From the polished dandies (including Gandy) of Savile Row to the uber cool kids in East London (Hoxtonites) to the youth quake in Notting Hill (Bloomsbury set), this city resonantes with talent when it comes to men's fashion. The event is also highly profitable as well. "Sales of men's clothing in the UK rose by 22% over the last five years totaling £13.5 billion in 2014," quoted the chair of LC:M, Dylan Jones. During this current cycle, it was also noted that the UK and international menswear sector is currently growing faster than womenswear, for the first time in apparel history.
According to Caroline Rush CEO of the British Fashion Council, there are now 77 shows, 67 percent more than the inaugural event in 2012, and double the number of attendees. In other words, LC:M has really taken off and is set to rival the majestic Milans offering.
The week was very intense, even for seasoned fashion followers, but did include several moments of inspiration and cutting edge contributions. Highlighted below are some of the best in show:
Craig Green's show pulsated with emotion and creativity. His show was jarring in so many ways, and people were left puzzled by the sheets of fabric attached to large sticks, which all but obscured the models that were carrying them. In fact, he was making a statement on how fabric can conceal the body. He also tapped into the big citrus colour trends: there were top to toe looks in juicy oranges, yellows and green, including his now trademark karate uniform and wide leg trousers.
This season, he had long fabric ties dangling all over the body. There were odd details like nipple tassels that reached to the ground, meant to demonstrate ´the power that lurks in a breast.´ It was notable for being a true agender collection.
Jonathan Anderson's charming personality came through in spades in his colourful, joyful show, where men wore very cool Mary Janes. The androgynous collection also included cuffed judo trousers and kimono-esque blazers, which we also saw at Craig Green, but these had a more wearable vibe.
HOUSE OF HOLLAND
Despite having just delivered a 67 look resort collection (more than double what most designers show), Henry Holland still had the energy to debut his first menswear collection at Selfridges on Sunday. "I looked at my childhood and all the things that I loved and basically it involved good food, football and fun," he told LCM press of his inspiration. "I also thought how a House of Holland boy would dress and I went from there." That manifested in 90's rave clothes with slogans such as "I just want to enjoy myself," clashing rainbow and grid patterns, and neon pops on denim. It was all was youthful, energetic and unrelentingly fun.
Alexander McQueen also gave a fresh new jolt to traditional Savile Row tailoring: Sarah Burton audaciously put an embroidered sea faring motif on a suit. There were a lot of nautical references beside bold and asymmetrical prints. Fashion folk played guessing games over which celebrity would rock the look on the red carpet. (We thought it would suit the increasingly fashion-forward Pharrell.)
While it's hard to play favorites in a field so full of talent, we have to talk about breakout star Grace Wales Bonner of Wales Bonner, who was also recently chosen for Victoria and Albert's "Fashion in Motion" series. At her Saturday show under the Fashion East umbrella at ICA, the crowd were more than accepting of her lastest installation. The collection's starting point was the journey of Malik Ambar, a poor man in Ethiopia who became a wealthy ruler in India. The clothes mixed African and Indian references, ranging from cotton and linens in earthy tones, to more luxurious fabrics like velvet and silk. It was a stirring collection, solidifying Grace Wales Bonner as my personal favourite and one to watch.
There were a lot of lace shirts. Then, I saw a giraffe followed by a lace trench coat. This unexpected collection was all shown under the open skies and rare sunshine at Kensington Gardens. The perfectly organized show sent goose bumps everywhere thanks to musician Rhodes accompanied by a 24-piece orchestra. Christopher Bailey also spliced in some ladies wear from the resort collection, sported by its latest look book model, Ella Richards. There was the usual star-studded front row, but the collection still took center stage. Fresh looks from a new fitted tailoring line called the "Chelsea" stood out via captivating jackets and trousers, as did fantastic cashmere sweat pants.