First out on London Fashion Week’s busy menswear schedule was Carolyn Massey. The East London based designer has carved out a nice niche for herself during the last few seasons as a subtle and formal tailor, often evoking army influences and monochrome shades.
This AW10 show was a successful follow-up on past achievements. Citing an anonymous donor, Massey went on to darker and moodier military elements, some dating back as far as the Second World War. Massey’s ‘Obsolete Prototype C53’ collection saw her mix staple pieces – such as her collarless shirts and flowing wool coats – with extensive use of leather. Over sized T-shirts, some with big chest pockets, come out in both black and a light pink shade, apparently inspired by “the muted hues of a Tokyo morning”.
The army influences were quite subtle though, which was refreshing in a scenario where epaulettes, bomber jackets and chunky boots often pop up. 1940s inspired stripy tops featured heavily, and generally speaking knits and shirts came either slightly over sized or very long in the body. All in all, a pukka Carolyn Massey show. As usual.
Dazed Digital: What was the main influence behind the collection?
Carolyn Massey: The initial inspiration came from the patterns. We toiled them up and fitted them, whilst editing into a more contemporary story. With this, my Tokyo travels inspired the colour pallete. It feels like cities have different colours, these were the colours of my jet lagged mornings. That and the word ‘elegance’. It’s haunting me at the moment - a desire for elegance in my work. Sometimes a feeling can be more inspiring than an image.
DD: Could you say anything about the 'donor'? Has he in the war?
Carolyn Massey: I have been asked not to - for security reasons.
DD: It isn't often we see prints in your collection - how did they come about?
Carolyn Massey: It’s about making the garments mine, developing a deeper aesthetic story with the line up, and on the rail. The prints were designed in collaboration with print designer Sam Cotton. I’d been to see the Ray Johnston exhibition at the Raven Row gallery and was inspired to create postal prints. The faded agedness of them was reflected in the silk twill.
DD: There were a lot of loose tops and tighter bottoms - did you just feel like playing around with proportions?
Carolyn Massey: The looser looks came from a military smock, I love the contrast of silhouettes, it seems somehow refreshing at the moment when collections can look so straight up and down skinny.
DD: Congratulations on being selected for the Unica On Stage project - are you coming back to London, or are you planning to show in Milan from now?
Carolyn Massey: The award is to work with Italian mills and be sponsored for next season. It involves a show in Milan during Unica. It couldn’t replace London!
DD: What was your favourite piece from the show?
Carolyn Massey: The sleeveless tailored jacket. And yes, I’m having one.
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