Sunday 18 January 2015

London Collections: Men Autumn/Winter 2015 ~ Highlights & Trends

Orange is the new black this season in London: Casely-Hayford's colourful and highly wearable collection mixing classic styling with a relaxed silhouette. Photograph by Mike Rolls. Click on pictures for slideshow
Amid the cold, bleak days of a wintry London, the new autumn/winter 2015 men’s collections added a strong dash of brilliant colour. From exuberant and idiosyncratic street styles to suave and preppy suits, our fashion correspondent Limor Helfgott and photographer Mike Rolls were there to capture the highlights

Sankuan's bright jumpsuits. Photo: Mike Rolls
AT this season’s London Collections: Men, John Galliano returned from fashion exile, showing his first collection in four years for Maison Margiela and eccentric Lego beards and pink hair were standouts on the catwalks. It’s difficult to imagine that four years ago fashion week for men didn’t exist in London. But now, with leading fashion houses such as Burberry and Tom Ford presenting their collections and a fashionable crowd at the presentations and events, it shows London has a lot to offer combining it’s strong tailoring traditions with the city’s famous quirkiness.We attended some of the most innovative catwalks to give you a closer look what to expect this upcoming autumn/winter 2015 season.

Front Row: David Gandy & company. Photo: Limor Helfgott
Topman kicked of the London Collections with a bang on Friday with a glam rock collection Bombay City Rollers. Nick Grimshaw, Oliver Cheshire, Douglas Booth and David Gandy were all in the front row. Models emerged on the catwalk at the London Old Sorting Office in front of a brightly-lit kaleidoscope of shapes projected on to the wall, wearing ponchos, shaggy sheepskin coats, tartan suits, Aztec prints, geometric faux furs, paisley collar shirts and Bay City Rollers-worthy jumpsuits ~ that could only be inspired by the 70’s and with a soundtrack to match.

Topman's bright tartan suits. Photo: Mike Rolls
Bomber Jackets were paired with bell-bottom flares and heavy faux furs with straight-leg trousers. The traditional suit was reinvented and was a strong element of the collection in tartan or pinstripe, paired with high-necked polos in bright colors. We could see a lot of psychedelic, hippy prints which have already been featured in the Spring Summer 2015 collection. They still gave us the same retro feel.

 Faux jackets at Casely-Hayford. Photo: Mike Rolls
Footwear was mostly white trainers with the occasional classic brogues for a more dapper, gentlemanly look. We wonder about how wearable the pieces will be and the commercial aspect of the collection ~ the jumpsuits may be only runaway pieces ~ but that remains to be seen. Yet this was another brilliantly styled and another winning collection for Topman.

Prints at Casely-Hayford. Photo: Mike Rolls 

Casely-Hayford's pink coat. Photo: Mike Rolls
A highly wearable collection, Casely-Hayford is created by a father and son duo. Besides the classic styling, it is clear that a lot of thought was given to comfort and a relaxed-looking silhouette. We could see grungy, eye-catching colourful pieces for the more daring men described as a 21st century British play on the seminal Coogi designs alongside more classic formal wear but always with a stylish twist. One of the most eye-catching pieces of the show was a bright fuchsia overcoat, styled perfectly with pin sharp suit trousers, and layered in prints and geometric lines jersey. Other pieces included a long coat with an over sized hood, textured knitwear, lightweight, chunky alpaca and wool over sized hooded knits and futurist techno prints.This collection certainly reinforced the fact that orange is the new black with other strong colours such as cobalt blue and olive green that were toned down by more muted colours such as grey, white and the ultimate black. Casely-Hayford make the more conservative autumn/winter season much more fun, colourful and cutting edge than the normal dark and moody tones we are used to seeing. It is a smart collection with fresh elements brought to classic men’s  tailoring.
Bag chic at Christopher Shannon. Photo: Mike Rolls
Can you still look stylish with a plastic bag on your head? The answer is yes if you are Christopher Shannon, a Central Saint Martin’s graduate who has had his own label for several years now. He created a functional and modern collection with everyday plastic shopping bags imaginatively shaped into stylish ensembles. Models were sent down the runway with these unique headpieces: their heads and faces covered in corner shop carrier bags. The black, white and striped 'masks' had little holes cut in them so the models could see through them, with hard hitting music that was set very loud and a brightly animated background video.

