The pavement outside 180 Strand was crowded with models, writers and editors the weekend of June 10th as the biannual London Collections: Men showcased the latest looks in British menswear inside. We’ve already taken you backstage at Xander Zhou and Agi & Sam, but here we’ll be taking you through a few of our favourite collections from LC: M Spring/Summer 2017.
As bold as ever, this season found designers Cozette McCreery and Sid Bryan tackling both men’s and women’s collections and a range of labor-intensive knitwear. In one show, we saw men sporting swim shorts in colourful patterns with matching cardigans and oversized sweaters, while men and women got to wear cropped fisherman knit hybrids teamed with low-sitting trousers. Long transparent dresses with ruffled short sleeves, on the other hand, were only for women.
Maison Mihara Yasuhiro
We’ve already sent Darren Black backstage to cover Mihara Yasuhiro’s recent London debut, but as one of Japan’s most preeminent designers, we think he deserves an extra call out. Yasuhiro may have found fame with footwear in the past, but since then he’s taken the British by storm with this season’s Fifties-inspired Americana — all at the Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, no less, with a nostalgic Elvis Presley crooning over the loudspeakers. Crossing dungarees with khakis, pairing retro plaids with strong solids and extending the notorious bowling shirt well into a shirt dress for men, Yasuhiro’s collection appeared borderline thrifty but all-the-way cool.
Tourne De Transmission
Graeme Gaughan’s Tourne de Transmission may be one of the newer labels appearing at LC: M, but his collections to date have been consistent and recognizable with a simplicity that lacks pretense. Inspired by an imagined conversation about how discarded billboards have been used as shelters in Third World countries between himself and the contemporary artist Chris Dorland, the SS17 collection was presented against a backdrop of what appeared to be the temporary homes of the models made of advertising imagery. The key looks this season include ponchos and parkas made from suiting fabrics, black-on-black patchwork, and asymmetric stepped hems, yet we can’t help but want his now-signature raw-edged jeans.
CMMN SWDN’s Spring/Summer 2017 collection, entitled “Market Rodeo,” may have been inspired by the energy and attitude of the vibrant street markets in Marrakech, but it was the combination these influences with the serenity of North African desert that resulted in a mishmash arrangement of stripes, checks and contrasting colors such ash grey, ochre and nude. This season had several strong pieces, but the cashmere-paneled striped jacket with fringe and high-waist pleated trouser didn’t have anything on the full-length loosely woven check coat that was front and center during the label’s presentation on Friday.
Phoebe English Man
Exclusively made with natural fabrics, Phoebe English’s first official menswear presentation was filled with elongated shirts, soft cotton joggers, smart, minimal coats and a variation on the bomber. With hooded smock tops in grey striped linens, dusty blue-grey hues and brushed cottons, the parallel to her women’s line was unmistakable; she combined familiar shapes with the recognizable fits pulled from her previous men’s designs and made them even more accessible and relaxed. Again, her unique attention to form, fabric and finishing pays off with function over decoration — no frills, no fuss involved.
Designers Matthew Dainty and Ben Cottrell created an experience worthy of their label’s runway debut. Based on the “future ruin of a hotel resort,” Cottweiler’s Spring/Summer 2017 offered an advanced variation on their signature track suit, upgraded with new technical treatments and materials, like a transparent Italian linen, later seen as a blazer and shorts in a sporty lineup of earth tones and soft blues.
From start to finish of his London debut, GQ CHINA-sponsored designer Ximon Lee presented a range of technical yet artistic garments. Lee balanced harsh techniques such as acid-washing, silicone concealing and latex coating with his obviously strong craftsmanship for what is hands-down one of the best collections this season. Characterized by his over-sized cuts and innovative fabrication, this collection boasted a lot of great looks, but it was his jean jackets that came out heavily coated, rather stiff and unashamedly cool.
Follow Brent Taalur Ramsey on Twitter