Sunday, January 12, 2014

Well Done The Boys

Three days, over 50 shows, countless parties and lots - and lots - of very handsome boys, as well as some quite serious hangovers - the fourth season of London Collections: Men this week couldn't have gone better, according to its chairman Dylan Jones.

"In previous seasons we had a tent pole of a personality to head it up - from the Prince of Wales, to David Cameron, to Boris Johnson," he says. "This season we wanted to take a step back and see if it ran with its own momentum and it really was the best season ever - great buyers; great press; fantastic parties."

The event was widely praised for being slick, efficient and timely - not adjectives usually associated with Fashion Weeks more commonly beset with complaints about late-running shows, impossible-to-find venues and uncomfortably packed schedules. "We're inviting people to an event they'd never been asked to consider before - so we had to make it fun as well as making good business sense to designers and all the ancillary people - car companies, productions companies, make-up artists, models," says Jones, who himself admits to feeling a little jaded after leading the celebrations in in typical GQ, no-holding-back style.

The real game changer was Burberry joining the schedule during the third season - joining Tom Ford and McQueen who'd already been reeled back to show in London - creating an unmissable schedule. Because, says Jones, "missing a Burberry show just isn't done - but it's not just about having it here, it's about the scale and ambition of what they've done with the show - it's as good as any show that you'd see anywhere in the world." 

London Mens Fashion Week
Menswear's natural home has been London since the bowler hats and pinstripes of Savile Row and it seems that its reputation is only going to get better from here. "The difficult season was the second one," says Jones. "There is always that worry that, rather like raising money for charity, people will feel 'I've done that - I've given' - but this week has proved that we exist now - we've been proud of every season but this one felt like we're really going strong. Of course there are problems - there is the discussion about dates coinciding with Pitti, but it's not an insurmountable problem and it's certainly one we can fix."

"Everyone really stepped up this season, from Lou Dalton to Katie Eary to Rake and Richard James - and there was a sense of competition which was brilliant. The combination of the iconic tailoring of Savile Row and Jermyn Street with the big international brands like Paul Smith, Burberrry and McQueen and the emerging New Gen and MAN talent is what's so great. London has always had this sense of tradition and rebellion which is what you don't get anywhere else - and we excel at both of them. That's the DNA of LC:M - the incredible mix - and the great parties obviously."

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