While the rest of the country slowly emerged from a festive slumber, fashion hit the ground running for the new season, with the first day of London Fashion Week Men’s (LFWM) autumn 20 collections.
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The 15th edition of the men’s showcase has shrunk considerably in recent seasons, but day one nevertheless displayed the capital’s signature knack for nurturing new talent, with stand out shows from Nicholas Daley, Bethany Williams and Paria/Farzaneh (whose show in a secondary school also featured a traditional Iranian wedding). In a day dominated by new names, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy retained his star billing, closing the night with a typically theatrical, darkly pagan show.
Loverboy was one of several names to make heavy use of historical references in their designs - Renaissance ruffles, padded-chested jackets and cinched, almost corseted waists appeared in several other collections, including JordanLuca and Edward Crutchley.
Heavy winter fabrications such as tartan tweed and wool appeared across collections - making particular impact in dramatic maxi coats at Pronounce and John Lawrence Sullivan.
Sustainability and ethical design remained core to many collections this season. Paria/Farzaneh showcased styles featuring Thermore insulation - which is made from recycled plastics. Bethany Williams also continued her pioneering work in ethical design and production with a collection partnering with the charity The Magpie Project, which supports mothers and young children who are in temporary accommodation.
Luxury London department store Browns’ buyer for NewGen (up and coming talent) Joe Brunner, shares his highlights from a vibrant first day of shows.
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Why do you attend LFWM?
For years, London’s been the best place to discover emerging and newly emerged talent within the more established fashion weeks. Even when the “bigger” names depart for international fashion weeks, London consistently generates a number of unparalleled, exciting designers who show tremendous amounts of maturity in their collections. And it’s my home! So I love to support its talent.
Are there any LFWM brands that perform particularly strongly for Browns?
Martine Rose, who we’ve supported from early on, has been incredibly consistent - demonstrating she’s developed a strong customer understanding that resonates at Browns.
Edward Crutchley has also shown sustainable growth over the last few seasons. People really take to the fabric quality and as it’s a UK exclusive [for Browns] it allows people to immerse themselves with the product in our stores.
Pronounce also hit the ground running in our first season [autumn 19]. The design aesthetic combined with the reasonable price point appealed to our customer - it’s great to see a Chinese brand doing well, as it’s an emerging market for most.
How was today? Which collections stood out?
It was very busy as the schedule has been condensed, shows were pretty back to back. Last season there were a few gaps which resulted in some trips to the pub. Most shows were at capacity which was fantastic.
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The collections generally were very strong, Paria was incredible! The jackets were very wearable (stupid thing to say, but super easy and brilliantly executed).
Pronounce was an amalgamation of colour and shapes, a tasteful, experiential avalanche. Bethany Williams picked up from last season with tonnes of vibrant colour, and played on a similar print. Nicholas Daley is always a highlight as his collections are synonymous with music and entertainment, the Fred Perry collaboration harkened back to retro silhouettes, providing an additional bonus to an already well rounded collection.
Were there any key pieces/trends or looks that stood out for you today?
Trends aren’t always on the forefront of my mind but more the general vibe - Pronounce had coats that were bold and a statement, the collection was the perfect bridge between commercial and directional. This alongside Edward Crutchley’s big print, was a major standout, people were taking pictures in wonderment. His prints are always a winner - the crazier the better. Bethany Williams’ full denim look with coloured blocks and patterns stood out as something commercial, but keeping with Bethany’s ethos and brand direction.
What are you looking forward to in the LFWM shows this season?
I love seeing the amazing cast of characters that attend London shows - it’s truly indicative of the energy that the city always brings as I mentioned above, and the designers that champion that unique ethos.