Designer menswear style blogger, Alexander Bailey, of MilanStyle.co.uk tells us what to look out for over London Fashion Week and how to incorporate pieces from these collections into your wardrobe.
In February it’s London Fashion Week which will see the famous event’s ‘Menswear Day’ for the 3rd year running now, with British designers getting to unveil what they think us gents will be wearing, or at least want to wear, in Spring/Summer next year.
And while the international fashion press will descend on London to determine what are the key looks for 2012 and the newspapers will choose the most outlandish and wackiest designs to cover in their papers, many of us gents interested in our clothes will look at these photos and chuckle to ourselves.
Ignore the weird and the wonderful, headline grabbing pieces though (or don’t, if they’re your thing) and instead make sure you make a note of the trends which will suit you. It’s a concept we try to get across frequently at our blog at MilanStyle.co.uk. Weirdly, we have always been a little bit anti-fashion. We like clothes which look good on us, no matter how long ago we bought them. Which brings us back to the London Fashion Week Menswear Day. There are some truly smart British design houses out there at the moment, making clothes which really are modern, on-trend but most importantly wearable too.
The catwalk’s female Knight of the Empire (Sir Paul Smith is the male), Vivienne Westwood understands that menswear can cater to two things that the British particularly love: tailoring and eccentricity.
Take a classic men’s shirt by Vivienne Westwood – you won’t go wrong with one of he high-necked collar shirts which can be worn easily with a jacket for an evening out, and more casually with some sharp jeans and brown brogues.
Talking of denim, Dior Homme jeans, by Paris based fashion house Christian Dior (whose menswear label is named ‘Dior Homme’) have become such a staple in the world of designer menswear that those who have worn them once can’t be parted from them. They can be pricey in comparison in to your regular Levi’s etc, but the difference in cut (slimmer on the thigh and ankle) makes them more suited to fine quality footwear plus the fact that the denim ages so well, makes these a classic investment piece. So if you normally buy 2-3 pairs of jeans a year, this year, just buy one higher quality pair.
Back to London Fashion week though and Savile Row, such an iconic part of British style, has had a massive impact on London designers over the past few years, with Savile Row inspired houses ‘E. Tautz’, ‘Rake’ and even The Queen’s personal tailor, Hardy Amies, all showing on The Menswear Day this year.
And what these designers do best is appeal to everyday gents who just want to look smart for work, or an evening out. Quality and craftsmanship are always the watchwords when it comes to British luxury brands. Sharp tailoring and luxurious knitwear will pop up across the board next week, and with good reason, it’s a look which is masculine and suits all men.
So what does this mean to you and I? And what trends should we keep a look out for?
If you are new to the world of high-fashion designer labels, there is no need to be intimidated or put-off by unwearable catwalk creations (which are mainly created by the design houses to generate publicity) – look critically and objectively at the menswear fashion shows and you’ll actually see a lot of wearable pieces. Invest in these pieces to elevate your look and help you stand out from the crowd. Yes, they are certainly more expensive than your high-street versions, but in terms of quality of materials and craftsmanship, it’s often difficult to beat these high end brands – if your budget is limited then, you might want to just invest in one of two key items a year which you will get the most use out of and will be the most versatile to your wardrobe. In our opinion, high fashion brands should never be about buying pieces that you can’t integrate into your existing everyday wardrobe.