(Images from nymag.com. All credit due)
London Fashion Weeks with it’s associated graduation shows via Central Saint Martins MA has always been a hit and miss affair. Overworked plagiarism of 1980s experimental fashion ala Comme des Garçons, Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano seems to surface as a spectacle year after year with the showcasing of emerging designers. The over-hype is the only excitement generated from the runway as any deep analysis, which there isn’t really any need for, but probably should occur – is overlooked. As the slew of newer designers join the ranks of an already over inundated market place. A barely palatable state of affairs remains with these London Fall Men’s 2017 collections that seem transfixed on the oversized blazers, trousers and draped shirts representing a sloppy, messy and unappealing presentation. In noting this was Vivienne Westwood’s return to menswear (London 2017) that ended as a terrible redux of past greatness. Once again oversized styles that plagiarized this Fall 2017 seem to have been the benchmark in reliving the 1980s. A careless homage that within a historical value, when learning about fashion and it’s significant trends, should be noted by designer Georgina Godley’s quote in Dezeen from 2013 in regards to 80s London fashion. “Young London was all about taking risks and creating something out of nothing through passion and ambition.”
Christopher Raeburn stands out as I believe he is a talented designer, still trying to find his footing with style and originality. I like camouflage, in minimal doses, as it can be used creatively in different ways and his choice of colour palette for this Fall 2017 collection, shows an awareness of spectral colours within darker shades. The use and application of military and industrial fabrics is admirable. Combining looks of rugged, survivalist and military styles has an appealing concept as the ‘survivalist’ aesthetic is rarely utilized by designers for a concept or style. Personally I like these styles a lot and I cannot fault Raeburn’s creative interest within presenting that stylization. However what let his Fall 2017 collection down is the sloppy cuts, which were aligned with a weighted and tiring presentation. This could be because of the use of heavy synthetic weaves and/or abrasion resistant fabrics (military/industrial) that would be very hard to layer and style which in turn will not do justice to what could be expressed visually. As I feel Raeburn’s theme for this show is to showcase a darker and relevant expression to contemporary social events. In a speculative sense I would not delve deeper in assumptions of a designer’s theme, but the representation with his designs fails in creating an impact. There is neither a subtle nor blunt impression, just, as mentioned a visually tiresome collection.