As always in menswear, perennial trends cropped up and evolved slowly this season, while a handful of new directions emerged that are worth taking note of.
Taking place from June 12-15, London Collections: Men kicked off the spring 16 season with its roster of catwalk shows, presentations and showroom exhibitions.
Settling into its second season as a full four-day event, it attracted even more UK and international designers and brands to the city to unveil their latest spring offerings.
The resulting varied and crowded schedule meant it was sometimes harder for strong collections to stand out, but there was no single designer or group of brands that really caught everyone’s attention this season. Buyers Drapers spoke to praised a handful of labels and welcomed the gradual moving on of trends and, although it wasn’t the strongest of seasons, there was no denying the commercial strength and saleability of many new collections.
Easy being green
From bright primary colours through to lime and emerald, there were a full spectrum of green shades on the London catwalks. Interestingly, green tones cropped up in formal and casual collections, covering everything from smart tailoring at the likes of Richard James and both sb and db suits at Casely-Hayford and Gieves & Hawkes, through to casual styles at Oliver Spencer and Margaret Howell’s green jackets and trousers.
Grey skies forecast
In contrast to the trend for lush summery greens, other designers pushed an altogether calmer palette of colours. Matching London’s typically overcast summer weather, there were a plethora of light grey, dusty blue and inky navy and black combinations. Commercial colours such as these will always be popular, but take your cue from the catwalk and buy and merchandise in head-to-toe or similar tone-on-tone looks for a more interesting take.
Light and breezy
While there was barely anything as light as Burberry Prorsum’s lacey remake of its signature coats, other designers focused on outerwear pieces that were super-thin and ultra-lightweight. Top transitional buys, there were light parkas and anoraks in technical fabrics at the likes of E Tautz, while Lou Dalton’s versions became even airier when made in semi-sheer fabrics.
Earn your stripes
In terms of print and pattern, London’s brands kept things simple this season, with a focus on all things striped for spring. Sometimes they were thick and deckchair-inspired or riffed on the classic Breton, while designers such as Agi & Sam mixed and matched the gradients of stripes to make graphic, patchworked looks. While striped tops and shirts are easy, striped trousers, outerwear or even the co-ordinated all-over-stripe look are bolder choices.
Touch of luxury
Looking for investment pieces? Stock up on short and summery jackets in soft suede as higher price-point buys. Smart collared versions looked good at the likes of Richard James and Dunhill and in a safari update at Belstaff, while the luxed-up fabric gave a more sophisticated feel to casual cuts like bomber jackets.
Slim, skinny and tightly tailored trousers were still seen across the capital’s catwalks, but there was also a surge of wider, relaxed and more slouchy shapes. They were present right across the board, from casual jogger style, cotton chino, heavy denim and even formal versions teamed with smart blazers. For those that dare, there are the exaggerated styles, super-wide and often high on the hip. However, for others, a little extra leg room will be enough of a nod to the trend.
The long and shorts of it
Just like the battle between slim and wide-leg trousers, this season saw the short short versus the long. While the likes of Christopher Shannon and James Long showed some of the shortest shorts around, this season the focus shifted to roomier, longer styles across the board. Channelling a sports-inspired streetwear-style were the likes of Astrid Andersen, Nasir Mazhar and Liam Hodges, while Alexander McQueen and Margaret Howell presented neatly tailoring versions that were just as wide and sat on or below the knee.
One detail that kept popping up across the LCM shows was a focus on utility detailing across clothing categories including shirts and trousers, but mainly on light outerwear. Particularly seen as oversized patch and bellows pockets across chests and arms, they lent a utilitarian feeling that sometimes verged on intrepid explorer, military and even classic summer safari suiting.
Welcome to the jungle
Animal prints and jungle motifs were two elements of a trend worth watching as the menswear season progresses. From Burberry Prorsum’s zebra and giraffe prints to Christopher Raeburn’s Borneo-inspired orangutan motifs and YMC’s jungle foliage patterns, this is a trend that could stick thanks to its wearable palette of dark earthy tones and lush greens.