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Men's fashion takes centre stage at London Fashion Week

From Savile Row suits to S&M leathers, the autumn/winter menswear shows at London Fashion Week today ranged right across the style spectrum. In the morning Prince and Princess Michael of Kent were among the guests at an extremely genteel, cucumber sandwich-fuelled presentation at Hardy Amies, but by the afternoon the gimp masks were out in force.

Tailors E. Tautz, and Gieves & Hawkes - who have dressed Gordon Brown - both showed their debut salon-style shows in the Hardy Amies building on Savile Row, and the intimate presentation afforded guests a close up view of the fine cut and quality. E Tautz’s collection combined British sportswear and military themes, and referenced the heavy knits and double-breasted coats in David Lean’s Naval film In Which We Serve. The collection was traditional without being stuffy, and featured single and double breasted suits in Glen checks, a kilt made from Harris tweed worn with hand knitted socks, a lambswool cardigan inspired by one of the Duke of Windsor’s shooting cardigans in the 1930s and an military greatcoat.

Alongside slim single-breasted jackets worn with short, tapered trousers, the Gieves& Hawkes collection featured several double-breasted jackets, underlining the return of the style. The label even featured a ‘ double, double-breasted’ jacket which layered two jackets together to create one. The colour palette was dark, and a deep plum colour offered an appealing alternative to the ubiquitous black, grey or navy suit. For the suave man about town seeking evening attire, Hardy Amies offered dinner suits in midnight blue and black, and a smoking jacket in plum velvet with black frogging.

The MAN show, featuring three up and coming designers supported by Topman and Fashion East, was a world away from the refined atmosphere on Savile Row. Perhaps appropriately, given the somewhat dungeon-like air of the damp vaults below Somerset House in which it was held, the Jaiden rVa James show had a fiercely kinky, S&M vibe. Male models appeared in increasingly sinister gimp masks, including one with a leather wimple attached, teamed with buckled leather trousers, chaps, dresses, skirts and platform thigh boots. New Power Studio focused on sportswear for an Asbo chic look that teamed tracksuit trousers with oversized donkey jackets, while in Katie Eary’s show urban warriors wore plastic look trousers teamed with huge fur trimmed-parkas in hallucinatory patterns and colours such as orange and acid green. These were accessorised with velvet covered toy guns and cups.

For the fashion conscious man looking for something in between Savile Row tradition and the experimentation of MAN, Topman Design came up trumps. The show was inspired by the industrial counter culture of East Berlin and self styled misfit boys with a punk aesthetic. The collection centred on parkas- fast emerging as a trend for next season- and these came in oil-waxed cotton and heavy wool felt. Grungy mohair jumpers appeared in red and green worn with skinny ripped jeans, wool trousers and even long johns.