What’s in a Show?
The Menswear Collections are here again, and so, you might ask, who cares? In a world becoming ever more polarized between the haves and the have-nots, it is increasingly difficult to justify the expense and celebrate the extravagance that goes into producing a fashion show. But life goes on and let’s face it, we all need a little escapism, which the ostentation and frivolity of a fashion show provides, as well as being a celebration of the power of creativity it is also an excuse. like a thousand calorie ice-cream-sundae, to take our minds off the daily drudge, if just for a few minutes. The main rationale though for the shows, in a saturated and ever more competitive market-place, is that brands need to make very clear statements of intent, and there is still no better platform for that than the catwalk. And for all the other brands out there and the industry that feeds them, the catwalks are still the key litmus test, when it comes to gauging what direction to take for the coming season(s). Although frivolity and expense aside, it still begs the question, who will wear the pink, teddy bear strewn fake-fur creations of Sibling?
The London shows over the past few days have so far provided some great examples of how fashion reflects these changing times and how different the reaction to them can be. On the one hand we have the unashamedly ostentatious camp of Jeremy Scott’s presentation for Moschino and Siblings Pink Punk, Public school trip and on the other we have the perfect sobriety and wearable austerity of Margaret Howell. We can appreciate the first for its out and out exuberance and creativity and the second for recognizing that the majority of men still want clothes they can easily understand and feel reassured wearing. Fashions change, but more slowly for some than for others and Margaret Howell’s evolutionary approach to designing clothes is always a perfect reflection of this.
Over the next month we will be illustrating the best of the collections and following this with our Key trend, colour and product reports. We start here with two designers at different ends of the colourful fashion spectrum, Margaret Howell and Sibling.
Margaret Howell has an evolutionary approach to designing and this season’s collection was no exception with the ever-present utility and work-wear references still there and firmly rooting the collection. The newness came in the layered styling, knit over knit combinations and in the slight nod to a 1970’s lounge-glamour, in the skinny fitting polo-neck sweaters, tucked into high-waisted pants. In fact the whole collection seemed to be based around what it is possible to wear with a polo-necked sweater, from pieces of heavier knitwear to wool blazers and Duffle-coats. Silhouettes were beautifully thought out and perfectly proportioned. Aside from the Polo-necks, particularly strong were the perfectly cut Straight and Wide legged cropped pants and wide soft shouldered, 3 button work blazers. Margaret Howell’s clothing is as close to timeless as it gets.
Launched eight years ago, Sibling, is a collaborative effort between three designers, consisting of Joe Bates, Sid Bryan and Cozette McCreery, from Yorkshire, Leicester and London respectively. Known for their mutated, distorted versions of traditional knitwear and their humorous sparkly and colourful collections, Sibling outdid themselves this season with a parade of atomic pink schoolboys, in huge fake fake fur and trade mark mutated knitwear. The show, inspired by their own schooldays, included whole outfits in crumpled biscuit brown school-paper, huge knitted soft toys as accessories and punk inspired and deconstructed knitwear, which even made Jeremy Scotts presentation for Moschino look tame by comparison.