While walking along sunny Hollywood Boulevard yesterday, I was reminded by a tweet from my Australian stylist friend Bradley John that the fledgling London Collections for Men were underway for Fall/Winter 2013. This was only the second go round for the mini-Fashion Week but, as is often the case with the London shows, there were a few solid designers mixed with quite a few I’ve never heard of and whose garments I will likely never see in person. There was also some strange shit that will make for a very interesting autumn should anyone choose to wear it.
Into the latter category fell the Meadham Kirchhoff presentation, which was an exercise in weirdness but without the finesse or spectacle of a Thom Brown show. Some of the eighteenth century pastoral theme from their women’s collections surfaced but, interwoven with some ecclesiastical details and punk rock fabrics, it was just a big mess. The piled up black trash bags that provided the backdrop were a fitting commentary.
Alexander McQueen’s collection was a bizarre twist on traditional British tailoring. The freaky styling of gelled hair and plastic facemasks was to be expected and the deconstructed-reconstructed pinstripe suits with exaggerated details were odd but there was a beautiful stained glass pattern on silk that I’m hoping to see more of.
At Christopher Kane, we had a one-note collection centered around iconic movie monster images of Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster, Bella Lugosi’s Dracula and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. The garments were otherwise unremarkable.
Joanna Sykes’ first menswear collection for Nicole Farhi was totally wearable but rather boring in mostly charcoals or heather gray, though there were some rich browns thrown in. There were pants, jackets and sweaters and not much else to say except that she really should reexamine those sloppy pant lengths.
On the bright side, Savile Row staple Richard James showed a classic, modern collection of luxurious fabrications and beautiful tailoring with some of my favorite colors for Fall 2013 so far. Rich toffee and deep green was balanced with clear dark blue and merlot on clean silhouettes that recalled the highly successful Ermenegildo Zegna collection of Fall 2012.
There was also a lot to admire in the collection for Topman, which is now perhaps the coolest of the moderately priced men’s lines. Gentleman explorers in big parkas wore huge-legged Oxford bags tucked into mountain climbing boots and vintage backpacks rounded out the looks. Opening with a sea of winter whites, the collection evolved into beautiful deeply saturated oranges and some slick tailored pieces at the end.
The Tom Ford show was the highlight of the final day. Photography was not allowed in the Tom Ford presentation that stretched across much of today but we should expect classics inspired in part by Cary Grant in the late 50s. The key silhouette, Ford said, would be “neat and trim but not tight.”
It was nice to have a fashion teaser going on before the big boys whip ‘em out in Milan next week, but partying seemed to be a big focus in London. After the official launch party and the Tommy Hilfiger/Esquire party on Monday, the Jonathan Saunders/Fantastic Man dinner and Fashion & Art party hosted by Anna Dello Russo and company on Tuesday, there were the Wallpaper*, Paul Smith and Tom Ford events all tonight. I hope everyone got plenty of sleep.