liam hodges distills his menswear to its essential elements
“It’s like Liam only made the workwear cos we had to work bare.”
Liam Hodges' show invites usually give you an idea of who this season's 'man' is going to be. Last season, a number plate introduced the boy racers; a previous season an archive shot of a butcher hinted at the Walthamstow market worker mash-up to come. The spring/summer 17 invite was more cryptic: a product information sticker with a red border that states, "Refining Content, Calibration In Progress". The fash pack racked their minds before the show began, but once it did, all became clear: Hodges was stripping back, no more street-romantic scene setting, just the raw elements of his essential, exceptional menswear.
"We spent the last three seasons with these narratives, and activities that people do, and that set out our world," Liam tells i-D backstage. "Now, it's about developing that world and working on the product, the garments, and reigniting some more motion within the brand itself, rather than playing off of other things."
Workwear shirts with almost leg-of-mutton sleeves, accentuated by a horizontal seam across the chest, paired with the high rise of expertly tailored utility trousers with reinforced panels shows the attention to cut and silhouette. Hodges' signature patchworking is found on jersey sweatshirts, sweatpants and shorts, but gone are the jacquards and the prints, instead using overlapped squares of the same fabric to highlight the asymmetric patterns, sleeve lengths and stepped hems.
Commenting on the the diversity of the casting -- with boys of varying looks, ethnicities, heights and hairstyles -- Hodges says he and casting directors Mischa Notcutt and Troy Fearn were discussing who they wanted and realised, "we were analysing us". "I make the clothes for myself and my friends," he explains, "It didn't need to be like a one-look thing, it was about personality, who we thought could represent the brand really well and really strongly. I think it reflects how we see the brand as being open to a lot of different [people], rather than being like, 'It's this guy, that's it'".
T-shirts and the backs of zip-up workwear jackets feature large white patches, with the phrase "IM OK" (sic) and a negative scan of some very unique teeth inside a red border. Well, is he ok? "Yeah! It was an internal thing really, about me making that decision to step away from as much print and as much jacquard, and narrative. I think it was just me telling myself it was OK! I mean, the X-ray is of my own face!"
Hodges always has a great show soundtrack and this season was no exception. The finale was accompanied by music from Gaika, "A guy I met over the last couple of months," Hodges says, "He's on board, he gets it". The opener came courtesy of Maxwell Owen and Hector [Aponysus], the poet who Hodges has worked with for the past three seasons. Hector's bars contain perhaps the final word on the stripped back new Liam Hodges vibe: "We're jus out creating tryna improve the moves we're making," "Find us a lane to stay in and stay slaying".
Text Charlotte Gush