Everything you need to know about the key industry shifts this fashion week
By Lewis Firth | Fashion | 6 January 2016
Photography Takanori Okuwaki

Backstage at J.W. Anderson SS16. Photography by Takanori Okuwaki

This article is part of Fashion Week – London, Milan, Paris, NYC

Among the foray of dexterous devils at men’s fashion week there are always focal points: shifts in creative direction; the departure of a leader; untried challenges; and coping with new-found pressures.

FW16 kicks off with London Collections: Men this Friday, then it’s onto Milan, Paris and New York. There are new tests, trials and fresh faces and with that comes an inherent thrill for anyone with a thing for fashion.

From big time designer changes to emerging talented taking it to the next level, here are the reasons to keep watch this season. Get ready: change is here.

Long heads to Iceberg

Stalwart London designer James Long was announced as the Milan-based Iceberg’s Creative Director back in November. Founded in 1974 the brand’s specialisms are rooted firmly in knitwear, sportswear and jeans. Long’s affinity for all three aligns the same. Energetic splashes of colour with his unorthodox use of pattern will assuredly pump some panache into the ‘Berg.

James Long SS16

Grace Wales Bonner hits the runway

The MAN show at London Collections: Men this season marks this talented young designer’s catwalk debut. Historical references and cultural codes are strengthened through her furnished presentations: how will she translate this to something kinetic?

Grace Wales Bonner SS16

Edward Crutchley alone (with Kim Jones)

The London designer and Central Saint Martins graduate cut his teeth developing textiles with Kim Jones at Louis Vuitton, alongside further consulting work over at Richard Nicoll. For FW15 he presented a romantic, Eastern-influenced collection as part of LC:M’s Fashion East, but this week he goes it alone with his first solo presentation, hosted by none other that Jones. The ultimate endorsement, Crutchley’s worth a bookmark.

Edward Crutchley FW15. Photography Harry Clark

Charles Jeffrey’s club kids step up

Another first catwalk show. Compared to Bonner’s presentations, Jeffrey’s first at LC:M last year was far from static, but how he will develop his club-kid aesthetic further is critical at hardening his presence at such an early stage in his career. If his New Romantics Fashion East presentation for SS16 was anything to go by, we can expect thrills.

Charles Jeffrey SS16. Photography Harry Clark

Gucci: a real hot ticket

Relative unknown Alessandro Michele was announced Creative Director following Frida Gianni’s departure from the storied Italian brand at the end of 2014. Michele’s subsequent collections signal a youthful new era for the house, and one so far welcomed with much acclaim from the fashion industry.

He was announced International Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards in November, so fair to say the pressure is high. Developing the oxymoronic contemporary-yet-traditional timbre will be Michele’s task this season, we can’t wait to see what he turns out.

Gucci SS16

Double barrelled J.W. Anderson

J.W. Anderson walked away with two awards at this year’s British Fashion Awards: the Menswear Designer of the Year Award, and Womenswear Designer of the Year Award.

With his own line and his poetic work over at Loewe, the workload is high – and the pressure’s on. But when is it not? Anderson’s career has been notched by a plethora of awards and he still smashes it. Like all consistent talents in this industry, here’s a designer who thrives on the edge.

J.W. Anderson. Photography Takanori Okuwaki

DKNY’s new guard

Public School Founders, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, were announced as DKNY’s new creative leaders in May after Donna Karan announced her departure from the brand.

September 2015 was their womenswear debut; this season, the boys will be notching DKNY’s presence in menswear. Modernity is an affinity of theirs. Public School has thrived from it. Will Karan’s off-shoot line get the same treatment?

Maxwell Osborne and Dao Yi Chow

Balenciaga big moves

Demna Gvasalia from meteorically rising label Vetements became Balenciaga’s new creative director in October after Alexander Wang announced his departure from the helm. Gvasalia is known for his lateral lean, while Wang’s minimalist melody for the French icon was solid. The designer will show his first collection for the house at women’s fashion week in Paris come March, so we’ll have to wait ’til the next round of men’s shows to see what this shift has in store. But such a major change is well worth noting in advance – for now we’ll wait with baited breath.

Demna Gvasalia. Photo Willy Vanderperre / Kering

Lanvin, a last note

Alber Elbaz shockingly announced his exit from the house at the end of October. Lucas Ossendrijver designs the French house’s beautiful menswear line, which is a collection of and unto itself. But considering Elbaz was creative director at the house for fourteen years, it’s a change worth mentioning in the context of big industry shifts.

Stay tuned to HERO for full, fashion-week coverage from London, Milan, Paris and New York.


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