1. Offering a “highbrow” start to proceedings, Mayor of London Boris Johnson posed with male models and fit in just perfectly.
He’s serving catalog realness head to toe.
2. Boris also took the time to talk with British GQ about the whole menswear circus.
Poor busy Boris said he wouldn’t have time to go to any shows, which, let’s be honest, is what everyone says when they don’t get invited.
3. One of the season’s first shows: rising talent Alex Mattson set the bar high* with his futuristic, militaristic take on Rastafarian culture. Amazing.
*and by bar high, I mean “hello there, glistening torsos.”
4. Mattson also collaborated with rising rap talent Brooke Candy on some new music that’s also amazing.
Candy performed during Mattson’s show — you’ll notice a theme here, because it was also (also) amazing.
As did these sculptural mandals.
I can’t wait to take them on a beach holiday and then not wear them at all. (Because I hate the beach, not Kwok’s work, mind you.)
Kwok’s space-age digital prints were another early highlight of the London shows.
The futuristic optical printed pieces — there’s an air of Dorothy Zbornak circa 2200 about the tailoring — are inspired by “NASA’s research into the earth’s magnetic fields,” the designer explained to the Wall Street Journal in a recent profile.
6. Topman Design presented a collection that fell just sort of the “rhinestone cowboy” cliche.
And that’s a shame. (Many noted a similarity to Isabel Marant’s recent, Western-inspired collection, but that’s ok — this town is big enough for the both of them. You can never have too many shiny cowboy shirts, as long as the embroidery is pretty.)
Also at the Topman Design show, these guys:
I mean, sure, why not?
From now on I plan to exclusively attend shows dressed as Archimedes from Disney’s The Sword in the Stone.
(Incidentally, this gif sums up how Archie feels about those owly impersonators. He’s flummoxed.)
7. Following the Astrid Andersen show, you’ll never be able to look at net curtains in the same way.
8. Suddenly, they’re kind of sexy.
Admittedly much more so with the inclusion of a buff model, though.
9. Also, here’s a highlight from the new Jonathan Saunders collection:
This ombré jacket is lovely. Shame about the schoolboy-worthy pleated shorts, then.
10. A new trend in London’s fashion show venues: high places, literally.
During the last round of womenswear shows, designers including Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou and Preen all presented their collections in chic, minimal office spaces — many floors up. Savile Row tailor Hardy Amies upped the game with their menswear presentation: at the top of iconic London skyscraper The Gherkin. Or, you know, as close to the top as its possible to get without risking post-show lawsuits from vertigo-suffering male models.
11. Dazed & Confused commissioned three short films showcasing new menswear designers making their mark on the London scene.
The cinematic trio (“Boys of Edfu,” “Boy Alone With Himself,” and “A Film for Elena Crehan”) screened alongside another short produced in partnership with the British Fashion Council as the official menswear movie — filmmaker Matt Lambert showing (off) lots of attractive young models getting dressed in their favorite clothes. As a concept, it really can’t go wrong.
Here’s “Boys of Edfu,” directed by Can Evgin.
Yes, these strapping young men are taking a late-night stroll around East London with a hawk. (And hipsters everywhere are like, “gurl, please, I walk my ferret on a leash each weekend just for show.”)
And this delightful bubble-fest is “Boy Alone With Himself,” directed by Alexandros Pissourios.
More bubbles, and a face that lights up. Or something.
Short films that look this good don’t always have to make sense.
12. Craig Green showed another riotous, abstract collection as part of the MAN showcase.
MAN represents a partnership between Topman and London’s Fashion East non-profit promoting emerging talent. Each season three designers get their show paid for, along with PR support and other brand-building advice.
Just a reminder, here’s some highlights of Green’s fall/winter 2013 collection:
(This is a high-risk editorial booking: all it takes is one errant splinter burrowing deep into a model’s razor sharp cheekbones and their season is OVER. What with this and the heights mentioned above, never say male models have it easy.)
13. A few weeks prior to London’s menswear shows, male model David Gandy appeared on a British chat show and roundly criticized the work of young, conceptual designers like Green.
Here’s a totally gratuitous photo of David Gandy, from this season’s shows in fact — he pops up often as he’s a newly-announced official “Menswear Ambassador” for the London shows.
Upon seeing photos of fall 2013 designs by Sibling and Craig Green, Gandy remarked, “I was at [the Craig Green] show actually and I got a bit pissed off. I thought, ‘who does that?”… If someone said put this [plank] in front of your face I would have gone off.”
Aside from missing the point that a model’s job is to wear whatever they’re presented with, Gandy’s condescending take on London’s creativity didn’t go down well — Dazed reports his request for a ticket at Green’s show this season was denied. Writing for The Independent, Alexander Fury offered up the best response. A headline starting “Drivel-spouting David Gandy,” after all, is taking quite the stand.
The Telegraph comes a close second, however:
In his review of the Christopher Raeburn show, David Nicholls noted “Gandy could barely bring himself to look up from his phone to enjoy what I think was one of the highlights of the last few days. What a shame.”
