When I first heard about the name being changed from London Collections: Men to the more generic variation, London Fashion Week Men’s, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. “LCM” had such a catchy ring to it, and the moniker easily stood out from a calendar already filled with a roster of identically named fashion week counterparts (Milan Fashion Week Men’s, Paris Fashion Week Men’s, and so on).
However, it didn’t take me too long to jump on the wagon with #LWFM; after a bit of friendly research, I came to understand why the Powers That Be would want to make the name of this exciting time in the biannual men’s fashion calendar one that was more standardized across the board, from New York to Paris. In a time where intense global attention is being drawn to Britain, in a world where division is only increasing, the desire to remind the industry at large that we’re all still one – a collective fashion body of designers, writers and various creatives – doesn’t go ignored. Though this obviously isn’t one of the official statements on the name change, it did supply this season with a sense of unity.
And there really was an overarching sense of unity this season, especially when it came to what trends were being seen on the autumn-winter catwalk at 180 The Strand. In flocks they arrived: swarms of fluorescent neon hues, leather coats and cropped tops, all from designers such as Craig Green, Christopher Ræburn, J.W. Anderson and many others. Throughout the four-day week, there was strong collection after strong collection, and what you’ll read below offers up a closer look at our favourite trends and collections – and what cool looks you can expect from the season to come.
Bold Bright Neon
While wintertime would normally be a perfect time for your more sombre hues, the highlighter look was a popular choice for many designers this season. Instead of a heavy hand in gray and black garments (though there were still countless variations), this trend appeared as graphic hoodies and psychedelic knits at Topman show, or as fur-trimmed jackets and fluorescent yellow tees at Liam Hodges; Christopher Raeburn, Alex Mullins, Christopher Shannon and J.W. Anderson also included their own variation of toxic tones.
Big & Baggy
This season marked an industry milestone on the slow progress we’ve made away from the ultra-slim, spray-painted skinny jean. The proposed trousers for the autumn-winter season arrived in full force – wide, baggy and often floor sweeping. It’s been a common look over the past few seasons, but for Craig Green, Casely-Hayford, J.W.Anderson and Liam Hodges, now was obviously the best time for ditching old habits. It’s official: skinny jeans are out, so let’s bring out the big boys.
Loads of Leather
Leather is always a good idea when it comes to autumn-winter collections; no matter the look, it’s bound to always present a warm option for cool-tempered jaunts. That’s probably why the idea to include so many leather pieces this season attracted such a number of designer followers – like Xander Zhou, Matthew Miller and Agi & Sam. From boxy, short variations to full-length robes, they all presented their own leather looks, but our favourite had to be Ximon Lee’s ultra-stiff brown-leather jacket that appeared in top-notch utility form during his GQ China-sponsored catwalk return.
Colour blocking can be quite the common trend these days, but when it comes to colour blocking patchworks, that’s something I can stand behind. It’s sartorial, it’s versatile, and it’s all over this season’s catwalk. For designers such as Christopher Shannon, Bobby Abley, Alex Mullin, Liam Hodges, Lou Dalton and Topman, Autumn/Winter 2017 provoked a hodgepodge of colourful mash-ups and sharp contrasts – all shades were for grabs, and it was awesome. Even Christopher Raeburn sent out his own variation, a sort-of camo patchwork knitted jumper.
Aside from the neon and colour-block patchwork trends already mentioned, the colour purple seems to have garnered a lot of attention on the men’s catwalk this season. A recurring hue in the collections of Katie Eary, Cottweiler, Christopher Shannon, Xander Zhou, Lou Dalton and J.W. Anderson, this hopefully Prince-inspired trend graced tracksuits and bold shirting, and contrasted everything else that was on show.
Crop tops aren’t normally what you’d classify as “wintertime essentials,” but there were several designers who tried to prove us otherwise this season: Bobby Abley, Xander Zhou, Katie Eary and Topman. They all presented their own takes on the high-cut look, with shortened knit tank tops, denim jackets and hoodies. Sure, what they presented might not have been the most practical options for the frosty weather we can usually expect during the winter months, but I can’t help thinking about all the great layering potential these items have.
Ah, corduroy. I’ve really never been a fan of this often-stiff fabric (flashbacks to the nonstop swishing sounds made by the corduroy trousers that plagued my childhood would be enough to drive anyone a bit bonkers), but I must admit being a tad obsessed with how this textured look appeared on the autumn-winter catwalk. This season, it was all about “cool cords” for women’s label Studio Nicholson, who placed the look at the heart of their men’s debut, as well as for Astrid Andersen and Phoebe English Man, each of whom sent out their own variations of the corduroy track pant.
Overall, autumn/winter 2017 turned out to be a good season for London Men’s – good, but not amazing. While there were several strong collections this season, I feel that most of the collections lacked certain relevance to the political uneasiness currently spanning the globe, as well as on our home turf.
There were a few, however, who attempted to reflect a bit of political upheaval (like Agi & Sam, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, Christopher Shannon and Matthew Miller), but these influences were few and far between. And, really, five designers do not make a movement. So where was it? Where was the commentary? There seemed to be this enormous pool of potential lying out there to be pilfered, and very few designers seemed to be up for the challenge.
Other than that, the collections presented strong sportswear options, utilitarian forms and top-notch British craftsmanship; there’s a reason London Fashion Week (men and women’s) is my favourite week from out of the entire calendar, and this is it. The level of creativity, the ongoing collaboration between innovation and design, and the continuously growing list of young talents, it’s what makes the London fashion scene so great. And nothing, not even a name change, will be able to affect that.