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What is fashion for men? It’s a pertinent question on the third day of London Collections Men, not least because the presence of tailoring brands on the schedule is waning. The men’s schedule here once struck a balance between formal and radical. What dominates now are brands that have no interest in showing coat, suit, shirt, tie. Take away the old rules, what fills that vacuum?
At JW Anderson, it was a mannered extravagance. Louche silk pyjamas were decorated with trippy images of snails. A cropped floral jacket was quilted. There was a trench coat with criss-cross straps of fur. Here, fashion for men was about clothing for those with enough finances to look outre.
It’s seven days until the Prada show in Milan, but many of that brand’s tropes were present here. A camel coat with metal studding at the collar; those pyjamas as daywear, and the intentionally gross use of fur to make some abject point about the morality of materials. One sleeveless ice blue fur came speckled with darker blue patches, it’s long and wide collar black with red smudges. Google images of Henry VIII, and the relation to ideas of grandeur are apparent.
Peel all this away and there’s some clever stuff. The oversized slouchy cardigans were great. 3D cloud shape pockets were a neat design experiment. Boxer boots will prove a clever new product category, and those snails will be slapped on all manner of sweatshirts and the like to give stores something to actually sell.
Before the show, much had been made of Anderson’s hook-up with gay dating app Grindr, which streamed the show live. It was the most unlikely fashion partnership since Julien Macdonald was sponsored by Travel Scrabble — who wears JW Anderson to get laid? In the end, the news felt like a curveball plot point in the opening episode of The Bridge — distraction that keeps the eye off the main story. Here, that might be womenswear. His men’s show always informs his women’s pre-collections. On this catwalk was much that for female will fly.
For more reports from the shows, go to our fashion weeks page on FT.com