The expression 'New Model Army' gets bandied about a lot by people talking about Astrid Andersen's shows. It's understandable; just like Riccardo Tisci's Givenchy, Andersen's confidently muscular models seem like a different species from the delicate boy-men that still dominate the menswear runways, particularly in London. And this season's collection, with its Black Panther berets and aggressive, combat-ready layers, underlined the still-potent appeal of the Action Man ideal.
After last season's Sumo-inspired wraps, today skewed back to the other end of the Andersen sensibility — the exaggerated, menacing swagger of Nineties U.S. hip-hop. Jumpsuits, parkas and bombers were pumped up to widescreen proportions, in a meld of glistening leathers, fuzzy plaids and wet-look sheers. Moulded vinyl badges and baseball graphics hammered home the label's sportswear roots, alongside supersized crimson Ushanka caps and color-blocked sweaters stretched out into calf-length, side-slit tunics. Andersen's more deliberately disruptive side added slithers of jarring strawberry lace and crushed raspberry velvet to the mix.The overall impact, as ever, was a compelling one. And going by the evidence of the audience, there's no shortage of manpower ready to sign up to the Andersen tribe.