Friday, 17 June 2016

My London Collections: Men SS 2017 Round Up!

There's just so many clothes in the world to choose from I find. Every London fashion season I endeavour to go and see some shows and as London Cllections:Men SS 2017 has just had its gamut of presentations and wot not I had a whizz around supporting what I could. Here in London we're known for our unique take on style with often quirky ensembles on the catwalk. We're also known for our tip top craftsmanship, cut of cloth and traditional tailoring.

So, with much interest I gate crashed the Topman show (I'm a bit useless at organising myself at times). This is a sort of showcase collection, not sure if much of it gets into the stores tbh. They did a sort of seaside theme referencing a nostalgic trip to Margate - and other resorts which have become somewhat of a trend to upping sticks and moving to. It was cute take and I noticed a return of the longer length Teddy Boy drape jacket which I liked. 

I always go to the MAN show, (no actual physical ticket again), and this was a treat! Fantastic installation from Tony Hornecker upon arrival at show space Ambika 3. Loads of mattresses piled high with models slumped against this haphazard heap dressed in flowing blue denim trews teamed with cotton drill shirts who then wheeled the whole thing off. Who was the designer? 

I was watching out for Charles Jeffrey's 3rd MAN catwalk show and once again he came up with the sort of stuff I live for. He said to me something about 'drunken tailoring' a while ago. Actually this wasn't so drunken, just a bit slightly tipsy I'd say because the tailoring was all very fluid feeling, fitted and swishy very good indeed. Models walked in Dr Marten customised block heeled hoofs and then these great clodhoppers of wooden platform shoes scraped their way down the rose petal and salt strewn catwalk to quite an abstract soundtrack of music. Clothes wise from the beginning the tipsy tailored looks progressed with knitwear laced into abstract jumpers, those sort of trousers we used to call a 'peg', rolled up and a sweatpant ensemble with a fully fitted corset. It's all very gawd er, yeah, can I say this? Yeah why not, unisex... A real dressing up box of a show which ended with a floor length blue trapeze line coat topped off with a big old crystallised looking head piece. 

I then managed to cage a lift over to 180 The Strand (show spaces were kind of a rigmarole to get to this season) for the Bobby Abbley show... Oh gawd no physical ticket again! Bobby is hooked on these Disney films, Alladin was his theme and as always he brought an element of fun and optimism to the equation. Using neoprene, sequins, slogans and bold shapes it was sexy and you walked away smiling. We like that!

Okay what next? Oh yeah in between all that I somehow went to the Barbour presentation which actually quite fascinating as I recently explained to Ludo at Sabrinas house the other night. They had the original battered Barbours pinned up with text explaining this and that while the models wore the updated versions. I found it quite informative and wanted to touch the originals as did everyone else.

Blimey then, I crammed a lot in, back to Baker Street where I discretely slid in for Craig Greens show. Layers and layers of signature quilting delicately washed out and strung together formed the backbone of this collection but it was the elements of tailoring that caught my eye at the onset of his show. Very nice indeed. 

Back up to the Strand space and after we went for a lemonade top entered the world of Henry Hollands 90s rave inspired collection. It was great the way you passed through 3 rooms, the first as though you were entering a club then the second where a DJ was banging out the tunes then finally ducking through a curtain you entered the presentation. Boys very casual and chatting to us, we liked that as they happily posed for pictures. Some great pieces here, a t-shirt with nipple rings. Embroidered denim, sweats emblazoned with smiley motifs and oh even some pearl button appliqué. 
    Henry Hollands rave boys

We then went to see the floating jewellery and installation of Alan Crochetti, which very cleverly William Farr had conceived. Alan was so cute getting those faux rocks spinning just right he even did a little bit of filming for me!

Anyway oh yeah, the Fashion East presentations taking place in a disused shop space in Charlotte Street was a total fave. (And my physical ticket arrived in the nick of time!) In the basement the Rottingdean Bazaar got me all ooing and ahhing with their crammed in corner spilling out with ideas. They do these badges - Badge Taste they're called on Instagram, then they had these t-shirts, top and sweat tops that they'd somehow embossed with actual things like ecru panty hose and fag ends pressed onto. They've done the same thing with real actual flowers too. There was an embellished  chair and lining a wall panel these clocks with fag ends in place of the numbers, yeah I definitely wanted one of those! 
Got to mention they had some delish Bloody Mary's on the go and some very delish artisanal cheese and chutney buns from A Little of What You Fancy, the restaurant on Kingsland Road. I took some for my mum to sample much to her delight. 
    Rottingdean Bazaar at Fashion East

Here we go again, running across town in the pouring rain back to 180 The Strand I got the number 1 bus this time and with an actual ticket sat down for Lou Daltons show. She's so sweet inviting me and this was a very well thought out collection of spot on tailoring, fabric and cut. Looked very chic. A spot of tangerine colourfulness accenting her colour palette the whole thing was so what the modern man wants to wear, and a few pieces us girls wouldn't mind as well!

