LONDON COLLECTIONS: MEN – IN CONVERSATION WITH DYLAN JONES

My friend recently won two tickets to see Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council, interviewing Dylan Jones, Editor of GQ magazine. Fortunately she picked me to come along, knowing I have my eye on a career in magazines. Making my way through the fashion crowd ambling along Endell Street, I wasn’t sure what to expect. GQ is a publication that I’ve always avoided, mainly for the prominence of cars, breasts and Cheryl Cole. I had it down as the go-to publication for COD-playing lotharios, but it turns out I was wrong and doing a shameful bit of stereotyping. The interview was great, and having been in the style magazine industry since the 80s, Jones made a lot of sense.

Not the most flattering of pictures is it… nor does it do justice to the crotch of Jones’ trousers, which didn’t leave much to the imagination

In terms of fashion, there were four key menswear trends brought to mind during the interview: the 3-piece suit, the double-breasted jacket, the use of velvet and the use of leather. Jones also discussed two avenues which menswear has been taking as of late. On the one hand it is becoming increasingly dapper (which he attributed to the economic climate, and wanting to appear employable/employed), and on the other hand it is becoming increasingly theatrical, catching up with the womenswear runways. The latter point definitely tapped into the dissatisfaction that I think a lot of us feel with the conservatism of many pervading menswear trends. Jones was very hopeful about all this changing, with ‘men consuming like women‘, and the more adventurous menswear designers gaining wider exposure. I totally buy into this, and it’s exciting, but when I flick through the pages of the current issue of GQ I don’t see much in the way of theatre or adventure. There’s little divergence from traditional tailoring. I’m not being too negative though, because British GQ is all about preserving the image of the ‘gentleman’, and it fulfuls that function. Female lifestyle magazines cater to the ‘lady’ in the same way, which is why the presence of publications such as i-D, Dazed + Confused and their like is so important. They refuse to confine themselves by gender, and by doing so are free to explore a more creative, innovative territory.

Here are some looks that were mentioned or came to mind during the discussion of trends:

Jil Sander AW12/13. The head to toe leather looks definitely bring fetish-wear to mind. The gimp-suit marries the gentleman’s suit.

Knitwear label Sibling also hinted towards the fetishistic with their all-over face masks.

Dries Van Noten combines the dapper and the theatrical for AW12/13, with psychedelic 70s vibes.

More double print for AW12/13 comes from Matthew Miller and Agi & Sam.

Another pertinent topic was the transition from paper to screen as the digital age furthers its hold. We were shown a pretty flashy promo video (here‘s a shorter version) for the GQ ipad app, and it looks like a beautiful thing to use. Technology is incredible, but I’m a bit of a romantic when it comes to paper, and I spend a fortune on magazines I don’t need. The thought of them disappearing is a little scary. Right now, GQ is sustaining in both media.

So, well done Dylan Jones and thank you Vodafone for the tickets and freebies; I ended up with two copies of GQ, Drapers magazine, a crumpled Vodafone wristband and three glasses of champagne. Not bad at all, by my standards.