As ever, this season London Fashion Week Men’s showcased a breadth of exciting new and emerging talent, alongside established favourites, with a busy schedule of shows and events concluding today, 6 January. With the work of London’s triumphant young designers taking centre stage, Something Curated highlights the best from Autumn/Winter 2020 menswear.
John Alexander Skelton
Skelton’s latest collection is the product of a long-standing love affair with the words of the late Dylan Thomas. The designer tells, “I was interested firstly in working in mainly what could be considered the most banal colours – grey – and figuring out how I could transform it to make for an interesting colour palette echoing a sense of banal surrealism [akin to Thomas’ works]. Many of Britain’s sheep breeds have a natural grey coat which changes in shade due to the condition in which the sheep live … I set out to create a colour palette using a multitude of these natural wools, using as many as 11 in one garment.”
Central to their second standalone collection since showing under the umbrella of Fashion East, Stefan Cooke and Jake Burt worked with Lee Jeans, the ubiquitous American denim label. Featuring lasered trompe l’oeil prints, alongside crystal embellishments and decorative stitching, the denim pieces were styled with a series of eclectic bags, largely reinterpreted vintage finds, several of which were created in collaboration with airbrush artist Will Bond. Taking influence from characteristically couture shapes, this season included boat neck raglan-sleeved coats and pleated mini skirts in plaid, peaking through from behind outerwear.
Following Grace Wales Bonner’s last runway show in London, staged within the exhibition she curated at the Serpentine, her latest offering looks to the capital in the 70s as a starting point, touching on various music scenes spanning rock to dub reggae. Inspired by second generation Caribbean immigrants in the UK who created their own communities and party scenes, the set was made up to resemble an underground party, featuring brown formica tables circling a dancefloor. Savile Row tailoring paired with Caribbean symbols and hats made from Scottish wool, rendered in Jamaican colours, epitomised the cross-cultural approach of Bonner.
Xander Zhou’s AW20 collection, entitled Multiverse, explored the idea of multiple and infinite universes where all things are made possible. Investigating the concept of split realities through asymmetrical garments and styling, the designer conceived a vision of two storylines. Between two-tone hair, mismatched eye colours and half-tanned faces, Zhou created models which he dubbed “Homo Multiversales.” Bizarrely spliced jackets and trousers reinterpreted fastenings, creating jagged zips and open flies to challenge the conventional verticals often expected of menswear.
Subverting the narrative of folkloric tales, Jeffrey’s AW20 offering unites his idiosyncratic style with diverse tropes from historical dress. Draped and spliced fabrics took centre-stage, alongside Jeffrey’s spirited interpretation of tailoring. With a focus on detailing, embellishment of all sorts, hardware, and cut-outs generously appeared in many forms. Accessories too made a statement this season, with headbands, headdresses and berets all making an appearance, each touching on the varied historical inspirations of the collection.
For her AW20 show, Rose chose her daughter’s school in Kentish Town as the backdrop, with the walls of the school hall still decorated with the artwork and projects of the children, creating a suitably surreal setting for the designer’s new work. Signature motifs from Rose’s past re-emerged but were revised and refreshed with new silhouettes. There was abundant latex, thigh-high cowboy boots, duster coats, jackets and knitwear morphed into scarves, and tailoring printed with London place names Martine has a connection to. Rose also worked with label Farah, playfully reinterpreting their classic trousers in XXXL proportions.
Feature image: Stefan Cooke AW20 (via NOWFASHION)