By Shakaila Forbes-Bell
Last week, with its second showing under its new name London Fashion Week Men’s (formerly London Collections: Men) featured a series of political fashion statements and a wave of gender-neutral garments.
Arguably the most exciting moment of the week came courtesy of the return of Vivienne Westwood. The prodigal daughter of punk fashion who usually showcases her menswear line the MAN label in Milan, closed out the week by unifying her men’s and women’s collection under one label: Vivienne Westwood. Another brand which made us question the true need to have separate fashion weeks for both men and women was London-based powerhouse KTZ who featured male models walking the runway in full skirts and embellished corsets overlaying edgy olive-coloured jackets.
Other brands who adopted the menswear meets womenswear trend included Topshop and Xander Zhou who displayed midriff baring crop tops and jackets (a trend which I for one am a excited to see around the office sometime soon). Designer Bobby Abley was amongst designers giving a more subtle nod to women’s styling by juxtaposing power ranger inspired tracksuits with delicate choker necklaces. In her first collection since being crowned winner of the 2016 LVMH prize for young designers, 26-year-old Grace Wales Bonner presented a gender neutral collection featuring simple yet elegant shirts in a muted pallet.
The political undertone for the LFW Men's was set when Mayor of London Sadiq Khan opened the show. Matthew Miller was amongst a host of designers who blended the worlds of fashion and politics as his show included models wearing military-esque pieces alongside streaks of red make-up which was said to represent “fear politics in a post-trust world”. Agi & Sam chose to make a less subtle comment on the tumultuous year in politics that was 2016 by adorning jackets with the European flag. Flags equally made an appearance at Christopher Shannon’s show. Models wore shredded flags on their faces including the Welsh and Great Britain flags echoing the separatist ideology brought about by Brexit.
Political statements occurred off the catwalk as well, as Body Positivity campaigners picketed outside the Strand to highlight the often overlooked pressure on men to have ‘optimum’ bodies. With the inauguration of President Elect Donald Trump looming, we’re excited to see how designers at New York Fashion Week Men’s (commencing January 30th) will reflect the outlook of the American people through their wares.