3 posts tagged "Joe Bates"
Jo-Ann Furniss reports on the highs and lows of London fashion week’s dedicated menswear day.
Fat Tuesday swiftly followed by Ash Wednesday, excess followed by penance. London fashion week’s MAN Day had the luck to fall on the latter this season. After the heady womenswear week closing on Tuesday, was it the turn of the sackcloth and ashes of menswear for Wednesday? Not quite; there were still some traces of carnival in the first day of Lent, even if at times they looked like the discarded remnants.
Earlier in the week, knit line Sibling’s carnival-referencing women’s collection, Sister, had been presented, alongside a few looks from the men’s—it made their best outing yet. But for the full men’s presentation on MAN Day, the party was over: Designers Joe Bates, Sid Bryan, and Cozette McCreery created an installation (pictured, above) in the form of a prison visiting room with a clever film by Sam Renwick and Thomas Bryant. It was in the shape of a triptych echoing the visiting booths, complete with telephone connections to the sound. “It’s where a matriarch might visit a son. Or vice versa,” Bates said. Yet the clothes were still their bright, excessive selves even behind bars. Called Marked Man, with designs based partly on prison tattoos, there was as much of the matriarch in the collection as there was the jailbird. An institutional bright orange was combined with pink ocelot spots in a men’s twinset. Their signature Fair Isle knits were further warped with the seamless addition of a skull with pompom ears blended into the traditional patterns. (It reflected the pompom-decorated full face masks and beanies also on view.) At once sinister and sweet, carnivalesque and penitential, there was something quite Leigh Bowery and Trojan in these proceedings that felt very true to the spirit of London. At the same time, Sibling’s output is so accomplished as to hold a global audience with ease.
Christopher Shannon’s catwalk was the first thing you noticed at his show. The brilliant backdrop was by the all-round creative and too-many-credits-to-mention Julie Verhoeven. “Creatively, I trust her implicitly,” said Shannon backstage. “I did want that inside of a Hoover bag vibe.” That’s certainly what he got. The set featured old tires, strewn pink net curtains with bricks caught in them, abandoned foil balloons in the shape of love hearts, and the bottom half of a female shop dummy, among other violent after-party detritus. At their best, the clothes and accessories had something of this random perversity, too; a broderie anglaise shirt with a ruffled back, a jacket covered in the designer’s swing tags, and a rucksack decorated with innumerable key rings. “We started excessive and pared back,” said the designer, yet there was maybe a bit too much paring back or, ultimately, the simple color palette of navy, white, sand, and black was a little too conservative or too flat to really help make some of the interesting points he was driving at. Continue Reading “At London’s MAN Day, A Dance With Decadence And Repentance” »
Some arena-playing rock bands travel less than young London’s designers. Those blessed by the British Fashion Council as part of the roving London Showrooms coterie have been on a whistle-stop world tour of late, hitting Paris, Hong Kong, L.A., and now, finally, New York, where they set up shop this morning to show their Spring wares to U.S.-based editors and buyers. To judge from the group assembled—including James Long, Thomas Tait, J.W. Anderson, Holly Fulton, Louise Gray, Marios Schwab, and milliner Nasir Mazhar—the journey may have tired them, but it didn’t dampen their enthusiasm. Almost every designer queried revealed he or she had picked up international stockists along the way; among the city’s reigning favorites, Long and Anderson drew the most attention, but even the youngest in the crowd can now boast increased U.S. visibility. Central Saint Martins grad Simone Rocha, who showed her first solo outing this Spring after a few seasons under the umbrella of Fashion East, now sells her vintage-lace dresses, fluoro tulle sheer layering skirts, and plastic raincoats at Opening Ceremony. Craig Lawrence, a 2011 NEWGEN winner who showed loose-weave knits and cropped, elasticized jumpers, is at several Henry Beguelin locations. Interested buyers were swarming, suggesting more reach is at hand for many present.
New categories and techniques were on display, too. Jeweler and sculptor Jordan Askill introduced pieces with ethical amethyst, sourced from a mine in Zambia, which he worked into silver pieces with his trademark swallows (below left). (A giant swallow cuff, which opened to reveal a hidden compartment, blurred the line between his two pursuits.) Also in the new collection were his first fine-jewelry pieces, with tiny diamonds surrounding a faceted, hand-carved swallow pendant. Holly Fulton had begun working with mother-of-pearl for accessories and real seashells for statement-making jackets; the trick, she confided, is finding shells of uniform shape. Tait, whose finely wrought, voluminous pieces suggest Couture shapes, had a surprising new footwear collaboration: a set of crisscrossed trainers he designed with Nike. (He was wearing a pair himself, as was a model; he had no plans to produce them, he revealed, but persistent interest on the part of buyers may change all that.) And Sibling’s Cozette McCreery was on hand to show off her knitwear label’s first official women’s line, Sister by Sibling. Women had been ordering small men’s sizes for so long, she said, that she and her co-designers, Sid Bryan and Joe Bates, decided finally to cut and knit for them. They were cropped neon and sequin leopard tops (left) and two complementary, sweatshirt-style sweaters emblazoned with the words LOVE and HATE. They’d sold, she said, about evenly, though she expected more interest in LOVE. Call it a knitted insight into the human race.
London, like most of the great global cities, is one divided. The same is true of its fashion, especially its menswear. On the one hand there is the Dickensian decrepitude of the East End, the home to much of the young design talent, who use it as a playground for experimentation. The recently graduated Saint Martin’s and Royal College students rule that particular roost. Up West is seemingly a different story. This is the site of Savile Row, Jermyn Street and Saint James’, with all their sonorous, distinctly English, gentlemanly connotations and the tailoring traditions that are the finest in the world.
On London Fashion Week’s annual MAN Day, devoted exclusively to menswear shows, the surface contrast between East and West is never starker, and this season it was starkest of all. But what emerged in the best fashion was at times a strange shared ethos of extremes. Often, the more extreme the approach, the better.
Topman Design (top left) offered its most accomplished collection to date, with very little high street about it. Inspired by Brassaï’s Paris street photography and the style of gypsy and traveler men, the heavy Harris tweed suiting, paisley silks and a section of naval-braided evening wear harked back to a different era. “Romany princes” creative consultant Alister Mackie called his well-cast boys. “There was an idea of thirties and fifties clothing being worn in the eighties, passed down through successive generations and classes,” he said.”It was a statement of elegance, that made the grimy feel glamorous.” Continue Reading “The Wilder, The Better At London Menswear’s MAN Day” »