Now in its 11th season, London Fashion Week Men’s (LFWM) continues to prove that the menswear shows are not merely a Fashion Week afterthought, but a big business event bustling with energy and creativity. Despite the absence of some big-name designers such as JW Anderson and Burberry, the London menswear shows continue to be a championing platform for new designers, who not only reflect the zeitgeist, but cut through it to reveal designs that are at once subversive, innovative and fresh.View on Instagram
While household names such as Vivienne Westwood proved that fashion is political in a brief video presentation in lieu of an actual show, other designers such as Bobby Abley showcased the more playful and fun side to the fashion world. Both sides of the coin often melded together in some designers’ presentations in creative celebrations of individuality and diversity.
This season, collections also felt distinctly international, reflective of a societal shift towards a more inclusive state. Fashion has always favoured the expressive and experimental and we saw this through London label, Art School (presented as part of the MAN strand of LFWM), who celebrated non-binary identities in a standout showcase.
With a plethora of designers offering something for everyone – from the zany to the classic – I’ve filtered through the collections to select my top ten trends from London Fashion Week Men’s Autumn/Winter 2018.
More is More
In recent seasons, we’ve seen an undeniable shift in form and structure with a lot of designers moving towards more minimalist aesthetics and a lack of branding. However, LFWM AW18 decided to inject the fun back into fashion. Take Blood Brothers’ unapologetically bold offerings in stereotypically garish hues – a perceptible satire on ‘new money’ mentality. Definitely not one for the faint-hearted, but a canny reminder of fashion’s ability to poke fun at itself – expect to see the return of slogans and prints next season like it’s 2003 all over again!
A Return to Youth
This season, there was a distinct wave of nostalgia across many of the collections, perhaps offered as an antidote to current unstable political climates or perhaps a harking back to a simpler time. Kent & Curwen, the label partly owned by David Beckham, showcased old-school bomber jackets and rugby shirts emblazoned with crests and logos in an ostensible homage to British youth culture that Beckham himself declared as “multi-generational.”
Texture and Textiles
Dedicated to sustainable and ethical fashion design, Phoebe English’s collection was an understated yet innovative presentation. English’s approach is not only impressive in its mindfulness, but also incredibly stylish. Presenting a collection in predominantly dark hues of black and navy with clever burnt orange accents made for eye-catching appeal. With wax coats crafted with fabric from British Millerain alongside cable knit sweaters and paper-like fabric shirts, the layering of various textures felt decidedly modern.
Tinie Tempah’s third collection for What We Wear astounded the critics at this year’s LFWM
Fashion is definitely having more than just a moment with the oversized silhouette – it’s a full-blown love affair and it’s here to stay. London-based label Qasimi mastered this trend for AW18 with a collection presented in comforting autumnal tones. Elongated sleeve lengths and dramatically billowing trousers were the order of the day for this minimalist yet fashion-forward aesthetic.View on Instagram
British singer Tinie Tempah’s third collection for What We Wear astounded the critics at this year’s LFWM with designs inspired by utilitarian dressing. Combining elements of workers’ uniforms with more modern items of clothing such as sportswear, the collection, like the designer himself, is effortlessly cool.
Bright and Bold Prints
In many ways, Alex Mullins’ AW18 collection was the walking embodiment of many of LFWM’s biggest trends – full of oversized shapes and reimagined textures – but it is perhaps his predilection for print that makes it such an absolutely standout collection. This might seem like a surfeit of psychedelic onslaught to some, but a bold print can actually look great when worn under a more relatively subdued outfit.
Navy and Orange
Accenting navy with orange is an underused, clever trick that is flattering for practically all skin tones and it was one used to perfection by Christopher Raeburn. The theme of Raeburn’s collection was ‘maritime distress’ and he offered up deconstructed and reconstructed takes on seafarer garments using his signature repurposed materials throughout. However, one of the most undeniably eye-catching trends on the Raeburn catwalk was his implementation of navy and orange. One standout look included an oversized navy puffer jacket, clashed with an orange backpack featuring criss-cross seatbelt-style straps.
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One trend that pervaded many of the catwalks and goes hand-in-hand with Fashion Week is drama
Tartan was seen in increasing prevalence on the AW18 menswear runways in subtle but playful nods to old westerns, but no designer championed this trend with more aplomb than Astrid Andersen. Inspired by old photographs of Jeny Howorth shot by Mark Lebon, Andersen sent models down the catwalk in cowboy hats, clashing plaids and lumberjack shirts, worn against mismatched prints and fabrics. The result was a flashback to the 1980s and to a time of relaxed convention and carefree attitudes where anything goes.
The Reinvented Two-Piece
Arguably inspired by the remnants of the athleisure trend which has proliferated catwalks over the last few of years, the two-piece is a welcome addition to our AW18 wardrobes. The perfect answer to smart-casual needs, the two-piece possesses all the ease and comfort of sportswear without any of the stuffiness of formalwear. It’s the perfect antidote to a worn-out suit; easily dressed up or down. Oliver Spencer excelled this season with an oversized houndstooth option in a collection that also re-emphasised the versatility and beauty of corduroy – a case also made by Prada last season at Milan Fashion Week.
Finally, one trend that pervaded many of the catwalks and goes hand-in-hand with Fashion Week is drama, and AW18 had it aplenty. From dramatically cut coats at Casely-Hayford to the balloon-sleeve shirts and oversized capes at Chalayan, AW18 is all about injecting a theatrical element into your wardrobe. Casely-Hayford’s collection was a particular standout, all about reinvented shapes and adding volume where possible to redefine masculinity. Turkish label Chalayan favoured modern tailoring; taking classic pieces as a base only to reimagine them with the addition of fabric panelling or folds to offer an unexpected take on the purportedly familiar.