There’s often little to be made of a sponsor, but there was something about day one’s early unveiling of Penhaligon’s as the official scent of London Collections: Men that would frame the proceeding days. Just as the fragrance has “continually adapted” with “a flash of heritage flourish,” so too has British fashion pushed forward in terms of innovation, always retaining a penchant for nostalgia.
As such, the first major trend of LCM is surely one that everyone saw coming: the nineties revival. Brands have been inspired by the era for years, but A/W 2014 sees designers wholeheartedly embrace turn-of-the-century chic. Jonathan Saunders’ collection featured vibrant stripes and bright check prints alongside a slew of bomber jackets, while Astrid Andersen’s grunge-inflected output (pictured) saw staples such as American football jerseys and joggers alongside aquamarine accents.
More surprising is the season’s overall colour palette, largely monochromatic but willing to flirt with some unlikely hues. Lou Dalton’s Britpop-inspired collection revealed pink bleached double denim, but the most transgressive colour to mark A/W 2014 by far was Campbell’s tomato soup red. Seen on the runway on more than one occasion, it’s a daring but effective move, particularly with knitwear. And on that topic, let it be known that turtleneck is the new crew-cut.
In fact, the catwalk nodded to an oversizing of almost all casualwear, with Topman spearheading the movement. Expect double-breasted coats that hit well below the knee and bulky jackets cut just above the hipbone. Design director Gordon Richardson seems keen to reflect both aesthetics and practicality – ironically reflecting the nation’s recent storms, his models were drenched in rain as they walked the runway.
Formalwear is equally as dynamic this season, with the advent of coord for men as an alternative to the suit. Still, staunch advocates of tailoring will find much to love in Richard James’ work, with highlights such as big, statement lapels and blazers with a metallic sheen. Expect these trends to receive particular crossover attention, as the likes of Tinie Tempah, Mark Ronson, and the ever-charming Oliver Cheshire were all in attendance.
Of course, with every season there are fashion statements more idiosyncratic than others. Venue would advise you to stay clear of JW Anderson’s handbags and gaffer tape bangles, but Bobby Abley’s grills were a pleasant surprise to proceedings, and that’s a look that this guy is prepared to rock.
**This article was first printed in Issue 291 of Venue, Concrete’s culture pullout.