LFW S/S 12 – Day 3 – Menswear day.

Christopher Shannon is widely acknowledged as a master of sportswear with an unmistakable penchant for bright colours and bold cuts but for S/S 12 Shannon presented a lightweight, quieter collection, offering up a softer side to his normal sporty approach.  While all his unconventional signature trademarks – soft pockets and patches, prominent tassels and contrasting colours were still in abundance, he parented a sporty sleek, simple and polished man, creating the perfect alliance between sophistication and great fit.

While he quotes Viviane Sassen, John Stezaker, Paul Graham, Erik Steinbrecher and the Wild Bunch crew as his inspiration, it is questionable as to whether the up-coming Olympics has also influenced his mood; trackies, sneakers and (sweaters in an eccentric mix of colours, patterns and treatments ensured that the collection was far from mundane, while invigorating colour blocking and clean cut cool, slicked back hair emphasized the freshness of the collection. Subtle pops of colour throughout the collection gave it a zingy edge, bright orange bags slung over shoulders broke up the otherwise muted colour palette.  Shannon states that he aims to give “something to everyone” and by mixing avant guarde with street smartness he surely achieves this goal.

The 90s, a time of body glitter, carpenter pants and the ‘Rachel’ hair cut, but for the Cassette Playa s/s 12 collection we are transported back to a 90’s that would be more fittingly played out in a dingy underground club. The urban atmosphere gives the collection a grainy and candid feel; from basic button-ups to loud space-themed prints it is overtly nostalgic, offering up a plethora of garments that are stand alone statement pieces. The collection is the perfect ode to the underground 90’s grunge scene; the erratic screen-print graphics on dark denim jackets, neon sweaters and baggy fit trousers.

Carrie ‘Mundane’, head designer, explains: “The collection is all about prints creating two different outcomes from far away and close up”, this sense of distorted perspective and manipulated perception is translated into obtrusive graphic graffiti prints that metamorphose, on closer inspection into something totally abstract; Hawaiian floral prints turn out to be hypnagogic assortments of doughnuts and chairs, a traditionally 90’s stone-look camouflage print that are cleverly reproduced ice-cream images,  adorns matching button-downs and micro shorts, whilst green and red floral emblazons loosely-fitting pants.

With the 2012 Olympics drawing ever closer, Astrid Andersen has prepped the 21st century man for the on-coming sporty season. During the presentation models were seen showing off their bulging biceps with an interactive set, complete with weights and dumbbells whilst Anderson successful combines hi-hop street culture and the traditional training garments of any bonified sportsman.  Touting a sporty silhouette, with black varsity-style letterman jackets, silk jogging bottoms and tracksuits encompassed, it is luxurious sportswear with a twist.

Offering a completely different look at gender representation, garments are delicately embroidered with salmon pink floral lace, creating sheer horizontal panels across torsos and shorts, revealing the contoured muscles that would otherwise be hidden. The dainty lace, soon become the center point of the collection, acting as sheer over-layers to loose fitting scarlet nylon shorts and baseball caps carefully embroidered on the flat peaks, compressing further the collections juxtaposed values.

Salmon pinks are mixed with intricate gold lace panels, challenging the uber macho aesthetics, and gorilla fur print tracksuits are depicted in a sheer fabric creating an effortlessly glamorous gloss to the urban street culture.  The cuts evolve into something more audacious with nylon kimono-style jackets and angularly cut branded grey vest tops, whilst the fabrics stay breathable and true to the original sportswear affect.

While Oliver Spencer’s S/S12 collection was inspired by the French Mods, loyalties quite obviously lay with the design house’s British heritage, with much of the collection having been produced in the UK. Differing from his normally hushed palette of navy and khaki, the garments were awash with primary colours; full-bodied blues, reds and greens, exposed a consideration for impact and not just for the high-quality finish. The fabrics of the garments were chosen for not only their texture, but also their depth, as the collection quickened and the garments were colour blocked accordingly, the textiles appeared to have a rougher, and in some cases less constructed finish, in order to add depth to the garments and offer variation for the wearer.

While the palette was unrestrained with colour and packed with attitude, the collection was simple, consisting mostly of sharply tailored chinos, featherweight knits and short sleeved shirts in various prints. To match his versatile collection, Oliver Spencer sent an eclectic mix of models and personalities down the catwalk, ranging widely in age, ethnicity and build; Spencer presented the ideal that this collection has been created for the man in all his variations. The rainbow spectrum of tailored trousers were cuffed or cropped at the leg for a liberated and an incandescent feel; the perfect accompaniment to the clean lines and fluid cuts that gave each garment a artlessness serenity. Polished footwear was the final flourish to the collection, offering unrivaled masculine classics such as oxford brogues and penny loafers as well as the less conventional desert boots and espadrilles, glossing the collection perfectly; this is the modern man in all his virile glory.

There is only one way to describe the KTZ catwak show and that is bonkers . Think punk meets Massai warrior, think S&M harnesses meets tribal jewellery; there were no summery suits just lots and lots of leather, with a small smattering of womenswear (all big satin bows and, surprise surprise, yet more leather).  Biker jackets transformed into new variations with oversized collars and no sleeves, humours jackets advertising escourt services and bondage shorts. The final flourishes were the footwear, gladiator sandals meets brothel creepers, all black leather and big buckles, and the slightly scary S&M bag.

The front row said it all – Mr and Mrs kate moss, Jaime winstone and Labrinth (the rapper); Mr Small is most definitely someone to watch.  Print was the staple that held the collection together – starting as a reproduction of William Morris style florals in a plethora of colours and graduating towards a camouflage design. The collection comprised of sleek fitted tailoring, gentlemanly shirts and very small micro shorts although the sense of pairing was also prominent; Shirts and shorts were print blocked so to appear as if it was a ‘onesie’.  The abundance of sheer fabrics (primarily on shirts) made for eye-popping pieces, and perfectly summarized to the tone of the collection – a man who is completely comfortable in his own skin.

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