MAN: Caution, Men @ Work

Since 2005, this showcase, initiated by Lulu Kennedy and underwritten by TOPMAN, serves as a launchpad for menswear talent. Each season three designers share a catwalk and vie for spotlight. The jury panel includes critics and editors from topnotch fashion media: GQ Style, Vogue Hommes Japan, AnOtherMan, and others. When it comes to this year’s talent, they should be able to put in a good word! Nicomede Talavera started out with strong ingredients: traditional Muslim garments restyled with a queer sensibility and contemporary tailoring. Jubba and thawb inspired looks accented by the headband hairstyles, the ruffled pant leg, vinyl-shine jackets. A nineties “Hold That Sucker Down” dance reference provided a double-taker, eye-popper, conversation-starter motto for the collection. While a worthy homage to London’s multi-everything street style pluralism, it veers into monochrome territory already traversed by the likes of Rick Owens or Alexander Plokhov. “But let me tell you now…” Urban fashionscape is vast enough for all its shining stars.  

Liam Hodges once confessed to “cultural overeating” when it came to mood-boarding his collections. The Royal College of Arts alumnus tends to take the concept of casualwear altogether elsewhere, as far away as possible from the toxic environs of the office-dwellers. This time, hurray for the movers and shakers of shops and warehouse delivery docks! Black hustling with blue and orange, patchwork bustling in layers, the relaxed fit and the high top keds: these looks are so dynamic, you gotta get on with ‘em or get outta the way. It was all focused enough. Make no mistake, Hodges men mean business, even if not business-as-usual.

  Rory Parnell-Mooney is grappling with age-old dichotomy of obedience and rebellion by juxtaposing (or cross-examining) the minimalist aesthetics and paramount functionality dictated by the clothing of Christian monks and European rioters. Turns out both wander stoically blindfolded, albeit gorgeously so. Generously volumed jackets and coats seemed crafted out of dark dyed parchment or bent sheet metal. Oversized knits and trousers appeared reminiscent of butcher aprons. Executed in nonsense-resistant black and blue, the looks featured occasional coin pouches slash tool belts. This is a solid work-in-progress.

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