Gloomy skies and the sudden news of David Bowie’s death cast a long shadow over the English capital, but the four-day London Collections: Men FW16 show asserted the raw, and at times wildly colourful ingenuity of British designers. Outside, show-goers and passers-by alike displayed an arguably distinct “London youth” style, akin to the Mod era. Not that Mod is coming back – though there are those who embraced spiffy roll necks and Chelsea boots. Mod was at one time synonymous with “the British look”, and in the same way a “London look” is emerging now.
Ensembles typically feature an elongated silhouette, helped along by draping scarves, knee-length outerwear, and tailored pants. And not just pants that are tailored to fit, but also pants that are tailored with excess to flow. Unlike the dark suits of the 60s, London youth embrace colour and patterns – tempered still with British sensibility. Colours are saturated but not crowded, usually applied plain and uniformly. Most stick to the checks and plaids of British heritage, although there are also striking prints picked from the modern runway.
The looks are often layered, nuanced with a touch of playful self-awareness manifested either in throwback accents from Bohemian style or Northern Soul, or a bit of “homeless chic”. Even sporty looks seem filtered through these accents. Nonetheless, with London Collections: Men show becoming more and more significant, many guys arrived decked out in branded looks, carrying trophy items that announced their fashion savviness.