Wednesday 3rd July

| BY Paul Toner

Ten Tips on Embracing the Crease

I hate to admit it, but I’m a reoccurring culprit when it comes to jumping out of bed last minute. That twenty-minute panicked indecisiveness of choosing to shower or chow down on a bowl of Frosted Shreddies plagues almost every start to my day. Often my hair is left in an inexcusable bed-head, as if I’d started to channel Robert Smith from The Cure then got cold feet last minute. The only trace of facial hair I ever manage to grow resides at the centre of my chin in a patchy ginger ombre. It bugs the hell out of me but here I am, sat most days, with autumnal hued stubble. As much as I’d love to jump out of bed every day like Rebecca Black in her Friday music video, I always manage to count one too many sheep. The early bird may catch the worm, but frankly, I couldn’t give a toss about catching anything other than an extra forty winks.

The last thing that seeps into my headspace of a morning is ironing my clothes. The graphics on my t-shirts are most often unrecognisable as they drown in a sea of crinkles – faces often crumpled in style of Aphex Twin distortions. Luckily for me, the latest round of menswear shows proved we’re all heading into a rather wrinkly direction. From Rick Owens’ parade of ghoulish glam-rockers, to the chorus of operatic Orlandos who swanned through the Comme des Garçons Homme Plus show – it seemed like a lot of designers forgot to pack a steamer this season. Is there a Russel Hobbs drought at Argos? Or has Rei Kawakubo grabbed her trusty Phillips streamer she got in the John Lewis January sale and tossed it into the void? Whichever the case – fashion’s leading figureheads are well and truly embracing the crease.

You can trace this crinkle phenomenon back to Glenn Martens of Y/ Project, whose twisted tailoring often evolves into a concoction of drapes that have come to define the brand. Layers upon layers of fabric bulldoze into each other to create a carefully controlled chaos. Equally, the once meme-worthy, slim-fitting condom tops cling tightly to the wearer slither torsos in a mash-up of folds. The AW19 season was no different. Though twinged with a newfound sophistication, Martens’ SS20 menswear collection till held true to the brand’s wrinkly routes. Bodysuits with turquoise lines charged into each other like the veins running along your arm, whilst asymmetrically tailored jackets draped heavy to one side. Baggy joggers were stuffed into boots and satin shirting was buttoned up purposefully wonky, creating soft-to-touch lumps and bumps.

Y/ Project’s slightly unhinged approach to draping ties into the brand’s target demographic. Martens is dressing the impatient youth, the fashion rat pack who simply don’t have time to do a spot of ironing in the morning. Such innovative tailoring techniques are anointed in a clear sense of rebellion. Who would have thought a shirt that sticks to you like a Durex would turn out to be a highly sought after piece of luxury clothing?

Putting it down to simpler terms, embracing the crease is basically the only option if you’re into oversizing. One person who has sort of become a messiah of wardrobes contents becoming large and in charge is Martine Rose – whose jumpers and shirting swells to such proportions that attempting to iron them would be a chore in itself. For SS20 however, Rose’s cynical approach to challenging the rather bleak British political climate we currently live in saw her usual gang of London lads stepping into adulthood. Held on a rooftop within East London’s corporate cosmos, Rose worked mostly in formal shirting and resin-treated denim – purposefully wrinkled to the point the clothes looked like they had been left soggy in the washing machine overnight. It perfectly captured that awkward transition from boy to man, those naive steps into the working world when you’re not quite ready to be a grown-up yet – the Thursday nights out you simply can’t resist despite having to be up at 9am the next morning.

Even silhouettes on the slender side are welcoming a new found love for the wrinkle. Emerging NEWGEN talent Bianca Saunders has introduced smocking and ruched tailoring techniques in all of her collections thus far. Trousers in seersucker and dress shirts in crisp white cotton are often pulled to one side – with each crease providing an insight into the craftsmanship behind the garment. Though only tweaking staples slightly, such detailing really elevates menswear classics into innovative, highly desirable pieces – just through a few creases here and there. That’s the trick, leaving your trousers, or shirt even, creased and crinkled may put you at the butt of the joke with your older relatives. Though in reality, crinkles can turn even the most minimal of fits into something visually stimulating. It’s marvellous what you can achieve when you simply unplug the iron.

All backstage photography by Jason Lloyd-Evans.