The AW16 Review

 

As the Paris Fashion Week draws to a close, PORT’s fashion features editor, David Hellqvist reflects on the AW16 collections unveiled this month, as documented by illustrator Billy Clark

The beginning of LCM feels like ages ago, but it’s only been 18 days. The fashion circuit does that you, it sucks you in and completely owns you for a few weeks twice a year. Though exhausting at times, it’s a great feeling. You get to experience the purest form of fashion, a show where the designer controls every aspect of the presentation: music, venue, invitation, mood and, of course, the clothes.

Naturally, with so many shows spread over four cities (if you count the Pitti Uomo trade show in Florence), it’s impossible to find just one or two themes – we’ve never been too interested in identifying trends anyway. But you can, however, detect general feelings, and there was definitely a sense of fragile retro vibes, defined by Michele Alessandro’s Gucci look. He built on his 70s cut and colours, but added a new layer of wonderful weirdness.

That could be felt in London as well, most notably with the rise of Grace Wales Bonner. Other London highlights included the developed Craig Green look. He mastered the tricky concept of building on an existing aesthetic while also experimenting with new influences.

Like these brilliant doodles by illustrator Billy Clark show, other notable LCM highlights included E Tautz 50s tailoring via the 1980s and Alexander McQueen’s army-inspired suits with butterfly prints. John Ray and Dunhill perfected an old British classic, the blazer, and Margaret Howell continued offer a zen space amid the show chaos with her clean and serene garments. Meanwhile, brands like Nasir Mazhar and Cottweiler represented London’s underground scene with a sub-cultural aesthetic.

Milan is a great mixture of grand teatros – a la the Armani show – and small trattorias for us to enjoy simple pasta dishes and huge veal escalopes. Prada is a constant highlight, but Gucci was also a headliner. Classic Italian brands like Tod’s are slotted in among newly revamped brands, like Pal Zileri. It’s interesting to see the city rejuvenate itself and breathe in much needed fresh air. One great example of that was the Fendi show – great lineage and traditions mixed with a modern and contemporary way of thinking.

Paris is the unofficial highlight though. We come here to bask in the beauty of the city of lights, and to enjoy fashion from the likes of Raf Simons, Valentino and Givenchy. Kim Jones at Louis Vuitton continued to add edge to the iconic luggage brand, while Kris Van Assche kept Dior Homme’s slim signature tailoring. Kolor added a Japanese touch with its innovative fabrications and Korean label Wooyoungmi impressed with clear cuts and interesting colour panels. Yohji Yamamoto and Adidas went back to basics with a monochrome Y-3 collection, while newcomers including OAMC and Off-White added a much needed ‘street’ slant to the traditional fashion in Paris. The week ended brilliantly with Paul Smith encouraging a singalong to David Bowie’s ‘Oh You Pretty Things’. It was a beautiful end to a great season. Bring on winter 2016!

Illustration Billy Clark

Paul Smith AW16 Photo Essay

Sir Paul Smith brought joy to the last day of Paris men’s fashion week with loud music and colourful suits

Though there were a few more shows after Paul Smith on the final day of Paris men’s fashion week, this was the last one of the season for PORT’s fashion team. And what a way to finish the AW16 collections. The British designer has a way with words but, more than anything, he has a way with people – and his clothes show that.

As per usual, it was an eclectic mix of modern tailoring and everyday staples, often in loud colours and odd combinations. You can tell this is a man less bothered about convention and more about enjoying life. The music helped too: a potpourri of classic hits that finished with a David Bowie tribute… and a dancing Sir Paul!

Photography Karl Hab

OAMC AW16: Photo Essay

The luxury streetwear brand brought pop culture references and military details to its Paris presentation

OAMC started out as Overall Master Cloth, a premium luxe version of American workwear brand Carhartt, but Arnaud Faeh and ex-Supreme designer Luke Meier quickly developed the concept, moved on from Carhartt and abbreviated the name. The lack of Carhartt alliance meant creative freedom: no more chore jackets needed. Since the split, Faeh and Meier have pushed the brand in an interesting direction.

It’s very hard to define exactly what they do, but OAMC certainly has cornered the ‘luxury streetwear’ market. Faeh, the former Carhartt WIP creative director who brought about the Carhartt x APC collaboration, and Meier clearly base their aesthetic on pop cultural references and, as is the case with the AW16 collection, military uniform details.

With production in Italy, Japan and Portugal, this is a high-end brand hell bent on making the finest clothes possible, without compromising on attitude and energy. These are clothes you actually want to wear. That might sound obvious, but in the context of ‘fashion week’ that isn’t always the case.

