A pair of jeans can say so much. Whether they're thin, baggy, dark, tapered, bleached. So many subcultures and tribes can be identified by their denims - they are as important to them as their music, their clubs, their trainers. In other words, to some men, jeans and identity go hand in hand. It was Fiorucci that made Mark Leckey hardcore. It was Baggy Trousers that inspired Madness to sing.
Christopher Shannon is obsessed with these kind of details and this rich history of British menswear. He's been criticised in the past by some for oppressive, overbearing nostalgia. In some seasons, you can understand why. For S/S 17 he did what he does best - uniting references and throwbacks with the realities of how today's men dress. It was modern. There was nothing costumey or gimmicky about that perfect denim tracksuit or those layered jeans. It was great because it was informed by the past (and a deep, critical knowledge of style culture) but not oppressed by it.
While it's the Sports Direct word play that will win the best stats on social media, it was the quieter pieces that showed Shannon's true skill as a menswear maverick. It's a time of change in fashion - womenswear for men, menswear for women, gender-neutrality, androgyny. Brilliant, valid, urgent - sure. But it's strangely refreshing to see someone put forward a collection informed by a pure obsession with men and men's style history, from camp to casuals, dancefloor to street corner. Someone who can appreciate the nuances, tweak the antiquated elements, and push things forward for a new generation, with a knowing nod to the greats of the past.