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10 things we learnt from London Collections: Men

"Socialism got chic." i-D Fashion Features Editor Anders Christian Madsen considers the lessons learnt from London's menswear bonanza.

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1. Black is back

Yes, it's a terrible women's magazine cliche but at least we didn't say 'black is the new black'. From Alexander McQueen to Tom Ford and even the normally so vivacious Agi & Sam, black was the star colour choice of LCM. We even renamed the make-up area at Topman 'blackstage'.

2. It's a cruel world

Et tu, Bruto? Nothing says HAPPY NEW YEAR like the reminder that the world is an unforgiving place that turns its inhabitants into a bunch of brutal brutes. But a bit of violent attire does look neat - as proved by Astrid Andersen, Topman, and Alexander McQueen - and as Marilyn Manson taught us anyway, it's too hard to hold hands when your hand's a fist.

3. Driving backwards makes you really ill

Bless our friends at the BFC for providing cars for the fashion press during LC:M. It is, after all, a good seven minutes by feet between the Old Sorting Offices and Bloomsbury Square. Those six seaters that face each other, however, had some of us turning up to shows a little green in the face, and since fashion loves nothing more than rowed seating, here's a wonderful opportunity to put it to good use.

4. Tracksuits are officially not sportswear anymore

The streetwear revolution may have happened decades ago, but it wasn't really until this LC:M that you could get away with wearing a tracksuit to a dinner. Now you can, thanks to Christopher Shannon, who did them all romantic, Jonathan Saunders, who did them all smart, James Long, who made them look like armour, and SIBLING, who gave them leopard spots and reminded us that even if something goes all high fashion and chic, it can still be really pimp. Street cred.

5. Socialism is chic.

Not to sound like a gay Republican, but of all the things socialism has been through the decades, chic was never one of them. Until now! Matthew Miller did huge black scarves with socialist(-inspired) slogans, Lee Roach's show notes read like a socialist schlager, and SIBLING was entirely based on the dutiful and eternally proud workingman, doin’ it for himself. You could say designers saw red. 

6. We now know why fashion people don't eat

They can't! Considering the fact that male models on average eat more than Kim Jong-un on a good day, maybe menswear designers could spare a little for their guests, too? Apart from Pringle, not a single show at LC:M served as much as a canape, and editors could be seen panic-eating soft mints between shows. (Some shows did serve the odd bag of popcorn, but as we know that's pretty much just air that's been popped.) You've got to love the female show-goers of LC:M, who were more vocal about the lack of food than anyone else. Hell hath no wrath like a fashion girl starved. Who knew?

7. Your coat should wear you

And don’t let anyone tell you any differently. The overpowering, all-consuming overcoat was the true star of LC:M. Weighed down by gallons of gabardine on their frail little shoulders, models could be seen trudging the catwalks like overloaded (really, really pretty) soldiers on their way back from war. Come autumn/winter 14, don’t buy a coat unless its weight could potentially earn you a hunchback down the line – then you’re good. Alexander McQueen, Topman, Alan Taylor, and Craig Green would agree.

8. Girls get a break.

From dressing up, that is. At LC:M, the female photographer's magnets were replaced by suit-wearing peacocks of the male sex strutting their stuff in front of the street style lenses like show ponies at a farm fair, and the girls were instead (fabulously) clad in jeans, jumpers and Converse, ducking under the radar, with only a few troopers stretching it to a practical court heel.

9. Romance is still alive.

Don’t give up! Darkness may be casting its devouring black shadow over the fashion land once again this autumn, Vincent Price’s out-tro from Thriller playing in the background, but not everyone is going to the dark side. If all you need is love, head to Burberry Prorsum for a dreamy maple leaf print, or to Margaret Howell for that romantic weekend-y feel. Emos can be persuasive, but you’ve got to follow your heart.

10. Expect the unexpected.

If you think you’ve got your London designers all figured out, think again. Normally the king of restrained austerity, Richard Nicoll went all out in the colour department and added some 70s prom ruffle while at it, and Agi & Sam did the opposite and got their demure on. Tom Ford took a break from extravagant formalwear and devoted his entire collection to weekend clothes, Lou Dalton fancies sexy scally farmhands, and James Long used to go to sci-fi conventions.

@anderscmadsen