Of late, the menswear shows have been tinged with the tart taste of politics. Last year’s Paris Menswear shows were imbued with the news of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. This season, opening London Fashion Week Menswear, Phoebe English presented her S/S 18 Menswear collection amongst the flurry of 2017 snap election bulletins. English is often vocal about politics (her S/S 17 womenswear collection broached the topic of Brexit), but this presentation was a neutral, soothing and measured space, placating the noise and opinion from the outside world.
Much like her previous shows, English created an engaging tableaux with models put to work again, this time working in pottery, moulding balls of slate coloured clay into bowl-like shapes. Busy, practical and engaged - much like English. A palette of calico cream, sky blue and Dartmouth and India green pacified the viewer, as too did the back-to-basics collarless necklines and soft grey Breton stripes. A fellow spectator commented that the capsule’s colours were reminiscent of medical scrubs, this was particularly true with the blue belted trench, which showcased apron-like frame and tightly rolled-up sleeves, as if ready for work. Perhaps this nuance is English’s nod in support of the NHS? Perhaps not. A delight nonetheless.
Styled by Ellie Grace Cumming, models were given a utilitarian aesthetic, with rope handle rucksacks doubly layered across worker-bees’ backs. Smock fronts atop shorts and trousers, thick drawstrings and a patchwork style waterproof gave this collection a practical wearability - items seemed to be able to layer, fold and roll to the wearer or worker’s needs. This presentation offered a universally covetable collection and a quiet strength amongst the political hullaballoo.