London Fashion Week Men’s took place Jan. 5 to 7 and drew a small group of experimental up-and-coming designers.
There was a move away from sportswear on many of the catwalks, yet sneakers continued to reign supreme, with many of the designers pairing them with suits to create a more laid-back approach to tailoring.
Buyers were drawn to all the sneaker collaborations that made their debut during the shows, including Liam Hodges’ crystal-embellished sneakers designed in partnership with Ellesse, Cottweiler’s ongoing Reebok collab and the cool monochrome styles from Nike x A-Cold-Wall (the streetwear label headed by Virgil Abloh’s protégé Samuel Ross).
Here buyers outline the strongest collections of the week:
Jack Cassidy, menswear buying manager at Selfridges
Best footwear collaboration: “I thought the new colorways of the A-Cold-Wall x Nike sneakers were strong.”
Favorite collections: “Craig Green. The show was incredibly elevated and considered, from the color palette to the textiles and silhouettes. Each story was as strong as the last and created such a dynamic and beautiful show. I especially liked the crochet story, hooded jackets with flowing nylon and coats at the end with printed backs. I also appreciated the introduction of the more refined and tailored shapes that opened the show.”
Top trends: “I’ve seen a moodier palette appearing on the most part, but with pops of brights and bolder tones interspersed.”
Best venue: “Charles Jeffrey’s show on Saturday evening at the Wapping Power Station was spectacular and truly memorable. The venue, performance, music and clothes combined to create his strongest show yet. I think Charles does a fantastic job of creating and evolving the Loverboy mood and identity each season.”
Talent scouting: “I also thought the Man show was very strong and showcased a diverse range of London’s emerging talents. Stefan Cooke’s last show as part of Man was the strongest to date and had original and rich textile development. A personal favorite were the pieces that involved screen-printed fringing to create an optical illusion.”
Simon Longland, general merchandise manager for menswear and sports at Harrods
Best footwear collaboration: “The footwear at Craig Green.”
Top trends: “Overcoats are the style of the season, and we saw them in all shapes and sizes from oversized and unstructured at Qasimi and cocoon at Edward Crutchley. However, slim and belted styles provided a style contrast, particularly at Craig Green, where this style took the form of the modern-day trench.
“Utility features are still prominent and were visible within many collections. Qasimi played with toggles and straps, whilst Craig Green continued his notable harness features, and his use of fabrics such as nylon and parachute silks really added to this style.”
Best venue: “A-Cold-Wall with the artistic installation and performance piece created by Samuel Ross, the dark pools of water amped-up the runway creativity of London.”
What are you saying goodbye to? “Sportswear has grown up and evolved, and whilst it will always be present, I am happy to see that it has been taken up a notch and elevated.”
Tyler Franch, fashion director at Hudson’s Bay
Best footwear collaboration: “Crystal-adorned sneakers from Liam Hodges and Ellesse.”
Top trends: “A street-smart aesthetic has become an overarching theme for both streetwear-focused and tailored collections, as the lines continue to blur in the contemporary suiting category. Statement outerwear continues to be strong on both the runway and in street style. I’m loving the new idea of a winter trench (best seen at Wood Wood and Craig Green). Neon continues into the fall season as accents on cold-weather staples such as scarves, puffers, knitwear and boots.”
Talent scouting: “John Lawrence Sullivan and Liam Hodges continue to be ones to watch.”
Must-have item: “A neon patchwork parka from Christopher Raeburn, who is celebrating 10 years in business. He continues to push sustainability through his collections and now through capsule drops at Timberland (he acts as the global creative director for the workboot brand).”
Bruce Pask, menswear fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus
Favorite collections: “Craig Green, season after season, always presents thoughtful ideas in collections that never cease to dazzle and inspire. He is one of the most brilliant designers today. This show was stunningly beautiful, and he always distills his vision in commercial ways that our customers love and appreciate. Lou Dalton was also a highlight, showing innately English clothing that is lighthearted and imminently wearable and desirable. Her astute collaborations with John Smedley and Gloverall are smart extensions of her distinctly youthful British point of view.”
Top trends: “Being that we’re seeing shows in London, there is usually a very English component to the clothing, whether in styling or fabrication, and this season continues that spirit with lots of argyle and Fair Isle knits, tartan and glen plaid. These fabrications and silhouettes were seen in refreshing ways at Lou Dalton in the Gloverall collaboration, cropped plaid duffle coats, seemingly moth-bitten and patched Fair Isle sweaters and fringed scarves, while Charles Jeffrey’s fantastical riffs on tradition were a delight. Techy athletic-inspired gear and nylon fabrications are also pervasive, seen in a more fashion than active context but utilizing sporty shapes.”
Talent scouting: “I’m intrigued by Bianca Saunders and her work, and find Pariah Farzaneh to be promising.”
Must-have item: “Lou Dalton’s Gloverall collaboration: cropped duffel coats in bold, colorful plaids.”
Stavros Karelis, founder and buying director at Machine-A
Best footwear collaboration: “Cottweiler x Reebok and Kiko Kostadinov x Asics.”
Favorite collections: “Art School, Per Götesson, Delada, Stefan Cooke, Xander Zhou, Charles Jeffrey, Kiko Kostadinov and Cottweiler were definite standouts.”
Top trends: “There were a lot of leather, tailoring and nonbinary, genderless collections.”
Best Venue: “My favorite venue was John Lawrence Sullivan’s intimate show space.”
Must-have item: “A pair of Cottweiler x Reebok loafers.”
Damien Paul, head of menswear at Matchesfashion
Best footwear collaboration: “Cottweiler x Reebok.”
Best venue: “The best venue of the season was Craig Green’s show at Billingsgate walk.”
Talent scouting: ‘Our own fall ’19 presentation at 5 Carlos Place with Boramy Viguier, Bianca Saunders and Ludovic de Saint Sernin was filled with talent, and we have all three at Matchesfashion.com.”
Must-have item: “Craig Green’s crochet pants.”
Click through to view the top fall ’19 shoes at London Fashion Week Men’s.
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