The men’s fashion calendar just completed its first round of shows in London. Notably, the last few seasons have already witnessed thinning of the men’s schedule and this year was no different.
Most of the major league players such as Burberry and JW Anderson, have already opted for co-ed shows and are going to present their men’s and women’s collection together at following women’s fashion week. Even the week itself has gone down from four to just three full days of presentations this time.
Though Britain’s star creatives, namely, Craig Green and Grace Wales Bonner also gave the London shows a miss, the city still remains on everyone’s radar. A hub of emerging designers, London offers a fresh take on trends every season and this is why it continues to draw visitors and buyers alike.
In terms of trends for Spring 2019, the men’s fashion designers are completely doing away with one style in particular and that is the crisp formal businesswear.
Sports and athleisure have finally taken over. Even designers who are showing business casual options have taken up a very flexible and relaxed approach towards the same. There is a sense of romantic Euro-centred boyish mood that is prevalent throughout the entire season.
Some London mainstay themes like eclecticism and over the top deconstruction continued to be highlights but ‘90s trends like track suits and bowler shirts stole the show.
While everyone presented a bit of everything to appease the audience, there was a general consensus that light outerwear needs heavy innovation. In addition to this, with sportswear and utility on the rise, many are experimenting on how they can add performance materials in silhouettes that can make athleisure appear more haute.
Key improvements are also happening with regard to trench-style tops, puffers, parkas as well as relaxed bottoms that replicate the joggers shape with utility zippers and extra pockets.
In terms of colours, there is no set standout direction as leading sports hues like navy, grey, and white plus contrast shades like orange and yellow are dominating most of the assortment.
With luxury names absent from the show listing, here are a few noteworthy presentations from key menswear stalwarts of London Fashion Week Men’s for Spring 2019.
LOVERBOY by CHARLES JEFFREY
The 27 year-old designer is popularly known as the champion of queer fashionistas and one who constantly questions the conceptions of male and female dressing. Jeffrey’s latest collection focused more on wellness and moving forward rather than on trauma and bullying unlike his previous shows.
The assortment unveiled for S/S ‘19 was deeply inspired by his buoyant personality and as avant-garde as always. From silk tracksuits with contrast trims, printed running shorts, to tennis outfits, and jogging suits, there were plenty of sportswear pieces in the line. He also added conceptual merchandise like rugby socks and sweaters for the Loverboy lovers.
Jeffrey also paid heed to the commercial viability of products and laced the show with practical pieces like a cropped trench jacket, collarless suit jacket with relief cut-outs and an eclectic but ready-to-wear tartan full suit.
The season’s most talked about show was by Samuel Ross, LVMH finalist, famously known as Virgil Abloh’s mentee. Ross’ show played heavy on theatrics; the performance catwalk made a statement on brutalist architecture with models covered in rubble walking in groups of six, holding wood and Styrofoam structures as a statement on man’s socio-spatial relationships.
Going beyond the immersive experience dynamics, the designer presented a haute streetwear line that was high on deconstruction, padded detailing as well as PVC. If you combine the visuals and the detail play on the clothing, there might be a little too much happening in this show. Some standout pieces include an asymmetrical two-tone puffer jacket, slouchy grey top coats and interesting pocket constructions inspired from basketball nets.
One of Britain’s more refined menswear talent, Mullins presented his collection with nine three-look sections. Perhaps the idea was to make it easier for buyers to pick pieces or simply mirror the mini ‘drop’ system of releasing collections in an ironic manner.
From screen printed patterns, wild finishes, tie-dye, and teddy coats to wild cut outs… Every quartet was an interesting design exploration in its own right. Even with such acute sectioning, the collection was clean and interconnected by way of materials and its overall street meets swimwear bend.
Another major name on the menswear calendar, Rose, a consultant to Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga men’s showed a relentlessly mature line but the real twist was her presentation space.
The creative opened her show literally to the streets on St. Leonard’s Square, inviting both residents of the neighbourhood and her show’s VIP guest list to sit in together. Often known for her unpretentious clothing, this was the designer’s homage to the city.
Hybrid everything like knit meets denim jackets, shirts and pants with metal O-rings dominated the designer’s line up for S/S ’19. Hawaiian shirts, thick awning stripes and several leopard prints completed a collection that was just playful in the right amount.