Another two-fingered salute to the bespoke tradition from London menswear collections

Sarah Burton ripped the stuffing out, exposing seams, shoulder-padding and fraying hems and cuffs

The cult of personality. That’s what a lot of menswear is built on. It’s not too dissimilar to teenagers hero-worshipping their football icons – in fact, clock how many adolescents sport those idolatrous football shirts as everyday attire. Or how many shelled out for Beckham’s H&M pants in the vain hope of emulating his ball action, when you think of it.

It’s the same in the higher echelons of fashion, exemplified as we slide past the half-way mark of the three-day presentation of London’s menswear collections for spring/summer 2014. The forceful personalities on the calendar are the designers who make the most interesting clothes, and the ones who garner the most attention.

To fashion-infatuated teenagers, JW Anderson is a name that inspires football-worthy fanaticism. Why? Because Anderson is London fashion’s provocateur par excellence, especially when it comes to menswear. For spring, Anderson referenced the “awkward self”, concealing his models’ features behind hangdog fringes, drowning their legs in Oxford bag trousers, but revealing bodies through chopped-out shoulders and midriffs.

There’s always a sense of the gangly, long-limbed teenager to his work, here articulated in oversized knits and a limp lacy halter-top like a stretched-out gym singlet. Those are the kind of clothes that always push buttons, whether engaging or enraging, but Anderson’s own personality is a large part of why what he makes is so compelling. Whether you love it or hate it, you want to unravel what he’s trying to say. It makes you think.

You don’t need to get deep and meaningful to understand the work of knitwear label Sibling. They played the West Side Story soundtrack and sent out quiffed models in Cadillac shades of milkshake pink, pistachio and lilac with Jet and Shark logos. Colourful camp, then. But the personalities of the trio of designers behind the label, Sid Bryan, Joe Bates and Cozette McCreery, reverberate through every rib and purl, while the technique – intarsia leopards, knitted plastic, or a double-face wool in a contrast-lined bomber – elevated everything above and beyond High School Musical shenanigans. It was loud and proud, defiant even.

Neither Sibling nor Anderson pay any heed to Britain’s tailoring tradition. Thank God. Although Alexander McQueen showed tailoring, dedicating the latest collection to “ceremonial dressing”, designer Sarah Burton ripped the stuffing out, exposing seams and shoulder-padding, fraying hems and cuffs, or turning detached silk linings into deconstructed suiting.

McQueen famously scribbled insults on the lining of suits for the Prince of Wales while he was an apprentice on Savile Row, and these suits seemed another two-fingered salute to the bespoke tradition. Some came in lace worked with skull motifs, others in distressed, sun-bleached jacquard with tarnished brass buttons.

Again, these clothes sparkled with personality – in this case, of the label’s namesake. The show, staged on a cobblestone path under scuzzy railway arches, close to both King’s Cross and McQueen’s recently relocated alma mater Central Saint Martins, conjured up the label’s trademark mix of histrionic menace, historicism and wickedly sharp cutting.

ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Guru Careers: Business Development Manager / Sales

    £30 - 40k (£65k Y1 OTE Uncapped): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Business Deve...

    Guru Careers: Graduate Media Assistant

    Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...

    Guru Careers: Solutions Consultant

    £30 - 40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Solutions Consultan...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before