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Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Menswear Fashion Week, Fall 2013: Agi & Sam, Astrid Anders, and Craig Green

All three of the following labels appeared in this year's MAN show, an initiative partly funded by Topman to help up-and-coming British menswear designers. I hadn't heard of any of them until today, but I expect at least one of them will make it big in the next couple of years. Perhaps I'm overthinking things, but it seemed to me like each of these three labels represented one of the tenets of Topman's success as an affordable fashion mainstay: Agi & Sam as the dapper traditionalists, Astrid Anderson for larger-than-life street style, and Craig Green representing the cutting-edge trend junkies.

Agi & Sam
Agi Mdumulla and Sam Cotton's ideal client is, apparently, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. 
pics from
Their muse this season is Alexander George Thynn, seventh Marquess of Bath, which at first made me go "oh no" because shows inspired by British aristocrats are invariably dull and/or baffling. But then I googled Alexander George Thynn, and wow:
TOTALLY VALID CHOICE OF STYLE ICON. I'm now kind of disappointed the show doesn't look more like him, because he's clearly an incredible role model if you want to look like a walking stained-glass window and/or cartoon magician.
This collection combined three things I always like to see in men's runway fashion: good shoes, non-traditional models, and a decent grasp of how to use bright colours without making everyone look like a children's TV presenter. I don't think I'll ever be in favour of padded bodywarmers/gilets as fashion items -- especially when they're layered over a coat -- but the interesting mix of fabrics and patterns more than made up for that.

With some predictability, this next outfit was my favourite of the collection. The cut of the suit is sleek and dapper, and the studiously bland jacket balances out the loud patterns of the trousers and waistcoat. Also, this is a rare moment when I can get onboard with the trend of men buttoning their top buttons but not wearing a tie, because in this particular case another colour or print would have overloaded the overall look.
(N.B. I'm not sure if the garment between the jacket and the shirt is a waistcoat or not, as it appears to have sleeves that overshoot the cuffs of the jacket. Is this a second shirt, or is the yellow cuff just another part of the jacket made to match the waistcoat?)

Astrid Anderson
Cartoonish exaggeration is pretty much the only context in which I can muster any interest in sportswear. Astrid Anderson's designs, partially made from mink, are just about glam enough to make the grade -- particularly since they're paired with gold lipstick.

Craig Green
I'm a-flutter with curiosity. Will Craig Green's burnt-out plank headpieces be available for purchase?? Are all of his models latter-day Dementors? Do they really represent a battle between good and evil, as represented by the dark and light sections of the runway show? All I know is, the inspiration for this show was: "SHADOW".

Actually, I almost feel like I have to defend this show. It's not uncommon for either menswear or womenswear collections to feature one "extreme" accessory like a mask or hat, but have the rest of the outfits look perfectly reasonable. Taken individually, most of Craig Green's designs have a definite appeal -- especially the patchy sweaters and striped trousers, which show signs of a particular talent for the kind of rugged texture-mixing designers like Yohji Yamamoto are famed for. Plus, I think this is the type of show that one must view as a single unit rather than a selection of possible outfits. Craig Green is in a near-unique position in that he's critically acclaimed (and well-funded) enough to present his first collection after graduation as an art-fashion show featuring both body-sculpture and wearable menswear styles. I'm certain that I'll have seen some pretty ridiculous shows by the time Menswear Fashion Week is through, but this wasn't one of them.
(That being said, I was not hugely surprised to learn that Craig Green worked with Walter Van Bierendonck while Green was still finishing his degree at Saint Martin's.)


  1. Wow, I totally agree on that last Agi & Sam pic. A lot of designers' attempts to bring color and flamboyance to menswear really falls flat to me, but if I saw a guy walking down the street wearing that I would *applaud*.

    Re: Craig Green: honestly I sometimes wonder if designers are engaged in an unofficial competition to see how hard they can make it for models to walk down the runway without falling on their faces before there's a revolt. At least these guys didn't have to do it in high heels, though.

  2. I want all the Agi & Sam clothes.

  3. I personally suspect that Craig Green is a Wheel of Time fan, celebrating that the series is finally freaking over.

  4. It has nothing to do with models, they are just mannequins that move. That's what they are paid for.

  5. If only they could come equipped with sonar. Then they wouldn't need their eyes to walk at all. Scientists should get on that.

  6. totally agreed re: agi & sam! i love that outfit

  7. I~~~~ seriously thought that pic was of Dumbledore. Less beard, but the bones are the same. And the fashion life-choices.

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