While New York is just waking up London will already be knee-deep in double-faced jersey, French cuffs, crew necks and pleats, warming up to our first dedicated menswear showcase. Finally stepping out of the womenswear shadow, British menswear designers have been given a three day look-at-me, pre-Pitti Uomo, opportunity to really stretch those peacock feathers.
The menswear weekend is setting itself up to do what everyone knowns London does so well; show the best in heritage (HRH Prince Charles launched the event last night with a party at St James's Palace…) with the best in young, energetic showmanship. Let's not ignore the commercial importance here though, last year menswear sales reaped in a whopping £56 million pounds in the UK - so while it is without doubt an exciting red letter day for the boys, it's still a shop window, none the less.
Here are LookBooks' top five collections to look out for over the weekend:
J.W. Anderson: The infatuation with the Central St Martins-trained Mr. Anderson continues. Creating the kind of garments we'd claw over our grandmother to get to the front of the sample sale queue for, Anderson has an eye for the androgynous and interchangeable. Having just announced an upcoming collaboration with Topshop (due to drop in September) J.W. Anderson is set to go stratospheric. Be prepared for a paisley takeover.
Richard Nicoll: Having won countless awards for his womenswear collections, Nicoll's first menswear line is about to make its debut. Promising a mix of sports-influences and classic tailoring, expect Nicoll's signature razor-sharp cutting and bold use of colour stamped all over this collection.
Christopher Kane: Another name far more familiar with womenswear, Kane is a key player in LFW's New Establishment of leading designers. Having quietly introduced his menswear line over several seasons, this will the first time it comes out all guns blazing. Set to be the weekend's highlight - keep an eye out for directional prints, embellishments and a smart use of materials. K A N E L O V E.
Agi & Sam: Showing as part of MAN (Topman's showcase of three emerging designers) Agi & Sam are more formally Agape Mdumulla and Sam Cotton, who met while interning at Alexander McQueen. Queue a taste for flamboyancy, colour and tongue-in-cheek prints. But behind the humour is some pretty snappy tailoring. Keep an eye on this pair…
Meadham Kirchhoff: Like all good fashion stories, this one begins at Central Saint Martins, where London's candy kings, Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff originally planned to launch a menswear line together after graduating. For whatever reason that idea was shelved for the neon-pastel-o-rama that has become their womenswear signature. The invite to their first full menswear collection reads: SHOW/INVITATION/WHATEVER. Can't wait.
London Collections: Men runs from 15-17 June 2012
Watch live streaming from the shows here