Ross Pollard, Candid’s Fashion & Grooming Editor, reviews the autumn/winter 2019 Malan Breton collection.
“What if we could know the stories of the mad man, the other side of life as told by victims, what if we could know the pain, the suffering, the loss and abandon that bring the antagonists to madness.
“What if in this exploration of psyche, we learn that the evil, the unkind were once pure. What if we knew their joys, and could save them before their last moments”.
Let me set a scene: It’s halfway through London Fashion Week, it’s a cold night, across the capital parties are starting up, food is circling on boards and trays as drinks are poured with abandon for the fashion press, but instead of the warm rooms and decadent parties, most of us are fighting our way through a scrum of people in a damp passageway off Charing Cross Road to get into the Malan Breton presentation.
We knew it would be good, but what we didn’t realise was that Malan Breton was inviting us into his movie.
Entering via the private church astride a regency mansion we were greeted by gently waltzing couples in the cloisters, swaying almost imperceptibly to the music. It was clear that once again we were going to be treated to not only the beautifully revisionist take on 1920s film noir that has become Malan Breton’s trademark, but fashion presented as living, breathing art.
As we moved through the rooms each of the perfect looks were introduced as living, breathing arrangements, each model only perceptible from the crowds by the exquisite looks that adorned them played a role – card games, tale tellers propped against bars and then on to a final scene of a caped saviour, we were truly inside the mind of a legendary designer.
“This season I try to tell a story of a Norma Desmond-type character, before she loses her stability. Before she throws away her freedoms for unrequited love. Before the world knows her as a diva, a has been. A murderess.
“What if after death we see the hearts of those who society drove to madness, before their utter demise”.
But enough with the reverence about the experience, what about the clothes? After all, this cynical old hack holds dear the statement that it doesn’t matter how good the clothes are if the looks are bad. Well dear reader, the looks were to die for.
It’s oft said, and oft said by me, that menswear needs more pizazz and boom, and that is what Taiwanese-born (see, I keep telling you that beautiful isle in the Pacific is a fashion incubator) Malan Breton has delivered again. The tailoring is impeccable, the notes from fashion’s history are perfectly symbiotic with the modernist looks of the current and the hues of monochrome mingled with deep reds and bright blues create a wardrobe that will cover every moment.
In a world where many seem to approach men's tailoring with a dull eye and a formulaic approach, Malan Breton is bucking trends and long may it continue.
Also, I’d like to say a huge congratulations to a designer that has become a dear friend, this and sit down, as it’s absolutely shocking that this was his first time on-schedule at London Fashion Week. How? I have no idea, but there are few more deserving.
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