Ross Pollard reviews Phoebe English's autumn/winter 2018 collection.
I'll start with an unashamed confession, I'm a total Phoebe English fanboy, so it was no surprise that despite no trains and the biting cold of a January morning edged by the breaking dawn of London, I jumped out of bed and got ready to head out to The Strand for the presentation of her latest menswear collection at London Fashion Week Men's. I was hoping to see yet another fine collection from a designer I hold up as one of the greats. Phoebe English is leading the next generation of incredibly talented young British designers.
Well, it didn't disappoint. The brilliance of Phoebe English has always been to translate the wearable and functional into a higher art form. This season you'll be pleased to hear is no exception. This is a capsule collection that could solve so many wardrobe dilemmas.
Highlights for me included over-sized turn-ups – a detail I love, despite this being a huge playground no-no when I was a kid. It's a detailing that has grown into a fashion staple, always providing a good contrast of deep blue denims with a band of greyish blue that accents. I also loved the waxed cottons. Outer garments need careful consideration in our somewhat grey and damp climate. The waxed cotton is the perfect way to look cool without getting hot. Let's remember we only freeze our bums off a couple of months of the year, and who doesn't love the opportunity to layer looks?
The now signature light and dark blues remain fully established in the Phoebe English look, but here we saw highlights added in a beautiful and bright red. The pop and blaze of the deep hue screams out to the viewer whether in the beanie, the jumper that looked so soft it could almost be a hug in a garment or the bag qnd trousers. As for the bags (and I love a bag), I carry a load of bobbins and gubbins around with me at any given moment; dictaphones, tissues, cameras, chargers – essentially a walking store of stuff, and I cannot tell you how practical yet stylish her bag that has both a carry handle and can be a rucksack is. If anyone wonders what I want for my birthday, it's this.
There were eight looks in the autumn/winter 2018 Phoebe English collection – compact, concise but cracking. I often say that one of the biggest challenges facing young designers is having the confidence to edit. It's a skill the English have on tap and it delighted this tired, old fashion hack even more than the hand-warming coffee to fire my day. Oh, and a real fa boy moment – I met her the day after when she came over to say she liked my coat. As the young folk say, ‘hashtag goals’, or something like that.
All images by fashion photographer, Wayne Noir.
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