London Fashion Week: Menswear Day

Last Wednesday, designers were falling over themselves in order to showcase their Autumn/Winter 2011 collections – and as a dedicated disciple of fashion, I was eager to go and worship at the high alter that was London Fashion Week.

My schedule for the day was literally back to back – and like the models on the catwalk, my movements had to be well timed.

My first port of call was the sunlight-filled Portico Rooms in Somerset House to see the static Sibling exhibition.

 Sibling 

What first comes to mind when viewing Sibling’s collection is its quirkiness. That traditional British sense of humour is a comforting undercurrent in many of the designs. The theme of pandas mixed with the 1970s rock band Kiss ran through some designs with one black jumper featuring pandas in the guise of Kiss complete with the famous black and white scary makeup and panda balaclavas with oversized pompoms as ears.

The colour palette was based around black, marl greys, white and terracotta red – with burnt sienna shades for bold contrasts. Eye-catching wool pieces featured textural details like one vivid red jumper that featured a lion’s head in thickly embroidered wool yarn, giving a great sense of depth. Meanwhile, a selection of grey marl knitted jumpers and cardigans featured colourful heraldic, Masonic-like and monarchic designs.

It’s clear that Sibling focused on injecting fun into men’s knitwear by adding playful designs and highly textured details and weaves. So it comes as no surprise to hear that the brand is currently working on a mini knitwear collection with Tween.

 The fun and originality of the designs doesn’t detract but somehow enhances the wonderfully wearable and accessible creations.

  Omar Kashoura

Held in the Navy Board Rooms Omar Kashoura was a wonderful showcasing of contemporary menswear. In a colour palette consisting of marl greys, burnt umber, ecru, myrtle greens and soft mulberry shades.

What struck me most about the collection were its wearable qualities. Clean lined tailoring was met with soft comforting knits in neutral tones. Trousers were slim fitting with some pieces having a looser fit around the waist for a carrot fit – and structured tailoring came in a wide range of greys from granite to dove in soft flannel fabric – further evidence that landscapes and nature were a primary design influence.

 Overall the pieces were very directional with intricate details and finishing. It was most certainly masculine with pieces that are both fun and beautifully crafted.

Mr Start

This wonderful collection was held at 1 Aldwych and featured several models standing statically in the room. This allowed you to get up close and personal with the garments giving you a rare insight into the composition of the clothes and most importantly the textures.

I was talked through the pieces by Mr Start representatives, Jonathan Loe and Alexander Lamb, whose enthusiasm helped give a really personal touch to the viewing and allowed me to ask those essential in-depth questions.

The inspiration for this collection is architecture which comes across in the smartly tailored pieces, with their clean lines and impeccable fit. Slim-fitting suits and shirts come in three different cuts, while collars come in a selection of designs, many of which are based around a very 1920s/1930s inspired round collar.

The two dominant fabrics were flannel and Donegal tweed with English tweed used on jackets. These very distinctive textures worked well with the structured nature of the suits.

Jackets were in delicious Italian camels, dapper blue velvet and sleek single breasted styles.

Overall, Mr Start is the perfect collection for media-savvy individuals who are confident in both personality and style. It oozes modern masculine elegance, making it one of my favourite collections of the day.

 Horace

Shown at the smart Hospital Club in Endell St, the Horace show was an assault on the senses.

Standing in a large square in the centre of a dark room, the audience were treated to a screen at one end, showing a flashing video of images – from rockets and newsreaders through to battery chicks on a conveyor belt. Electro music accompanied the video for added impact.

Models then strutted out in designs that were beyond eye-catching – with faux chinchilla fur and black raven feathers sitting alongside bright knits with neon-hues.

Highlights included bold banana prints and prism graphics, directional leather jackets and woven jumpers. Fusing a tribal warrior vibe with a cyberworld dystopia, the Horace show offered a very sci-fi experience with some creations reminiscent of a Barberella-esque nature, whilst others had a distinct Warholian leaning.

 To me, the strongest pieces were the long oversized knitted jumper in electric blue, black and hot pink and the deconstructed leather jacket.

 Horace creations are definitely for the more avante-garde and futurist of men.

I’d like to thank the following people for making this blog post possible:

Sibling: Sid Bryan, Joe Bates, Cozette McCreery and Thomas Giddings

Omar Kashoura,

Mr Start: Jonathan Loe, Alexander Lamb and Laura Jean,

Horace: Stephanie Cox at Snow PR

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