silky tracksuits and panelled sweatshirts came splashed with cartoons, graphics and logos from the cult show in a riot of colour. Also new the season was an oversized BA monogram pattern across intarsia knits, which the designer called a cheeky nod to the revival of the logo trend at luxury houses such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
A digitised camouflage print featured throughout a grunge- and military-inspired showcase at Liam Hodges, which was inspired by ideas of dystopian futures. Super-high-waisted trousers were a theme, as were other emerging trends of padded jackets and uniform styling. Items had a refined patchwork feel, with jackets pieced together with black, white and camouflage fabrics. While colours were generally dark, there were flashed of neon yellow in later looks, emphasising the industrial feel to the collection, sitting alongside the neutral and monochrome. Pop culture references were dotted throughout the collection, and graffiti and film screens created a retro futuristic graphic print. The clothes were generally solidly practical items, including boxy jackets and combat trousers given a modernised design through slightly exaggerated sizing and jigsaw fabrics.
Xander Zhou brought a heightened, distorted interpretation of the 1980s to his autumn collection. Oversized silhouettes and exaggerated shoulders on trench coats and suiting gave a hint of classic power dressing shapes. Statement outerwear, particularly trench coats were key to the offering, of which a metallic silver design and a supersized suede piece stood out. The range as a whole played with proportions, with opening looks showcasing suiting with cropped shirts and shrunken sweaters, before moving on to trapeze shapes and wide rigid sleeves. References to workwear and uniforms ran throughout the show, with the subverted stockbroker aesthetic of early looks morphing into utility boilersuits and tracksuits. Colours were dark and generally muted, with occasional pops of colour in cobalt blues, deep purples and vermillion punctuating the designs.
Per Gotteson, MAN show
Fabric fell freely in Per Gotteson’s looks, creating a coolly relaxed aesthetic. Trousers lay over models’ feet, gathered waists giving fluid volume, while shirts fell open or off the shoulder and coats were tied like billowy robes. Set against this relaxed shaping were pieces in skin-tight, skin coloured lycra, which with their soft neck lines and ruched detail added a sensuality to the range.
Feng Chen Wang, MAN show
Experimental volume was the recurring theme through Feng Chen Wang’s catwalk offering. Oversized puffer jackets were taken to surrealist proportions, with models bundled in complex, sculptural creations. Extreme length was also a recurring motif, with sweeping capes on jackets giving a powerful sense of drama. While yellow and silver stood out as bold colour choices, much of the collection was presented in soft blush tones and charcoal, contrasting to the extreme aesthetic, and toning down an otherwise overpowering intensity.
Charles Jeffrey Loveboy, MAN show
Jeffery described his autumn catwalk as going “full fantasy”, and with its visceral clan of contorting dancers, odd theatrical deities punctuating the clothing and tumultuously intense soundtrack, he certainly achieved that. Contrasting to this drama, the clothes themselves showcased a crisp, polished yet experimental aesthetic, with suiting and exaggerate silhouettes appearing on the catwalk. References to 1980s styling appeared with suits in shimmering blue and nipped in waists hinting to the era. Other references appeared to range as widely as Dennis the Menace to royalty, with a distressed striped jumper and a shearling jacket embellished with Victoriana ruffle detailing.
Colour blocking and contrast inspired much of Alex Mullins collection. Alongside references to cowboys and the wild west as well as Picasso style prints, the dominant theme was colour experimentation – with tonal colour blocking appearing throughout. Looks were divided in half, with different tones on each side – beige set against mustard, orange against peach. The warm colour palette extended throughout the collection, with tan and yellow creating a sepia tone to the range as a whole. Gingham and multi-coloured patterns provided a break in the large sections of colour blocking, with gingham used to create a Wild West aesthetic, in neck ties and trousers. Exaggerated ruffled knitwear with primary colour patches and cropped shearling and suede jackets were highlights, as were the gingham separates and graphic print jackets.