London Menswear Collection S/S17: Topman serves up seaside nostalgia

A lucid take on subcultures from Mods and Teddy Boys to 1980s Casuals

Sarah Young
Saturday 11 June 2016 01:34

Celebrated for its forward thinking fashion London upped its game with spring summer 2017's men's collections. Opening the four day menswear showcase, TOPMAN Design kicked things off with a celebration of Britain's glorious seaside towns where coastal nostalgia served up a bevy of sunburnt beauties. A lucid take on subcultures from Mods and Teddy Boys to 1980s Casuals fed classic sportswear pieces and conventional tailoring with a subversive British twist - think Pearly King British emblems, towelling polo shirts and snaffle deck shoes to boot.

The fun didn't stop there though with sweatshirts emblazoned by some of Britain's greatest seaside destinations; Blackpool, Margate, Southend and Torquay traded in their bucket and spades for a spot on the runway in a wistful attempt to beckon us Brits on a dirty weekend away. Life's certainly a beach for TOPMAN Design this season with a good old fashioned staycation on the cards; see you in Margate.

TOPMAN famously set up pioneering project MAN back in 2005 - alongside Fashion East - launching the careers of some of the industry's most radical creatives including J.W.Anderson, Agi & Sam and Craig Green. This year it was three for the price of one with newcomers Per Gotesson and Feng Chen Wang joining old hand Charles Jeffrey for their Spring Summer 17 offering but seemingly Jeffrey took over the catwalk with his LOVERBOY world. In essence the collection harked back to the dawn of menswear where historic tropes were met with a changing silhouette and mass of chain mail trimmings. This season Jeffrey went beyond the party to explore peacocking in its extremity.

Fellow MAN graduate Craig Green opted for a more understated foray though with a focus on the pursuit of making and then remaking. Dismantled garments were loosely threaded together in an attempt to reimagine the familiar while a focus on extrinsic textiles and muted colours lent an altogether wayfaring feel.

Similarly, Phoebe English continued her exploration of precision and craft with her debut men's presentation. An extension of her eponymous womenswear label, MAN carries many of the same attributes with a focus on form, functionality and fastening; think knotted white shirting and hooded smock tops in linen. The avocation didn't stop there though as Phoebe English's love for fabric roused a staged, model-friendly, cross stitching clique.

Despite this dip in extremity, you would be mistaken to assume the collections dampened towards the end of the day as Henry Holland took us dreaming of the halcyon days of the Hacienda. Satirical artwork covered this capsule collection in a nod to the Madchester years of the 90s; our favourite was the Heinz baked beans stopgap reading "Big Saucy Bangers"; glow sticks at the ready

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