London Fashion Week Men’s continues to be an embattled fixture on the style calendar. The schedule was quiet again this season, following a couple of seasons of progressively fewer British designers showing – heritage brands in particular. Fortunately, some of The Jackal’s favourites chose to buck the trend, and this weekend saw a strong showing of contemporary independent British brands – each with a refreshing point of difference. Here were our standouts. Be sure to put these on your long-list for next summer’s wardrobe refresh…
Britain’s first entirely made-in-England eyewear brand in the best part of 70 years, Kirk Originals continues to impress with the quality and inventiveness of its designs. This is only the second LFWM that the brand’s shown at, having launched its new made in England collection in January. Even so, this season marked a notable step up. While the first collection felt quite tight – 10-15 designs focusing on retro shapes from the Kirk’s archive, all in the same classic tortoiseshell acetate – this season the brand’s design team have really flexed their muscles. There’s now marmalade acetate, a rich dark green, translucent grey, blushed pink, different lens colours, still more dynamic and distinctly ‘70s designs – the lot. Handmade British sunglasses just got bold. Roll on next spring.
The St James’s show is always a highlight, and this season the 30 or so looks that glided down the catwalk felt particularly cool and clean, thanks in no small part to the smooth styling of Grace Gilfeather. The catwalk was ‘see now, buy now’ comprised of clothes mixed together from some 25 brands (both contemporary and traditional) throughout St James’s. This season saw an interesting blend of clean-cut, casual sportswear and more conventional West End tailoring dressed down with knits and open collars – emphasising the richness of the area’s luxury menswear offering. The colour palette on show was refreshing too; with terracotta, mustard and lemon popping against washed-out beige and classic shades of navy. It made for a useful lesson in channeling some of this season’s brightest (and most fun) colours.
We’re loving Oliver Spencer this season, but next season marks another triumph for the thoroughbred British designer. While SS18 draws on lots of washed linens, dusty pinks and blues, SS19 sees richer textures, more experimental cuts and deeper shades of pink, ochre and green come to the fore. Again, retro design influences were clear to see, with the collection’s ‘wildflower’ theme inspired by the heyday of the ‘rocker hippie’. Ever a responsible designer, Spencer’s utilising organic fabrics too, including the various eye-popping checked cotton seersuckers and soft linen twills, which run throughout the collection; whether in the form of boxy, deconstructed tailored jackets, his iconic tapered ‘judo’ trousers, louche bomber jackets or indeed in his new one-piece overalls.
Kent & Curwen
Still, it seems that Kent & Curwen can do no wrong. The brand’s Spring Summer ’19 collection showed yesterday during a rather swish summer lunch, with an intimidatingly high-profile guest list. Mr and Mrs Beckham were there as brand ambassadors, alongside the likes of Dylan Jones and Edward Enninful. Under the watchful eye of K&C’s Creative Director, Daniel Kearns, a new collection emerged that combined the brand’s sartorial, collegiate heritage with fun ‘summer rave’ influenced design touches, including breezy oversized shirts, luxe vintage leather cagoules, badged bucket hats and bright block-colour suede Wallabees made in collaboration with Clarks Originals. K&C’s signature pieces weren’t overlooked either; imposing trenchcoats in summer-weight cotton drill, plenty of college striped sweaters and contemporary boating blazers were worked through the collection too, which felt as impressively diverse in its influences, as it did quintessentially British.