Kicking off London Collections: Men we’ve started off by seeing the Universal Works presentation, which really takes us, for lack of better description, Back to the Basics.

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The collection, entitled “Pass” presented the public with simple, muted and well, basic garments. Comfortable, movable clothes, nothing overly trendy or edge pushing, but well-tailored, for a man that needs that something to go with everything. Functional and refined, the presentation wasn’t the typical static representation, nor a runway show, but rather a choreographed selection of movements showing off the garments wearability and design aesthetic.

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Button-up cardigans, refined blazers and tailored baggy pants cuffed at the ankle were of the few of the trends lightly represented within the collection.

Is this mind blowing, edge pushing, craziness? Definitely not. Is this wearable for a 2015 man who wants to look stylish, but not ostentatious? Absolutely.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

“[…]Can we doubt that individuals having any advantage, however slight, over others, would have the best chance of surviving and of procreating their kind? On the other hand, we may feel sure that any variation in the least degree injurious would be rigidly destroyed. This preservation of favorable variations and the rejection of injurious variations, I call Natural Selection. Variations neither useful nor injurious would not be affected by natural selection, and would be left a fluctuating element […]”.

Inspired by Charles Darwin in the Origin of Species, John Park created a menswear brand focusing on the necessity of constant evolution in a world in which only the strongest and most valid can survive, naming it “Natural Selection”. After a A/W 2014 collection with Art Deco references, the brand introduces some variations in order to evolve and adapt to the surrounding changing circumstances–this time–embracing the work of the abstract artist Tim Woolcock. 
 
Irregularity leads throughout, in the form of shirts speckled with polka dots and classic tailoring made of tweed, chambray and denim for a casual yet masculine man. Silhouettes remain neat across shorts, sweaters and single-breasted jackets. Macs and hooded capes have also an important role in these “Garment Species” teaming up with long shirts that turn traditional layering on its head. 
 
Despite the expected, colors don’t stick to the conventional summery spectrum as its main characters are navy, taupe, grey, khaki, light blue and some pinches of tie-dye, remaining us of Woolcock’s landscapes. In conclusion, and as Darwin would state, Natural Selection London goes one step ahead in the menswear process of evolution, proving that innovation and quality can walk alongside with elegance and functionality, turning the brand into a pro in the art of casual wear. 

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Posted by Paloma Canseco.

Discovering new and up-and-coming designers is one of BDMOTP’s favorite activities, and the showrooms at London Collections: Men happens to be a great spot for doing so. Here we began chatting with Alice Walsh, designer of Alice Made This, featuring innovative tie and lapel pins, dress shirt studs and cufflinks.

Reflection, The Alice Made This SS15 collection

Reflection, The Alice Made This SS15 collection

I was immediately intrigued and starting asking questions about the unique and special pieces in front of me (my eyes are naturally drawn to sparkly, shiny objects).

Alice showing some shirt buttons

Alice showing some shirt buttons

Alice and her business partner (and husband, perhaps? Such lovely people!) were so interesting to talk with and in doing so, you can really feel the positive energy and passion for what they do. So what is it, exactly, that they do and why is it so unique?

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Alice Made This is a company dedicated to creating unique pieces by focusing on their manufacturing. Now, at first this sounds a bit confusing, but let me explain. They create each group of items in a specific way for their SS15 Collection, Reflection:

The first group, Precision Turned Metal, is created with a process done in the engineering and aerospace industries using solid steel and brass.

The Precious Metal Electroplating uses techniques from nanotechnology, with materials like gold, rhodium, silver and copper.

The Ropework designs are marine inspired and hand woven by British rope makers in East Anglia.

The Investment Casting uses a metal forming process that dates back to 5000 years ago, also used to produce things like gears and turbine place casts bronze with silver and rose gold finishes.

Some of the pieces made  with the Investment Casting process.

Some of the pieces made with the Investment Casting process.

And even better news–every single piece is made right there in Britain. In a land where just about everything is “Made in China” this was like music to my ears. These original, classy pieces are reminiscent of a time where things were truly “manufactured”…fleeting thoughts of smokestacks and the industrial revolution flood my mind… so very, very British. I am especially fond of the Rose Gold pieces in the line. Rose Gold is so “in” right now, and I love how it has that antique, vintage feel to it. These pieces are quaint and special, perfect for a dapper man searching for just the right accessory.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

Seeing Diego Vanassibara at the London Collections: Men showrooms is always one of the highlights of our time in London. Diego is a footwear designer who creatives stunning shoes for men, using architectural lines and his signature wood panels. For his SS15 collection, Diego surprised us by expanding his collection to also include more casual footwear, with sneaker options, which was exciting. Of course, even the casual shoes retain the air of elegance and confidence that all of his shoes do.

