5 posts tagged "Topman"
After cramming a city’s worth of menswear offerings into a single MAN Day for the last few seasons, London is planning to give its standout men’s offerings a bit more room to breathe. The first men’s-only London fashion collections (technically three days, rather than a few weeks) will take place June 15 to 17, with opening programs including a launch event hosted by Prince Charles. In addition to the young London designers who have been showing on MAN DAY—like J.W. Anderson, James Long, Topman, Lou Dalton, and Christopher Shannon—the new opportunity has lured several U.K. brands back to their home turf, including Pringle of Scotland and Nicole Farhi, who have been showing in Milan, and Dunhill. E. Tautz, Hardy Amies, and Richard James will show ready-to-wear collections on Savile Row, and Richard Nicoll (pictured) will debut a menswear collection. The full schedule is now available at www.londoncollections.co.uk.
Expect the fashion set to turn out to see a Brahms performance tonight. Just maybe not the Brahms you’re thinking of. This Brahms is an unsigned poppy, electronic trio out of Brooklyn—one that in very short order, less than a year after forming, has opened for some very top-bill (and wildly disparate) acts as Passion Pit, Nas, and Damian Marley. And tonight at Mercury Lounge, they’ll headline their first New York show. (Click below to listen to the band’s “Subtext Is Deadly.”)
The rapid rise has something to do with the indie rock past of singer and keyboardist Cale Parks, who previously put in time with the band Aloha. But it’s bassist Eric Lyle Lodwick’s (left) side gig as a model that’s doing more to turn heads in Brahms’ direction. Lodwick has opened shows for John Varvatos and Lanvin and fronted campaigns for Marc by Marc Jacobs, Topman, and Diesel. And if that helps turn heads in Brahms’ direction, he says, all to the good. “There are so many different things an artist has to be today. It’s no longer simply playing music,” Lodwick explains. “With the Internet, and there being more bands than ever, a musician has to be ‘everything entertainment.’ Modeling aids that need, and
I was born to entertain.”
Embracing his double life has given Lodwick and Brahms the opportunity to play big shows not usually offered to such a young band—thanks to boosts from fashion brands like Levi’s, which sponsored a Brahms performance at Austin’s South by Southwest festival. “We see the crossover and like playing fashion stuff,” Lodwick adds. Good thing, as next up is a gig at Fashion’s Night Out, alongside Savoir Adore and Bear Hands.
Brahms plays tonight at Mercury Lounge, 217 E. Houston Street, NYC, www.mercuryloungenyc.com.
Earlier this week, Whitney Biennial attendees spotted Chloë Sevigny rocking a pair of metal-plated jeans; the week before that, paparazzi snapped Kylie Minogue stepping out in a similar pair. Their armorer is Husam el Odeh, the London-based jeweler who collaborated with Acne on a range of metal-accented denim. El Odeh is a frequent guest star for other brands—he’s also collaborated with Topman and the Japanese label Miharayasuhiro—but his own collection, which he unveils in Paris this week, shows he’s more than able to stand on his own. The new collection takes inspiration from the fractalized forms of molecules and crystals: Semiprecious stones have been placed upside down in settings constructed from a single sheet of metal, folded origami-style. “I quite like how the restriction of having to fit the stones onto a shape that was once flat almost gives the piece its own sense of rhythm,” el Odeh told Style.com. “I play with all sorts of materials, some quite unusual,” he continued, citing experiments with glacé fruit and candy. “In some ways, it’s led me to treat classic jewelry materials as unusual in themselves.”
Wade with an open mind through the variety of shows and presentations on offer during London Fashion Week’s MAN Day, and you’d have been impressed by just that—variety. From Savile Row smart to Mineshaft sleaze, London’s menswear designers laid out a buffet that could make your palette pulsate with pleasure or leave a bad taste in your mouth. But what was immediately striking about every single designer who showed a men’s collection on Wednesday is how sophisticated they were with their back-stories. James Long, currently anointed The One to Watch, referenced Fuse Boy, a film by the scarcely-known Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin, for a collection (pictured) which imagined men in a steamy boiler room, their steam-saturated clothes slowly going moldy. That scenario scarcely impeded appreciation of Long’s masterful use of leather. New Power Studio was inspired by London’s multiculturalism and, at a time when the city feels like it is splintering, there was idealism in a show that offered a cross-section of ages, races and sizes in sportswear that was elemental enough to embrace them all. And, because I’m a fashion trainspotter, I couldn’t help drawing a line from the last look—a be-glittered guy in a shtreimel—to the ultimate fashion idealist Jean Paul Gaultier’s Jewish collection in 1993. Turns out NPS’s main man Thom Murphy is a big Gaultier fan.
If the rest of the world is going to get the picture, it is essential that MAN Day bring together all the strands of the burgeoning British menswear scene. I felt this one did. I’ve already written about Topman and I’ll have more to say about E.Tautz. The ideas they represent—the heritage of Savile Row, the historical romance of benchmark English designers like Galliano and McQueen—clearly provide a framework that is dictating the direction of many younger designers. James Small was so focused on tailoring that he trimmed everything superfluous out of classic men’s pieces. That peacoat? So lean it was mean. Lou Dalton, Carolyn Massey and J.W. Anderson opted for history, a temporal construct (Bonnie Prince Charlie) in Dalton’s case, a personal patchwork with Anderson, with a knapsack laden with roses (below) as one of the day’s enduring images.
And it wouldn’t be London if there wasn’t at least one intensely polarizing presentation. Rasharn d’Vera Agymang and Jaiden James are buoyant twentysomethings who make clothes that are anything but upbeat. With Mad Max apocalypse and Mapplethorpe’s X Portfolio in mind, they produced a collection of fetish leathers that was numbingly literal. Meanwhile, Re:Bel, the magazine they make together, was being distributed outside in the courtyard of Somerset House. It’s an impressive feat, a manifesto that rebuts the bloggy brevity their peers opt for. In fact, Re:Bel looks so substantial that it made the clothes feel like an afterthought. But, from Karl Marx to Malcolm Maclaren, London has always been the city that is kindest to manifestos.
Topman has been a major underwriter of the growing men’s fashion scene in London, as well as a participant in the MAN group show that, in the past, helped designers like Kim Jones to find their feet in the business. Today, the last day of London fashion week, Topman finally flew solo, with a whole show devoted to the label’s Fall collection. It was brilliant. Kudos to design director Gordon Richardson and his creative team, but the shadowy genius behind the presentation was stylist Alister Mackie. He took the same military tack as Christopher Bailey at Burberry, referencing the precision, the cut, the color scheme of army uniforms from both world wars. And Mackie proved, like Bailey before him, that there is no better-looking coat than an officer’s coat. The parkas were pretty cool, too. But the collection wasn’t simply a soldier’s story redux. While Topman was still part of a group show, there were restrictions on the breadth of the offering. Today, Mackie was able to show some great knitwear and ombré prints that looked a little like war-blasted terrain, or maybe just trees in winter. Either way, a reminder that Mackie is a dark soul. But, thinking of the many collections he’s brought his unique tweaks to in the past—Marc Jacobs, Fendi, McQueen, Lanvin—he’s just about the best natural asset Topman could have right now.