Spring/Summer 2020’s Fashion Week Overviews: London

The menswear designers of London have shown the world why this storied city is so different from the other fashion capitals.

Nicholas Daley

Among all of the fashion capitals, what makes London different from the others? In terms of men’s fashion, of course. There are a lot of possible answers to that question, but it might be safe to say that there is a degree of creative diversity that has made London an international hub for menswear. From vibrant streetwear brands to British heritage labels and emerging designers, the breadth of talent and diversity from London Fashion Week and London Fashion Week Men’s—or LFWM—is definite proof to the openness of London.

References from the past as well as the future, the sustainability of fashion and also music supplied London’s creative directors with a different way of presenting their own collection for this year’s spring/summer season. Riccardo Tisci at Burberry, for instance, opted for a journey to a rather distant past, to the days when Burberry was founded. The collection itself, which is titled Evolution, is a celebration of new house codes and was influenced by the Victorian era.

“My first year at Burberry was about understanding and refining the new codification for the house. With that foundation in place, I feel ready to start exploring what’s at the heart of this incredible brand,” Tisci explained. “In the archive, I discovered this beautiful story at the origin of our past. This is the story behind this collection, a collection inspired by our past and dedicated to our future. It’s the evolution of our Burberry kingdom.”

The show was a true tribute and was presented in a vast theatre that featured a giant mirrored cube at its core, which lifted as the show started to reveal a Victorian-inspired sound system installation with rust flooring and ceiling. The collection, meanwhile, mixes innovative techniques with classic fabrications. Victorian-inspired silhouettes create cinched waists and elaborate sleeves for both men and women, while fluid fabrics and hybrid details such as detachable and extendable hems feature throughout. As another unique addition, the space also reflected the palette of the collection with hues of white, grey, silver and neutral earth tones.

Burberry looked into its archives for the new collection.

On the flip side, Qasimi, a London-based fashion brand with a Middle Eastern heritage, created a collection that was built around the idea of an urban nomad and a utopian future—imbued with a sense of lightness and positivity—against a backdrop of ongoing political tension in the Middle East for this season. With riveted garments mimicking the nuts and bolts of armored fighting vehicles juxtaposed against mesh and quilting, military influences are definitely felt in the fabrics.
There was also military canvas, heavy twills and ripstops that came in a minimal, relaxed and effortless mood that’s formed an integral part of the collection. With the sun-bleached color palette, inspired from the designer’s childhood in the United Arab Emirates, this season’s collection from Qasimi is a sentimental and positive collection designed for these dark and somewhat turbulent times.

“This season’s collection from Qasimi is a sentimental and positive collection designed for these dark and somewhat turbulent times”

Interestingly, Tommy Hilfiger also put together a strongly sentimental collection. After seven seasons traveling the world, the experiential runway event returned at London Fashion Week in a homecoming for Lewis Hamilton. As the brand celebrated the power of loyalty and the belief that purposeful progress is best achieved through meaningful partnerships, Tommy Hilfiger and Lewis Hamilton’s fourth collaborative effort for this season is the embodiment of this shared value.

Qasimi

Moreover, in line with the brand’s vision to waste nothing and welcome all, this season highlighted the sustainability, diversity and sense of inclusivity at the heart of the collection. With over 75 percent of styles sourced more sustainably, including using 100-percent organic cotton, recycled materials, down alternatives and low-impact denim washes, this means that this is the most sustainable TommyXLewis collection to date. The fusion from the brand’s strong menswear heritage with Hamilton’s street-wear style on the runway, as military blues and greens blend with neutral tones and neon pops.

In a surprise twist, Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter H.E.R. was also invited to infuse her authentic touch—with graphical iconography and lyrical quotes—into 12 statement-pieces for TommyXLewisXH.E.R., while the rest of the Hilfiger Collection was drawn from the brand’s rich archive with the addition of a contemporary twist to iconic silhouettes and disruptive elements in accessories and elevated apparel.

Going in the opposite direction was Sarah Burton from Alexander McQueen. This season, she delivered a very sartorial collection for the British brand. It was particularly interesting to note how varied and playful Burton’s outing was for this season. A variety of lengths, colors and even florals for the suits freshened up the collection, which was topped off with brilliantly reconstructed trompe l’oeil wool serge tailored jacket in electric pink and detailed with a double lapel construction.

Alexander McQueen

Much in the same way, Nicholas Daley gave everyone a show to remember. Inspired from the pivotal African-American jazz group and conveyors of the free jazz movement Sun Ra Arkestra and their influential LP titled Astro Black, he fused fashion and music—which have always gone together—for this season. The result was superb, as he combined all of the elements into one great package.

Daley worked with specialist mills on bespoke fabrics for this season and highlighted the great craftsmanship if the United Kingdom. Besides signature pinstripes and oversized checks to bespoke woven jacquard, he also presented a unique take on the classic loafer with the addition of the military commando sole. He also collaborated with Fred Perry and reworked the classic Monkey Boot in suede and contrasting leathers and the iconic Barrel Bag with new signature details and colorways.

Another definite highlight would be the orange-and-brown cargo pants and matching utility vest layered over a mesh tank. When the catwalk show finished, everyone was on their feet and dancing around with Daley’s collaborator from U.K.’s jazz scene Sons of Kemet.

And just like that, London’s menswear players have proved that this city is by all means different. By building collections with strong visions and deep stories, they’ve managed to brighten even the gloomiest of London days. This combination of talent made this city, arguably, the most evocative of all.

“A variety of lengths, colors and even florals for the suits freshened up Sarah Burton’s Alexander McQueen collection”

Tommy Hilfiger

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