New Beginnings

Perhaps it’s because it’s the Spring/Summer 2020 shows – with emphasis on the 2020 part – that the menswear collections this season felt for the most part fresh and new. It will soon be a new decade after all. Designers pushed themselves to explore new ground, open new chapters, and create worlds that were personal to them, the result of which means the era of the per usual streetwear-sportswear trend has finally passed. And I would hedge a bet that by the time we get to the end of the menswear show cycle in a few weeks, we’ll look back on London for being especially strong because of that this season.

Munn Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in London. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.

Seoul-based brand Munn, from Hyun-Min Han, opened the week with a beautifully romantic collection that seamlessly blended outdoor style with tailoring, showing the process of creating while it was at it. There was craft, tactility, emotion and history, along with a unique point of view.

Stefan Cooke Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in London. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.

As there was too at Stefan Cooke, another runaway success of the week. Design duo Stefan Cooke and Jake Burt explored theatre costumes and cleverly updated them by exposing their construction process and morphing them, adding in their hallmark trompe l’œil prints to make you question the piece’s existence. It was the brand’s first debut show since leaving Fashion East and the techniques at play were quite incredible (the rave reviews had begun before the audience had left the venue) and furthered their signature use of diamonds and elliptical knits.

Mowalola's collection at the Fashion East Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in London. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.

Their former fellow Fashion East stablemate Mowalola, meanwhile, had progressed considerably from last season, where then it was the coats that had been her strong point. This time, it was the whole lot: one part Noughties to one part American Western. The execution of pieces, especially in the fit, had come on leaps and bounds and it all felt slicker, cooler, more developed. In her show notes, the designer had cited falling in love as the reason behind the change in gear – notably even going so far as to take the motif of a bullet and adorning some of the dresses with it in reference to how love feels.

Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in London. Photos by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

And there was clearly a change in tack at Charles Jeffrey Loverboy. In what could be deemed – for Loverboy – a bit more of a subdued collection, certainly one that seemed to lend itself to more commercial tendencies, the designer refrained from his dramatic performance pieces and wandered into nostalgic Westwood territory in an about-turn to last season’s couture nods – which is more an observation than it is a criticism.

paria /FARZANEH Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in London. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

What all of this does suggest is that looking ahead, while London’s schedule might now be retracted, it packs a heck of a punch in just three days with an overload of ideas – which is a very good thing. Wrapping up the last day, Paria Farzaneh had hints of the best parts and theatrics of Undercover with a collection that refocussed back on those great prints she uses and came styled with menacing masks that had seemingly stepped straight out of the original version of the film The Purge.