Fashion may be in a state of flux, with traditional seasons, gender divides and shopability all up for debate, but, for now, the traditional bi-annual month of catwalk shows remains. So, with our eyes fixed on another four weeks of new menswear collections, kicking off this week with London Fashion Week Men's AW18, we’re looking back at five of the industry’s most game-changing presentations.
INSPIRATION AND ADVICE
5 INFLUENTIAL MENSWEAR SHOWS
By Kasia Hastings, 5 January 2018
Helmut Lang’s AW98 virtual show
Well before big fashion houses like Burberry and Gucci started live-streaming their shows, Helmut Lang turned the elitist fashion game on its head by allowing the rest of the world to watch his gender-neutral AW98 womenswear show online. Lang’s minimal, mono-coloured, utilitarian collection paved the way for everyone from Maison Margiela to Raf Simons to Kanye West and, much like his clothes, his democratised fashion experience is still emulated today.
Raf Simons’ AW98 Radioactivity show
Raf Simons’ love of music and experimentation has given cult status to his late-90s to early-00s seasonal visions, but it's perhaps his AW98 Radioactivity show, set to a Kraftwerk soundtrack, that's most memorable. In the sumptuous setting of Paris’ Moulin Rouge, Simons presented his personal reimagining of Kraftwerk’s anti-fashion uniforms from their The Man-Machine album art (a record that featured industry satire The Model). The designer’s skinny suits, crimson-red shirts and black ties presented a radical new menswear vision that acted as a precursor to the slim-cut contemporary tailoring that defined the decade to come.
Hedi Slimane’s Dior Homme AW02 Reflexion show
Hedi Slimane’s debut Dior Homme collection carved out a new notion of masculinity, and by his third show he’d pretty much perfected the super-slim indie-rocker silhouette that ruled the 2000s. The man behind our long-standing love affair with skinny jeans reworked classic womenswear pieces from the Dior archive, like the tightly fitting Bar blazer, and helped revolutionise the way modern men were wearing clothes. Slim-cut suits, ties, white shirts and emo-esque hair – this show captured the zeitgeist of the early-00s rock scene.
Nasir Mazhar x Skepta’s SS15 LC:M shutdown
When grime’s slickest tracksuit champion, Skepta, soundtracked (and modelled in) sportswear aficionado Nasir Mazhar’s SS15 show it marked an important moment in contemporary British culture. London has always pushed fashion’s boundaries and the subversive designer used London Collections: Men to present a new kind of cultural icon – someone who encapsulated the same kind of energy that his clothes did. The much-hyped show put grime on the fashion map and confirmed Skepta as a new style player.
Kanye West’s AW16 Yeezy Season 3 showcase
We may be several seasons deep into the creative, audiovisual fashion extravaganza that is a Kanye West Yeezy show, but it was his third staging at Madison Square Gardens that really made the world sit up and watch. Part giant album listening party, part fashion presentation, West orchestrated an international moment for his latest artistic output that had us all waiting with bated breath. The clothes – a more colourful riff on the stripped-back military Yeezy Season 2 aesthetic – were showcased by a mass of models who sat centre stage for the entirety of the show, with the strict instruction not to smile. Among them were up-and-coming hip-hop style icons Lil Yachty and Young Thug and serious fashion names like Naomi Campbell.