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London Collections: Men day one diary

As the new year begins so does the new menswear season, with the London Collections: Men shows and presentations flooding the West End with dapper and stylish fellows all keen to see what the designers have in store for autumn/winter 2014. Here’s how day one shaped up for Global Blue menswear reporter Ruairidh Pritchard


10.30am: John Smedley presentation
Bold bright knits brought the dreary London morning to life at John Smedley, with graphic prints and block colours taking centre stage. The collection, inspired by the Smedley family photo albums, perfectly married bold stripes with intricate ski-inspired geometric prints in palettes of reds, plums and blues, alongside timeless luxury loungewear.

11.30am: Orlebar Brown presentation
Orlebar Brown transported the London fashion set deep into the jungle, with African and South American-inspired bright colours and tropical prints evoking an altogether more exotic climate for autumn/winter. The urban jungle wasn’t forgotten either, with models decked out in camouflage tones and muted rainforest prints against the presentation space’s New York cityscape backdrop. Sunglasses were also in evidence, vital for that elusive winter sunshine.

1pm: Matthew Miller show
Dystopian manifestos embroidered across flag-like shawls and skin-headed androgyny caught the eye at Matthew Miller, where the designer injected an understated edge into classic cuts across a muted palette. Big boxy tailoring and zip details across most jackets and knitwear made the biggest statement; however, it was the pea-green leather biker jacket that seemed to be the biggest crowd-pleaser among press and buyers alike.

2pm: Jonathan Saunders presentation
Country-club rock was the theme of the day over at Jonathan Saunders, with red-and-white harlequin checks, cricket-inspired deep V-neck knits and glittering sports stripes dazzling the crowd, while silk trousers with drawstring waists and colour-blocked striped knits brought a more casual feel. The reappearance of a camo-inspired palette in the collection’s outwear also gave a hint of what could be a strong trend for next season.

3pm: Man show
This season’s Man show marked the return of the joint initiative between Topman and Fashion East, and the trio of wunderkinds dominating the emerging London menswear scene: Alan Taylor, Bobby Abley and Craig Green. Taylor’s exploration of proportions and silhouettes was first up, with Matisse-inspired collage prints and tweed leaving the biggest mark.

Next was the fun-loving and slightly scarry Bobby Abley, who continued to put a gothic spin on the Disney-inspired prints for which he’s becoming famed, with brains, barbed wire and crows dominating most patterns; furry knits and Maleficentesque horned caps topped off the collection. Finally it was fashion’s favourite boy-next-door Craig Green who, while being known for his outlandish all-over prints and sculptural pieces, seemed to make a move towards a much more wearable aesthetic.

Hand-painted patterns were a war cry against the digital-print invasion that dominated last season, and sliced and spliced panelled knitwear matched with heavy layers made it clear that the collection showed a distinct passion for detail and craftsmanship – much to the pleasure of the enraptured crowd.

4.30pm: Louis Leeman presentation
Louis Leeman created an oasis of calm in the hustle and bustle of the city, transforming a small corner of the West End into its very own lost Roman city. The shoe brand’s wares were displayed on columns, while a grass floor and shoe tree, along with a soundtrack of chirping tropical birds and gently rustling leaves, soothed the frazzled attendees. The shoes themselves – from sparkling hi-top trainers and crystal slippers to classic brogues – were a welcome reminder that autumn/winter wardrobes aren’t just about clothes.

5.30pm: CP Company presentation
Casual contemporary brand CP Company continued to delight with its sportswear-inspired jackets incorporating goggles and lenses in the sleeves and hoods. Fusing traditional English outerwear with cutting-edge fabrics and modified cuts, the autumn/winter collection featured naval-style oilskins and Shetland wool, providing all important durability and warmth – perfect for braving stormy London evenings.

7.30pm: Thomas Pink presentation
Our final stop of the day was at London tailor Thomas Pink, which had a youthful look for autumn/winter 2014. Vivid colours, similar to those at John Smedley, brought new life to classic blazers and pea coats, while the models – arranged on two levels of scaffolding – illustrated the dashing results of traditional well-cut suits and shirting.



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