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#LCM SS14 Backstage: Man

A show of three halves, the Topman-sponsored MAN show is the home of forward-looking menswear, and in addition to last year’s standout show by Craig Green, this season welcomed two fresh recruits: Bobby Abley and Alan Taylor.

First out of the block, Bobby Abley, whose cosplay-ish concept of castles, princes and teddy bears involved a lot of oversized silhouettes, mixes of showy fabrics and a strong palette of yellows, pinks, blacks and greys. Teddy bear motifs mixed with Disney swallows, gossamer sheers with technical waterproofs, leather crowns with backpacks – it sounds like a bold mix to say the least, but Abley pulled it off with a unified palette and a real sense of enjoyment and playfulness; something that is sometimes lacking in po-faced fashionland. Abley also tapped into one of LCM’s trends; playing with the length of upper garments like shirts and t-shirts to create unique silhouettes. The unexpected combinations and finesse of Abley’s finish made this collection a triumph of royal proportions.

Alan Taylor’s refined deconstruction of tailoring flirted playfully more with materials than anything else, offering what appeared to be simple basics on the surface, but all finished to the exacting standards of Mr Taylor. Semi-sheer jackets sensually revealed their construction while oversized knitwear in grey and pink hues had hints of Missoni, and the tweeds reverberated with Alan’s own Irish heritage. Taylor’s tour de force was to show garments that mirrored themselves upside-down, inspired by Charlie Porter’s use of upside-down catwalk images to make you focus on the garments rather than the image. It was a bold move, but one that underlined Taylor’s garment-focused approach – his is a tailored eye, focused on sharp cutting, luxe materials and exquisite innards.

Craig Green, last year’s headline-grabber thanks to those setpiece head-scupltures, was once more on rebellious form, sending models down the catwalk with ninja-style headscarves, bucket hats and reinterpretations of last season’s headgear in either tie-dye explosion or severe monochromes. But let’s not let that distract from the clothes – Green’s use of millefeuille layering, raw-edged fabrics and immaculately-constructed jackets was again perfectly-executed; with all of the theatre quite effectively disguising a collection that, deconstructed, is eminently wearable and commercial. It’s almost as if Green’s rebellion at the mainstream reception of his debut has spurred him into a theatrical-style display: for casual observers, these looks are impenetrable, but once you deconstruct, or give an look more than a two-second glance, the delicate layering and perfection of garments becomes clear. It’s not a collection for purists, merely people that are more than reactionary; Green showed us that looking deeper reveals a bold simplicity, clearly informing the assembled aficionados that he means business, in every sense of the word. Glorious, brilliant and clever – Craig has plenty more tricks up his sleeves.

Words: Seb Law
Photography: Laura Lewis

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