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On Day 1 of the much anticipated LONDON COLLECTIONS: MEN, the hype surrounding the Topman Design show was palpable. An independent Men’s Fashion Week now, not just a day tagged onto the end of LFW, the excitement had been a long time coming:

“About bloody time!” BBC Radio 1 DJ Reggie Yates cheered. But why the anticipation for Topman? Since Sir Philip Green’s successful redirection, Topman and sister Topshop have become the go-to high street palace for original London fashion. “London has the best style and embodies lots of different cultures, very inspirational” enthused Reggie. Truth be told, Topman is not only an affordable path to urban style, but it epitomises London. Topman is London in all its tongue-in-cheek, sassy and original glory.

In an awesome warehouse space at The Old Sorting Office on New Oxford Street, amongst greying interior and white tiered seating hung a neon light installation, echoing the perky coloured foam invitations sent to the fashion industry’s elite, now assembled along the front row.

Elegant and suave, our issue 7 cover star David Gandy nonchalantly walked to his seat in a navy, wide legged, pinstripe suit in a casual linen. A few seats down sat Radio 1 DJ’s Reggie Yates and Nick Grimshaw, and later high street God, Sir Philip Green greeted his empire.

Explaining the frenzy of flashing lights, ex-Stone and rock ‘n’ roll legend Ronnie Wood swaggered in wearing a shocking, electric blue suit. Oh so cool. Fashionably late and representing the girls, elfin-faced and incredibly pretty, Alexa Chung took her seat beside Gandy, every stylish in a Burberry trench, wide-brim fedora, silk paisley blouse and Chelsea boots.

Attention diverted away from the fash-pack toward the collection, channelling early 80’s America through the creative collision of East and West coast styles, the show started with slouchy Prince of Wales checked blazers paired with turned-up shorts. An urban take on sharp New York dressing. Traveling way West, fellas donned graphically scribbled Hawaiian-style surfer shorts with matching macs, and quirkier jumpsuits for the fearless. There was a lot of love for California with cropped cuts, loose pleats and the basic white T-shirt. Repping sporty Americana, numbered jersey shirts were adapted in translucent organza and mesh, and teamed with tailored, school-boy shorts in punchy orange, pink, and blue, and black for the faint-hearted. There’s always one.

Creating a new-wave of summer tailoring, vertical laser-cut holes adorned lazy suede jackets and shorts in lively pinks and fresh whites. Accessories were bold and in-your-face-styley with neoprene rucksacks and multicoloured neon trainers that Joseph would die for.

And the verdict?

Very good. Reggie Yates had a weakness for some of the more extravagant looks: “I liked the floral blazers and the matching shorts and the brogue-boots”. The boots in question had the traditional brogue crafting with an attached ankle section but were naked around the joint. “It was eye-opening, so different coming from Hackett to this! I liked the American theme running through it” explained heart-throb and utter gentleman David Gandy. “It’s very high-street and fashionable, maybe not my style, but I appreciate it, you know the 80s vibe, I’m an 80s child!” It’d be a turn up for the books to see Gandy trade his Savile Row threads for one of those unfettered laser-cut constructions. He’d certainly put the hot into pink.

Also preferring traditional looks, audacious rebel Ronnie Wood spoke of his love for London style, especially their suits, and his shock of the Topman Design preview: “I don’t know! I wasn’t expecting beachwear. I want some long pants! I was very surprised, but I liked the colours.” Ever bold, ever spirited, ever honest. Ultimate respect.

– Serina Sandhu

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