I didn't get to go and see the Sibling show but it looked a riot online, hot boys and girls  (they've combined their men's show with their womenswear I case you didn't know) really fantastic graphic knits and shapes in primary colours, it all looks really fresh and optimistic which in these times is what we really need quite frankly! 

And I didn't get to see Christopher Shannon's show this season either, what a flake I am, anyway he's hit the nail on the head with his fab take on hashtag slogans I must say.

Thursday, 2 June 2016


Last May I went to a number of talks. I've outdone myself with panel discussions, presentations and interviews.

On Monday 16th May I checked into Fashion Street (where else!) just off Brick Lane and the Isituto Marangoni  where said fashion journalist Jessica Bumpus and international milliner, dear friend and ex flatmate  Stephen Jones held court at this rather chic Italian fashion college. Stephen has a coach load of fantastic stories to reveal, I could listen to him all night tbh. Loved hearing about his friendship with Anna Piaggi who often asked for hats at a moments notice. I credit Stephen with putting hats back on the map in the late 70s after studying fashion at St Martins when it soon became clear his forte lay in the realm of head gear. He diligently established himself as he went about reinventing jaunty angles throughout the 80s, 90s, 00s and up to the present day where he's never been busier. 

On Tuesday 20th I managed to gate crash the legendary mime, dance choreographer Linsay Kemp’s evening soirée at the Miranda in the basement of Shoreditch’s Ace Hotel. Omg! This was too much. Interviewed by Marc Almond and biographer Nicholas Pegg the 2 hour presentation consisted of rare archive film and performance but it was Lindsay Kemp’s honest accounts that had us howling with laughter as he recanted a past so astounding we audibly gasped! This talk centred around his work with David Bowie at the beginning of his career in the late 60s and 70s, how they met and their love affair. Lindsay delivered a colourful and camp line of repartee in the most adorable way. His legacy of visionary moments is as relevant today as it was back then I'm pleased to say. 

Archive photo of Lindsey Kemp by Joe Gaffney

This next excursion is a regular occurrence on my ‘go to’ calendar. Not strictly a talk as such but a presentation and one not to be missed. It's the MAC Cosmetics trend report hosted by the super charismatic and talented make up artist Terry Barber. That was on Wednesday 18th. I just can't get enough of Terry explaining the inspirations behind the looks we see on catwalks the world over. Each season Terry oversees the moods of face painting from the pallet of MAC for the season ahead. So we're looking at A/W 2016… MAC do a lot of shows and it's fascinating the way designers work with makeup artists to create a look. Guesting the brilliant Marion Newman the mother of all nail technicians. Her inventive take on nail art is a continual reinvention. Top tip... It's all about long nails and an added back of the nail embellishment this season! 

Magazine Man About Town hosted a fascinating glimpse into the archive work of punk maverick Malcom McClaren at the ICA on Friday 20th. MAT have created a beautiful spread within its pages of the latest issue with photography by Alasdair McLellan of McClaren and Westwoods early 80s collections before they went their separate ways. As the keeper of Malcom’s intellectual archive Young Kim (his partner of 12 years up until his death) introduced a series of monologues covering the continual reinvention of the Kings Road shop from Let It Rock into Sex, Seditionaires and finally Worlds End. Joining Young on the panel editor of Man About Town Ben Reardon, writer & archivist Paul Gorman and last minute addition architect Simon Withers (who replaced designer and archivist Kim Jones who as director of the ICA Gregor Muir explained was unable to make it). Simon worked closely with Mclaren and Westwood in the early 80s as they pioneered their fashion concepts. His insightful take added the missing link in the story of how their work was perceived at the time, an insiders view so to speak. Decades later we are still looking at these collections which are as relevant today as they were back then with a sense of discovery. 

A recent trip to Helsinki to DJ for a runaway show after party which took place on an actual flight runway in association with Finnair took me the next day to a great talk at Helsinki arts college on 25th May. An Aalto Fashion seminar with a panel consisting of A Magazine editor Dan Thawley, stylist and style icon Lotta Volkova, artist and model Paul Hemeline, Lou Stoppard who writes and chairs talks at ShowStudio, fashion designer Thomas Tait and book lady Lucy Moore director from Claire De Rouen. I always find chats about process fascinating and this lot certainly go about their business with an open eye within their respective areas. The fact that not only do their disciplines cross over and compliment each other but also create new platforms on how we choose to express ourselves.