London fashion is decidedly youthful. We are, after all, the city that prides itself on a rich history of youth-led movements, from the punks to the mods and rockers. Much of what we've seen on the runways for S/S 14 has been equally young in its focus, as exemplified by the cartoony graphics and boyish sportswear silhouettes that have dominated the shows. London champions fresh talent so it's natural that we're seeing brilliant clothes made by boys for boys.
But it was a surprise to see Margaret Howell, a designer whose refined and pure work is the antidote to the current maximalist spirit, embrace a more childish look. This season her men, or boys, came clad in boxy short-sleeved school shirts, cotton sun-hats and boy scout neck-a-chiefs. As usual the pieces were beautifully constructed and flawlessly finished, but they had a lightness and ease that feels relevant given the current menswear climes. Maybe it was the accompanying sounds of 'Here comes the sun' or maybe it was those carefree, school-boy looks, but this collection had an optimism and vibrancy that seemed new and refreshing for the always impeccable Howell.