Photography Karl Hab

Fendi Photo Essay AW16

Silvia Venturini Fendi presented a modernised and poppy version of the Rome-based luxury brand, incorporating lounge details like furry teddy totes, slouchy pyjamas and shearling bucket hats

Photography Claudia Zalla

Daily Doodle: Prada AW16

Miuccia Prada went for strong sailor theme and even injected some 18th-century pirate vibes with loose collars and oversized cuffs

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Illustration Billy Clark

Pal Zileri Photo Essay AW16

Set in an industrial and dystopian Milanese factory space, Mauro Ravizza Krieger painted his signature modern Italian elegance with a palette of earthy tones

Photography Claudia Zalla

The Collaboration: Christopher Raeburn x Clarks AW16

The ‘Remade in England’ designer teams up with the classic British footwear brand on Mongolia-inspired boots

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When award-winning menswear designer Christopher Raeburn researched Clarks, his future collaboration partner, he discovered something that made an already promising partnership perfect. It appears that the first pair of Clarks shoes were made from off cuts from sheepskin rugs. This might just be an ethical bonus for you and me but for Raeburn it provided the sartorial synergy between the two brands he needed, for it to be more than just another catwalk collab. Raeburn has, famously, built his brand on the idea of reusing and remaking. Since day one he’s recycled existing fabrics into new garments, often with a strong army uniform connection.

Having premiered the Clarks collaboration back in June 2015, this was a follow up – the difficult ‘second album’ collection. But rather than just tweaking the boots shown for SS16, this season Raeburn looked towards new styles, such as the Trigenic-inspired Scale boot. Using the tough and demanding Mongolian climate as his source of inspiration, Raeburn and Clarks have come up with a capsule collection that will stand the test of time, and is also accomplished enough to take you from the concrete to the tundra.

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What was the inspiration behind these three specific shoes?

The inspiration for the footwear is taken from Mongolia, one of the last truly wild places on earth. The harsh climate and rich culture of craftsmanship was a fitting inspiration for the Clarks x Christopher Raeburn collection.

Together we looked at Mongolian Mukluk boots and traditional Mongol riding boots and developed a number of signature details that work across the collection. Piping, layering, quilting, Mongolian pattern and stitch detailing have all been incorporated into the collection, and I’m super excited by the end result.

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Did you base the shoes on pre-existing styles? One of them looks like a Trigenic…

The Trigenic Scale is absolutely at the heart of this collection. With its distinctive Trigenic sole and upper design taking inspiration from Mongolian leather armour, it’s a perfect example of how we’ve worked together on both the design and craftsmanship of the collection.

The Khulan Frost and Khulan Snow both take their inspiration from vintage military Mukluk. Khulan Frost features distinctive strapping detail, while both incorporate a geometric pattern inspired Mongolia. Each style also has a reversible in-sock with one side made from wool – perfect for cold weather. The other side is made from leather, which works for warmer days. Our inspiration came from the functional in-socks found inside military Muckluck boots, which could be removed and dried by the fire.

How does this feel as a continuation of the last collaboration?

This season, the collaboration with Clarks has really developed. What’s been so cool is now that the momentum has been growing in the relationship, we’ve worked with the Clarks designers to make sure of all the footwear complements our ready-to-wear. It’s been really fantastic to see that go down the catwalk, and for everything to be so complete is something I’m very proud of. I’m really pleased with how things are going and the reaction we’ve had!

My Inspiration: Grace Wales Bonner AW16

The up-and-coming designer and star of London’s MAN showcase on her fascination with British artist Mark Leckey

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Fresh blood is always needed, it’s in the nature of fashion to constantly crave ‘newness’. Each season there’s one or two stand out names that inject such energy. Craig Green did it a few seasons back. This time around it was down to Grace Wales Bonner to do the honour. Her sensitive, 70s-like fashion felt poetic, ranging from double-breasted suits to firetruck red tracksuits. This was one of the LC:M highlights, and here GWB explains some of her inspiration:

“For me, Mark Leckey’s quote on Little Richard, sets up the idea of appropriating a perception of yourself and transforming it: ‘For me he is a shaman. He takes all the trash, all of the abuse and disrespect he received, and alchemically transforms it into something powerful. He creates a space, and a space gets created around him where he can act or enact this ritual, where he can intoxicate people by his kind of magic.’

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walesbonner.net

“When working on the AW16 collection, ‘Spirituals’, I was thinking about different notions of black spirituality, how they serve as a form of escapism, how they can help create new identities. Also Afro-futurism, Sun Ra, Miles Davis, Religion and traditional Griot ceremonies influenced these ideas. Mark Leckey’s work was referenced in the hair and make-up concept this season, where the models were painted as if they had just come off stage of a performance, their faces were glittering with sweat which also suggested ethereal qualities.”