Did you hear the one about the designers who shook up the mood of Savile Row? No? Well, rather than tell you, I'm going to show you. The Fall/Winter 2013 Mens fashion collections out of London have just finished and I must say that menswear has certainly evolved. In good ways though. For so many years men have been stuck with the biggest conundrums of their wardrobe choices being either when to wear the navy blazer and grey slacks or if they should buy that same familiar cut suit in the houndstooth or the herringbone. Nowadays, men have become more liberated and while I may often refer to it as a vanity, its becoming more like a well-informed attention to a personal component of their everyday ritual that creates legacies, fosters confidences and expresses individualities.
Every mid-winter the offerings and directions of what men will (or may) be wearing come the next winter starts off in London. How fitting considering that this is the place where the age old Savile Row is alive and well and sticking to the most traditional of methods for tailoring exquisite tailor made suitings and accessories for men. However, what I find quite fascinating is that in recent years, London designers as well as others have been delving head deep into the awakening of the male consumer to making clothes their own by offering men variations, deviations and machinations all encircling around the underlying framework of classic menswear.
In London, what was shown for Fall 2013 kind of said "yes, men understand how they have and can look, now let's show them how to shake it up a bit". Shaking up a man's perspective, in my opinion, leads to opening up a man's reception. Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen nodding at traditional tailoring with one middle finger tucked behind her back by slicing and piecing immaculately tailored suits while Lou Dalton and Richard Nicoll offered up great functional 'look twice details' and soft color-blocking in unconventional places on their suitings. E. Tautz and Hardy Amies both delved into great heavyweight blanket coating fabrics blocked and patterned showcasing some great standout pieces in outerwear for the season. Of note was a great collection with some geographical-themed outerwear from a tech-functional rising designer Christopher Raeburn.
Strong knitwear, the softer side of menswear, came from such notable design houses as Nicole Farhi and Margaret Howell. Collections riddled in theme and shape came from the soft palette and totally wearable shapes and silhouettes of Topman Design and hip-hop early 90's homages to country pattern-mixing ideas from label MAN.
Then the jokesters that demand to be taken seriously ushered in. While some may laugh, the following designs offered by these group of London designers propose the fact that some men may want to color outside the lines. The oversize open knits at Sibling were a novelty knitters dream while the charismatic sweaters from Christopher Shannon and JWAnderson made cases for a man's serious and smiley sides alike. The blocked poncho shapes from Shaun Samson were plausible minimal homages to American hockey and the color and texture infusions at Jonathan Saunders were some of the best of the season thus far. Rounding out the cheeky were the super-fun knit sweaters emblazoned with drag-queen Divine's made up face at James Long and the quite cool Frankenstein tees at Christopher Kane. These Motley Cruë of London designers show the diversity that is modern menswear. It's up to a certain kind of man to fall in where he may and a little less of a joke and more of a sign of what's to come for men.
*All Photos courtesy of Style.com.