Tour de Transmission
From the arrival of the invitation, it was clear from the onset that Tour de Tranmission would take a critical stance on the modern times in wider society. It did so by challenging the humble onlooker with one simple statement – we are not modern at all. With Tour de Transmission, everything from the fittings to the materials to the wider visuals themselves had the appearance of being there, though not actually there at all. Models graced the catwalk by teaching onlooker’s subversive lessons that expanded beyond the boundaries of the pieces themselves, through transitioning to relevant social issues. The pieces seemed as you would expect, though when taking a closer inspection, there were glimpses into what the intention of the pieces were truly aiming for viewers to see. The fittings of the pieces were intentionally incorrect measurements, though rather away from the overused oversized trend in recent times, the fittings dressed the models in such a manner to remind us that our current society is not all as it seems. The pieces themselves were carefully constructed to remind us that although what we are presented with in society may seem like we are progressing, we are retrogressing. Further to this, where one would expect fittings to finish, there were non-present gaps in an Leondard Cohen fashion. This was so to mirror his famous stating of gaps are how “the light gets in.” In the case of this seasons catwalk, the light that got in the material were the brandishing of “LIES” in tattoo-like fashion, to present that this is what we are being fed by the media.
Phoebe English continued her interactive and visually dynamic approach to her presentations with her Spring/Summmer 18 show. Upon walking into the event, attendees were ushered through a walkway that hinted what was imminent. The room was dimly lit to allow for full emphasis to be placed upon the models and their ongoing activities. The only variation that juxtaposed the event was the music being DJ’d upon entrance. English took, as her surname suggests, a British approach to the visuals; models were cladded in traditional English workwear. The presentation itself seemed to exist in the past from the nostalgic approach to traditionally working clothing. However, it existed largely in the present due to updated cuttings and the music in the foreground. Although nostalgic workwear may be thought to take a constructive approach, English opted for an on-trend soft hue to compliment her typical leaning towards a darker pallet. The dynamic approach heeds on English’s desire for practicality to be valued on a higher podium than visuals themselves. Items included shirts progressing into dresses, alongside cotton joggers for a more toned-down slant. Bisectionality was employed throughout the presentation to transition different items together to allow for more subtle details.
One of the most exciting brands to present themselves at London Fashion Week Men’s this season was that of Dashing Tweeds. Situated just outside of the British Fashion Council Show Space, a pop-up stall like Dashing Tweeds provided the spontaneity and ever-present entertainment, in a way that onlookers of London Fashion Week Men’s may see as being too self-indulgent. Dashing Tweeds reminds us that in a sea of large designers, what provides true excitement is the freedom of smaller brands. Dashing Tweeds aims to provide more choice to the humble wearer, with recent variations in fabrics thought to be on the increase in modern times. Though it may be thought to take a formal tone in recent times, tweed is classically sportswear in its origins. Yet, the brand does not exist in the past; it brings tweed to the present through the technicalities ever-present within the yarns. Geographically, the brand subverts traditional stereotypes through transitioning the pieces from their traditional country-leaning background to the city. Dashing Tweeds goes about this transition by incorporating sportwear into their designs, providing the pieces with a rebirth for the modern gent while satisfying the traditional needs and desires that comes with tweed, thus, reaffirming to its audience that we must view designers of all sizes equally.
Barbour’s cooler older brother successfully and seemingly easily reaffirmed its suavity this season through a small, yet welcoming presentation. Situated at the basement of ‘The Vinyl Factory’ in the hip, underground geography of Soho, the presentation made explicit that it had nothing to prove. The venue struck the perfect balance between inclusivity and exclusivity, with the most dapper crowd in London gathered finely in mirroring the trimness of the brand. There were echoes of what was to come from the onset. The motorbike tactically parked outside the entrance set a prominent reminder of the brands cyclical-leaning, rather than Barbour’s pastoral stereotypes. Upon descending the stairs, there was a visual display of the late, great Barbour International icon Steve McQueen. The interactivity of the visuals was a celebration of the thrilling legacy that both the brand and the man have left to the humble viewer. At this point, attendees mingled to celebrate the heritage and image of the brand before the models and the pieces themselves. The models were cladded in a dual approach to the presentation, with athletic and rugged approaches being the prominent directions to the menswear. Aside to this, t-shirts were hung in an artistic, preservative fashion to hark at the longstanding strength to the brand. Overall, the presentation was as always, a key highlight of the LFWM line up. An experience which was presented in which strength of a classical Brand was exuberated with modern uptakes, leaving the humble spectator in awe of its glory.
Harrys of London
Alike Barbour International, Harry’s of London handily tucked itself away into a quiet pocket of busy central London. In doing so, the brand too struck the perfect balance between inclusivity and exclusivity. Dualities and juxtapositions seemed to play a central role throughout the showcase, with the urban opposing the pastoral and modern against nostalgia. In the case of urban and pastoral dualities, this was clear from the setup of the presentation. Upon arrival, there was a reconstructive London Eye in operation, with each pair of shoes acting as a pod whilst the wheel would rotate. In typical Harry’s of London fashion, the interactivity continued ever more so in the second room. Attendees were ushered over a bridge into a Japanese-garden, with each pair of shoes floating on the recreated river, to oppose the footwear of the previous setup. Moreover, both modern and nostalgic were represented in each piece of footwear to tailored measures. As with Harry’s of London, the brand sustains itself as a modern staple, with its classic British stamp. The brand remains firmly centred in their origins, with modern updates to not feel behind on the times. Thus, proving what their London Eye setup confirms – they are well and truly a British staple through and through.
Nigel Cabourn marked itself to be one of the most authentic, yet reflectively concise brands in its Army Gym collection. The presentation was a breath of Geordie fresh air in amidst a large London presence, though this was not to say the latter presence was overbearing. Alike it’s traditional northern heritage, the collection was straight to the point. It had a great reminder of war, serving in a veteran form, with modern uptakes of practicality. A concise vision was perfectly executed by Cabourn in a clear transitioning of pallet, whilst allowing for a continuity in pieces, cuttings and finishing’s across the collection. What was fresh from the presentation was Cabourn’s interaction amongst the onlookers, as it set the tone for social atmosphere. That, and the well-chosen cool-dad playlist proved Nigel Cabourn to be a personal highlight from LFWM, not just due to the designer being from my “neck of the woods” as he put it, but under the rugged approach to the collection, there was a solid heart and social conscience.