If you wondered why the streets of London were looking a little more suave this weekend, it’s because London Collections Men was in full swing. With HQ based at the Brutalist building of 180 The Strand, and TOPMAN’s show space at the University of Westminster’s carpark on Baker Street, the fashion crowd was yo-yoing across Zone 1 for four days straight.

Amid a schedule marked by big names and new talent, there was an overarching spirit of nostalgia for both childhood and Britain (and the Queen saluted us back with mega-traffic all weekend long).

While J.W.Anderson found inspiration from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince, Craig Green looked to Boy Scout scarves for cues. Bobby Abley meanwhile pasted graphics from Disney’s Aladdin onto hyper-sexed sportswear.

Weekender-benders at the British seaside were referenced at TOPMAN Design, featuring sunburn and jerseys saying “Torquay!” and “Margate!” And House of Holland took British faves like marmite and baked-bean tins to the realm of sleazy puns (“All Nite” and “Sexy Bangers”), paired with teen-rave silhouettes.

From the exciting, clashing proposals on show over the weekend, Caroline Issa, Nobuko Tannawa and Bobby Hook help us round up the best of the best from LCM spring/summer 2017.

Feng Chen Wang:

Illustration: Megan-Ruth St Clair Morgan (@mrscmillo) for Because

Lucozade shades and bubbly tech-wear were on the agenda at Feng Chen Wang’s debut collection at the MAN show.

Taking utility tropes like bungee cords, hi-tech nylon, cargo pants and bomber jackets – the clothes of a pragmatist – her SS17 collection (literally) inflated them to histrionic heights.

Caroline Issa: “Toggles and pulls seem to be all the rage at the menswear shows – allowing its wearer to manipulate couture silhouettes with the tug of an elastic. Feng Chen Wang's show was among this sporty trend set. But it was her feel for colour, graduating from the palest of greens and greys to fiery oranges, and the ease with which the guys moved in their looks, that made me want to get on board her train.”

Best for: Learning to swim without floaties

J.W.Anderson:

Aviation goggles and crowns were on the menu at J.W.Anderson’s Le Petit Prince parade.

The kid’s spirit was also found in the uninhibited attitude of the clothes: the haphazard spray painting of whimsical colours across a beige tunic, and wild layering of print on print.

Best for: Flipping the bird at a black-tie gala

Wales Bonner:

Grace Wales Bonner only graduated from Central Saint Martins two years ago, but she’s already been nominated for the LVMH prize, and bagged the British Fashion Award for emerging talent.

Sunday’s show – her first show post-Fashion East/MAN – was all about 70s flamboyance mixed with sentimental, archaic allusions. Seventeenth-century puritanical vibes were found in the Cromwell shoes, the severe monochrome and the prim neckties. 

Best for: Salon parties – beige carpets, see-through drinks

Rottingdean Bazaar:

Joy, wit and perversity. Also: balloons, nylon gloves and stockings, underwear, human hair, hotel slippers, cigarette butts, flowers. The shockwave collection of Fashion East this season came from Rottingdean-based duo James Buck and Luke Brooks.

Caroline Issa: “Taking their name from where they live, the couple who live and work together creating complex placements and techniques on the simplest of cotton T-shirts and sweatshirts created a land of beauty and trash – everything flattened with only a hint of dimension. It was an inspiring find on a rainy Saturday.”

Best for: Boys who wear their art on their sleeve

Coach:

Smells like teen spirit! Stuart Vevers of Coach created an angsty collection à la My Own Private Idaho and Rebel Without a Cause.

Studs, skulls and leather were aplenty in the red-and-black extravaganza. Hot Topic gone luxe!

Best for: Pouty guitarists

Craig Green:

Illustration: Megan-Ruth St Clair Morgan (@mrscmillo) for Because

Craig Green was inspired by Boy Scouts, in a narrative that (he told Vogue Runway) let him explore “the symbolism of belonging to something”.

Primary colours and tent-shades of beige were there, plus quilted, hooded suits with drawstring, face-wrapping fastenings (sleeping-bag chic). But billowy anoraks, pyjama tailoring and kimono-like shirts in the first half of the show lifted the Boy Scout’s reality into a nomadic, fantasy land.

Nobuko Tannawa: "The show was full of surprises – I think it was the first time we’ve ever seen print at Craig Green. And the clothes felt softer and gentler than usual. I love Craig Green – he's extremely talented and he always does his own thing."

Best for: Adventuring romantics who failed P.E.

Margaret Howell:

For SS17, Margaret Howell’s uniformed, 9-to-5 muse took a seaside vay-cay.

The effect was indeed very British holiday: bucket hats, Bermuda shorts paired with knee-high socks with glorious awkwardness, all in colours as grey as a British summer day.

Bobby Hook: “Margaret Howell was great. There were some fantastic little styling details, like ties tucked into trousers and a pair of trousers with huge turn-ups.”

Best for: Byronic boys with eyes cast to sea

See all of Megan-Ruth St Clair Morgan's illustrations for Because on the Because Instagram.

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