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Review: London Collections- Men

Tuesday 19 June 2012

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Words Spindle

I started the morning shuffling towards the Royal Opera House for Hackett. It was immediately one of those occasions where your finest suit looks like a Jane McDonald knock-off, as the crowd outside resembled a utopia of David Gandy lookalikes. So I resigned myself to being the ‘dirty stop out’ in my Topman knit. Inside the venue from my privileged pigeon balcony view, the collection was a surprisingly youthful take on The Great Gatsby, where creamy suits included a breezy paisley impression. It made for something romantic and modern, proving that suave can also be spunky.

Afterwards I fell victim to a thunderstorm that seemed to only bully and follow me around. My leopard print chav cap kept blowing onto the road like a rom-com moment, and I had to befriend umbrella boys in the queue for Topman like it was my first day at school. After getting an appetite for a Greggs sausage roll from seeing Alexa Chung’s ‘saxo salt tub’ legs, Topman showed us why they’re the retail runway invasion that’s not to be messed with and undermined. It was like a chiselled episode of Saved By The Bell, where relaxed basketball tops enjoyed a dip into neon territory, with electric pink taking preference. The tailored shorts verged on M&S tame, but got away with it thanks to jackets that thunderbolted sparky colours like an aggressive piece of artwork. The vibe screamed 80’s high school rebel who’d rather spray-paint his skateboard and have sex than learn about it.

Oliver Spencer was next on the agenda, where I got the front row giggles from the bearded men that waltzed by. Some of the older gents looked like ‘the man from the cornershop who you’ve got an unexplainable crush on’, so on that note Oliver’s choice of model got the Spindle gold star of the day. The collection itself was just as easy on the eye, where suits had authentic gritty and industrial edge. The shirts were sharp, the blazers faultless, but all of this crispness came with an urban aura. Like a tattooed man that means business.

A Child Of The Jago was the surreal salon show of the day. I was invited into an intimate manor house room in Soho, like I was about to embark on a role play game of Cluedo. To be fair a group of girls in the corner were looking at me with murderous intent, but I risked this near death experience and had a glass of champagne and settled down to my surroundings. The men of the Jago kept bursting through grand doors like backstage conveyor belt chaos at Argos, but they eventually put the vintage record player on to set the scene. I watched a Luke Worrall lookalike and other flirty models inspect the room, in outfits that mixed ‘mad axeman’ with ‘off the road western boy’. The hats were larger than life, quite literally, and after I became immune to the surreal surroundings, the collection was an eclectic treat.

My day ended with Tesco pasties and bottle of cheap cava on the bus, where a Halifax worker kept tut’ing at me. I was on my way to the Felicities showroom to meet Jenny Schwarz and Orschel-Read. It was an inspired end to the day, where the models looked so comfortable in the clothes that they became sociable boys themselves. Although this ended up blurring my professional boundaries after a few gins, as I found myself singing Darius lyrics to one model and chatting about Babybel’s and Cheesestrings. The collections were stunning examples though of tailored looks with an eclectic aesthetic and Spindle have immediately bookmarked interviews with the two designers this Summer.

Words: Charles Matthews