Scots invade the catwalk as men's designers enjoy a final fling in London
Lambswool and tartan featured as fashion week wraps up
While London is undoubtedly the headline location for British fashion, it would be wrong to discount the importance of the rest of the nation.
With a wealth of designers and manufacturers originating in Scotland, or turning to it for inspiration, the final day of shows at London Collections: Men reflected the spotlight back north of the border.
Most directly, this was done through the use of tartan. At E Tautz, the ready-to-wear arm of Savile Row tailors Norton & Sons, the designer Patrick Grant returned to his Edinburgh roots, carefully navigating the fine line between "the dourness of the Wee Free Church, the awfulness of find-a-family tartan and Bonnie Prince Shortbread and the unselfconscious sentimentality of the crofters home".
Grant maintained an equilibrium between the authentic and pastiche to produce a strong collection replete with large-scale tartan in shades of grey, purple and orange –the colours of the greyscape of Harris, heather and rust.
There was a sense of subversion among the traditional though, with the squashed snouts of Wally Dugs gracing lambswool knits and silk ties, while breech-style trousers in wool and jacquard were tucked into hand-knitted socks in the manner of a bored Hebridean teen. At Hardy Amies, too, the creative director Claire Malcolm took a skewed look at Scotland with a "Bauhaus check" – an abstracted tartan that refreshed the nostalgia of a collection inspired by Amies' high society and creative connections fostered "attending weekend parties at Balmoral".
Cut into sharp silhouetted three-piece suits (lapels pinned with thistle buttonholes), outerwear and accessories – from rucksacks to iPad cases – the check was at once recognisable and new.
Cable knits and roll necks were two knitwear trends that emerged during the three days of London collections. Shaun Samson showed thick patchwork versions in his grungy streetwear-inspired collection while fine versions worn under tailoring presented a modern take on formal dressing. Fair Isle patterns were also represented with Tom Ford reminiscing as he explained his collection. "I haven't designed a Fair Isle sweater since the Eighties," Ford said of a dusky pink version. "It looks great again – ours are, of course, cashmere." After all, Ford's brand of extreme luxury has been met with great demand in the wealthy Russian and Asian markets, although the designer also revealed his plans for his first London store opening in the autumn which will house both men's and womenswear. Showing a great appetite for tartan and plaid tailoring in greys and browns, Ford said the look was "check on check on check on check".
All things Scottish was certainly an overriding theme, but there was a strong showing for other parts of the UK too – and one could chart the journey on the military map-printed outerwear in Christopher Raeburn's assured collection awash with naval influence, including semaphore prints and stripes. J W Anderson took things to the suburbs with his avant-garde offering. Specifically to the "bourgeois kinkiness and boudoir perversity" behind twitching curtains – which manifested as ruffle-frilled edges on shorts, black riding boots and white PVC gloves. These were pieces designed for provocation, though Anderson knows to cater for more conservative customers, too.
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