London, of course, is known for its creativity and being a hub for new talent. And nowhere was that more plain to see than this week at London Collections Men, the biannual fashion week for guys. Now four years old, it's moved well beyond the realms of traditional Savile Row tailoring. The tame exists, but now there's the totally insane, too. But there's also the innovative and the wearable, the cool and the covetable. Just take a look at the collections of the designers below, listed in no particular order, to see what we mean.
Who: Craig Green
Credentials: Frankly, there aren't really many fashion accolades that Green doesn't have. Since graduating Central Saint Martins in 2012, where he completed a BA and MA in fashion, he's notched up a British Fashion Award for Emerging Menswear Designer (2014) and been a finalist for the highly prestigious LVMH Designer Prize (2015), the support platform for emerging designers. What makes him so special? Because in a menswear world, where it's hard to push boundaries without being too ridiculous about it, he manages to do just that, creating something entirely fresh, new, and with an inherent serenity. He is simply the wunderkind of London menswear right now.
Green referenced the idea of an "unchartered pilgrimage" for his spring/summer 2017 collection—which translated into sliced and spliced tunics and wide-leg trousers that artfully wafted down the runway.
A romantic take on his hallmark utility dressing, there was quilting and flag-style draping among the thick-stitching and collage element of the collection.
Who: Matthew Miller
Credentials: A graduate of the Royal College of Art, Miller, who hails from Stoke-on-Trent, launched his label in 2010. Concerned with making clothes that can actually be worn (an often overlooked attribute in fashion), Miller's utilitarian style has evolved to being far more sophisticated of late, but there's always an underlying rebellious spirit, which can be found in political slogans, pins, and buttons peppered throughout his collections.
Inspired in part by skinhead culture, Miller's languid tailoring brought a calming aspect to his collection.
The style note to take away here was the butterfly buttons, which were worn throughout—from just one on a lapel to a whole host of them all over the front of a T-shirt.
Who: Grace Wales Bonner
Credentials: The Central Saint Martins alumn is another name who, like Green, has rapidly risen through the fashion ranks since graduating just two years ago and launching her line, Wales Bonner. Not only did she win collection of the year at her BA finale show, but she scooped the Emerging Menswear Designer award at last year's British Fashion Awards and just this week won this year's LVMH Designer Prize. Through her work, the British-Jamaican designer explores black British identity and masculinity, combining Caribbean heritage with exceptional craft and elegant tailoring.
Wales Bonner cited the crowning of the Emperor of Ethiopia and the characters of Pan-Africa, ceremonial attire, and the formalities of European tailoring as references for her collection.
On the runway, this translated into ivory frock coats and velvet suiting, vinyl long-length jackets with crochet collar detailing and splashes of crystal embellishment.
Who: Liam Hodges
Credentials: Passing through the doors of the University of Westminster and the Royal College of Art, Hodges was quickly plucked from a sea of graduates to show at Fashion East, Lulu Kennedy's talent support platform, upon graduation. That was three years ago and in the time since he's managed to successfully evolve from what started out as more of a historical-costume mash-up into something more refined and more contemporary: workwear and streetwear bring a new layer to what are still character-led collections.
Collage and proportion proved to be the key components for Hodges this season—pieced-together shirts and boilersuits!
OK, so they won't be for everyone. Would you be brave enough to at least try a boilersuit-tracksuit, though?
Who: Charles Jeffrey Loverboy
Credentials: London's latest hot ticket, Jeffrey—"Loverboy" is the name of his Dalston club night—graduated from, you guessed it, Central Saint Martins last year. The Scot was also named Graduate of The Year at the Scottish Fashion Awards. Blending a love for partying, tailoring, and illustration means his is an aesthetic that isn't for the faint of heart. It's fun, quirky, a little bit dress-up, and full of charisma. All of which is why he's the darling of the London menswear scene right now.
Tailoring gets itself all in a twist in the hands of Jeffrey. But that's the point!
Paint-splattered denim is always a winning combination, though we realise the little bloomer-style shorts might take some convincing.