Tuesday, 24 June 2014

London Fashion Week: Menswear Spring/Summer Collections 2015

Sarah Burton was thinking about Japanese kabuki theatre before she visited the Matisse Cut-Outs exhibition at Tate Modern this spring. The two themes came together brilliantly in a colourful, upbeat Alexander McQueen catwalk show. Picture courtesy of Alexander McQueen
DAM's fashion correspondent Limor Helfgott report on the highlights from the new menswear collections shown in London for spring/summer 2015. The design spectrum ran the gamut from retro 70’s flares to knitted pom-pom face masks and from sleek tailoring to dark Goth style

BRITISH catwalks featured their signature innovative and edgy style mixed with contemporary and charming British classics. One of the outstanding collections of this season was Sarah Burton’s latest show for Alexander McQueen that was held at the Royal College of Surgeons. She created an exciting, youthful collection with a streetwise edge. The models were sent out on to the catwalk to the sounds of Missy Elliot.

Burton’s inspiration was Henri Matisse and Japanese Kabuki Theatre. She wanted the brand to feel "less period, less historical" this season, with a more progressive and unique look. Wavy motifs like a painter’s brushstroke were splashed across white suits, loose turtlenecks and boxy coats. The shapes were bold and sleek - leather shorts worn over tights, red satin lining showing from under a lean white cotton coat and Prince of Wales checks on boxy trench coats or appliquéd onto the front of satin bomber jackets.

Alexander McQueen’s signature sharply tailored jackets featured tri-colour swirls of white, black and red and were combined with long, pointy brogues or all-white tennis shoes.The clever thing about the collection was that there was a hint of punk rock in the outfits, even though many of the looks were a brilliant take on the best of classic English tailoring - like the double-breasted suit teamed with sneakers. Burton also made references to past McQueen menswear collections mixing pinstripes and checks together to create Daliesque contemporary suits. 


"I wanted the show to be less period than usual, without so much historicism" said Burton back stage after the McQueen show. "What I got from Kabuki theatre and Matisse was an idea of scale and proportion, and the impact of simple shapes on a clean background." Picture courtesy of Alexander McQueen



Burton played on the scale of three classic menswear fabrics: the Houndstooth, Birdseye and Prince of Wales check, used in combinations as a new type of patchwork or woven as Jacquards in the abstracted Kabuki pattern. 

The construction of the jackets is pared back with a slight shoulder pad to give just enough structure. Silhouettes are oversized or elongated and trousers are cut wide and loose or drop crotched and skinny. Picture courtesy of Alexander McQueen

Inspired by Matisse, Alexander McQueen's designer Sarah Burton used wavy motifs like a painter’s brushstroke to splash across white suits, loose turtlenecks and boxy coats. Picture courtesy of Alexander McQueen



McQueen’s sharply tailored jackets with swirls of white and black were combined with long, pointy brogues or all-white tennis sneakers. Picture courtesy of Alexander McQueen

An abstracted Kabuki pattern is the dominant and recurring motif featured throughout the collection. It is used all-over, as an asymmetric placement or stripped back to just a single block of colour. Picture courtesy of Alexander McQueen

Tailoring for the new McQueen menswear collection is slashed on the revere or under the pockets, reworked as panels to reveal vivid red lining on long and lean coats and suit jackets. Picture courtesy of Alexander McQueen




The London fashion brand Sibling are known for their kooky knitwear for men. This season they were inspired by working class Northern teenagers. The idea behind their West Side Story themed collection was about wanting to be part of a collective or tribe. Yet is was a notably nonconformist show. "The pack anonymity of a group of hoodies, the up-yours gesture of a boy in a skirt or the societal baiting of a shocking hairstyle... challenging conformity and in-your-face declarations are everything," said the designers. The collection featured pierced double denim, armour-like spiked hoodies, a crochet face mask, bone necklaces and dark cartoonish skulls prints that were created by artist Mike Egan, as a part of his collaboration with the studio.

The Sibling catwalk was a wild show with a Goth feel to it but presented with great styling - and it looked urban and modern. The show closed with two giant raffia pom-pom constructions that suggested the avant-garde designer Leigh Bowery (a regular Sibling inspiration). The finale could be considered a gimmick, but represented the individuality of the brand and fitted with the collection's message to teenagers during tough times: be yourself.

The Sibling catwalk show closed with two giant raffia pom-pom constructions that suggested the avant-garde designer Leigh Bowery. Picture by Shaun James Fox British Fashion Council

Sibling are known for their kooky knitwear for men. This season they were inspired by working class Northern teenagers. The idea behind their West Side Story themed collection was about wanting to be part of a collective or tribe. Picture by Sam Wilson, BFC

Sibling's collection featured pierced double denim, armour-like spiked hoodies, bone necklaces and dark cartoonish skulls print created by artist Mike Egan, as a part of his collaboration with the studio. Picture by Sam Wilson BFC

Drawing inspiration from his Ghanaian roots, Adrian Sauvage likes to combine his history with British references to subcultures, mods and punks. The designer continues the theme at this season’s London menswear shows of taking the suit out of the office. Sauvage says all you need is a printed shirt to dress down your tailoring at the weekend.

