Come to bed, says Per Götesson for A/W 17. His boys modelled pyjamas and robes within a set furnished with pillows, created by innovative set designer Tony Hornecker. Male sexuality was the given theme, an interesting departure from the irreverent and constant gender bending that’s going on in fashion right now. This collection was intriguingly old-school in its understanding of the sexual male - this was exaggerated by the frills and ‘feminine’ elements that appeared in the two collections that followed. It chimed with the buff boys and gym-toned torsos on show in London by designers such as Pieter, who’s absence from the schedule will be felt strongly this season. Götesson’s work will appeal to that same audience - they’ll enjoy those hot lycra pieces or the plaid shirts. Götesson feels like a relative outsider on the current ‘young London scene’. That’s refreshing. This collection benefitted from a sense of calm; a gaze outside of the melee.
Feng Chen Wang, who, like Götesson, is on her second season with Fashion East’s talent factory MAN, was looking at the same sense of historicism, costume and ceremony that’s enthralling London’s womenswear designers - see the puffed sleeves, ruffs and Marie Antoinette pastel hues favoured by the likes of Marques Almeida. Her collection was full of pomp - see the leg-of-mutton sleeves, the ruffles. Like Götesson’s, this was a collection about masculinity, but performative masculinity, rather than anything to do with ease and relaxation. This is a look for the peacock of the social media generation. Maybe it was the heels, the putty palette or the bubble hems, but one thought immediately of the work of original gender-bending pioneer J.W. Anderson. When he showed fetishistic feminine elements on men for S/S 13 it felt bold and pioneering, for Chen Wang’s A/W 17 those same ideas felt strangely normal and expected. The outerwear was the most exciting take-away - it veered off in its own sporty direction in a way that feel intriguing and relevant.
During Charles Jeffrey’s runway show, a mob of gurning contemporary-dancers-cum-screening fans followed a giant wearable blob, fashioned by set designer Gary Card, as it wobbled and waddled off backstage. It made me think about hype - the committed followers and hype beasts who are building Jeffrey’s profile one like/post at a time. He’s become London’s new it kid - LOVERBOY the new go-to brand for a bit of classic London chaos. One hopes the hype doesn’t burn out but instead gives way to a slow ascent (and gradually grown business) similar to that of 2017 British Fashion Award winners like Craig Green and Simone Rocha. As his finale song, Jeffrey selected Too Funky, by the late George Michael - an apt tribute to a great. A relevant and appropriate choice for a designer who pays lots of tributes. The spirit of Vivienne Westwood could be felt throughout the show - Jeffrey has made no secret of dreams to design for the label - especially in those bondage trousers and historical details. So too could Leigh Bowery’s. And Rei Kawakubo. And Gareth Pugh (who sat front row). I liked best the look that resembled a walking, coquettish Dennis the Menace, complete with punkish striped jumper. It was followed by regal looks and Jeffrey’s signature tailoring. It seemed apt for London's current most discussed provocateur - the newly appointed king of irreverence.