There was something astutely psychotic about the transparent masks Sarah Burton had her entry level models walk in. Subtly distorting and violent, like the cut up pinstripes of her Saville Row suits, the statement was pure Patrick Bateman. For her London menswear debut at Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton started with Wall Street then moved from the reverence of wealth to a more religious devotion with priestly red cloaks and covered up necks. Stained glass print suits turned men into an objects of worship. Smoking leisure robes and a kimono evening coat closed the défilé as the masks came back on. In narrow point collars and brogues cut like slippers, hair slicked in a finger wave away from single gold hoop earring, the McQueen Fall 2013 man was a measured challenge to traditional austerity.
Christopher Kane’s new mensline looks like the ‘ready-to-wear’ to his women’s ‘couture’. The same motifs decorate–in 2013, that’s leopard print and Frankenstein and other mid-century monsters–but for boys they get simplified to literally-no-frills basics: the t-shirt, the sweatshirt, the peacoat, the bomber jacket, the skinny jean.
Like Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders used the flatness of boy clothes as a blank canvas to decorate. For Saunders, though, it was a space to play with color and texture and to pay allegiance to a favorite artist, Olafur Eliasson. Abstraction in painting and light art was transposed to textile with color field stripes, ombré shading, and globular monotones.
Martine Rose is London youth fashion incarnate. Season after season, allegiance is given to the street and not to the industry her models catwalk in. Pants drag and parkas navel graze and we say Miuccia Prada challenges our ideas of what’s ugly! Martine Rose is a philosopher designer which often means I’d rather read the codes of her clothes than wear them but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t pay top dollar. An idea is worth more than any flattering anything. “Sovereignty, status, ghetto kings,” Martine said of her collection and, like Christoph Waltz, I could listen to her talk about it all forever. Her favorite piece: the pub bar towel bomber jacket.