LONDON — Retailers heralded the return of tailoring at London men’s week as street and athletic influences, only recently rampant, receded from the runways.
“It’s exciting to see designers in London play with classic shapes, but layering them with personality,” said Simon Longland, general merchandise manager for men’s wear and sports at Harrods.
Retailers were upbeat — but divided — about the talent on show, with Craig Green and Charles Jeffrey shows earning top marks. Bruce Pask, men’s wear fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, raved about Green’s effort.
“He is one of the most brilliant designers today, technically breathtaking and deeply profound. This show was stunningly beautiful and he always distills his vision in commercial ways that our customers love and appreciate,” he said.
Here, retailers talk about some of the London highlights.
Jack Cassidy, men’s wear buying manager, Selfridges:
Favorite collections: Craig Green. The show this morning was incredibly elevated and considered from the color palette to the textiles and silhouettes.
Top trends: I’ve seen a moodier palette appearing on the most part, but with pops of brights and bolder tones interspersed.
Best venue: Charles Jeffrey’s show on Saturday evening at the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station was spectacular and truly memorable. The venue, performance, music and clothes combined to create his strongest show yet. I think Charles does a fantastic job of creating and evolving the Loverboy mood and identity each season.
Talent scouting: I also thought the Man show was very strong and showcased a diverse range of London’s emerging talents. Stefan Cooke’s last show as part of Man was the strongest to date and had original and rich textile development.
Must-have item: A Craig Green coat.
Simon Longland, general merchandise manager for men’s wear and sports, Harrods:
Top trends: Overcoats are the style of the season and we saw them in all shapes and sizes, from oversized and unstructured at Qasimi and cocoon at Edward Crutchley. However, slim and belted styles provided a style contrast, particularly at Craig Green where this style took the form of the modern-day trench. Coats continue to evolve, but the basics shapes remain the same. Utility features are still prominent and were visible within many collections.
Best venue: A-Cold-Wall with the artistic installation and performance piece created by Samuel Ross. The dark pools of water amped up the runway creativity of London.
Must-have item: The oversized coats from Edward Crutchley and Qasimi — wearable, adaptable and above all desirable.
Saying goodbye to: Sportswear has grown up and evolved and whilst it will always be present, I am happy to see that it has been taken up a notch and elevated.
Tyler Franch, fashion director, Hudson’s Bay:
Top trends: A street-smart aesthetic has become an overarching theme for streetwear-focused and tailoring collections as the lines continue to blur in the contemporary suiting category. Statement outerwear continues to be strong on the runway and in street style. I’m loving the new idea of a winter trench (best seen at Wood Wood and Craig Green). Neon continues into the fall season as accents on cold-weather staples such as scarves, puffers, knitwear and boots.
Talent scouting: John Lawrence Sullivan and Liam Hodges continue to be ones to watch.
Must-have item: A neon patchwork parka from Christopher Raeburn.
Saying goodbye to: Slim pants are officially out in London and replaced by the wide leg trouser in every iteration.
Bruce Pask, men’s wear fashion director, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus:
Favorite collections: Craig Green always presents thoughtful ideas in collections that never cease to dazzle and inspire. Lou Dalton was also a highlight, showing innately English clothing that is lighthearted and imminently wearable and desirable. Her astute collaborations with John Smedley and Gloverall are smart extensions of her distinctly youthful British point of view.
Top trends: There is usually a very English component to the clothing, whether in styling or fabrication, and this season continues that spirit with lots of argyle and Fair Isle knits, tartan, and glen plaid. These fabrications and silhouettes were seen in refreshing ways at Lou Dalton in the Gloverall collaboration, cropped plaid duffle coats, seemingly moth-bitten and patched Fair Isle sweaters and fringed scarves, while Charles Jeffrey’s fantastical riffs on tradition were a delight. Techy athletic-inspired gear and nylon fabrications are also pervasive, seen in a more fashion than active context, but utilizing sporty shapes.
Best venue: I have to call it a tie. It was amazing to see Charles Jeffrey finally have the opportunity to transform his own show space, creating a fantastical world in the belly of an abandoned Wapping power station, complete with a piano player en plein air, bedazzled performers cavorting, and a waterfall of rose petals. It was a fully realized, fantastical environment that brilliantly showcased a mature, joyous collection.
That being said, John Alexander Skelton chose the oldest pub in England, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street (parts of which date to the 13th century), filled the warren of rooms with candles and lit the fireplaces and presented present his history-laden collection on a band of rowdy, crowd-taunting, period-perfect revelers. It was transporting.
Talent scouting: I’m intrigued by Bianca Saunders and her work and find Paria Farzaneh to be promising.
Must-have item: Lou Dalton’s Gloverall collaboration.
Stavros Karelis, founder and buying director, Machine-A:
Favorite collections: Art School, Per Götesson, Delada, Stefan Cooke, Xander Zhou, Charles Jeffrey, Kiko Kostadinov and Cottweiler were definite standouts.
Top trends: There was a lot of leather this season, tailoring and a lot of non-binary, genderless collections.
Best venue: My favorite venue was John Lawrence Sullivan’s intimate show space.
Talent scouting: These three emerging designers stole the show: Mowalola, Saul Nash, Priya Ahluwalia.
Must-have item: A pair of Cottweiler x Reebok loafers.
Damien Paul, head of men’s wear, Matchesfashion.com:
Best venue: The best venue of the season was Craig Green’s show at Billingsgate walk.
Talent scouting: Our own fall 2019 presentation at 5 Carlos Place with Boramy Viguier, Bianca Saunders and Ludovic de Saint Sernin was filled with talent and we have all three as new to Matchesfashion.com.
Must-have item: A pair of Craig Green’s crochet pants.