Tuesday 20 February 2018

Hooligan chic hits the catwalk

Riotous football fans inspired the menswear collections in London this week

JW Anderson Men's London Fashion Week SS17
JW Anderson Men's London Fashion Week SS17
Craig Green.
Craig Green.
Grace Wales Bonner
JW Anderson
JW Anderson

Karen Dacre

Fashion designers are rebels at heart - at least the good ones are. It's for this reason that the stars to emerge from this week's London men's fashion showcase are those dedicated to kicking back against the Establishment.

Among them is Northern Irishman Jonathan Anderson - a designer whose context-heavy menswear offerings are uprisings in their own right - who channelled Saint-Exupéry's 'The Little Prince'.

Another standout performance came from Grace Wales Bonner, a young designer whose collection of mid-length skirts and smooth shoulder tailoring was showcased on an army of strapping male models, and the whimsical Craig Green whose clothes serve as mesmerising works of art.

This season, though, it wasn't just those with a rebellious desire to plough an avant-garde path for the modern-day menswear consumer who unveiled collections worth writing home about, but the designers who looked to counter-culture and the vision of one rebel in particular to inspire their collections.

We're not talking a brooding James Dean here - although Coach designer Stuart Vevers did cite the 'Rebel Without a Cause' protagonist in his biker-jacket-heavy homage to the all-American revolutionary in his latest collection - but a perennial symbol of disillusioned youth: the football hooligan.

Watching catwalk shows from Topman and Dalston-based Christopher Shannon - whose tongue is always pushed firmly into his cheek - it was impossible not to make a connection between the football fans who were busy throwing pint glasses in Marseille while the models walked the runway.

The football casual is en vogue - at least his aesthetic is, with stark white Hi-Tec trainers, paper-bag waist jeans reminiscent of the kind worn by Stone Island-clad terrace dwellers of the 80s and 90s among next season's must-have purchases.

For your wardrobe, this means white socks worn with nylon shorts, army jackets and a logo-emblazoned sweater for every occasion - among the most pleasing on the catwalk this week was Shannon's Lovers Direct incarnation which is a send-up of the Sports Direct logo.

Elsewhere, designers referenced rebellious youth in a more inconspicuous fashion. Christopher Kane, currently fascinated by crime dramas, presented a punkish vision which came with the catchphrase "Law and order" while Oliver Spencer presented a collection of dogtooth suits and tobacco-coloured parkas, perhaps intended for a more mature fan in the stands.

Admittedly, the widespread resurgence of lad culture has a lot to do with designers' determination to keep up with the zeitgeist, notably the rise of the "Nu-lad" - a term coined by style writers as a means to describe a renewed affection for low-key 90s-inspired sportswear and an aesthetic so popular it was favoured by a host of male editors who wore football shorts, North Face T-shirts and Air Max 95s to sit on the front row this week.

Irish Independent

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