Craig Green Went Sexy: Ladies! Boobs! Waists! Green’s sixth offering – only his third solo presentation – saw the much feted conceptual designer arrive at a new standpoint within his now familiar Judogi inspired trajectory.
Granted, it wasn’t the type of sexy to make you blush, nor will it likely be picked up by the bodycon brigade (think TOWIE et al), but the addition of female models to his line up and the emphasis placed on the waist – many of the looks were Gok Wan’d with a tie pulling in the fabric – produced a silhouette previously overshadowed by his busy jackets.
Elsewhere last season’s centre cutouts doubled and rose to the chest, left open and offering bosom level cutouts or pulled in tight in place of the nipple; ultimately drawing attention to that area. A move into fantastic bright shades further elevated ideas, or drew parallels with Marbella ready attire. Either way we were smitten.
MAN Had A Massive Party: Collectively considered the game changer for British menswear (scrap that, let’s call it fact), Lulu Kennedy and Gordon Richardson’s MAN showcase this season celebrated a decade anniversary with The Pantonic Steel Orchestra (wearing Eddie Peake T-shirts, natch), cupcakes smothered in hundreds and thousands, and obligatory metallic balloons.
A short film kicked off the two-man catwalk show – underscored by an affectionate cheer for Kennedy and co – before Rory Parnell Mooney’s second appointment deafened the room. You know when you genuinely can’t hear anything for the bass? That. His pieces played to the Spring Summer theme, with last season’s largely billowing bottoms replaced with plenty of bare limb.
For his part Liam Hodges – making his final MAN outing – marked the occasion with an ode to pirate radio and a ‘Blackburns Children’ titled collection. “Broadcasting to the kids playing football in the park” quite literally with wavey prints and goalie gloves for accessories. Street poet Hector Aponysus performed a fitting conclusion to proceedings.
Kit Neale Cemented His Groove: Neale’s SS16 collection felt like a Kit Neale collection should, which in several senses is a ridiculous thing to say, of course. But there was just something about what strode past; fewer of the digital prints offered in recent seasons, a return to the arty vibes offered circa AW13 perhaps?
Colourful, oversized and floral just about sums up the jolly showcase – which saw the label collaborate with both Katie Jones (jewellery) and Bernstock Spiers (hats). The chorus of Depeche Mode’s ‘Enjoy The Silence’ further explored the car boot/flea market/thrift store influences noted in the accompanying show notes.
Sibling Got Cheeky: Bum cheeks that is, as what began as an introduction to the three piece’s debut tailoring line – in collaboration with Edward Sexton – soon stepped foot on McQueen territory. Sort of.
The bumster’s in question fell below orange and navy Jock inspired creations as opposed to Lee’s 90’s silhouettes; the backsides belonging to hunks not waifs. Alongside these were sequin knits, numbered vest tops and an array of clever lace up numbers; pants, trousers and corsets included.
House of Holland Met Martin Parr: And what a coup! Making his menswear debut (and simultaneously rolling it out in-store), Henry Holland hooked up with the photographic genius on a series of images that provided ample aesthetic pleasure in the presentation cum exhibition space of Selfridges’ car park.
Parr’s photos – taken in Holland’s native Ramsbottom – likewise appeared on a small capsule within the main line. Elsewhere in said line, the designer riffed on typical HOH codes with loud slogans (‘Lad Legend Lover’ and ‘ Your Banter Is Bullshit’), as well as appliqued denim and swirling prints of pink and blue; one buyer (presumably), was noted wearing one of Henry’s jacket to the event.
Fashion East Full On Took Over The ICA: While downstairs newcomer Charles Jeffrey’s Loverboy played out, upstairs Grace Wales Bonner resumed her examination of black male identity; the disparity between the two further established with the different fonts used in either’s show notes.
The former, a clubnight supposedly begun by Jeffrey to help fund his CSM MA, quite literally went all out with a DJ centre (flower doused) stage and club kids pulling the kind of moves rarely observed at 11am on a Monday. The clothes referenced said MA collection, with paint splattered denim and suave overcoats of the same vein shielding the dancers.
In complete contrast Wales Bonner’s moment was a peaceful affair that investigated the journey of one Malik Amber, from Ethiopia to Western India (similarly reflected in the casting). Here linen and leather sat beside velvet and terry cloth; simple T-shirts beside jewelled jackets. Red nail varnish was the uniform factor.
Bobby Abley Went Solo: Having followed his MAN outings with a taste of New York, Abley returned to London this season with a striking cast of Star Wars non-merchandise pieces.
One of a number of designers using the LC:M platform to showcase womenswear leanings, it was the female finale that defiantly established this as perhaps his strongest collection to date.
Away from the Ursula hype dreamed up a year ago, Abley for George Lucas shone as a fitting hook up; the clean textures, contemporary lines and subsequent palette all made sense in the context.
Further deserved shoutouts to Nasir Mazhar’s fierce dip into camo, ruching and trainers; Christopher Shannon’s foam party, feat. his best CAT collab yet; Cottweiler for hosting next to a swimming pool on one of the hottest days of the year (and their subtle exploration of spirituality); Coach’s on point set design and N*E*R*D finale track (choice lyrics via ‘Rock Star’); Agi & Sam’s hand painted stripes and reimagined (in leather!) doctor’s coat; CMMN SWDN’s new calm army of cropped jackets and soft trousers.