The capital’s designers delivered an abundance of outerwear, snug fabrics and functional styling.
The autumn 15 show season officially started last week when London Collections: Men swung into action. Having resolved its scheduling issues with Florentine menswear fixture Pitti Uomo, this edition’s shows and presentations were spread over four days for the first time, on January 9-12.
With big-name brands and the city’s rising stars all hoping to catch the eye of buyers, a strong group of standout trends emerged, focusing particularly on winter-appropriate outerwear shapes, cosy or insulating seasonal fabrics and a sturdy, functional look. Read on for our round-up of the new directions and essential items from London’s menswear big-hitters.
PLENTY OF POCKETS
Uniform dressing and functional finishes were key inspirations within many collections. One of the most obvious ways this translated was in the form of utility jackets and workman-style coats, with an array of statement patch pockets. Multiple pockets were a simple but on-trend update to outerwear, used on cropped transitional jackets in performance fabrics, denim and heavier wool versions.
KEEP IT QUILTED
Nothing looked more functional on the catwalks than the various technical quilting styles. Performancewear coats at the likes of Christopher Raeburn and Maharishi were sporty and ready for snow. Elsewhere, Oliver Spencer used quilted fabric in smart and unexpected ways, cutting blazers from it, while father and son design duo Casely-Hayford introduced contrast fabric panelling to its tailoring and formal winter coats.
The furry-trimmed Arctic parka is another outerwear item to note. Although the style works as part of the season’s functional slant, London designers gave it a smarter and more luxurious spin. Key features still included oversized hoods, trimmed with real or fake fur, while the fiddly details of true performancewear parkas were minimised to give a sleeker, smarter look. Fabric choices ranged from the usual coated and functional finishes to luxury wool.
CAMO COME BACK
Menswear was heavy on camouflage a few seasons ago, before the pattern fell from favour - but now it’s back. Maharishi used the most literal form, with military surplus green camo livening up simple coat shapes. A splotchy blob-style version was seen on shirts layered under coats at Burberry Prorsum, while Stuart Vevers’ menswear debut at Coach featured an equally abstract darkly tonal version.
The zip-up bomber jacket shape has been around for a number of seasons, in sporty athletic versions or as part of the younger streetwear trend. For autumn, there are two main updates. First, the luxury bomber, worked in soft suede and leather by the likes of Aquascutum and JW Anderson. Others used it as a utility piece, riffing on the classic MA1 military style, in functional and quilted fabrics.
STICK WITH SHEARLING
Fuzzy shearling and sheepskin coats were hard to miss. They came cropped and cosy, like JW Anderson’s standout option, or longer and more enveloping, as at Topman Design. Shearling linings, collars, cuffs and statement trims were all a must. Classic cream and camel combos were the main options and will have the most appeal for shoppers, but Burberry Prorsum and Richard James showed colourful dyed versions.
Among the typical winter palette of black, grey and navy, there were several flashes of colour. Yellow stood out as a fresh shade to watch, permeating much of Burberry Prorsum’s show and also popping up at the likes of Hardy Amies and Oliver Spencer. It was most often seen in bold statement blocks covering simple outerwear. If bright primary yellows or mustard tones aren’t right for your shopper, Margaret Howell presented a mellower, washed-out tone that might have a broader hanger appeal.
Dramatic oversized styles livened up classic outerwear styles such as pea coats and Crombies. The look focused on voluminous and exaggerated shapes, so look for smartly tailored styles with big lapels on single- and double-breasted options, with long-line silhouettes falling below the knee.