Something felt amiss at the first show of London Collections: Men. The stark memories of the Charlie Hebdo atrocities make a grim backdrop to talk about next season’s clothing. Murmurs about “freedom of speech” and pings of breaking news punctuated the small talk between editors, a handful of whom probably have friends directly impacted by the tragedy. A front row guest at the Topman Design Show was less discreet about his thoughts on current events, bearing a sequined-encrusted message across his chest that simply read, “F*ck World”. For many of the attendees, diverting away from such a tragedy in the name “fashion” seemed indecorous to say the least, but as the adage goes "The show must go on".
Topman Design eased the audience into the day’s presentations with a collection that was both nostalgic and rebellious. Outerwear became a clear focus from the onset as the show opened with a statement patchwork shearling peacoat set against psychedelic LED visuals. Riding on the 70s’ Woodstock reference last season, Fall/Winter 15 offered a more irreverent edge akin to the headiness of Glam Rock. AC/DC thunderbolts and star-spangled denim coordinates accented a series of flume-rich coats, ruffled shirts and ombre mohair oversized coats. Tartan suiting — emblematic of the 70s — and western overalls were the bread and butter of the collection.
The conviction to deliver more directional designs was clear through the fabrication and proportions, pitching the Fall/Winter 15 collection closer to sister show, Topshop Unique, at London Fashion Week. The latter recently received an added boost when Antipodium designer, Geoffrey Finch, joined the design team. Perhaps the bar has been raised as this collection marks Topman’s entry into the wholesale business, and the need for value-added design is ever more crucial.
Difficult times like this call for fashion brands to work harder for the customer’s dime. Safe to say the floor length teddy coats, kick flares and rebellious optimism will help ease the nervous energy surrounding LC:M while boding well for one of London’s most robust fashion exports. Taking cue from the David Essex track in the background, Topman is holding no prisoners and will continue to “Rock On.”