Wednesday, February 27, 2008

London Fashion Week: MAN

After a hectic week of back to back womenswear shows (with me running out of ways to describe "ruffles") it came as a welcome change to see some chaps on the runway at MAN, the hugely successful partnership between Fashion East founder Lulu Kennedy and Topman. Read on to find out what the boys will be wearing this winter!

First up, Kesh. At only 21 this industrious creative also DJs as one half of the Coconut Twins, works as a stylist, and has edited the fashion pages of cult mag Super Super. I'm calling her debut catwalk collection "Street Geek"- a fusion of tracksuits for dangerous rudeboys, smart shirts and cardies for edgy nerds, skinny trousers and check trews for the indie kids, and 80s throwback bombers and cropped boardshorts for the skaters- something for eveyone, basically . The string tying it all together were quirky slot machine apple, grape and pound sign appliques. Kesh already has big name fans on the urban music scene such as Lupe Fiasco, Big Daddy Kane (no, not my dad!) and Kanye West- and with backing like that you can be sure she'll be around for some time yet.

If you needed any more proof that menswear is producing some of the freshest concepts then look no further than Royal College of Art Menswear/Accessories MA graduate James Long. Working in sheepskin and leather, he twisted his trademark straps fetishistically and sent out oversize chunky knits in a dark palette of midnight blue and black, punctuated with cream. The overall effect was "Mongolian warrior meets bondage baron", but in a good way!

Next up, another RCA MA grad, Hans Christian Madsen. To quote the press release the collection was "a modern approach to the classic military sportswear and pure schoolboy look" with chisel cheekboned lads on the runway looking like fresh faced KGB recruits in pared down layered, fine jersey V-neck knits, loose fitting trousers and weatherproof outerwear.

Closing the show, Topman Design- this season making the move away from the ubiquitous nu rave (now kinda old rave) towards a harder aesthetic with all-black tailoring, cyber inspired shiny tech-fabric trousers and, for the more casual days, woolen joggers. On the footwear front, take note dandies: winklepickers are out, Doc Martens are in.

Hannah Kane


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