LONDON — It was a short men’s fashion week, but there was still lots to see — and covet — according to British and international buyers. Sports wear and ath-leisure took a back seat to tailored looks, with buyers loving the sharply constructed coats and elevated wardrobe staples in particular.
“Tailoring in rich fabrications and bold patterns reigned supreme in London,” said Simon Longland, head of men’s wear at Harrods, adding he was happy to see young designers improve on their brand signatures.
Edward Crutchley, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy and Martine Rose were the favorites this season. Bruce Pask, men’s wear fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, said Jeffrey’s “theatrical, elaborate clothing, and his show, was really immersive and beautiful.”
Here, retailers talk about their highlights.
Simon Longland, head of men’s wear, Harrods
Favorite collections: Edward Crutchley and Wales Bonner both produced elevated shows, amplifying their modern sartorial signatures.
Best venue: The most elegantly paired show of the season was Edward Crutchley’s takeover of Skinners’ Hall. The contrast of the venue’s historic architecture and upholstered furnishings with Crutchley’s boundary-defying and bold silhouettes was extremely impactful.
Top trends: Tailoring in rich fabrications and bold patterns reigned supreme in London, with designers celebrating timeless and considered tailoring in a multitude of checks and plaids. Neutral tones such as taupe, ivory and camel as a base palette, offset against crisp blues and deep reds.
The Seventies had a huge impact on collections, which was especially evident in leather jackets and head-to-toe denim. E. Tautz celebrated the era with denim layering and Seventies-inspired tailoring. Layering gave a new dimension to the runway and Wales Bonner really leaned into the trend, pairing rollnecks under shirts and layered tailoring for a full effect.
Must-have item: A statement coat should be on everyone’s wanted list next season. Great examples are from Edward Crutchley, Qasimi or Feng Chen Wang.
Eric Pech, men’s wear buyer, Galeries Lafayette
Favorite collections: There are plenty of talented designers showing in London. Bethany Williams presented a strong collection and it’s only her second show. I was pleased to discover significant product development in outerwear, the vibrant color palette and drawings, which are now part of the DNA of the brand. Her approach to fashion around community, eco and social responsibility is remarkable, and resonates positively with our customers.
The Charles Jeffrey Loverboy show was also impressive. The richness of his creative universe and the theatricality of his shows are both attractive, alongside the perfect execution of the jackets. His knitwear and tartans are stunning, as is the beauty of his volumes. The good energy of the Martine Rose show was “another highlight.”
Best venue: The Edward Crutchley show at the Skinners’ Hall brought me back in time immediately to the mid-18th century.
Top trends: Denim is back.
Chris Mcilroy, head of men’s wear, Harvey Nichols
Favorite collections: Paria Farzaneh’s collection was very authentic; Martine Rose’s collection felt like a good balance of nostalgia and newness with the patterns, metallic elements and sportswear pieces which were nice commercial updates, but with a disco retro feel.
Best venue: The Auditorium used by Paria. The set design on stage was incredible and the smell of incense throughout worked very well alongside the collection.
Top trends: Technical-looking outerwear still seems to be a mainstay for many designers, as does knitwear, which is always key for the season. There were lots of great v-necks, mohair, and chunky knits on show from many designers. Shoe-wise, Hokas are still everywhere and there were lots of interesting collaborations from Converse, who showcased shoes with Paria and Eastwood Danso.
Talent Scouting: Nicholas Daley was great, and keeps going from strength to strength. There were also some really strong pieces from the upcoming Fred Perry collaboration that he is doing.
Must-have item: Paria’s Gore-Tex jacket. She has managed to make an extremely delicate-looking piece of clothing highly technical. She also uses Thermore insulation in many of her pieces, which is a highly sustainable plastic element utilizing old fishing nets and plastic bottles that are then fitted into the garments.
Bruce Pask, men’s wear fashion director, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus
Favorite collections: I really enjoyed Charles Jeffrey’s theatrical, elaborate clothing and how he grounds and balances the collection with eminently wearable items that still represent his jubilant, colorful point of view. His shows are always memorable, enjoyable spectacles.
Grace Wales Bonner’s very personal tribute to a Seventies take on Sixties-era British clothing was utterly compelling, with looks that were terrifically styled, down to the Adidas Samba’s crocheted stripes.
I always find Lou Dalton’s collections engaging, with the right amount of fashion and wearability. She’s created a signature British identity for her workwear-infused line by collaborating with U.K. brands like John Smedley and Gloverall on great plaid jackets and striped knits that looked great and fresh.
