Greeted by the Head of Business Relations at Forever PR, Sibel, and seeing my first impression implode before me as the two of us find ourselves trapped in the 'Hey, how are you?' loop, I enter the building; tucked nearby a Starbucks and an Adidas Y-3 store. Navigating through its endless maze of corridors, I finally find the opulent, jewel tones decor of No. 41. The plush ruby carpet found itself stumbled upon by the bulky boots of retired model Rob Evans. His presence commanded the attention of everyone around him, very much like the clothing designed by Helen Anthony.
Helen Anthony, an amalgamation of Anthony (the designer creatif himself) and his late grandmother, Helen Thomas, have never showcased a ready-to-wear menswear collection. With London Fashion Week looming over us, the suspense in the atmosphere could only be cut by Chris Salvatore's jawline. I stood in the photographer's alcove, watching the VIP guests perch themselves onto their scarlet plush chairs, looking down at the goodie bags below. The lights died down, a heavenly, orchestral symphony, The Sloane Ranger, played. iPhone cameras at the ready, the guests eagerly leaned over, and the Helen Anthony AW15 showcase began.
As ethereal boys brazed the gazes of the guests, they came clad in a sartorial wonderland of classic prints. Paisley motifs jived with verdant florals formed a rather matured and brassy aesthetic. Double breasted suits were paired with sleek turtlenecks, one piece grasping the leaves and sprinkling them onto a cape. Having a cape is now a matter of life and death for me, and no, I'm really not being melodramatic. There was a defined reference to the 70s avant-garde, one model's befuddled complexion masked by rounded sunglasses.
With temperatures as cold as Anna Wintour's stare, pure wool yarn hand-knitted jumpers were swathed around the dainty gentleman. One vibrant and rustic, the other, tamed and muted. It was 50 shades of yarn. The buoyant silhouettes were carried by slimming trousers.
Nappa lamb and calf skin leather jackets were worn as if compulsory. The blending of the 90s rebellion and ballooning stances with the 70s nonchalant attitudes to spectacles was channeled through modern tailoring techniques; tidying the structure. Fur sheathed, baroque bombers shimmered in the white light, and the casual center buttoning of the paneled waxed cotton jacket cut a kept appearance.
What had everyone talking after the show, however? With its harlequin lining inside flicking in and out as the man strode forward, all eyes were drawn to the beautifully elegant burgundy peacoat. A matching waistcoat poked out, returning the collection back to its more formal onset The rich burgundy against the deep blue velvet trousers was striking. Anthony noted how the palette was inspired by the bounty of autumn. Leafy hues of red, orange, yellow and green fell onto the garments. Trailing out of the silk curtains came a lavishly succulent velvet tuxedo number, finishing the showcase to a rowdy round of applause.
Above this fashionable enterprise, a line of grand chandeliers watched. The architecture of No. 41 hopes to mimic years upon years of elegance that Britain and its interior design is famous for. Helen Anthony hopes to do the same.
Taking to the 70s and 90s for inspiration, the flame of British sartorialism comes alive and burning anew. The brand's homely routes are admirable, Anthony's determination to retain the wisps of sophistication that in our modern culture #KimK can be so easily lost, is not done in vain.
This was a truly inspired collection, there isn't a single piece that I don't covet.
What did you make of Helen Anthony's AW15 RTW collection?
Photo credit: Darren Brade.
copyright © josh milton 2017