Catch up on the musings of Grazia's Fashion Director Susannah Frankel in her blog, Fashion Victim
This week I have mostly been channeling men’s fashion. That’s not a reference to my personal style - although, obviously, I’ve been borrowing from menswear for that too. Plus ça change, etc… Now, though, I’m taking things up a notch by attending at least a handful of men’s shows. It's a dirty job but somebody's got to do it and London Collections: Men is in full flow as I write.
You have to hand it to Jeremy Hackett for landing the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral for his show that was suitably dapper as befits the status of this name: think windowpane and Prince of Wales check tailoring and even bowler hats and umbrellas just to prove what a well-heeled gent the man in question must surely be. More proof: he has even, on the odd occasion, been known to wear a cape. The show was called Velvet Underground: it was in a crypt and there was velvet in it so that’s good.
Next it was on to Alexander McQueen and an equally extraordinary venue which is saying something. In this instance, guests sat on little wooden chairs around the edges of a warren of beautifully worn and also woody rooms through which pale-faced models walked in the perfectly constructed Savile Row-inspired tailoring this label is known for. McQueen have just opened a store on the Row so this made sound business sense too. Classic pinstripe was fractured and patch-worked. Blocks of cardinal red soon added an ecclesiastical drama to the proceedings. Dressing gown silks (paired with more tailoring) were the only things to soften a look that was austere to the point almost of macabre. Oh, and is it me, or were at least two of these spooky characters wearing sarongs?
Yes, it’s a gender blurring moment as my final outing to J. W. Anderson’s autumn/winter show went to prove. Muscular thighs and frilly riding boots (were models chosen for their spectacularly hairy legs)? A boob tube and a distinctly manly shoulder. Hair immaculately glossed and more than whispering of Visconti circa The Damned. I’m imagining the flood of BA fashion dissertations on the subject of modern masculinity that will doubtlessly ensue as I write. J. W. Anderson is a very talented designer and this season’s offering – which was a lot more feminine than his London Fashion Week womenswear show in September - was as subtly subversive as it was just really funny. There aren’t always a lot of laughs in fashion, and in men’s fashion in particular, especially not when there are brilliant – really brilliant - clothes involved too.