Also worthy of note: fashion show seating (particularly when it’s on communal benches) is never spacious. Who wants to be the guy with a stance as wide as Larry Craig?
14. Back to the MAN runways: Bobby Abley showed budgies, fleur-de-lis and those crowns you used to get at Burger King birthday parties.
This look is going to catch on, I can feel it.
15. And among the Missoni-esque knitted separates in Alan Taylor’s show, he taunted one model with a sweater that could well be worn either way up.
Once again: male models, their jobs are tough.
16. If you lost friends at this year’s SXSW, Coachella or basically anywhere men with beards have been and not returned, don’t worry.
They’re not actually missing: British label Hentsch Man just “borrowed” them for their spring/summer 2014 collection, which is trying extremely hard to look like it’s not trying at all. “Mr. Cool” with your psuedo-eponymous printed T-shirt, I am on to you.
17. Design duo Agi & Sam sent out their show invites featuring one of street style’s finest senior citizens.
(This is Ali, of What Ali Wore fame.)
While Ali wasn’t in attendance, he could most certainly pull off the designers’ whimsical printed separates.
Bonus shot of the full collection’s lovely pastel color palette.
18. Benedict Cumberbatch walked barefoot at Spencer Hart’s show.
At the risk of enraging Cumberbitches everywhere, he looked incredibly pretentious. Blame that cigar.
Misfits star Nathan Stewart-Jarrett also walked in the show. He managed to keep his shoes on.
Let’s be honest though, he could be a model.
Let’s also all swoon a little.
Though sadly not on the catwalk, Dan Stevens (who will always really be Matthew Crawley, RIP) was also at the show.
Sat on his right is his real-life wife Susie, but let’s not dwell on that because Lady Mary has suffered enough.
19. JW Anderson continued to push the boundaries of androgyny, or you know, what even constitutes men’s clothing.
Apparently now it’s ok to ask your office secretary where she buys her casual Friday sleeveless blouses. And then when she tells you, you go and buy some yourself.
CRIMPING IS BACK, GUYS. CRIMPING.
(Still at JW Anderson.)
Of course, this is nothing compared to last season when Anderson showed male models in skirts.
For reasons undetermined, even the street style set gave this trend a miss.
20. Sibling offered up exciting new possibilities in illogical tan lines.
One of the many things to love about Sibling’s creations: how much fun you can tell the label’s designers are having with their work. (The whimsicality is contagious, and belies the “wearability factor” that’s arguably lacking in the clothes on face value. I mean, really, who doesn’t want to wear that dolphin sweater everywhere right now, this summer, let alone wait until next spring?)
I mean, look at this model’s wide smile. He’s loving this look!
Really now, he is. Totally! He’s always dreamed of dressing up like the wallpaper in a gay-friendly ’80s Miami Beach hotel. (Haven’t you?)
21. Orlebar Brown’s swimwear presentation teased everyone with a model who looks like Madonna’s boyfriend Brahim Zaibat.
(It’s not actually Brahim.)
22. Otherwise unrelated, but Brahim does feature in the new DSquared2 campaign. So maybe he’ll pop up at their show in Milan.
Let’s hope so.
23. Anyway, back to London. rag & bone handed out pretzels at their show, which were actually consumed by SOME people.
I’m not here to name and shame though, ok? And those crumbs on my keyboard? Totally coincidental.
24. Katie Eary’s invite showcased a flamingo wearing one of Nicki Minaj’s wigs. Which is basically as good as a fashion show invite can get, unless it’s a cupcake.
25. Sure, “Flamingo Massacres” sounds sad/scary, but the show was brilliant.
26. Also brilliant: the Alexander McQueen show, which walked in a cavernous venue called “The Coal Yards.”
Models traversed those cobblestones in everything from artfully-distressed lace to sharply-tailored floral suiting.
The show’s audience: captivated. (It’s certainly the most fun nearly all in attendance will have had under a railway bridge in Kings Cross in a while.) In short, Sarah Burton’s development of McQueen’s menswear aesthetic remains nothing short of masterful.
27. Savile Row tailor Timothy Everett presented “Findhorn,” an intriguing, oddball short film featuring a mysterious lady wandering in the woods.
But who could that mysterious lady be?!
Here she is dancing like your Dad on a big rock, still in the woods. There’s nothing sedimentary about her moves, come on.
On a more serious note, because this is Tilda Swinton after all: the filmmaker’s explain the piece as “[capturing] the essence of bespoke and its effects on the wearer… the viewer sees exaggerated movements echoing the shapes a bespoke client experiences during the fitting process.”
28. Anyway, lets all go pour glitter in our hair so we look like the models in Christopher Shannon’s awesome show.
This is a teal shade bright enough for My Little Pony. And sparkly too.
Ok, but let’s not go as fair as to wear socks with sandals though.
British fashion folk do like to break all the rules, you see.
29. Here’s an angry tweet from Christopher Shannon, though:
Would quite happily see Burberry burn to the ground right this minute.
Either someone from Burberry doused him in water and thus washed all the glitter out of his hair, or he’s angry that the latter label’s show (which followed his on the official LC:M schedule) may have leeched some of his would-be viewers.
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