Beginning in 2012, London Collections Men has been growing in popularity and has rapidly been established as a fixture on the fashion circuit in London. Arguably, fashion is one of the few industries that is dominated by women, though there are nuances and complexities on the different pressures and expectations on both women and men. LCM still has some way to go as schedules aren't as busy as those at London Fashion Week, the general atmosphere is quite relaxed, and the public aren't as widely aware of men's collections in comparison to the long-established biannual fashion week. But what we can see is a varied landscape in London's menswear, which ranges from classic designs with subtle quirks, based on established notions of men's style, to designers deconstructing the masculine ideal with gender-bending collections, and sportswear luxe collections fusing high-end fashion with urban ideals (you can read more about this in our article Working Class Aesthetic). Below are some of the designers shaping the British landscape of menswear.
Private White V.C. is a brand that interprets luxury as the focus on the quality of the materials used to make the collection. Subtle details, such as rose-gold zips, are combined with fine materials and luxurious fabrics to create high-quality menswear.
Alex Mullins' AW16 collection had a set design that appeared as though it was approached very much like an art project. Netted screens with denim plastered to them were roughly painted and the inspiration behind the collection arose from the idea of the processes that are created to escape the reality of boredom through invention. Prints of faces were layered over one another and the look of apathy covered a model's head. Shapes were distorted and twisted in Mullins' version of a warped reality with garments bulking and slouching unconventionally on the frames of models.
For his presentation, Pieter explores space and interaction, light and dark, and opposing contrasts. References to gay culture can be seen through printed slogans of 'CRUISE' and 'HH' on the tailored garments. The tailoring of the collection shows that Pieter's modern man is one who is aware of his body. Slight touches of fetish can be seen through the buckles of restraint, blazing a scarlet red against white.
KTZ mixed both womenswear and menswear together into one powerful show. The theme of action was carried out through KTZ's sports-inspired collection. Contrasting baseball lacing was a heavy feature throughout the show on leather with a strict colour palette of black, white, and red interspersed with the occasional touch of yellows and greens. Model diversity was interesting throughout the show as pairings of models walked down in twos, showing an inclusive sense of brotherhood, and both women and men spanning a range of ages and height were featured. KTZ's leather gang, mixing elements of Russian Futurism with American sport, created the image of a tough force to be reckoned with.
Like Alexander McQueen, Sean Suen breaks down the taboo of facial piercings. His collection highlights the importance of bringing diversity to London's scene of menswear through Chinese design. Inspired by Chinese chess, there's the communication of the east and the west in Suen's designs. Featured patterns follow the lines of the chessboard and the overall look was like the vampiric love child of Sid Vicious and David Bowie.
Words by Vivian Yeung