Always Look On The Bright Side of Life: Here's How

We live in pessimistic times, but we can be optimistic,” reasoned Matthew Miller, one of London’s leading menswear names, backstage after his Autumn/Winter 2017 show. “Last year was full of suppression; it’s a generation of fear,” he continued, elaborating upon what followed in the footsteps of Liam Hodges yesterday, and Christopher Shannon earlier in the day also, as being another politically-minded collection. “But We can change things as young people.” Hear, hear! Cheers to that! 


Matthew Miller Fashion Show Menswear Collection Fall Winter 2016 in London (by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION)


Just as Craig Green had offered up at the beginning of the week (more to come on him this weekend), there was a strong sense of being able to protect oneself, which here made for a controlled and refined utility-uniform aesthetic, but which was also given a warmth and romance, surprisingly, through a scarf collaboration with Design Lab Japan for printed flowers throughout when it wasn’t black, or seriously great jackets or controlled layered looks. In fact, the scarves came out as banners and flags at the end and it all looked rather Les Mis – in a good way. The revolution, after all as Miller pointed out, starts here and now, with us. Let’s do it. Miller has always used his clothes to voice his political and philanthropic manifestations, and each season has developed a strong sense of refinement and sophistication with that. This was an elegant collection that well made its point – not by shouting, but by making peaceful sense. 


Christopher Shannon Fashion Show Menswear Collection Fall Winter 2016 in London (by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION)


But Miller wasn’t the only designer to take on the subject – Christopher Shannon, too, made a point in his show notes of saying this was his first collection post-Brexit and post-Trump. The result included a collaboration with fellow LFWM label Rottingdean Bazaar for facewear that took the idea of football fans painting their faces, but here decorated them with flags – the point here to represent unity, not division. Let’s hear it for positivity; uniting and not dividing, yes! What else does his post-everything-gone-wrong world depict? He wittily took well-known brands' fonts and logos and turned them into depressed versions of themselves: “Tumbleweed,” “Loss,” “Control Stress” (for diplomacy sake, we’ll let you decipher from the images which is riffing off which). You get the point. The other one to take away would be boys and leggings, lots of leggings. Not the easiest of things for men to wear but then as it turns out, even tailoring comes with its own struggles. 


 E.Tautz Fashion Show Menswear Collection Fall Winter 2016 in London (by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION)


It doesn’t have to be about the office. The Eighties made a symbol out of it. But I wanted to say that it can be informal; there’s an ease to these clothes – casual not formal or mean and tight,” explained Patrick Grant of E Tautz backstage. And so he turned to the idea of a scarecrow, yes the scarecrow, as a means to do this. “I came across this book via Martin Parr and that’s how I found him, Peter Mitchell” – a photographer who, for over forty years, photographed scarecrows in the countryside of his native Leeds. But not just any scarecrows, these were ones with style! Or certainly few rigid rules when it came to following it – and that’s what Grant wanted to capture. “Hedi Slimane, Thom Browne, it looks a bit tired now,” he said referring to the tight-fit tailoring of the former and somewhat outrageous and dramatic of the latter. This train of thought, combined with that “English vernacular from the Seventies,” led him to the ultimate relaxed-casual allure which is found here. It felt incredibly youthful on the young boys, and worn oversized tapped into that sense of ease for sure. Whether that translates upon an older customer, of course, remains to be seen. 


 Edward Crutchley Fashion Show Menswear Collection Fall Winter 2016 in London (by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION)


And from optimistic and charming outlooks to the shiny stuff. Both Edward Crutchley and Astrid Andersen had clearly received the same Autumn/Winter 2017 memo (email, Whatsapp, you get it), for opulent-textured-rich collections that took streetwear and tracksuit themes (Andersen more than Crutchley) and served them gold, high-shining, in jacquard and leopard, with feathers and berets, earrings and rings. This was another version of the bright side of life indeed – very decorative, with Andersen appealing to those who like their sports and Crutchley appealing to those who prefer more of a lounge sensibility. 


 Astrid Andersen Fashion Show Menswear Collection Fall Winter 2016 in London (by for NOWFASHION)


Meanwhile, there was also another addition to the schedule this season: Tinie Tempah. Usually more at home sitting on the other side of the catwalk as one of the LFWM’s ambassadors, today he took a sheepish bow as the efforts of his What We Wear debut were shown. Described as being inspired by “the wardrobe of the everyday man” points must surely be deducted for also describing it as taking the wearer “from day to night.” Sports-casual, it was nothing we hadn’t seen before. 


 WWW Fashion Show Menswear Collection Fall Winter 2016 in London (by for NOWFASHION)


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