It was the final sounding performance for Agi & Sam and Astrid Andersen at MAN, the show cosponsored by Fashion East and TOPMAN to foster new talent. Striking both high and low notes respectively, the designers concluded their third season with collections that ran from gilded sportswear to Anglo-eccentric prints. Positioned at the centre was MAN newcomer Craig Green with sculptural headpieces and monochrome looks harkening back to his last season’s collection with Fashion East.
“We are trying to show a bit more maturity,” Sam Cotton said backstage after the show, explaining the change in course from last season’s punchy Magnum P.I. offering. More mature, yes, but pointing to the flamboyant Marquess of Bath as inspiration, the pair managed to still inject their usual humour into their digitally reworked smattering of British tweeds, tartans, checks and paisleys. Not everything is at seems with these two. Looked at up close, a stripy black-and-white print was really that of a badger; a porcelain print with traditional hunting scenes had some rather unusual prey.
This season, Agi & Sam pushed outerwear further then ever before. There were navy wool jackets with puffer sleeves, goose-down gilets and knee-grazing coats worn atop cropped skinny trousers. Modelled by an unconventional cast of characters, the duo proved that any man and dog could, in fact, wear their designs. “We want our collections to have a life and depth to them,” continued Cotton. “Fashion – it’s not just based around pretty boys.”
But for Andersen, pretty boys kitted out in gold Japanese silk jersey and matching gold lipstick were in order. Breaking menswear stereotypes is Andersen’s mantra, and this season, she reigned in on the sensitivity and vulnerability of the bodybuilder. Sweatshirts, all-in-ones, t-shirts and tracksuit bottoms were reworked in glossy nylon, denim and cashmere in colours blue, lavender and gold. Yet despite the collection’s use of unorthodox colours and fabrics, there was little innovation when it came to cut. And after the initial gold rush, the collection failed to hit its mark.
“The light and shadows concept is totally evolving,” said Green, the 26-year-old designer whose Central Saint Martins MA collection last year won him the L’Oréal Professional Creative Award. Made from fencing panel that was haphazardly pieced together, the face-obstructing headpieces gave the work wear-like collection a strange moving momentum. The pieces were reduced to its purist forms; the focus was not on colour, but tone on texture. Styled to appear “excessive and armour-like, like a marching religious cult”, said Green, there were as many as five layers in one look. The combination of wax cotton with vinyl edging, denim, crinkled satins and glitter had a transformative effect. What were thought to be leather trousers were really jeans painted over with a stiff gloss. Threads from panelled knits, its raw edges exposed, dripped from the garments. When asked, Green admitted that it is still too early to pinpoint his exact customer. “The aim is to keep doing what I love,” he continued, “and to keep it about the concept.”
Remembering London Men’s Fashion Week SS13
Written for 125 Magazine, February 2013, by Sophia J. Gonzalez