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Super British Menswear at London Fashion Week

Tue 27 Feb 24
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While we already saw most of the FW24 menswear collections at the Paris and Milan shows in January, a handful of designers preferred to showcase their creativity on home turf during London Fashion Week.

It was a more modest affair than previous seasons – Burberry, for example, was the only renowned British luxury house on the fashion week schedule.

It was no coincidence that most designers in London presented styles deeply rooted in British identity, whether through classic tailoring or '90s music-inspired streetwear.

 

 

Classic Elegance at Dunhill

Under the creative direction of Simon Holloway, Dunhill staged a memorable show at the National Portrait Gallery, transforming it into a Parisian café.

The collection celebrated the brand’s 130-year heritage with traditional, preppy styles for the ultimate gentleman’s wardrobe.

The impeccable tailoring looked fresh out of Savile Row, while luxurious fabrics such as cashmere wool, Donegal tweed, leather, and camel hair formed the suiting and outerwear.

Holloway skilfully blended more old-fashioned silhouettes with modern elements like long black leather jackets and a reinvented car coat. He didn’t want to change too much, trusting in a growing audience of younger men interested in traditional tailoring, as well as long-time enthusiasts.

With the return to classicism we are seeing on the runway, it is Dunhill’s time to shine.

 

 

Burberry's Heritage Revival

Daniel Lee's re-vamp of Burberry was more of a pre-vamp, a return to the brand's roots and British heritage.

The show unfolded within a grand tent in Victoria Park, from which flags of the Burberry Equestrian Knight flew proudly in the chilly London air.

The star-studded audience settled into their seats amidst a floor of freshly cut (fake) grass and an Amy Winehouse soundtrack further reinforced the British tone.

Lee's inspiration drew from the people and landscapes of the UK and Ireland, steering away from prevalent checks and rose motifs from FW23.

Beautifully cut military-style jackets paid homage to Burberry's history in dressing military men and explorers.

Earthy and mossy green hues evoked the countryside, while shaggy shearling and woolly fringes celebrated the craftsmanship of British and Irish wool, notably from the mills of Lochcarron and Donegal.

The models were fully prepared for the outdoors with duffle coats, field jackets, trenches, while trousers with vertical zip slits and deep V-neck blouses added soft sensuality to the looks.

Lee painted a picture of Burberry that was elegant, refined, and quintessentially British.

 

 

A Garage Rave at Saul Nash

On a decidedly different note, Saul Nash paid homage to British culture by honouring 30 years of UK garage.

His fashion show included MC Bushkin from Heartless Crew, photographer Ewen Spencer, and models breaking out into dance halfway through their walks.

The collection seamlessly takes you from the street to the dancefloor, while adhering to London clubs' "no trainers" rule. Typical elements of the British rave uniform, like fanny packs, sportswear, and '90s sunglasses were paired with formal loafers.

Skin-tight tops, puffer jackets, and windbreakers with the smiley face took some of the older viewers on a trip down memory lane, yet Nash elevated the looks through a modern colour palette and sharp tailoring.

The collection felt very current and familiar, proving that streetwear is still under the spell of the ‘90s music scene.

 

 

Luke Derrick's Nightwalking Debut

Luke Derrick just presented his debut collection at London Fashion Week, but the young designer has already honed his skills at Central Saint Martins, Norton & Sons on Savile Row, Brioni in Italy, and Alexander McQueen. 

Entitled “Nightwalking”, the models moved through circles of light resembling that of streetlamps.

The collection merged traditional British tailoring with sportswear elements, aiming to strip away the intimidation of formal wear while elevating technical outerwear and tracksuits.

Derrick eliminated the fussy parts of blazers and coats, like linings and interfacings, relying on Hainsworth cloth to maintain the garments' shape.

The sportswear pieces seamlessly replicated formal silhouettes thanks to the use of Japanese upcycled nylon taffeta, a material with luxurious weight and sheen. 

Derrick's pragmatic approach sought to create a highly versatile wardrobe defining "contemporary London elegance."

 

 

The menswear collections at London Fashion Week prompt the question – should London have its own menswear fashion week?

The city clearly has talent to show off, and with British fashion’s rich history, there is plenty of material to play with.

London has started lagging behind the other big fashion weeks- but if emerging designers can be convinced to stay in London, they could have the power to amplify its influence on the global fashion stage. 

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