It was hard trying to pick the best shows from London Collection Mens. The men’s fashion schedule is a melting pot of Britain’s best tailors, contemporary luxury brands and the natty newcomers who are out to make a splash in the London pond.
The Spring 2017 circuit took onlookers (fashion editors, buyers and VIPs) out of London’s 9-to-5 smog and to the English seaside, or Cuba in the Fifties and even the Mediterranean. It was about getting out of the city and making the most of the summer, British weather permitting.
It’s always a buzz, live at a Topman show. The British retailer (affordable and forever on-trend) banks on having big lights, bright music and a bevy of British men’s style elite (Gandy, Cheshire and Booth) in its front-row midst. As for the clothes, collections typically riff on a specific subculture or youth tribe, steeped in nostalgia so you’re lured into escaping your adult reality.
British seaside culture was Topman’s SS17 theme. Among the pastel knits that screamed ‘Margate! Blackpool! Torquay!’ across the chest (key English escapes for the weekend for the non-Brits), slim and trim tailoring in fruity shades arrived unhemmed, far less shocking than tailored or French terry short-shorts.
Key SS17 pieces included the neutral-coloured suits, Western-inspired sports tracksuits and the super cropped casual jackets and sweaters with logos. It’s all about that fit next spring.
#2 J.W. Anderson
Known for messing with classic menswear silhouettes, J.W. Anderson sent down the runway a flurry of oversized and undersized jackets, graphic print sweaters and loose-legged pants, made more British with a tapered ankle and spritely Gingham check print.
Black, via floaty duster coats, swamped sugar-coloured tops, far more marketable than block coloured sweaters with sleeves trailing the floor that arrived soon after. Aside from the kid-in-dad’s clothes vibe, hero pieces included a rose coloured trench in silk (neatly fitted), linen indigo-dyed collarless shirtless in relaxed proportions, and Anderson’s handsome tailoring: soft but sharp jackets and breezy, wide and short trousers. It’s like hunting for treasure with Anderson and you’re sure to find it.
#3 Richard James
Dubbed ‘Dandy Kim’, the spring collection from Savile Row’s Richard James was deliciously pink, but not so much that it left you feeling sick, more cool-Cuba. Kim apparently fled London’s Chelsea – with a collection of Savile Row suits – for Havana in 1958.
This came via light pink single breasted two-piece suits and a lilac, peak lapel double breasted suit in seersucker, designed for splitting into statement separates. Other hero pieces included wear-everywhere blousons and and high-waisted pants. The rakish award going to a cotton Guayabera jacket in barely-there-blue, bringing the Dandy and Cuban back to fashion-life this season.
#4 Margaret Howell
A very British L.A. was on display at Margaret Howell. To the East Coast anthem itself “Hotel California”, blow-away-in-the-breeze trench coats in Gore-Tex (the new raincoats for men) arrived followed by linen-cotton singlets and oversize cable knits, squared-necked in neutrals.
The very-wearable collection felt coastal but refined: boot-cut trousers with the cuffs turned up, and a linen button-down shirt with windowpane checks proving solid choices for walk-along-the-sand sunset gazing and early morning feet-dips.
#5 Oliver Spencer
Mediterranean vibes surrounded Oliver Spencer’s SS17 collection. Producer of modern fits with fine fabrics (sourced from artisanal British and Italian mills), the landmark house on the Island of Capri, Casa Malaparte, was the collection inspiration. Rich reds, solid greys and navy sat under soft golds, cream and ecru designed to compliment the clothing’s clean modernist lines.
Key pieces included a linear patterned Portobello jacket in navy and Pompeii red, a new style Tom’s Jacket with long-line lapel detail and a checkered merino cardigan. A styling forecast: bared ankles aren’t going anywhere.
Click through the slideshow for a wrap of London Collections Mens Spring/Summer 2017 shows and looks.