Diego Vanassibara and his team are not only incredible innovators, but also lovely to chat with too

Diego Vanassibara and his team are not only incredible innovators, but also lovely to chat with too

This seasons looks also combined colors. My favorite shoe actually had navy, grey and orange on it, three colors I would never imagine I would like together, but the shoe is absolutely fabulous. A baby blue was also used, brightening up everything for spring.

The shoes ranged from formal wear, casual wear and a mix of in between. The collection is classic yet whimsical and most of all, the shoes are of sound design. Vanassibara explains, “Men have the right to dream too”. I bet all men will dream of owning a pair of these once they see the new collection!

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

Vivienne Westwood is a wonderful person and designer. I always love seeing her shows because not only do I adore her designs but I love how she fiercely fights for what she believes in. People that feel strongly about a cause do not often have a platform in order to have access to a lot of people, but Ms. Westwood is able to express her concerns about the world and share her views through her designs and runway, and I appreciate the way in which she does so.

This season, her collection was inspired  by the fight to end cruelty to pigs and the inefficiency and pollution caused by factory farming. The designs are eclectic and modern, colorful and fun. Some of the models sport tee-shirts supporting the cause saying “Moral Outrage”, and some even wear top hats and an ironic pig nose. Our favorites are always the innovative suits, this season with extra big squared prints, a-la-window pane-esque. Westwood’s patterns are always exciting and fresh. I think the designs speak for the themselves really, and if you want to support the cause and/or sign a petition boycotting meat from animal factories, please visit Pig Pledge.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

I normally associate Chester Barrie with formal wear, but excellent news: they are expanding into resort and cruisewear as well for SS15. The upstairs, more casual resortwear designs were colorful and preppy. I got a great vibe from the new collection, in fact, it made me want to sip a mojito on a yacht, or watch young men play croquet while eating garden sandwiches in Boston. Plaids, paisleys, florals and stripes adorned on summery fabrics like linen gave the line a beachy vibe. Cuffed pants and preppy boat shoes completed the looks.

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Once I headed downstairs, I got some of the more formal suiting options, dapper as per usual. Chester Barrie is capable of making any man look eloquent and perfect for any occasion.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

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The SS15 Xander Xhou collection is called “Hyperdrive” and its inspiration stems from gender and sexuality. This is the second designer we’ve seen here in London that has used elements reminiscent of a teenage, adolescent existence. Again, this brings us back to the 1990’s era, where teens ruled the world.

Xander Xhou is hthe first designer based in China to be given the license to use original Star Wars imagery within his designs. Now, the black-and-white futuristic space-like designs make more sense. He also uses denim, again bringing us back to those teenage years.

The coats in the collection were phenomenal, which I don’t often get to say in a spring collection, but they are long and trendy with square collars and modern imagery. The boxy shapes and cool colors resonate with everyday people. Some of the coats even had air blowers, which added a cool futuristic touch.

BDMOTP favorite: evergreen coat

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

When I got the invitation for the Sankuanz runway show, sponsored by GQ China, I knew I was in for a treat! How could a show with that invitation not be fun?

The invitation for the Sankuanz show.

The invitation for the Sankuanz show.

The show was fun and crazy, with white oufits with all sorts of writing on them in various languages. AThe prints were inspired by Russian prison tattoos from the 1940’s, and the looks are sporty and casual. The second half of the show, models walked with giant hand-pieces. Although the clothes might seem a bit extreme, having been to Asia, this type of stuff, especially paired with more basic pieces, is quite popular there, and could easily be trending in your city soon!

GQ China, having launched in 2009, plans to be part of London Collections: Men in future years, bringing new Asian designers to the British market.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

In the Casely Hayford SS15 collection “Art Intervention”, we see how the world of fashion is changing. The designer’s aim is to bring sportswear into formal, therefore making a casual look seem, well, not-so-casual. Pinstripes, typically a more formal look have been toned down to everyday wear, made it to coats and shirts.

The collection also features looks from the “normcore” movement, which is defined as “stylized blandness”. Really, taking something basic and making it stylish due it’s almost lack of design, perhaps the Joan Miro of the design world?

Long coats are making a comeback for SS15, and we see plenty of modern, sharp ones in this collection. The patterned jackets and blazers were also spectacular.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

James Long brought us back to the early 90’s for a little peek at a “modern” grunge look for his SS15 collection. The collection was inspired by elements of boxing and the “haze” of island life. Taking “city” clothes and wearing them down in a relaxed and calm atmosphere was the message the line brought across.

We still see flashes of Long’s signature stripe, and the collection is full of colorful fabrics, including abstract graffiti of the name “JAMES” printed on some shirts. Most models also had a streak of red or color in their long, shaggy hair, complete with stylish sunglasses.

BDMOTP favorite: the ripped, grunge jean jackets

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

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