Fantasy becomes reality as fashion's 'Wonder Boy' shows in London
The British capital's fashion elite were up early to cram into the military building that provided the backdrop for the autumn-winter 2016 collection of JW Anderson, the eponymous label set up by the 31-year-old in 2008.
The Northern Irishman is widely regarded as one of Britain's brightest fashion stars having made his name as the artistic director of Spanish luxury fashion house Loewe and scoring a double success at last year's British Fashion Awards for both his male and female collections.
"Wonder Boy", as he has been nicknamed by the British press, lived up to his billing as he showcased his innovative and uninhibited collection on Sunday.
Showing off his knack for luxury, Anderson dazzled the gathered fashionistas, buyers and journalists with a series of black ermine mantles, flecked with red and blue.
They were followed by woollen trousers, asymmetrical jackets decorated with cartoon prints, coats with cloud-shaped pockets and metal necklaces.
"Today it was about telling an urban tale," in a tech-driven world of ever-decreasing distances, he told the press.
"It's like how we live our lives, we go from one thing to another, its about travelling, its about a journey, its about speed," he added.
"It's like falling into a club, falling into a Japanese garden and then falling into a bank".
The Women's Wear Daily (WWD) trade journal, sometimes referred to as the "bible of fashion", said Anderson had "once again raced to the head of the pack".
- Grindr link-up -
On the evidence of Sunday's show, Anderson's disciples will soon be strutting around in wide, aubergine-coloured suits made of silk, brightened up by irreverent snail-shaped stickers.
In winter, they will wrap up in loose-knit woollen sweaters that fall to the knees.
The show was broadcast live on gay dating app Grindr, demonstrating the designer's innovative relationship with modern communication channels.
"For me it was like how could we reach like 196 countries in one moment," he said.
"We are in this moment where medias have changed, so we need to explore, it's quite amazing to be able to access seven million people at once."
The Alexander McQueen label showed off its collection in the grand Durbar Court of the British government's ornate Foreign Office building, which features vast marble floors and classical columns.
The show kicked off to the sounds of Chopin before shifting to ambient electronic music, and viewers were treated to the label's new fitted black suits festooned with elegant white and grey butterfly prints.
Artistic director Sarah Burton, a close collaborator with the eponymous label's celebrated founder before his death in 2010, plays with materials; cotton gabardine, flannel, cavalry twill, camel hair and silk, among others.
One coat was made from a floral tapestry based on oil paintings.
The show drew on designs from nature, part of the label's theme of Darwinian discovery and scientific classification, and also nodded to military styles, all the while retaining McQueen's sense of exploration and reinvention.
The collection is "obsessed with the elegance that 'survives' the struggle for life", the brand explained.
Shows for the autumn-winter 2016 season began on Friday and will continue until Monday.
Men's Fashion Week will then up sticks and head for Milan and Paris before ending in New York.
Sales in men's fashion leapt by 22 percent in Britain to £13.5 billion pounds ($19.6 billion, 18 billion euros) between 2009 to 2014, according to market researcher Mintel.
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