The collection featured skinny suits, bright bold colours and laced-up ankle boots in a palette of olive green, navy and bold yellow. Despite other less formal garments, like botanical prints or a neon smiley t-shirt, Sauvage’s signature tailoring dominated the line, with slim-cut two-piece suits in different prints and colours.

Drawing inspiration from his Ghanaian roots, Adrian Sauvage likes to combine his history with British references to subcultures, mods and punks. Picture by Daniel Sims BFC
Sauvage's collection featured skinny suits, bright bold colours and laced-up ankle boots in a palette of olive green, navy and bold yellow. Picture by Daniel Sims BFC

The Topman collection took us back to the 70’s with psychedelic hippy prints followed by 90’s Britpop style, reflected in silhouettes, patterns and graphics presented on the runway. Showcasing a mixture of looks from the two eras, the collection featured flared faded jeans and parkas trimmed with pink fur. Topman's creative director, Gordon Richardson, said: “There was Brit Pop at one end and Woodstock at another".

The collection was bursting with bright colours and bold prints with ’70s silk shirts mixed with flare-bottomed, loose-fitting jeans. The retro style was further enhanced with bright daisy prints, Paisley and pinstripe patterns. The key looks seen on the catwalk include suede jackets with fringes, cropped spread collar shirts, beads, mock turtlenecks in a palette of pastels. The show combined a 3D scanner and a soundtrack of Blur’s Girls and Boys creating a collision of periods. It may not all translate to the street, but the show was certainly eye catching and innovative.

The Topman collection took us back to the 70’s with psychedelic hippy prints followed by 90’s Britpop style, reflected in the silhouettes, patterns and graphics presented on the runway. Picture by Kensington Leverne BFC 

Showcasing a mixture of looks from the '70s and '90s, the Topman collection featured flared faded jeans and parkas trimmed with pink fur. Creative director, Gordon Richardson, said:  “There was Brit Pop at one end and Woodstock at another". Picture by Kensington Leverne BFC 



 Bursting with bright colors and bold prints, Gordon Richardson mixed ’70s silk shirts with flare-bottomed, loose-fitting jeans. The retro style was further enhanced with bright daisy prints, Paisley and pinstripe patterns. Picture by Kensington Leverne BFC 











Burberry Prorsum’s creative director, Christopher Bailey, created a wardrobe inspired by novelist and travel writer Bruce Chatwin. A colour palette that was dark and rich with a hint of decadence in bottle green, rich teal and deep purple were the themes in the new book cover collection. Denim jackets were alongside sharp suiting and colourful sneakers teamed with floppy hats and satchels.

Velvets and suedes were paired with light linens in matching tones, trench coats and double-breasted suits were worn shirtless emphasising the Chatwin inspiration. At the end of the show every model carried a Burberry-bound artist's sketchbook. It was very British, elegant and the purest expression of Burberry seen in recent seasons.

Burberry Prorsum’s creative director, Christopher Bailey, created a wardrobe inspired by novelist and travel writer Bruce Chatwin.Velvets and suedes were paired with light linens in matching tones, trench coats and double-breasted suits were worn shirtless. Picture by Sam Wilson BFC

At the end of the show every model carried a Burberry-bound artist's sketchbook. It was very British, elegant and the purest expression of the fashion house seen in recent seasons. Picture by Sam Wilson BFC

From the Burberry open-air show in the sunshine to Tiger of Sweden’s dark, industrial setting for their new collection. The leading menswear brand from the wonderfully stylish northern nation hosted their first collection outside of Stockholm, with some of the best dressed Londoners taking front row seats. Uber male model David Gandy was at the shows as London men's fashion week ambassador.

Tiger of Sweden’s collection was inspired by cult American movie The Warriors which looks at the gang scene in New York City. Design director Ronnie McDonald explained that his idea was to create a Tiger gang wearing sharp suits combined with sporty elements. This idea was reflected in the combination of rock’n’roll attitude and rough elegance.

The collections showcased what Tiger do so well: slim-cut tailoring, smart and modern, uncomplicated two-piece suits, dotted with touches of more relaxed, adventurous detail such as contrast-sleeved bomber jackets, tailored pinstripes and splotch prints. Along with the signature suit, was also a new shape - a more over sized and elongated design. The main colours were inspired by the night: blacks, charcoals and shades of greys along with touches of teal and rust. There were also references to the street art and graffiti that’s native to New York City.

Tiger of Sweden’s collection was inspired by cult American movie The Warriors which looks at the gang scene in New York City. Design director Ronnie McDonald explained that his idea was to create a Tiger gang wearing sharp suits combined with sporty elements. Picture by Kensington Leverne BFC 

The collections showcased what Tiger do so well: slim-cut tailoring, smart and modern, uncomplicated two-piece suits, dotted with touches of more relaxed, adventurous detail such as contrast-sleeved bomber jackets, tailored pinstripes and splotch prints. Picture by Kensington Leverne BFC 


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