So, another London Fashion Week Men’s has come and gone in the blink of an eye; three days of catwalks, street style snaps, and menswear designs ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous.
While heritage menswear brands were thin on the ground, LFWM continues to be a great platform for independent and under-the-radar designers. This year also saw a marked increase in dual-gender catwalks, and in brands using female models to showcase male looks – a development that hints at the luxury industry’s increasing interest in gender-free fashion. It’ll be interesting to see if this trend in itself takes off over the next couple of seasons, and if it carries through to Milan and Paris Fashion Week too.
Gender politics aside, those British brands showing did old Blighty proud, with collections that are as sophisticated, chic and inventive as ever. Here are some of our highlights, both of the brands and trends to look out for this autumn.
1. All oversized everything
The trend for oversized outerwear has been around for a couple of seasons now, but this LFWM you could have be forgiven for thinking that you – and everyone else around you – had shrunk. There’s been hardly any conventionally proportioned clothing in sight. From Lou Dalton’s collaborative collection with John Smedley (above), with its huge woollen raglan coats and big baggy knits, to E Tautz’s ever-popular Field Trousers in crimson and terracotta gabardine, the catwalks were awash with men draped in voluminous clothes.
How to supersize next season
Off the catwalk, the key to this trend is to keep your look relaxed; embrace the generous proportions of a big raglan-sleeve overcoat, and don’t fuss with the rest of your clothes. A big checked jacket looks best if you’ve got a form-fitting merino rollneck, or slim-fit chambray button down underneath. And don’t be afraid to get into generously cut pleated trousers either – they work a treat for smart-casualwear.
2. Fair Isle knits
There’s been no shortage of folky-looking Fair Isle knits for the past few days. Alongside Lou Dalton’s aforementioned collaboration with John Smedley, which had Fair Isle V-neck knits a-plenty, Kent & Curwen AW19 went big on the stuff (above). In one of the brand’s strongest collections since creative director Daniel Kearns took the helm two years ago, rich camel and burgundy fair isles were given an unashamedly preppy treatment beneath huge faux-military greatcoats and college blazers. K&C also played with exploded diamond patterns on knits, for a throwback beatnik look, paired with cropped checked trousers and flannels.
Let your young fogey out
This ‘chic-ified young fogey’ trend is big news. In some ways its simply an extension of hipster fashion; with vintage menswear steals simply being replaced with modern ‘reimaginings’ (to quote Kent & Curwen) of retro fashions. If you’re tempted to experiment, an easy win is to swap out jeans or chinos for some tailored trousers in charcoal or navy, and to layer a fair isle knit over the top. It’ll add a vintage edge to your outfit and look suitably smart without nearing pastiche territory.
3. Bold block colour
Don’t panic, this isn’t as scary as it sounds, but bold colours are definitely back on the menu next winter. Following several winter seasons of earthy, understated and closely tonal colours prevailing, plenty of brands have just shown collections that have made confident use of block colours, primarily crimson, royal blue, forest green and sunny yellow. E Tautz is the obvious example (see above). Designer Patrick Grant broke his tailored pieces up and mixed oxblood jackets with navy Oxford bags, and blue gingham checked blazers with leaf green wide-leg chinos. Oliver Spencer and Craig Green all did something similar – playing with separates set against each other in rich, saturated tones.
How to pump up the colour this autumn
Colour can be an intimidating thing to work into your own wardrobe, so this trend might be something to work up to. Experimenting with a suede trucker jacket or bomber in a confident shade of red or blue is a good place to start. Try a simple design and let it pop against dark jeans or chinos and a laid back jersey T-shirt. If you like it, swap the jeans out for some royal blue trousers or wide-leg cords in a similarly confident colour. It’s a look that’s sure to turn heads – in the best possible way.