London Fashion Week 2020, the most important date in the UK’s fashion calendar, took place as a genderless, five-day physical-meets-digital event this weekend, with presentations mounted as intimate appointments, digital films and look book blast-outs.
And though there was none of the drama or fanfare of previous seasons, and a touch less of the fabulousness, there were still plenty of beautiful clothes created by some of this country’s most important and vital menswear talents.
From the excellently up-cycled rugby shirts at Daniel W Fletcher and windcheaters at Bethany Williams, to the new breed of men’s jewellery at Art School and Per Götesson, there was a dazzling array of world-beating menswear items that upended wider expectations of a lacklustre season.
So here, to help you distill what you should be buying next season (and from whom you should be buying it) is our edit of the standout style lessons we learned from the phygital (sorry) fashion week that was.
1. It’s all about big black boots
L to R: Phoebe English, Burberry, Art School
Oversized black combat boots have been storming the world’s runways for a good while now, and the trend showed no sign of abating in London, despite the general move to wfh-ready, comfort-focused gear, which most designers decided to show. At Burberry, stirrup-enhanced equestrian-style boots came teamed with various takes on the brand’s classic trench coats, while Phoebe English teamed her minimal tailoring-cum-cargo gear with clompy-soled black boots, and at Art School the near-entirely black collection was worn by models sporting platform-soled combat-style boots imbued with a punky edge.
2. Up-cycling is key
L to R: Ahluwalia, Paria Farzaneh, Bethany Williams
London’s menswear designers have long led the sustainability charge, with talents ranging from Christopher Raeburn to Priya Ahluwalia and Bethany Williams focusing on creating beautiful garments from vintage pieces, dead-stock items and discarded fabrics. The move toward sustainability went into overdrive this year, however, with brands including Paria Farzaneh and Daniel W Fletcher showing collections punctuated with up-cycled pieces. At the former, combat trousers and parachute jackets had a hard-wearing appeal, while at the latter, rugby shirts were satisfyingly preppy and looked wfh-in-the-winter-ready.
It was really Bethany Williams, however, who stole the show with her universally conscious collection, “All Our Children”. There were bags made of recycled Horrid Henry story books, and jackets and windcheaters made from dead-stock jersey and nylon provided by Adidas Originals – and, what’s more, 20 per cent of the proceeds from the collection will be going to The Magpie Project, which helps children and mothers who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
3. There’s a new way to wear men’s jewellery
L to R: Per Götesson, Art School, Burberry
It’s no secret that men’s jewellery has been on the rise for some time (sales increased on Matches Fashion by 60 per cent during lockdown), but it would seem – if the collections shown on the London Fashion Week 2020 runways are anything to go by, at least – that the designers have become a little bored with plain old pendants and rings, and are instead looking for new and innovative ways for men to wear their creations. At Per Götesson, the designer worked with magpie-esque jewellery designer Husam El Odeh to create a series of tiaras made from found objects, while at Art School bejewelled necklace belts were worn at the waists of tailored jackets. Even Burberry got in on the act with a jewel-encrusted necklace-cum-scarf-cum-bottle-protector, which was worn around the collarbone area of one of the dungaree-clad models.
4. Tailoring is still a thing
L to R: Kaushik Velendra, Maximilian Davis of Fashion East, Vivienne Westwood, Margaret Howell
It may come as a surprise to learn that even despite the fact that very few of us are back in the office and there have been all but no weddings to attend this year, tailoring was still very much front and centre on the London Fashion Week runways. At Kaushik Velendra and Maximilian Davis of Fashion East (a highlight of the weekend) there were souped-up takes on the classic tuxedo, no less, which looked fresh and modern – perhaps either in spite of or due to the fact that we’re unlikely to need to wear a black-tie look any time soon. At Margaret Howell and Vivienne Westwood the look was a little more laid back, with wide-cut separates worn with oversized tees and open-necked shirts. The key lesson here? Even if we do go back into lockdown, there’s always a place in your wardrobe for good tailoring.
Author: ” — www.gq-magazine.co.uk “