Shannon's sportswear. Photo:Mike Rolls
Shannon was making a statement about modern consumerism: what we save and what we throw away. And what we value and what we disregard. Shannon earned a reputation for sportswear-influenced menswear heavy in contemporary colour-blocking, feminine frills and quirky embroidery. This season he displayed an excitingly experimental and captivating collection, full of graphics, visionary silhouettes and a bold colour palette that despite its creativity remained wearable.
Mapping at Maharishi. Photo: Mike Rolls 
Traditional Ninja and martial arts uniforms inspired the evocative collection by Maharishi with camouflage and radar mapping prints dominating the catwalk. The collection offered a new take on military inspired wear featuring hooded masks, map-printed bomber jackets, and above the knee length crew sweats. Extended length pants as well as dropped crotches, built in mittens and integrated fitted hoods were teamed with pashmina scarves and a baseball style cap that was pulled down and worn over the face, inspired by the US army cold weather kit. With dark bleak tones and a bold colour palette including emerald green and plum, Maharishi carries a strong ethos of inspiration from nature while utilizing the latest technology.
Lego masks at Agi&Sam. Photo: Mike Rolls
Agi Mdumulla and Sam Cotton are a British design duo that never take themselves too seriously. They say they always want to have fun with designing, and to look at how children see clothes. Agi & Sam return to London Collections: Men after their critically acclaimed Japanese inspired Spring/Summer 15 show. The latest collection was inspired by a trip to Agi’s family home in Yorkshire and meeting primary school pupils who were given clothes to rip apart and deconstruct as puzzles and then given to the children to put back together with Velcro. Agi & Sam’s explosively-coloured new collection has a series of coats and jackets in different styles and shapes, echoing the essentials of a man’s wardrobe, such as a tailored coat, a denim jacket or a navy bonded twill jacket. While pieces made from multi-coloured Lego blocks covered the models faces adding an eccentric note to an evocative collection.
Knitwear at Agi & Sam. Photo: Mike Rolls
Knitwear in this collection has been made in collaboration with Jaeger, with coloured panels of fine wool patch worked over each other. The palette mixed navy with orange black, white grey with bright patches of red, blue and yellow sewn into coats, jackets and trousers.  Primary colours were smashed together like a child’s building blocks of Lego.

Raeburn's quilted jackets. Photo: Mike Rolls
Survival, endurance and immersion made a contrast to the arctic influences of last season with a playful exploration of fabrication, technique and colour in Christopher Raeburn. Lifeguard-inspired outfits came in smart and refined versions for this collection. The lightweight, eye-catching quilted and jackets coat were wearable and a key to the collection teamed with over sized shark-skin holdall, a new take on the Raeburn animal bag concept.
Raeburn's puffer jackets. Photo: Mike Rolls 
Wearable puffer Jackets and gilets in bold reds and blues injected entertaining and unusual silhouettes to the collection. With life rafts as inspiration, latex rubber was used to create unique inflatable outerwear. Featuring knitted statement jumpers emblazoned with slogans like: Broken, Thanks 4 Nothing and Save Me - cinched with tutu belts, chunky work boots and slashed or sheer trousers. The color palette is tonally in keeping with many of the AW15 collections seen at London Collections: Men this season but with a little more focus on primary colours:  pill box red ,cobalt blue, yellow and bright paired with more muted navy and grey tones.

Shearling featured at J.W Anderson. Photo: Sam Wilson BFC
Looking at the overall trends, knitwear will be a key component in the autumn/ winter wardrobe. It seems that knitwear rather than outerwear will be doing all the talking next autumn. Shearling and fur continue to be successful outerwear pieces and are expected to be everywhere.

Baartmens & Siegal AW15. Photo by Shaun james Cox BFC
Fusing sportswear with tailoring is a key element too. If you prefer a dark, monochromatic colour palette of black, grey and blue don’t forget to add a splash of color, preferably a blaze of orange. So mixing and matching colours and materials is the direction for this season.

Classic English tailoring at E.Tauz. Photo by Dan Sims BFC
Tailoring is always a strong element in London, as it is the home of the sartorially perfect men’s suit. The London Collection shows didn’t disappoint as designers showcased the preppy trend in their collections.The provocative Alexander McQueen brand presented a contemporary yet dark take on tailoring with black and red floral blazers with asymmetric and minimalistic tailoring – quite different to what we have seen in past collections. Another colour that was a key trend was the use of green. Besides the army colours that continue the focus on camouflage, at Burberry, the most anticipated show of the season,  a rich array of autumnal greens was used in Christopher Bailey’s “Classically Bohemian” collection: most strikingly in a sweeping frayed wool shawl and an satin-like brushed wool overcoat.

Bold new designs at Man AW15. Photo by Dan Sims BFC
To sum it up most of the new trends this autumn/winter season are wearable, while some of the looks and colours we’ve seen on the catwalks are designed for men who want to make a bold fashion statement. London Collection: Men shows that British menswear has a lot to say with it’s innovative, groundbreaking collections. Although it does not yet have the commercial clout of Paris and Milan yet, London’s men’s fashion week has acquired an extraordinary buzz and now rivals those European cities in importance.

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