Twelve menswear designers took over the East Wing and coal holes of Somerset House.
If you had taken the time to look through everything in a careful and considered way at this season’s Fashion East Menswear Installations, it might well have taken more than the two hours, that the exhibition was open for. Twelve designers were given spaces in either the East Wing of Somerset House or down in the coal holes of the vaults with a plethora of presentation methods that included film, static installations, models and even live demonstrations.
To start off, in the East Wing, Sibling’s dada-inspired film was the perfect introduction to their third collection of knitwear that included a Smiley Company collaboration as well as a Noah Scalin skull take on the Breton stripe jumper.
Then onto Casely-Hayford, the father (Joe) and son (Charlie) menswear duo, who took their collection through a journey from Kingsland Road to Africa. “The collection reflects our spirit. This is our we see ourselves and we’re drawing a lot from English traditionalism and fusing that with African elements. It’s not necessarily about being black but it’s more about the raw energy of London,” explains Joe and Charlie Casely-Hayford.
Mr Hare, who we recently featured in Dazed took to the jungle with his soft leather cutaway loafers, sandles and sudede brogues. Martine Rose presented more colour-blocked shirts with the injection of polka dots.
Down in the vaults, Louise Gray presented one ensemble that fitted in with her womenswear “Babe” collection. Christopher Shannon and Eastpak’s icy cool colour blocked range of backpacks and holdalls were being eyed up by people and will surely be a commercial hit when they go on sale. H by Harris pushed his quilted leather accessories. Husam el Odeh, recreated a mini version of his studio in one of the coal holes and instead of presenting new collections, was in fact selling off archive pieces for more than reasonable prices and was also there to make customised pieces for people out of old coins. Jeweller Jordan Askill unveiled a new brilliant sculpture that illustrated birds in flight that has as much visual impact as his previous running horses sculpture. David
On the mezzanine level of the vaults, Jaiden rVa James presented their vision of youth-inspired looks consisting of primary coloured rubber outfits complete with spiked masks. “‘This season is a celebration of both two years and five seasons that we have been running the label so we still feel relatively young, so it’s also youth that the company possesses, youth that we are holding on to but slowly losing and youth that we are attracted to. Not just ourselves but human beings in general, when men are at their sexual peak and almost everything and everyone is a sex object.”
Film wise, New Power Studio made a curious film featuring a black Orville (as in the green fluffy puppet operated by Keith Harris), James Long set up a tower of flickering dark imagery and Blaak, who have always embraced film as collection accompaniments presented a trio of films.