London’s fashion scene this season shows why it’s a strong candidate for the new creative capital of the world.
Today, London Fashion Week and London Fashion Week Men’s—or LFWM for short—has established itself as one of the most creative and innovative fashion showcases in the world. Perhaps this should come as no surprise, what with London being one of the most multicultural, vibrant and diverse cities among the rest of the fashion capitals. From emerging designers to heritage labels and internationally recognized fashion houses to independent boutiques, there really is no place like London.
For this year’s fall/winter season, the runways of London were awash with deeper background stories, utilitarian designs, patterns, tailoring and myriad variations of outerwear. With that in mind, one of the highlights is none other than Burberry and their own Chief Creative Officer, Riccardo Tisci, telling its story for the season. Titled “Tempest,” the collection was unveiled in between two contrasting bespoke show environments within the Tate Modern Tanks.
At first, it was more structured, traditional and formal with severe, angular and rigid wood seats set above a dimly lit runway. Meanwhile, the other was more rebellious, real and in stark contrast as it played host to over 100 youths who scaled the walls in a representation of Tisci’s drive for freedom and inclusivity. As a result, the runway was filled with contemporary-tailored styles, embellishments and Italian silk shirts contrasted with bold injections of youth: From sports-inspired trousers and shirt dresses to the new Arthur sneakers and playful bottle-cap details.
“My first season for Burberry was about starting to develop my alphabet for the house, it was about identifying new letters and new codes. And now, I’m starting to put these letters together to begin writing my book here, to form the first chapter for a new era at Burberry,” he explained. Tisci took inspiration from the contrasts in British cultures and weather. From the structured to the rebellious, the collection evolves the cues and codes first set out in his debut collection for Burberry, and celebrates the two different worlds and the individuals they represent.
“I’m starting to put these letters together to begin writing my book here, to form the first chapter for a new era at Burberry”
A similar approach was also taken by Daniel W. Fletcher. Inspired by his own heritage, the brand’s fall/winter 2019/20 collection was about a celebration of the North. With a rich history of textile manufacturing, the area’s influence permeated his collection through the use of fine fabrics from British mills. The brand paraded different kinds of styles, from super-fine merino wools in Prince of Wales check, houndstooth for tailoring and double-faced scarves made at Yorkshire’s historic Abraham Moon & Sons mill. Ultimately, though, it’s not only in the wools, merinos and silks that this theme has been realized in his fall/winter 2019/20 collection, but also in the selvedge and industrial printing details that are reimagined as feature motifs on tailoring and shirting.
The storied craftsmanship of Britain is evident in the silhouettes that marry the brand’s signature tailoring, slim hems and open cuffs with nostalgic sporting details; like an ode to jockey shirts, rugby shirts and classic school P.E. shorts. Other notable offerings included a formal riding jacket which was introduced and worn with a wide elastic belt that marries the look of both a surgical belts and cummerbunds. Aside to that, menswear staples like denim jackets and five-pocket jeans were reimagined in luxurious merino wools and shiny satins, before being top stitched to create an inside-out appearance.
If Daniel W. Fletcher leaned on heritage, Nicholas Daley took an epic musical journey. For his fourth season with the British Fashion Council’s Newgen program, Daley presented “Black Ark,” a collection taking its name from the Jamaican studio of renowned music producer Lee Scratch Perry. He explored the impact of the Jamaican identity upon the cultural landscape of Britain, from the post-war era until today.
The interplay between music and style is at the heart of the brand and over the past few seasons, this presentation format has enabled Daley to combine all of these elements in order to interact and expand through the medium of contemporary menswear. The collection itself showed knitwear, denim and oversized plaid in a palette of navy, burgundy, and blue. To that end, he collaborated with two mills based in Scotland: Lovat and Hancock. Other standouts included a black and yellow oversized plaid mohair shirt jacket and also an oversized shirt coat in blue plaid with a chunky scarf knitted on.
Speaking about standouts, Liam Hodges and A-Cold-Wall* showcased fall/winter collections which were quite different from the rest of what was shown LFWM. As for the former, Hodges brought in a futuristic theme, mutations and fun, discovery and the path to self-knowledge which are born of diving in and getting it wrong. Seems quite heavy, right?
“In these uncertain times, it’s not just about the classic ideas of protection and utility, self-preservation is also the key to survival”
As the collection’s motif is a figure stuck between dimensions, he also cited a tee which was seen in the movie “Hackers” and Y2K-ish asymmetrical graphics that said “The Martians Are Coming To Save The Earth” featured together with striped tees, knits, patch-worked tracksuits and a bleached or tie-dyed looks. The T-shirts in this collection, meanwhile, are printed with multiple repros of a T-shirt as if the Xeroxing has glitched, alongside bio-punk prints inspired by the work of artist Lee Bul. On top of that, Hodges also collaborated with Ellesse to rework the brand’s skiwear, using prints of salt crystals taken via powerful a microscope.
On the other hand, A-Cold-Wall* touched on art performances for this season. This show marks an unprecedented artistic installation—an interpretation of a Renaissance painting—for Samuel Ross, as the show opened with a global parable of the intrinsic nature of progression and value of self-preservation. It felt as if Ross wanted us to know that in these uncertain times, it’s not just about the classic ideas of protection and utility; self-preservation is also the important key to survival.
Outerwear became a key story representing the codes of strength, heroic utility and protective cocooning. As we can see from the runway looks, cutouts on structured wool jackets created a sense of three-dimensional depth, nylons were reflectively piped, jerseys and fleeces were vegetal-dyed while raised-rubber logo plaques doubled as fasteners on trousers to alter the fit. The rest of the collection was filled with colorful touches and also marks a debut denim collaboration with Diesel. Also on show were new reiterations of A-Cold-Wall* x Nike.
And just like that, with their very own incredible pool of talent that builds collections with strong visions and the creative diversity, London has separated itself from the rest of fashion capitals—showing why it should be the next creative capital of the world.
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