Just the Beginning: London Collections Men for Spring 2014
As I sat in the dentist’s chair this morning and the hygienist scraped away at the teensy rocks of tartar that had attached themselves to my teeth under my gums, I had a thought. Actually, I had two thoughts. The first was “I wonder when was the last time someone in this chair lost enough blood to pass out.” The second was that today marked the end of the new men’s fashion week in London, which has been officially and awkwardly named London Collections: Men. They might not have wanted to label it a fashion week because it only lasts for three days but it still sounds weird. I think we’ll call it LC: M from now on. I saw that somewhere and rather liked it.
Now in it’s third season, LC: M (Damn, that’s tricky to type.) still doesn’t have many designers whose stuff you’re likely to be seeing in your local boutiques or department stores, so I’ll keep it focused around some you might. The presence of UK high-street retailer Topman, for one, has been growing around the globe and even though I was less than impressed by the cheap shit I saw when the new L.A. store opened, their mountaineer-themed show for Fall 2013 was pretty impressive. For Spring 2014, though, they intentionally did a perhaps-too-literal reversal from last spring’s surfer/skater aesthetic and trotted out a full on cowboy inspiration, complete with embroidered yoked shirts that no real cowboy would be caught dead in. These came in a wide array of colors and were worn over slouchy black pleated trousers that anyone who’s even smelled a horse would also rather burn than wear. Today I passed a vintage store on Hollywood Boulevard where you can get this stuff now and be seasons ahead of the curve. But I’m honestly hoping you don’t.
Toward the opposite end of the pricing spectrum, we find Monday’s eerie Alexander McQueen show under the abandoned arches of King’s Cross that began with a white-lace suit that looked like someone’s auntie’s tablecloth had been repurposed. Theatricality aside, there were some interesting Edwardian-looking ivory and white pieces with distressed finishes and many of the floral brocade jackets would been fine if you could lose the matching pants. I most liked the simple black lines of the final tailored looks that would have been a great fit at Dior Homme.
Then yesterday, Tom Ford unveiled his newest spring collection in an intimate presentation and from what I’ve seen, I kind of like it. It’s toned way down from the overt ostentation of the last few seasons and there’s even a hint of a sense of humor with his typically luxurious fabrics in pink, red and cobalt blue. The shoulders are trimmer, the trousers are slim but with the skinniest single pleat down the front and I, for one, am very curious to see how those muscle Ts turn out.
Finally, in what may be their biggest coup yet, the dudes at LC: M lured Burberry Prorsum away from its usual spot as one of the most anticipated shows of Milan Fashion Week. More bright colors washed over the Kensington Gardens runway with red, cobalt blue, mint and grass green, yellow and more, sometimes all in one look. This bold color blocking was a more successful version of last spring’s hyper-colored Salvatore Ferragamo collection and the nerdy mix-and-match reminded me of Prada’s brilliant outing for fall. With slouchy shirts, cardigans and jackets over narrow pants cropped at the ankle, there is a general easy silhouette worthy of emulating as long as you lose the silly plastic glasses. I’ll go so far as to say that, if you want to wear color, this is the way to do it.
See you in Milan!