The second ever dedicated men’s fashion week in London drew to a close on Wednesday. There was Frankenstein’s monster, tartan, outrageous knits and lots of orange. From E. Tautz through to Jonathan Saunders and Sibling, Simon Chilvers rounds up the very best from London Collections: whose clothes sell at Liberty, is a modern tailor who adds sporty flourishes to her winningly wearable clothes. Her excellent autumn/winter collection was inspired by the North Sea oil boom in the 1970s, the film Local Hero and Shetland. Tartan – an emerging trend in London – looked fresh cut in Dalton’s modern shapes.
Both rugged and sleek, the show also featured proofed technical fabrics and oilskins.Rich green was used as an accent colour in Dalton’s collection, giving the collection a masculine effect, while these monkey boots are part of a collaboration with the brilliant British shoemaker Grenson
Lou Dalton.s winning autumn/winter collection riffed on the idea of a ‘gentleman explorer’. The opening featured lashings of icy white with neutrals, followed by spicy orange, red and mustard. Suits were mixed with parkas, peacoats were cropped, patterns were inspired by Tibet and trousers were wider in the leg, tucked into hiking socks and worn with boots
Suzanne Plunkett/ReutersCompasses and hip flasks swung from oversized backpacks at Topman Design, underlining their explorer theme.Lee Roach
is London’s hottest new minimalist. His trademark jackets feature strapping and buckle fastenings and are stripped of all excess. It is a lean aesthetic that comes in a suitably restrained colour palette of black, white and navy.
Thick silver bands, used sparingly on trouser hems or jumper arms, provide occasional hints of flashiness. This season the designer introduced Scottish cashmere; next season it would be nice to see a little flash of colour. One to watch.Agi and Sam
took to the MAN catwalk – a group show backed by Fashion East and Topman – for their third and final time. Inspired by the Marquess of Bath, the duo, who have established themselves as print designers with a sense of humour, sent out a typically jolly collection for autumn. Gold trousers, knickerbockers, colourful galoshes, body warmer-style vests and colourful outerwear. Think country pile attire put through an east London filter.Also notable:
Agi & Sam have worked hard on refining the cut and shapes of their tailoring. This label’s look is maturing (though thankfully not too much) rather nicely. And they get bonus points for their diverse casting.J.W Anderson’s ‘Mathematics of Love’ collection was an exercise in gender bending, opinion dividing and quite a lot of leg hair.
Ruffled thigh-skimming shorts, bandeau-bustier tops and school uniform grey shift dresses were all worn by boys with wet-look hair. Frilled top boots and gloves finished off the look. Backstage, the designer was insistent that the collection was all about pushing boundaries in men’s fashion.On the other hand, Anderson also sells more of his commercial pieces to stockists, such as this knitted top. Jumpers with picket fences or shears on the front will also satisfy the statement knit crowd while tailored coats in cobalt, camel and pinstripe were also more traditionally wearable
Rory Van Millingen.Richard Nicol’s second menswear collection was a breezy, confident affair featuring silver, paint-splatter prints and trademark jumpsuits. Leather trousers had the ease of joggers, wool overcoats had swagger and his bomber jackets are the sexiest in London. The show notes perfectly summed up the Nicoll approach: ‘a capsule of modern wardrobe staples’.Nicoll dubbed his shade of neon jaffa ‘safety orange’.By the end of the men’s shows in London, orange was confirmed as the leading hue of autumn/winter 2014.The most
goes in for when it comes to fancy styling is a pair of spectacles and the odd Left Bank-esque beret. While her collections don’t exactly set the catwalk alight, they provide a biannual reminder of where to go for the best hooded anoraks, neat knitwear and Breton stripe. It seemed that Howell agreed with lots of other designers this week – shirt tails should be worn untucked next season.Jonathan Saunders
doesn’t want to do catwalk shows for his menswear. He prefers to show it in more intimate surroundings, so press and buyers can see it up close. It is a tactic that worked perfectly to showcase all the brilliant textures in his new collection, which was one of the week’s highlights. Gathered hems on trousers and tops is also a micro-trend.Saunders said camping equipment, being outdoors and nature had inspired him for autumn/winter. You could see this in his colour palette of rusty mustards and mossy greens, as well as in plastic, mohair and other fuzzy surface.Christopher Shannon
has long been one of London menswear’s leading lights and he didn’t disappoint with his ‘Obsessive, Compulsive, Re-Order’ autumn collection. Inspired by hoarders and jumble sale fabrics, this offering was a slick upgrade of his sexy-sporty-fashiony aesthetic. Leather shirting and joggers, punchy jumpers, and trademark sweatshirts with contrast fabric sections combined to deliver one of his best shows to date.Oliver Spencer
is another fan of a mixed model casting for his catwalk shows, which underlines the label’s ability to dress men of various ages and attitudes. This season he threw in thick horizontal striped trousers, bursts of on-trend orange and some bright blue shoes to pep things up. As Stephen Ayres, head of fashion buying at Liberty, said: ‘Oliver Spencer shows why he’s the master of dressing real men. Always progressing and, importantly, will be a commercial success.’Sibling
‘s collections are full of joyful knitting with a side order of catwalk bonkers that always jolts the frow into life. A thoroughly good dose of leopard is another of the design trio’s trademarks – they’ve just designed various leopard items exclusively for Mr Porter, which are available now. Inspired by New York punk, this autumn/winter looks set to be another woolly hit.James Long
has established himself as a London designer who can deliver directional knitwear, sleek leather jackets, interesting embellishments and unusual texture clashes. His latest collection took John Waters as a key inspiration, which saw flamingos and drag queen Divine crop up on crowd-pleasing jumpers. He also backed, along with half of London, gathered cuff trousers. Start working out what shoes go with this look now.Christopher Kane
doesn’t yet stage a big menswear show, preferring to present his collection in a low-key showroom. It is a wise move to let the men’s clothes develop before whacking them on a catwalk, though you feel that he could do something pretty stonking if he did. Taking the last women’s show as the starting point – Frankenstein’s monster was a big point of reference – Kane expanded the theme to include Dracula and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Furry tops, purple chenille knits and velvet trousers were also part of his autumn/winter offering.E. Tautz
, the ready-to-wear label from tailors Norton & Son, which is designed by Patrick Grant, showed their best collection this week. A homage to Scotland, tartan checks and argyle knits were cleverly reimagined with graphic clout. Coats were cut with a roominess that gave them a modern sexiness – a slightly looser coat shape is a thing for next season. Here too the cuffed trouser hem featured in abundance, though it was a pair of wider suit trousers with a more traditional turn-up that looked the easiest to wear in real life