• Caz McKinnon

Ben Sherman : AW18 Menswear, LFW

Updated: Feb 22, 2018

Ben Sherman has debuted his Spring/Summer 2018 collection under the name "Peacock Revolution"at London Fashion Week Men's . The unisex collection features 29 looks and is a surprisingly fresh interpretation of 1960's and 70's psychedelic bohemia. Among the different looks is a vibrant mix of tailored sweaters with provocative geometric patterns, styled Harrington jackets, carefully stitched badges, striped tracksuit bottoms and fishtail parkas. It not only taps into the electric style of the 60's but is also a tribute specifically to northern soul, drawing largely on the looks and styles of mod subculture. And indeed, the combination of nostalgia-infused sensibilities with a modern twist is what one walks away remembering.

Mark Williams, the creative director of Ben Sherman has embarked on a collaboration with Henry Holland for this collection. Holland was just nominated by the British Fashion Council’s Fashion Awards for Best Emerging Menswear Designer; his designs also seem to have a preoccupation with the styles of the past. “The collection we have created together feels like the perfect reflection of our shared values and strength of spirit,” Holland has commented. This feeling is accurately reflected in the collection.

Within all of the looks there is an attentive approach to meshing the correct colors to remain modern but capture retro: mustard corduroys matched with a neutral dark blues and reds that are complimented by evocative stitching around the collar of a sleeveless sweater; a bright yellow graphic sweater topped off with a slouched beanie hat the same color and finally paired with a dark green pair of corduroys. The compositions for the different looks are meticulously well balanced, creating an effective dialogue between the past and the present.

The collection largely achieves this by its use of fashion's number one preoccupation right now: sportswear. Williams and Holland handle this well. Fitted cotton sweatpants with the obligatory bold stripe on the outside of the leg make an appearance; but once again Sherman and Holland utilize this trend to surprise, using bright, bold blues and greens in the form of startling geometric patterns clearly inspired by late 60's and early 70's decor and style. Some of the looks stand out as particularly British, namely the cross knot graphic silk cotton shirt with a black and white photographic imprinted on of people dancing, paired with large, cuffed baggy jeans that are bordering on denim sweatpants that are complimented once again by the almost kitsch use of stitched badges.

Overall Williams' and Holland's Spring / Summer collection has an interesting effect; because it is such a love letter to a time and place that was so defined by its music, one feels as if they can hear the echo of a guitar riff, the crank of a saxophone, the smell of a cigarette at a Manchester nightclub; while remaining faithful to Ben Sherman's reputation as a distinctly modern, British brand, it also succeeds in acting out a period of time, simultaneously transporting us to the past and turning our heads to the future.

Photographs taken by Jack Oxenbury for Ben Sherman, 2018

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