- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
While menswear may have moved on from London to Italy, there is still a lot of incredible collections that deserve to be shared, and FashionUnited has selected their five best presentations from London Fashion Week Men’s (LFWM) spring/summer 2020, which took place from June 7 to 10.
Alexander McQueen SS20
Alexander McQueen returned to London Fashion Week Men’s with an intimate presentation for its menswear spring/summer 2020 at Charter House as a direct continuation of the autumn/winter 2019 womenswear collection in its emphasis on Englishness, as it looks to create a “dialogue” between the two lines. The collection also references and reminisces on Nineties McQueen and the frequent inspiration trips to Japan by Lee McQueen and Sarah Burton.
Traditional tailoring is reconstructed, cut up and pieced together, with asymmetric trompe l’oeil suiting featuring in men’s pinstripe fabrics, made in the textile mills in the North of England. While double-layered jackets are panelled in different scales of pinstripe, double-dyed black wool gabardine and grey tonic mohair, an early Nineties McQueen signature, and feature pleated half-skirts.
Other inspirations from the McQueen womenswear included a black tuxedo spliced with lace and a studded coat in black and white leather.
The exploration of hybrid garments continues, with tailored jacket showcased with satin bomber sleeves, while a beige cotton gabardine trench features a black wool collar and wool gabardine sleeves and a classic navy wool coat has deep red satin dragon jacquard sleeves with rib-knit cuffs, taken from hand-painted artworks created in the McQueen studio. There was also a cotton satin all-in-one, again nodding to the Nineties, which had a white body and cuffs with black dragon jacquard sleeves.
There was also a nod to the increasing need for more sustainability in luxury collections, with a ruffled, pleated appliqué coat combining three hand-worked techniques that had been made entirely out of unused fabrics from previous seasons. This means that no two versions of this particular piece will ever, therefore, be the same.
Images: courtesy of Alexander McQueen
Round-up of the best presentations at LFWM SS20
St-Henri SS20 ‘Heart Cave’
For their second presentation at London Fashion Week Men’s, St-Henri were inspired by the creation of a fictional community of “odd, yet fascinating characters, blending countercultural sensibilities and spirituality into a modern utopian aesthetic”.
Montreal-born designer Jean-Loup Leblanc Roy displayed a uniform for his “community” by refining and reinterpreting American shapes and juxtaposing rigidity and fluidity with a collection featuring distorted lines and patterns and acid washed and overdyed fabrics.
Comfort is described as “primordial” with oversized pieces wrapped around the body, while utilitarian details it states allows wearers to achieve “self-sustained attitude” and the soft colour palette of white, green, yellow and brown aims to “stimulate inner purity”.
To keep on message with its ‘love and acceptance” rhetoric being played out during the presentation, the brand, which has been known for responsible sourcing, using organic fabrications since its inception, from spring/summer 2020, it will also stop using animal leather in its collections, will introduce eco-friendly packaging and leverage bioplastics and innovative materials.
Images: courtesy of St-Henri
Belstaff SS20 ‘Travelogue’
Spring/summer 2020 marks the second Belstaff collection by new creative director, Sean Lehnhardt-Moore, and showcases a contemporary take on the heritage brand’s history with the aim offering a range of clothing and accessories for men and women who want an “effortless and fluid wardrobe for all modes of a busy modern life; work, leisure, travel; day to evening”.
“Since its first days in the 1920s in the industrial north of England, Belstaff has always made kit for those who love to travel and explore,” explains Lehnhardt-Moore on the show notes. “With the pace of modern life being ‘always-on’ it feels we have now come full circle, as we crave experiences that take us back to nature; personal journeys of discovery that take us off the beaten track – that is what has inspired this season’s collection: Travelogue.”
The presentation took place in Hoxton Docks, chosen for its exposed brickwork, metal struts and warehouse proportions, to mirror the label’s industrial heritage, while evoking the desert road trip that inspired the ‘Travelogue’ collection with vintage camping canvas, a large tent and cacti.
The collection spans from the discovery of two archival jackets by Lehnhardt-Moore, who explained: “One was a cotton fishing jacket called the Castmaster, the other was a crisp, nautical jacket from the 70s – the XL500. The Collection became about the fusion of these two spirits. Both pieces had Belstaff’s signature use of the best fabrics and finishes, and yet each interpreted these qualities in different ways. I was interested in the juxtaposition of fabrics using Linen and Cotton that have a lived-in quality, but mixing them with something that’s very Belstaff, such as ‘Oxford Nylon’.”
Belstaff’s spring/summer 2020 is all about the contrasts, juxtaposing fabrications and colours, with soft linens paired with hard hand waxed leathers, the worn in with the new, and the safari mixed with utility, rugged with polished, showcase with a battered khaki safari jacket teamed with a raw ‘Ecru Denim’, and the brand’s new ‘Adventure Print’ featuring line-drawn illustrations applied to a rayon shirt.
Other key pieces include the military inspired ‘camo-tech’ fabric in deep English rifle green, and a sleeveless version of the Castmaster fishing jacket from the archive in orange dry ‘Waxed Cotton’, while a khaki version retains the sleeves of the original.
At the heart of creating essential looks for a modern wardrobe is the brand’s intention to move towards “a more conscious and sustainable approach to clothes that will be purposeful and remain beyond seasons,” added the brand.
Images: courtesy of Belstaff
Ahluwalia Studio SS20
Family is at the heart of the Ahluwalia Studio spring/summer 2020 collection, which sees designer Priya Ahluwalia inspired by nostalgia of her family archive of photographs of their own childhoods, which she turned into her first ever prints, with the psychedelic rave-like flyers covering trousers and backpacks.
The tradition of passing clothes and possessions through families also plays a part for SS20 and continues the brand’s philosophy of shining a light on fashion’s overconsumption through inventive approaches such as giving new life to vintage and dead-stock clothing.
Knitwear from her relatives has been reimagined, while tailoring comes from bespoke suits made in India given to her by her Nana and worn by her late granddad, which have been recut and modernised, while referencing her dual Indian-Nigerian heritage.
Completing the theme of family, gold jewellery pieces created in collaboration with jeweller Elena Croce are featured and made from repurposed metals. Other collaborations for the season includes customised Adidas trainers and backpacks from Invicta.
Ahluwalia, a Westminster MA graduate, is a rising star on the London fashion scene and is recognisable for her eco-fashion, and last year she was named the winner of the H&M Design Award and given 50,000 euros to further her brand.
Images: courtesy of Ahluwalia Studio
Michiko Koshino SS20
Contemporary silhouettes and aesthetically designed detailing are prominent within Michiko Koshino’s SS20 collection. The brand is instantly recognisable through its fits and volume DNA, however, for spring/summer there is an emergence of a slightly “softer and less adventuresome” designs.
“In a world where content is developed and discarded faster than ever, there is a thin line between inspiration and imitation,” states Michiko Koshino in the show notes. In response to this, the brand adds that the only inspiration this season is the “evolution” of the label, which includes the addition of more commercial ready-to-wear pieces such as polo shirts and knitwear to cater for what it calls its “modern audience”.
The collection is made up of cotton, nylon, silk and mixed-fibre fabrics sourced in Italy, with many of the colours used appearing on-brand for Michiko but with a softer-approach, through the use of white, sand, mud, pastel prints and khaki tones as it looks to evolve the brand with a commercial acronym and a softer aesthetic.
In an attempt to overcome the seasonal timeline and constraints of the industry, this collection also fuses womenswear and menswear, with each piece shaped specifically for men and for women, keeping the fits clear and differentiated.
Image: courtesy of Michiko Koshino
Main image: courtesy of Alexander McQueen