London Fashion Week Men's: keep calm but make sure you are avant-garde
The 17-day international menswear season kicks off Thursday evening in London, in a city still coming to grips with a series of brutal terrorist attacks.
Last January, Sadiq Khan officially opened London Fashion Week Men’s. This month London’s mayor has been the target of multiple insults and tweets from Donald Trump.
However, expect few people to cancel their trips to the London shows. Solidarity in times of crisis is expected in fashion, ever since the atrocity of 9/11 took place in the midst of New York fashion week a decade and half ago. One is meant to show up.
ISIS, which claimed responsibility for the London Bridge attack of last Saturday, clearly detests multiculturalism and there are few more multi-national industries than fashion – especially in London. The season begins with a 5th anniversary of the UK men’s season followed by a mixed show by the Royal College of Art Fashion Show, one of several joint student shows in a city still regarded as the world’s most vital breeding farm for raw fashion talent.
Friday lunchtime, all eyes will be on Edward Crutchley, a Yorkshire man who spent a decade at Louis Vuitton as a consultant before launching own collection which mingles North of England simplicity with fine Continental luxury.
Expect invites to be hard to come by to the latest instalment by Wales Bonner – last year’s LVMH Prize winner whose blend of African imagery and modern, urban tailoring has made her a star. And watch out for Martine Rose, whose Big Band leader meets New Wave fop last January was for many the collection of the week. Visiting editors are also excited to catch Scotland’s Charles Jeffrey’s Loverboy, the same name as his famously outrageous East London parties. Described by many as a recreation of the Blitz for millennials. No one has quite the same energy today as Jeffrey, a LVMH finalist tipped for great things.
Though, cautions, Luke Leitch, Contributing Editor of Vogue Runway, and a key UK critic: “We are so compulsively supportive in London of young designers that we can get carried away. Quite a few of our talents are overcooked by the media which doesn’t really give them the chance to grow up.”
Off the runway, David Furnish will host a charity dinner Saturday night; Rag & Bone, the UK label born in New York, will open a new London store, following the success of their Sloane Square flagship; and Burberry will stage a Monday morning breakfast. Its menswear is now unveiled alongside women’s wear in September. After London, the fashion pack spends three days in Pitti; four in Milan and five in Paris to cpmplete the European season on Sunday, June 25.
That said, it will a quiet season without the weekend’s star young attraction Jonathan Anderson, who is taking his line J.W. Anderson off to Florence for a gala show in Pitti. Nor is there a show by veteran Vivienne Westwood, though the most avant-garde of avant gardists Hussein Chalayan will hit the runway again.
GQ China will throw the latest Chinese talent into the ring. This season it is the turn of Pronounce. A sensitive season as well, since London has pioneered a health program for young women models and has now created a Model Zone where the guys can eat, drink and relax.
But don’t expect a city in a funk. The Brits hate whingers. Keep calm and carry on is their favourite motto. And have a good time while doing so – like the man fleeing the London Bridge attacks whose photo went viral. The pint of London Pride, the Guardian named it, after he never spilt a drop of his ale.
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