LFWM: Best in Show
A concise three days of shows in London and designers seemed ravenous to feed that social media beast: A Cold Wall went all Rick Owens on us for a moving (likely in both senses of the word) performance piece, while Charles Jeffrey Loverboy enlisted a tinfoil-capped choir and NEWGEN name Paria Farzaneh created outside vistas for the benefit of Lambeth. Despite the usual grumbles and groans – that have become as anticipated as the scrum to get into certain shows (Loverboy, Cottweiler, and Kiko Kostadinov among them) – about the schedule or supposed lack of, there were significant highlights – be they in detail form in the surrealist bags by Stefan Cooke at the MAN show or the broken plate jewellery at Per Götesson (a brooch of the newly-wed Royal couple, too) or the more substantial we-got-to-sit-on-a-street-in-Chalk Farm for the great London outdoors of Martine Rose’s Spring/Summer 2009 offering (an excellent, excellent show) to round a Sunday evening off. Here are some shows that stood out and why.
Martine Rose, Spring/Summer 2019 menswear show in London. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.
When Martine Rose isn’t showing in the schedule, we miss her. She brings with her a polish and finesse, sophistication and relevance. Of course, we know she works with Demna over at Balenciaga and we can see why. A designer known for her streetwear-sportswear well before all the new kids on the block began to do so, she went back to the heart of what streetwear can be and is with this collection: a) her references ranging from the Nineties rave scene and Eighties TV show Minder and b) physically showing said clothes in action on a street as her runway.
Chalayan, Spring/Summer 2019 menswear show in London. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.
Sometimes Hussein Chalayan innovates a little too much and one wonders why a fastening or a pocket is moved to sit where it shouldn’t. Not today. This, a collection inspired by looking at what happiness means in different regions of the world, with accents of Roman influence, perfectly trod the line of innovation while not being absurd. Pull-threads ruched through jackets to distort their proportion to elegant effect; asymmetric fastenings at the collar swooped across one another gracefully; turn-ups turned up just a little bit more; there was an overriding sense of serenity where any sense of over-design was replaced simply with design.
Loverboy, Spring/Summer 2019 menswear show in London. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.
Undoubtedly the show of London Fashion Week Men’s, Loverboy loves to put on a spectacle: there’s more than clothes here; there’s heart and theatre, singers, dancers, voice, activist spirit, the lot. This season’s optimistic output was genuinely his most wearable collection yet – bold, bright, and cheerful and toned down just enough so as not to lose sight of what makes his the hit show still to see.
Paria/ FARZANEH, Spring/Summer 2019 menswear presentation in London. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.
The blue sky above, artful and intricate sets below, in them the designs of newcomer Paria Farzaneh, a 2016 Ravenstone graduate who launched her label in 2017. Yorkshire-born, Farzaneh explores her Iranian heritage through print and pattern, here played out on beautiful shirts, trousers, and jackets that all had the ease of streetwear but the elegance of loungewear to offer a refreshing new viewpoint.
Edward Crutchley, Spring/Summer 2019 menswear show in London. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.
One thing that can be said about LFWM is there are a lot of brands that do a similar thing. A very similar thing. After X shows a day, it can be hard to distinguish one hoody from another, one multi-pocketed trouser from another. So that’s when, similarly to Farzaneh, when something a little more refined comes along, you take note. Crutchley comes with a Paris background, a gloss that makes his blend of pattern and fashion history stand out – especially this season as, added to that, he put emphasis on getting the creative-versus-commercial balance right.