Words: Colin Chapman
The fashion caravan has already trundled off to Florence, but before I toss my fur-lined mules into the carry-on bag here are a few parting words on some of the last two days’ highlights.
Not many designers could muster an eager crowd at 10am on a Sunday, especially with it being the third day of LC: M, but such is the reputation of JW Anderson that a devoted congregation is assured. Having established himself as a major league designer, Anderson can always be counted on to make a powerful visual statement in what has become a somewhat predictable schedule at London Collections: Men. If there were anything predictable in what Anderson showed on Sunday it was that his vision would be like no other. Taking inspiration from the influences that fired his boyhood imagination (Prokoviev’s Peter and the Wolf, The Little Prince, Dr Seuss), for SS17, Anderson presented us with his unique spin on a fairytale: complete with exaggerated proportions, psychedelic colour and elaborate prints. Accessories ranged from goggles to play crowns. Having been one of the first designers to really stretch gender boundaries, Anderson’s vision is now something much odder, like something one might encounter in a Studio Ghibli film, and all the better for its weirdness.
If JW Anderson can be relied on for sheer oddness, Sibling are here to consistently remind us that fashion is meant to be fun. Not that the full-to-capacity crowd generally requires much encouragement to enjoy their tongue-in-cheek romps around the dancefloor, the boxing ring or, in the case of Sunday night’s show, the perimeter of a Miami swimming pool. Complete with Sibling-branded towels to stake out your lounger, beach-umbrella stripes, knitted trunks and one-pieces (Sibling are now showing men’s and women’s side-by-side after all), and their signature elongated cardigans in playful prints, the duo provided you with everything you might need for that South Beach vacation, with the addition of a very cheeky British sense of humour to ensure you don’t take yourself too seriously, however perfect your pecs might be.
Maison Mihara Yasuhiro
Set in a Bloomsbury bowling alley Maison Mihara Yasuhiro’s collection for SS17 was pure Happy Days, a re-visioning of the 1950’s innocent charms, with an era-specific wardrobe featuring the currently ubiquitous souvenir jacket to campus sweaters, plaid and khakis, but mismatched and reassembled sometimes in the same item – like a Frankenstein spin on ‘50s youth culture.
An inscrutably Japanese slogan, “No Club Lone Wolf,” appeared everywhere while details such as jumbo plastic zippers on coach jackets reminded us we were no longer in Kansas, or even America. Like Juno Watanabe before him, Yasuhiro is carefully reconstructing the American wardrobe that so fascinates him to his own liking, piece by piece with a distinctly Japanese and forensic attention to detail.
Coach as reimagined by Stuart Vevers the British designer brought in to revitalize the brand, really is a different beast. It’s not that Vevers has brought anything too challenging to the table, but the idea that a Japanese uber-blogger might now be seen stomping around town in a Coach parka covered in vibrant street graffiti and a matching pair of shearling-trimmed sliders is evidence of the brand’s rapid transition from uptown froideur to downtown cool. For SS17, Vevers relied on such familiar items of New York bohemianism as baseball jackets, parkas and souvenir jackets but given a dip in his colour bath and souped-up with illustrations by artist Gary Baseman, (googly eyes, a dripping smiley) they were clearly recognisable as part of this new-Coach aesthetic. Vevers is treading a familiar path, like Marc Jacobs and Hedi Slimane before him, of reworking the classics by means of contemporary associations but the results are there to see, and beautifully constructed they are too.