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Spring 2014 Menswear: London Fashion Week

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It’s pretty obvious that fashion never stops, so it should come as no surprise that we’re already moving on to the next set of collections. Right on the heels of Resort 2014, the spring 2014 menswear collections are being shown. First up is London, whose week of unique expression and daring designs is rapidly expanding. I’d love to review each collection individually, but in the wise words of Sweet Brown, “ain’t nobody got time for that.” In more appropriate terms, here’s a summary of London Fashion Week for spring 2014 menswear.

Christopher Kane started off the week on a relatively mediocre note with a stark contrast to his wondrous womenswear. As Style.com’s Tim Blanks put it, the clothes seem like an afterthought. Some interesting elements from his ladies’ looks reemerged, but they did so in a much less exciting way, with uninspiring – and possibly uninspired – graphic prints. It didn’t help that the collection mostly consisted of basics. Men’s fashion certainly doesn’t have the popularity of its female counterpart, and Christopher Kane’s latest endeavor did nothing to change that.

Continuing London Fashion Week on a more positive note was Topman Design, whose creative director, Gordon Richardson placed an appealing emphasis on the shirts. I’m not really into anything cowboy-themed, but the urban edge to Topman’s Western-wear definitely saved the collection. Bold colors and metallics were intricately woven onto delicate silk, presenting a juxtaposition of youth and glamor instead of the belabored “cowboys and Indians” concept. Though perfectly styled, the pieces could also work well independently, as they show great potential for versatility. On the same day, Peter Jensen’s womenswear resort 2014 collection debuted alongside his menswear, which showed an obvious inspiration from Andy Warhol. The bright-colored, mod and pop art pieces effectively tied the men’s and women’s designs together through cheeky prints and unisex fabrics. Meanwhile, Astrid Andersen showed some Givenchy-esque garments with an urban, athletic feel, while Lou Dalton’s airforce-inspired gear presented a pleasing color palette. Richard Nicoll’s sober yet sensual collection for spring 2014 was another standout on this impressive day; any collection that starts with beautiful black leather has my heart. From there, more color emerged alongside provocative prints. Overall, Richard Nicoll’s spring 2014 menswear collection was made up of bold yet wearable items, and it’s one of my favorites of the season so far.

As the week progressed, we saw even more noteworthy work from London’s top designers. Sarah Burton always makes a statement at Alexander McQueen, this time with exceptional details highlighting the already top-notch tailoring. White lace and black roses told a story of “rites of passage,” from life to death and everything in between, while the materials appeared frayed and worn by the elements. Burton’s artistic reinterpretation of a dark Edwardian era further proves her capability of continuing Lee McQueen’s iconic legacy. Though not quite as intricate or thought-provoking as Alexander McQueen, Jonathan Saunders’ collection was practical and refreshing. A “techy” shine to upbeat colors added a jolt of liveliness to an otherwise basic collection. Another standout was Rag & Bone. Designers David Neville and Marcus Wainwright returned home in London after regularly showing their collections in New York, bringing with them quite a spectacle; several lights and mirrors were coordinated by London’s United Visual Artists, the same group that arranges stage shows for U2. But let’s not forget about the clothes. Rag & Bone spring 2014 menswear was, as always, wearable and effortlessly stylish, though the implementation of Japanese sashiko fabric added a unique twist.

Joanna Sykes’ first menswear collection for Nicole Farhi implied clarity, and the show reflected the idea. Peace, serenity, and tranquility fueled the models’ light steps down the runway, with each turn providing a closer look, thus revealing modern texture. Speaking of modernity, there was no shortage of that at James Long, where sporty jackets and hoodies met loose shorts. We can’t forget about the stripes enhanced with bursts of color, which made many pieces reminiscent of the spectrum on a broken TV screen. Christopher Shannon took us to Mexico, packing a new approach to wild prints and loud colors, while Christopher Raeburn opted for more of a hand painted look to the pieces, as well as optimistic blue and pink counterparts.

Nothing says London more than Burberry Prorsum. Christopher Bailey made the decision to move his men’s presentation to London this season, further signifying the emphasis on British heritage that the brand is known for. Some of Burberry’s own heritage prevailed, as Bailey found yet another way to reinvent the iconic trench and other statement outerwear pieces. The theme of the collection was “Writers and Painters,” which was evident through the various colors and patterns often shown together on a single look. But there was nothing bad about these somewhat mix-matched ensembles; everything went together so perfectly to tell a story or paint a picture, just like the theme implied. Almost appearing as a mélange of fauvism, impressionism, and visual poetry, Christopher Bailey’s spring 2014 menswear collection for Burberry Prorsum delineated a wonderful work of art…of course with a charming British attitude.

Overall, London’s expansion of its menswear Fashion Week seems to be moving in the right direction, as the city is certainly teeming with talent. There’s never any shortage of creativity in the English capital, and spring 2014 is looking extremely promising for men. Looking forward to Milan and Paris in the next couple of weeks, there’s a lot to live up to; it looks like London set the bar pretty high.

Stay tuned for the rest of this season’s shows, and check out some of the most noteworthy looks from the latest London Fashion Week menswear presentations!

Feature image via LA Times

All other images via Style.com ; go to Style.com for full coverage of the spring 2014 menswear collections