you don’t have to be a tomboy to love menswear
London Collections: Men is upon us; four days of shuffling around west end locations, going to presentations and ogling the male species in what our designers believe to be the looks for autumn/winter 15. Ah, that fashion fireball! But that's not the...
Our UK menswear seasons have fast become a staple on the fashion map and one I look forward to. I generally go to support friends and do the odd write up. From its onset, and now in its fourth year, quite unexpectedly I've found myself wanting some of those designs to wear myself. I'm no tomboy, in fact I veer toward the frivolous, but I do like a crisp white shirt, a well thought out jacket or a jaunty hat. Prints, knits, clever man-bags and inventive sportswear leave me drooling and thinking "I could work that!" And my girlfriends agree. We just want to run backstage and try on some of the designs (never mind about the half-naked boys). Forget the days when you borrowed your best man friend's jumper, jeans or jacket for a nice slouch around town, nowadays you can take your pick straight from the LC:M catwalk.
When it comes to menswear you might think it's all very tailored and yes, that's very much a part of it; a trip to a bespoke tailor to appreciate the craftsmanship of a suit is something to behold. But the flip side of LC:M can be far more extreme, and let's face it, that's what we're known for here in the UK.
At Fashion East's Men's Presentations our emerging designers give us a taste of menswear at it's most experimental and raw. True enough these newer designers really do go on to present catwalk shows shaping the future of menswear. Last season we all wanted Marques'Almeida's cave man denim and yeah, they had girls in the mix as well. We envisioned ourselves in a bit of Alan Crocetti's skimming man tunics and looked toward Edward Crutchley for some batik realness.
Who doesn't want to join the sexy SIBLING gang with their incredible knits? Or Nasir Mazhar's sports battalion with those incredible jogging suits, logoed shorts and signature caps? And I'm always up for a bit of James Long whose quilted, puffy jackets, worn and patched denim numbers and tops laced with ribbon really got our girly imaginations going last season. At the MAN show Liam Hodges gave his men the feel of a wild urban frontier and us girls swooned.
Is there anything off limits when it comes to girls donning a bit of menswear? Probably not, though I'd probably have to give a pair of crotch enhancing trunks a miss! Men's fashion is a thing of beauty and wearability. When Craig Green sent his peaceful block-coloured collection down the catwalk we were all visibly moved, mentally checking ourselves wafting around in one of Green's blue ensembles. Christopher Shannon masters the ultimate in effortless bold and emblazoned shirts and shorts while Kit Neale goes for quirky printed pieces and witty touches. The more feminine inclined among us love his stuff so much, Kit obliged and did a capsule collection especially for us girls in collaboration with Rainbow Brite. And of course J.W. Anderson is always questioning the blurred boundaries of man dressing. With androgyny becoming the norm rather than something considered outrageous, menswear appeals to all sexes.
Another thing I'm fascinated by is the influx of menswear designers who are women. Over at the house of Lou Dalton, non-traditional, tailored garms are clean cut and stylish, Martine Rose makes unique baggies and gorge cropped jackets, Astrid Anderson aces glorious prints and innovative shapes, Katie Eary champions psychedelic hippie boys and new-comers Grace Wales Bonner and Roxanne Farahmand dress their men in pastels and sensually brutalist accessories respectively. They have all invaded the pre-concept of how men adorn themselves in the 21st century. The feminine stamp they bring to the equation has pushed men's design into fearless modernity.
It's been exciting to witness the evolution of UK men's fashion design. The way we express ourselves through style is having a rippling effect throughout the world. As I always say "there are many shades in the spectrum of love," and so it is with men's fashion...
Text Princess Julia
Photography Piczo, Sibling spring/summer 15