Martine Rose took London’s fashion scene to an indoor market in Seven Sisters, presenting her first runway collection, with nail salons and vegetable stalls in the background. Martine’s day-to-day job is consultancy at Balenciaga under Demna Gvasalia, but for her eponymous menswear line, she takes a fresh look at clothing essentials. For autumn-winter 2017, the daring designer explored different, quite unusual for the fashion industry male characters – the banker, the bus driver, the office worker to name just a few. People, who rather don’t care about fashion, and their unawareness of how they look lead Rose to reinterpreting tailored jackets, dresscode-wise shirts and voluminous suit trousers. With their hands in pockets, the models seemed to come straight from a some kind of subverted reality. Minutes after the show, Martine told Dazed & Confused that her idea was focused on “polished, mid-town, almost American Psycho-style bankers”. Instead of taking her aesthetically-forward bank boys to a CBD location, she took another path. “I’ve been in Tottenham for ten years, so it was time to do something here – I wanted people to come to the market to see how amazing it is. But I really enjoy when things are slightly off – so I wanted to have this weird show inside it.”
“Pagan knights in shining armor. Layers on layers as a defense mechanism. Something knitty and cozy—the epitome of British craft.” That’s how Jonathan Anderson described his autumn-winter 2017 collection for men at his eponymous label. From granny-crotchet details (!) to XXL-scarves in bold orange and purple, the designer reminded every editor and buyer why London Collections MAN is still worth observing. Big brands like Burberry decided to combine menswear with womenswear due to financial reasons, while young designers… well, British menswear is struggling (except Wales Bonner, of course). But J.W. Anderson is a brand that’s always ahead of the rest in regards of a concept. Yesterday in the morning, Anderson presented a collection designed for a modern-day prince
charming, collage-ing medieval references (voluminous tops with big tabard sleevess, patches depicting stained glass windows on knitwear and jeans). In the evening, he and Alasdair McLellan launched an event at J.W. Anderson Workshop in London, selling highly-NSFW double-sided posters. In other words, expect the unexpected from Anderson, wherever you’re, whatever you’re doing.
Grace Wales Bonner, 25, the London-based menswear designer, has been announced as LVMH Prize 2016 winner (along Vejas Kruszewski, who won the second prize), gaining the a major back-up for her eponymous brand. But in fact that’s just one of the reasons I’m writing about her today. The latter is her latest, break-through outing during London Fashion Week, which is pure poetry. When creating her label, Bonner’s main aim was to break the stereotype of black male fashion as aggressive, popularly seen in posture of hip-hop sweatpants and rapper’s gold chains. Wales Bonner’s work focuses on black male sexuality, unconventional masculine identity, and mainly afro-American cultural experience.
With a background of growing up in South East London and having a Jamaican dad, Grace looks forward to show the masses a new diversity in fashion, but from a totally different perspective – it’s much calmer, gentler, not as bold as in Stella Jean‘s way. This season, she was inspired particularly by Ethiopia’s emperor from the 30s, Haile Selassie, who was famous for blurring the African rituals with his own, military coronations and “style”. Tailoring, the season’s ultimate highlight, was embellished with crystals, all in traditional crotchet and meticulous embroidery. Her decorated, slightly dandy-ish men are accompanied by female models, who wear similarly androgynous pieces – gender fluidity is nothing new to us in London. But according to Wales Bonner’s vision, male beauty becomes something much more unexpected, yet highly signature. Her debut runway show was a bomb – and with LVMH’s funds, Grace will surely keep doing her thing.
For boys, Jonathan Anderson gets extra peculiar, season-to-season. Maybe it’s because he feels that menswear is his in designer roots? Let’s not forget that J.W. Anderson was initially a men’s fashion label. Spring-summer 2017 collection feels like one of Anderson’s first outings – no commercial pressure (at first sight), just pure creativity. The latest collection is like a space odyssey, welcoming the unknown. Over-sized tunics, astronaut pantalons – is it the character of Little Prince, but a bit older? He still wears his crown, according to the designer. Also, this eccentric type of guy, Saint‐Exupéry’s fictional creation-like, seems to have a weak point for Jonathan’s signature “Pierce” bags, and colour spectrum coats, which look quite psychedelic when styled with high, lace-up boots. If this level of outer-space fashion isn’t reaching its peak, then take a look at the orange sunglasses. Then, there are the prints with frogs and Egyptian god of afterlife, Anubis. Luc Besson’s apocalyptic sci-fi thriller? Hacker style? I don’t have a clue what’s the message. Was that the aim? Anderson leaves me lost for words, and quite confused. But one thing’s sure – an upcoming collaboration between Anderson and musician ASAP Rocky is on its way. Elusively tagged as JWA X AWGE.
The father-and-son duo, Joe and Charlie Casely-Hayford, have many reasons to call spring-summer 2016 collection one of the biggest highlights of their career up to date. What pleasantly surprised everyone during the show was the fact that the fash-fam introduced a womenswear capsule, accompanying their festival-cool menswear looks. “We’ve been asked about doing it for years,” said Charlie. “Now felt right. We want to dress a woman who is a partner to the Casely-Hayford man—but she is very much independent and different to him too.” Their debut in the world of women was like the feeling of a breeze by the sea, so refreshing. Jacquard, which was used in coats production, was made with a more than 200-years old weaving mill, while the dresses with knitted details in sharp, summer-y colours, will be the right choice for warm days. Casely-Hayford is known for top-notch tailoring, but in contrast to their Savile Row friends who do strictly elegant suits, this label breaks the well-known conventions. No wonder why the women’s part was as focused on perfectly-cut blazers as men’s, and was equally edgy. The moodboard behind the collection was filled a variety of British music movements, from 70s rock and Jimi Hendrix to 00s grime and Mick Jagger. With all that diversity in mind, there was a sharp game of oriental patterns, paisley, bleach splashes and tie-dye textiles. Also, spot the richness of jewellery – tribal necklaces and pendants (which looked like great, flea-market finds) were worn nonchalantly by both genders with embroidered robe-coats and denim jackets. Looking forward to see how Joe and Charlie will continue their new, even more daring chapter in fashion!