Autumn leaves and string vests inspire Christopher Bailey's collection

 

What could be more quintessentially English for autumn than falling ochre leaves? Christopher Bailey favoured this motif for the men’s Burberry Prorsum collection shown in Kensington Gardens on Wednesday, the final day of London’s menswear collections, along with somewhat gothic William Morris-esque florals.

Bailey’s paean to London also included colour-blocked maps of the capital printed on silk shirts and scarves, and landmark motifs such as an intarsia knit rendering of St Paul’s. Leather coats and elongated bowling bags were painted, printed and punched, and the latter also came in rich tapestry designs. With their less-than salubrious connotations, string vests were a surprising base point for Bailey’s multi-layered vision of luxury that also included shearling, fringed suede and needle-punched leather.

Burberry Menswear AW14
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Painterly strokes and a rich colour palette of oxblood, bottle green and scarlet were apt in a collection which referenced the works of artists including painters Lucien Freud and Christopher Wood.

Florals for men were something of a running theme in London this week, most notably in Christopher Shannon’s vibrant collection, which once again proved that London’s younger designers can hold their own against the suits of London’s Savile Row. Shannon took “a glimpse of vivid wallpaper through a rotting window frame in a rundown municipal edifice... The idea of vibrancy amid melancholy” as the starting point for a collection.

 

That wallpaper was digitally printed as naïve flower motifs layered on to checks and with rough edges which smacked of peeling paper and decayed splendour. Cigarette packet designs were re-imagined and wrought large on bright knits in mint, pink and black.

The 1970s and the early years of Thatcher were channelled through tightly-fitted, pipe-seamed tracksuits in nylons and leather with zipped-together pieces reminiscent of nineties’ styling, a sense further heightened by the use of Adidas Gazelles.

The usually print and colour-focused duo Agi & Sam showed a largely monochrome collection which was all the better for its restraint. Agi’s travels to the Masai region inspired the designs for workwear in style, with traditional Masai checks and hand-drawn stripes highlighted by bands of reflective fabric. Sparse splashes of colour came courtesy of re-imagined oil firm logos printed in heavy vinyl.

This was a collection that will no doubt find favour among more than just the brand’s already established following – proving that the British Fashion Award for Emerging Menswear Designer that the duo won last year was timely indeed.

Skirts and shell suits: A brave new world for men’s fashion?

 

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