As we promised we shall give you the full update on the happenings of menswear fashion week around the world. We kicked off with London Men’s Fashion Week AW’17. Here’s a look at the the 3 designers who had the best shows.
J W ANDERSON
Backstage at his SS17 show, Anderson referred to his models as “little princes” and there was a sense of youth this season too – this time he described them as “boys on tour”. There was something maternal about it all, he said – and you could see what he meant in the way that his youthful cast was wrapped up in giant capes and cosy knits, sleeves trailing on the floor behind them.
What’s remarkable about Anderson is the way he balances high concept with commercialism, creating clothes which are both truly experimental and also evoke desire, not just interest. As the city’s menswear schedule begins to look a little thin (as designers choose to merge their men’s and women’s shows), this morning Anderson proved there’s still a lot worth coming to London for.
“I was watching this programme about old fishermen that used to leave their family and loved ones and not come back for thirty years, and there was no way to communicate with them for that entire period of time,” Green said when we spoke a couple of days before his show. That sense of isolation was felt throughout: a dark and foreboding kind of poetry, with waves crashing all around and bottomless black waters below. It felt like a commentary on the modern condition. We have all these ways of communicating (and presenting an idealised version of our lives) but at the same time it’s breeding feelings of loneliness for many, of being lost and aimlessly drifting around while everyone else is seemingly barging ahead full steam.
We’re under pressure all the time and Green’s recurring themes around protection had taken him to old cast iron pressure-resistant diving suits, which were translated into soft, padded garments wrapped in oxygen tubes – comforting but eerie. The team had also been looking at uniforms. “We found this book of all these military and police uniforms and we showed it to someone and they said ‘oh, it’s like real men’. And we were like, what’s real men?!” he says, chuckling at that archaic notion of what ‘masculinity’ entails. “It’s that weird idea of the man as the hero.”
Green’s boys wear their insecurities or anxieties on their sleeve, quite literally wrapped in padding. Or bits of embroidered carpet picked up on their travels that were stitched together into oversize pieces. “Carpet people”, Green called them. “Basically a man as a walking carpet idea.” Not to walk all over, but definitely the antithesis to masculinity as the hard, assertive man.
A – COLD – WALL
It may sound like a strong statement, but in just a few short years, Ross has gone from hand-dyeing t-shirts in his mum’s house to flying to New York to install a solo window display for his label at historic retailer Barney’s (as well as turning over a casual six-figure sum through his own e-commerce in the last year alone). Add in his creative direction and consulting work, and his website boasts an intimidating list of influential clients and collaborators – from hugely influential rap artists to sportswear giants like Nike and Adidas, and other successful clothing companies like Hood By Air. He’s achieved this without taking the traditional route to fashion success – instead, he trained as a graphic designer before finding an early mentor in the similarly polymathic Virgil Abloh, going on to work with him on his label Off-White. Here, we see it pay off.