Jun 10, 2016
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Men's fashion week opens with nod to British seaside

Jun 10, 2016

Suits worn over fishnet tops, tiny tailored shorts, loafers and sunburnt noses -- Topman Design went to the British seaside for its latest collection Friday, kicking off four days of men's fashion in London.

Topman Design SS17 London Collections Men - Twitter @Topman

J.W. Anderson, Christopher Kane, Coach, Barbour and some of Saville Row's top tailors are among those showing at this season's London Collections: Men, the twice yearly celebration of masculine style in the British capital.

Topman Design, part of the Topshop high-street fashion stable, opened the event with a show featuring cropped sweaters in soft pinks or blues, washed denim jackets, boxy puffa jackets and jewelled white tracksuits.

Described as a "celebration of Britain and its glorious seaside towns", the clothes were adorned with emblems of anchors and skulls, while the models were made-up to look like they had spent a little too long in the sun.

Influences included casual fashion from the 1980s as well as Teddy Boys and the Mods, youth tribes from the 1950s and 1960s.

- 'Desperate for self-expression' -

There was nostalgia for another lost tribe at the launch on Thursday evening of a book of punk photographs by Derek Ridgers, marked by an exhibition hosted by British designer Paul Smith at his Mayfair shop.

Smith said the black and white photos of fans and bands, taken in London in 1977, were a reminder of the importance of self-expression.

Topman Design SS17 London Collections Men

"Punk was a great example of just people doing things because they wanted to be different. But not with lots and lots of money -- just through doing it," he told AFP.

"I think the world is desperate for self-expression again. It's become so homogenised," he said.

"So many young people are living life more like a business plan. It's very considered, there's not so much self-expression."

Smith is known for his idiosyncratic take on traditional styling, particularly suits.

US bank JP Morgan made the headlines this week with the announcement that staff no longer had to wear suits, unless they were meeting clients.

Smith has no concerns about his core business.

Musician Dougie Poynter (far left), actor Raleigh Ritchie (with cap) and model Oliver Cheshire (middle) sitting front row at the show - Twitter @Topman

"We still sell a lot of suits. It depends how you wear it -- I'm wearing a suit tonight but with trainers and red socks," he said.

Suits or sportswear, men's fashion is increasingly big business, accounting for 25 percent of Britain's total clothing market, according to Mintel research cited by the British Fashion Council.

The market grew by 4.1 percent in 2015 to reach £14.1 billion, up from £13.5 billion in 2014 -- compared to growth of 3.7 percent in womenswear in the same period.

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