Best venue: Charles Jeffrey’s takeover of the Battersea Arts Centre for his Loverboy show was really immersive and beautiful, with music and dancing that was transporting. A bejeweled tree trunk and sparkling disco lights shimmering over this amazingly restored space and its giant pipe organ was really magical.
Top trends: Here in London at the start of the European men’s wear market we have seen history really influencing quite a few collections, with a strong nostalgia for the recent past. Wales Bonner’s “Lover’s Rock” collection saw Sixties-era British wardrobe items through the lens of Seventies blues parties.
Priya Ahluwalia focused on the year 1965 for her multicultural-influenced collection that was infused with her great color and pattern. Charles Jeffrey looked a bit farther into the past, mining a centuries-old Scottish agricultural festival to inform his vivid, plaid and tartan-filled collection, while Lou Dalton had a very personal take, looking to her father’s Teddy Boy style for her charming, and very wearable, collection.
Martine Rose even showed her nostalgia-tinged collection in the hallways of her daughter’s primary school in Kentish Town.
There was an abundance of tartan, tweed, and plaid on view here in London, not unexpected during the fall men’s wear showings, but there was a nice freshness to the interpretations of these traditional fabrications, especially from Wales Bonner, Charles Jeffrey, and Lou Dalton. In general, we are seeing more of a polish to the collections, a bit more sophistication and tailoring, though athletic-influenced sportswear items still have a necessary presence.
Sustainability continues to be a pervasive conversation. Every fabric used in Bethany Williams’ colorful illustration-based collection was recycled. Studio Alch showed garments made of recycled, organic, or dead stock materials with some pieces created with no material waste. Lou Dalton created a group of sweaters all made from recycled nylon.
Caterina Ercoli, Senior Buyer, Antonioli, Milan
Favorite collections: Martine Rose, E. Tautz, Edward Crutchley and Feng Chen Wang.
Best venue: Edward Crutchley at Skinners’ Hall and Martine Rose at a primary school in Camden.
Top trends: Oversize blazer jackets and coats; pleated, cropped and baggy trousers; workwear jackets and customized sneakers, in particular for the anniversary of the Adidas Superstar sneakers and penny loafer shoes.
Talent scouting: Pronounce and Nicholas Daley.
Must-have item: An oversize blazer jacket or coat.
What are you saying goodbye to? Overpriced jersey T-shirts and sweaters, oversize padded jackets and oversize sports trousers.
Stavros Karelis, founder and buying director, Machine-A
Favorite collections: Martine Rose, Stefan Cooke, Xander Zhou, Per Götesson, Charles Jeffrey and Bethany Williams.
Best venue: Martine Rose’s show at Torriano Primary School, her daughter’s school.
Top trends: Top trends include tailoring, upcycling and recycling and denim is making a strong comeback.
Talent scouting: Paria Farzaneh.
Must-have item: Stefan Cooke x Lee jeans studded boiler suit.
What are you saying goodbye to? Unexciting fashion. Welcome London Fashion Week Men’s designers. They know how to lead the trends.
Mehmet Kartal, head of e-commerce, Printemps
Favorite collections: Charles Jeffrey Loverboy for his theatrical tailoring, Martine Rose for the coolest unisex attitude, Wales Bonner as the best of everyday tailoring, as well as Bianca Saunders’ clean slate and Nicholas Daley’s ethnic urban universe.
Best venue: Charles Jeffrey Loverboy’s mystical forest filled with disco-religious references.
Top trends: Top trends include sustainability, unisex wardrobe and neo-tailoring.
Talent scouting: Ahluwalia Studio presented a very interesting and a different perspective for fall. I also loved Bianca Saunders’ very minimal approach and Nicholas Daley’s Adidas collaboration.
Must-have item: Definitely a pair of high-waisted, wide-leg oversize pants.
What are you saying goodbye to? Even though ath-leisure is a strong market demand, neo-tailoring becomes more and more powerful, but can we say goodbye? Not sure.
Marta Morandi, head of buying, Penelope
Favorite collections: My favorite collections were Paria Farzaneh, Wales Bonner and Martine Rose
Best venue: My favorite venue was Martine Rose’s kid’s elementary school.
Top trends: Top trends include multicultural aesthetics
Talent scouting: My pick for this season would be Art School.
Must-have item: Wales Bonner x Adidas sneakers are my must-have item.
What are you saying goodbye to? I’m saying goodbye to multicultural energy and vibes.