East London designers playfully drew on the simple pleasures of a summer holiday at London Collections: Men, the capital’s menswear fashion week. Reinterpreting the luggage and holiday attire of Brits abroad and shaped by their own brand identity, a handful of designers tapped into our nostalgia for the summer experience.
Master of print Kit Neale incorporated symbolic holiday motifs from family holidays on the Med and a Neapolitan ice-cream colour palette into this season’s spring/summer ‘15 collection. The Ravensbourne alumnus printed a medley of potted cactus plants onto heavy white cotton board shorts and jackets, while the in-flight emergency manual became the basis of another print, the designer accentuating the cartoon-like nature of the instructions. Neale gained access to the Coca Cola archives for this collection, and reworked the classic logo on candy-coloured diamond print shirts. Trousers were rolled up (prepared for a paddle), hair was 1950s quaffed, and sweaters were worn over the shoulders, completing the carefree hyper-holiday aesthetic.
Playing with the same themes to different ends was sportswear inspired duo Cottweiler. Matthew Dainty and Ben Cottrell took us on the entire journey, from airport departure lounge through to sunburnt noses and a feeling of ‘I don’t want to go home’. The collection opened with Cottweiler’s signature tracksuits, this time employing a palette of dusty grey and white, and was worn by a set of pale models with wheelie suitcases. The collection evolved, as did the models’ tans, into shorts, sleeveless vests and t-shirts nearly all in crisp white, with accents of colour in swimming pool blue piping, and Mediterranean terracotta jackets. Short shorts, funnel necks and the deployment of burnt reds and greys brought a touch of 1970s nostalgia to the aesthetic, while the overall collection made for a wholly contemporary and unique reinterpretation of travelling to foreign climes.
For SS15, J.W. Anderson featured knitted tops of pastoral British landscape scenes – rivers and lakes, complete with threatening skies, evoking memories of camping holidays or hours spent in the car, watching the rolling countryside pass by. Astrid Anderson transported us to Japan for her collection, exploring her own fascination with the art of sumo, by creating kimonos in soft sunset shades of orange and pink.
It was back to basics this season, with designers drawing on precious personal memories and evoking ours through a focus on travel, holidays and kicking back.