AGI & SAM MENSWEAR SS 2014
Already widely known for their playful approach to bespoke menswear, it’s particularly apt that British designer duo Agi & Sam named “Ace Ventura Pet Detective” as their ideal client this season. Classically tailored jackets convey the professional, polished air of the traditional detective suit à la Agent Cooper/Fox Mulder, while experimental proportions and eccentric prints loosen things up Ace-style without taking us into that over-trodden ‘Miami Vice’ territory. Masters of moderation, Agi & Sam prove that innovative menswear can push the boundaries of Saville Row without blowing up to the size of a boxy David Byrne suit circa 1984.
ASTRID ANDERSEN MENSWEAR SS2014
When I think of Astrid Andersen, I usually think ‘fresh’, I think ‘sportswear’, I think ‘masculine’, I think ‘hip-hop’. But after this season, for the first time I am thinking ‘lace’. Lots and lots of lace. Even more WTF-moment-inducing is that somehow all of the previous word associations still apply here too. Such is the magic of Astrid Anderson, who apparently was inspired for this collection by superstitious rituals practiced by athletes before they compete. I don’t know what kind of mysterious sports rituals Andersen is specifically referencing here, but she’s certainly doing the best job I’ve ever seen of making lace look “street”.
CHRISTOPHER KANE MENSWEAR SS 2014
As of 2013, saying an item of clothing has a “digital print” is about as interesting and informative as saying it has “sleeves”. Thankfully here Christopher Kane takes this hypertrend next level by ironically tapering things way back. After the maximalist sensory overload of the last few seasons driven by digital print icons Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou, Kane’s stripped down aesthetic marks a welcome departure—not to mention one which is considerably less demanding on the eye. Primitive geometrical planes resemble faces constructed out of graphics that recall the imagery of Tron (1984) and SimCity 2000 (the 1996 version or earlier).
KAY KWOK MENSWEAR SS2014
The future is here, and (surprise!) it is from China. Specifically it is a new Chinese designer sponsored by GQ China. Originally from Hong Kong, this is Kay Kwok’s second season presenting at London Collections. A former McQueen intern, Kwok has only been out of fashion school since 2012, but continues to gain enormous attention for his cerebral menswear. He cites this season’s prints as being inspired by, “a spiritual adventure in Earth’s ring current. A ring current is an electric current carried by charged particles trapped in a planet’s magnetosphere. It is caused by longitudinal drift of energetic particles.” … Sorry, Kwok, could you please repeat that?
KTZ MENSWEAR SS 2014
By the time KTZ is done there will be no symbol in popular culture left unaltered, recontextualized, reblogged, and/or affixed on the back of an awesome hoodie. Distinctively tumblr-ish ying-yangs and old world maps are merged here with nods to Middle-Eastern styling, most noticeably through draping headwear and face-obstructing scarves. Reminds me of that “Goths in Hot Weather” meme, except this time the goths are roughing it on the outskirts of Abu Dabhi.
MAN MENSWEAR SS 2014
MAN is actually a small set of emerging designers selected every season by a fancy panel of fashion bigwigs like Nicola Formichetti and Tim Blanks. To their credit, they manage to consistently identify trailblazing young designers (former MAN selects include JW Anderson and Christopher Shannon). This season designers Alan Taylor, Bobby Abley, and Craig Green won the big prize for SS14 and they did nothing but contribute to the MAN legacy. Particularly eye-catching were these intriguing gray and taupe ensembles made out of inverted jackets flipped vertically, sometimes to the extent they fall even below the hip line! Coolest awkwardly misplaced garment since those weird hand applique jackets from Commes des Garçon in FW 2007.
MEADHAM KIRCHHOFF MENSWEAR SS 2014
In terms of color this was a relatively toned down season for Meadham Kirchhoff, but the benefit is that there is less distracting us from appreciating their fascinating use of layering, PVC jackets, and mind-blowing shoes. It’s refreshing to see clothes from MK that acknowledge tradition, while still subtly indicating through color choice (popping red collar!) and more obvious indicators (boy in a flower dress!) they’re still the same MK we know and love.
SIBLING SS 2014
This season was called “East Side Story” a play on the classic musical “West Side Story” but interpreted for East London in 2014. Models donned updated 1950’s quiffs and lots of white socks with old-fashioned athletic lace-ups. The prints in this collection feature a collaborative effort with artist Richard Woods, which overall results in a sort of edgy, futurist preppy vibe that boggles the mind. It’s a sort of contradiction in terms to be an “avant-garde jock”—at least at first sight—but Sibling somehow manages to make it look effortless.