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Show Report

Show Report: Fashion East A/W 15 Menswear

by Lou Stoppard on 11 January 2015

Lou Stoppard reports on the Fashion East A/W 15 menswear show.

Lou Stoppard reports on the Fashion East A/W 15 menswear show.

There was one stand out star at today's Fashion East presentation. It wasn't the designer given the greatest platform - Shaun Samson had been invited to host a small catwalk show as part of the installation - but despite the competition from other young talents crammed into the presentation area, from Alan Crocetti (pinstripe gender-bending, all a bit J.W. Anderson) to Edward Crutchley (great oriental-inspired separates and winning bombers), it was Grace Wales Bonner who shone. 'Who?' I hear you ask. Well get set to hear the English-Jamaican designer's name a lot.

The Central Saint Martins graduate has spoken proudly about how important the influence of black culture is to her work and it was the strong sense of heritage and history in her A/W 15 collection that made it so memorable. This season we've seen a lot of young designers challenge our Europe-centric, white-centric view of menswear history and tradition but Wales Bonner's attempt was perhaps the most convincing largely just because it encapsulated both joy and strife simultaneously. Despite all the surface detail this had genuine depth and authenticity.

Jazz culture was a big aspect of the collection, hence all that great tailoring, but she avoided veering into costume territory by including more casual pieces like leathers and flared denims. Many of the attendees were seduced simply by the spangles - she'd embroidered the edges of jackets with crystals and shells and furnished some models with breathtaking bejewelled caps - but actually the pieces with the most mileage were the quieter ones. One look in particular - a great pair of flares with a snug zip-through sporty jacket with retro horizontal stripes - said more about how modern men are shopping and what feels like 'dressing up' and 'styling oneself' than pretty much everything else we're seen this LC:M.

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