sew fresh: phoebe english makes her london collections: men debut
The mysteries of the male fashion psyche are uncovered in a collection of cotton and linen seaside separates.
As with her womenswear shows, Phoebe English's debut presentation at London Collections: Men delivered more than a mini catwalk or a static tableau; instead it was a subtle slice of fashion performance. A group of models filed out onto a set of benches with a backdrop of unbleached cotton on a wooden frame. Each picked up an embroidery hoop on the way, and proceeded to sew patterns onto the fabric before visiting a separate bench area where another model would straighten out their garments, preparing them for 360 degree photography.
What's with the stitching, we wondered? "It's because all of the men I know sew. It's a reflection of the men in my life," English explains backstage, noting that the inspiration for her first menswear collection (this is now the third, but the first to have a presentation) was her partner Sam. Each season has been a development from that initial point.
"With the menswear, I always have a little testing party, when all of my friends come and try it on, and I can hear what they think and what they want from the clothes," she explains. "Men seem to approach clothing in a really different way to women, and they're so specific about what they want. A pocket has to do exactly what they want, otherwise they just won't go near it; the sleeve length can really make or break it for them. They go back and they buy the same pair of trousers again, and get really cross if anything's been altered in the time since they bought them before! The tiniest details freak them out! It's kind of interesting to learn the mysteries of the male clothing preference! It's a totally different kettle of fish."
This spring/summer 17 collection has a distinctly nautical feel: crisp white, navy, and sea green shirting with button and tab fastenings at the neck, turned-up sleeves, linen sweatshirts, straight-cut cotton trousers with wide but neat elastic ankle cuffs, hooded sailor jackets, and rope detail cross-body bags. "Well, Sam goes to the seaside pretty much every weekend," Phoebe explains. "He's a sea-loving guy!"
Text Charlotte Gush
Photography Mitchell Sams