WORDS Niall Underwood
The second day of London Collections: Men is doused in rain. There are occasional bursts of sunshine so bright that it dazzles me to the point of squinting, but for every one of these there is a long spell of hot, sticky rain. The first sunlight breaks through mid-afternoon thanks to father/son duo Joe and Charlie Casely-Hayford. Their SS17 collection, titled ‘Apex Twin’, draws parallels between two particularly influential genres of music; 70s rock and 00s grime. Though boasting very different aesthetics, each of these genres ‘moved against convention to create a distinct voice’ (says the show’s accompanying literature in words far more effective than mine). Moroccan jewels cling to the necks of boys and girls alike who walked the Casely-Hayford runway to the sounds of Black Sabbath and The Pixies, re-mixed to the unmistakable beat of grime. Flamboyantly cut suits with sharp lapels are teamed with sliders - the juxtaposition between 1970s male glamour and modern British sportswear is not just refreshing, but exciting.
After a long, cloudy period of presentations, the second ray of sunshine bursts through in the form of British designer Matthew Miller. In line with today’s ongoing weather metaphor, Miller’s collection is called ‘Tempest’ and draws from the idea of solitary cloud gazing - Miller’s history of balancing conceptual design with absolute wearability repeats itself. British romantic John Constable’s 1871 ‘Cloud Study’ is re-printed onto denim; a peaceful take on the skinheads’ acid-wash jeans. Single butterfly wings printed onto badges signify the fragility of beauty as they adorn tailored tuxedos, all worn with black converse. Like the skinheads did, Miller’s collection borrows from a plethora of subcultures, adding to each a 2016 spin. The palate is simple; black, white, cream, beige and navy with occasional bolts of brilliant red. The effect is satisfying to behold.
Where the afternoon’s presentations can be described as cloudy, Boy by Boy London’s second collection is a positive downpour. Speaking as a respectful fan of Boy London’s role in 1980s British fashion, I find their attempt at ‘a more elevated streetwear product’ positively shambolic. Camouflage print and patch pockets accompany black boots designed by a poor man’s Rick Owens. The theme is military, the comment is on our relationship with modern technology and the (self-proclaimed) suggestion is that each of us have voluntarily become government informants against ourselves. Six feet below, George Orwell is spinning. Perhaps Boy by Boy London will fly from the rails, but a hurricane couldn’t blow this collection into my wardrobe.
As nighttime approaches, the clouds part to show a setting sun whose light burns defiantly. Alex Mullins explores his own personal relationship with technology, lifting formulas typical to those of the Internet to create self-referenced memes within the collection. The designer’s distinctive graphic prints are subtly laced through this season’s story, taking a back seat to allow texture and silhouette some undivided attention. Mullins’ SS17 show sees the biggest, most vocal round of applause of the day; the sky is illuminated orange and pink in the moments before it darkens.
Mathew Miller SS17 - All Looks
STYLING Mathew Miller & Jordan Dean Schneider
CASTING Sarah Bunter, Bunter Casting
HAIR Toni&Guy Artistic and Session Team using label.m products
MAKE UP Michelle Webb on behalf of AOFMPro using Dermalogica
MUSIC V Performed by Himmelsrandt Written by Peter Honsalek
Goodbye Horses performed by Q. Lazzarus Written by William Garvey
DESIGN DJ Titchener