London Collections Men, spring/summer 2016

June 26, 2015

Reinforcing its reputation as the home of menswear, culture and creativity, England’s capital city hosted runway shows, presentations and other events from June 12 to 15 to showcase the best British brands and designers.

We attended a static presentation with beautiful blooms on display in Soho for Aquascutum, a trendy runway show by AGI & SAM, an English garden party with Thomas Pink and a military-esque fashion catwalk for maharishi.

Aquascutum 

We kicked off our London Collections Men spring/summer 2016 experience with Aquascutum. Known for its British tailoring and a strong heritage dating back to 1851, the brand delivered its latest collection in a six-floor townhouse in the centre of Soho.

On the first floor, we found a wooden tree display with multi-coloured hydrangeas, mannequins showing the season’s key looks and an assortment of beautiful free-standing blooms. The display featured a total of 15 looks set across the different floors.

The new collection feels fresh with modern, sporty and stylish details, yet keeping with its formal background. Their iconic check has been updated for s/s 2016, using it as print on outerwear pieces and linen for tailoring, whilst the trench coats are made in silk with hand-stitched contrast neps.

The collection also features gorgeous hand-embroidered items inspired by garments made for the Rolling Stones in the ’80s! A collaboration with sunglasses brand Cutler and Gross matches the season’s subtle palette of navy, dark brown, matte green and graphite grey in iconic wayfarers and aviators — a way to tie everything together nicely head to toe.

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VIP Event

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AGI & SAM 

Agape Mdumulla and Sam Cotton launched their brand with the fundamental idea of designing for men with elements of fun and humour. For spring/summer 2016, AGI & SAM created a collection “based on clothes that they wear, or want to wear, now.”

The focus is on cut and fit, concentrating on the archetypal details or their signature look. Subtle references are made to an idea of child-like fears, such as nightmares, prisons, monsters and ghosts. This is illustrated through the hand-painted blue, black and white PJ stripes at the heart of the collection — seen on jackets, organza coats, sweatshirts and pyjama hats.

Utilitarian trends are still going strong, reflected in green and brown shades, wide, cropped cargo pants and utility pockets on boxy T-shirts. Casual denim zip hoodies, corduroy trousers and super-soft leather backpacks are made for the trendsetting London crowd. Relaxed and comfortable, they don’t take fashion too seriously!

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Thomas Pink

Thomas Pink — part of the LVMH  group — revealed its latest collection at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Set up as an English-garden-themed party, the line was showcased on live models and presented against a botanical backdrop — complete with “outdoor” tables and chairs, tea sets and plant fixtures.

Keeping with the theme, and to mark World Gin Day (who knew that was a thing?), we enjoyed gin and tonics made using Williams Chase British gin. It was great to be able to engage in conversation with the models, who seemed to be enjoying the cocktails as well.

The latest collection features a strong focus on texture, stripes and checks with a bright colour palette of pink, lilac, turquoise and citrus. Key spring/summer pieces for English weather can be found in their display of lightweight outerwear, including a tweed blazer with a reversible, waterproof jacket in light grey, while more traditional suits use Loro Piana fine wool.

Of course, Pink would not be complete without ties, silk pocket squares and socks in fun prints to accessorize the looks. Any colour — as long as it’s Pink!

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Maharishi

The pacifist-, military-design brand maharishi was founded by Hardy Blechman in 1994 with the vision “to create environmentally sound, fair-trade-produced, long-lasting, high-quality, utilitarian clothing.” The collections have always included natural and organic fabrics — such as hemp, cottons and recycled military clothing — while still focusing on the latest developments in apparel technology.

Entitled “Post-Geographic Devotional Uniform & Habits: Part 1,” the spring/summer 2016 collection takes inspiration from clothing worn by devotees within religious orders around the world, such as monks’ robes, capes of the Knights Templar and prayer strings from Judaism.

Derived from traditions, the colour palette includes purple and golden-brown Catholic influences, and bright orange robes inspired by Thai Buddhist monks. The slogan “No Rel. Pref.” (“no religious preference”) refers to a note by the brand that enlisted U.S. soldiers must choose a religious affiliation, so that should they be killed in action, their remains are dealt with according to their “latest ritual.”

Referencing ancient traditions, maharishi uses utilitarian sportswear, reversal camouflage and military classics for s/s 2016 as an expression of nature and art. Using history, ethics and creativity was a powerful way to showcase their latest collection.

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By Cristina Boydell
Photography by Cristina Boydell & courtesy of brands

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