To many of us men, the world of catwalk shows and fashion presentations is a million miles away from the clothing we would choose to buy and wear on a daily basis. And who can blame us for thinking like that? Androgynous looking models, peculiar silhouettes and not an XL in sight. It’s not only the clothes and designers that stand out, the audience, an eccentric mix of buyers, bloggers and hangers-on, are all done up in their most extravagant best. Regardless if this is a world you want or wish to be a part of, it is no doubt a spectacle and the gulf between the catwalk and the high street isn’t as big as you think.
We were invited by our good friend Matthew Miller to view his AW14 collection, entitled “The Politics of Me”, as part of London Collections: Men, the male equivalent of London’s Fashion Week. Now in its fourth season, LC:M has helped push menswear forward by bringing funding and exposure to some of the countries most talented designers. Matthew is part of this new British wave and his presentation further cemented his standing within the industry.
Greg Hewitt, left and Matthew Miller, right.
The show took place of the first day of LC:M in Victoria House, a huge place that has been turned into a dedicated fashion showcase space. We were met by Greg Hewitt, owner of DMSR showrooms in London and taken into the bowels of this vast building to go backstage. Every cliché you can think of involving the dressing room of a catwalk show was here on show. Tall, half naked models strutting around, Bruno-esque fashion reporters, a gaggle of excited bloggers, stressed looking stylists, last minute alterations. Yet amongst this scene of chaos stood Matthew, perhaps the most casually dressed man in the entire room.
Greg Hewitt of DMSR showrooms.
They really went to town on the catering.
With the show about to start we took our places, Ian sitting in the front row and myself situated with the gaggle of, bizarrely, middle-aged Italian photographers at the end of the catwalk. As the place began to fill, all manner of fashion statements wandered past. Three-piece suits paired with bright orange wellies, Shaolin style monks with purple kimonos and five panels, jodhpurs and trilbies, fedoras and Flyknits.
Eventually, the show started and Matthew’s creations started filing up and down the catwalk. His typical pared back designs with a sportswear edge were clearly visible and his unforgiving look at the worlds of politics, fashion and humanity was, as always has been, a constant theme. Having stocked Matthew Miller in Peggs & son for the first time last season, it was nice to see him take on a wider range of garments, everything from trousers to suiting, leather jackets to shoes.
The fabrics used, which we were lucky enough to look at in the flesh backstage, are rich, heavyweight and ideally suited for the colder weather. Matthew worked with Danish fabric pioneers Kvadrat to achieve interesting new textures. In particular, a pair of distressed trousers made from patches that had been hand sewn together were a particular highlight. Another strength was the suiting with its bold masculine silhouettes perfectly complimenting Matthew’s utilitarian approach. This use of monotone colours, long lines, minimal details is what defines Matthew, but it isn’t necessarily what constrains him. In a world such as fashion with an infinite array of possibilities (purple kimonos, orange wellies), to have boundaries and rules is important as they give you your own aesthetic and style. Matthew has written his own personal politics all over his most recent collection and it really shows.
And, to bring it full circle, this is what less fashion forward labels have been doing for over 100 years. Levi’s broke new ground because they created exceptional workwear clothing. And since 1873, they have been pushing forward with that, altering it slightly to try and make it better but, ultimately, keeping it unchanged, using the same looks and design ideas. This is something that bridges the gap between the more avant-garde designers such as Matthew Miller and the less daring – the ability to carve out your own niche, give it your own personal touch and create something that somebody else will love.
To take a look at Matthew Miller’s most recent collection, please head on over to the online store. A massive thanks to Greg Hewitt from DMSR Showrooms and of course Matthew Miller.