Christopher Shannon has gone from strength to strength this past year. Last June he was the inaugural winner of the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund, and has since been shortlisted for the LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize, and the Emerging Menswear Award; it’s safe to say this experimental young designer is being fully embraced by the fashion community.
This season Shannon seemed to be one step ahead of the fashion pack. His collection was bold, enchanting, sexy and enigmatic all at once. He has, quite brilliantly blurred gender boundaries in this daring collection. Gaberdine cotton and jersey tops were blowing over cut out shorts and trousers. Zips were attached and subsequently unzipped which revealed patches of flesh that tapped into that inner voyeur within all of us. Whilst the collection was certainly ‘menswear’ in name, Shannon sought to quite literally deconstruct gender expectations in his collection this season. Ribbed neon shorts were matched with feather and chain broaches, that whilst flamboyant seemed to work in perfect harmony with the CAT footwear with which they were paired. The ‘colour pop’ accents of the shoes in masculine materials like leather and suede complemented Shannon’s experiment into the realm of unconventional menswear. This is Shannon’s third collaboration with Cat, in which he has incorporated the sense of ‘fun’ and ‘boundary pushing’ that is certainly displayed within his collection. The second half of the collection worked to tease the audience. Like the snippets of flesh in the first half, the second half saw boxier shapes of navy and white, although Shannon left a visible gap between the upper chest and shoulders whereby fabric was ‘taped’ onto the two parts, holding them together, but adding to the cheekiness and playfulness of the collection overall.
Isamaya French’s make up direction was ingenious to the overall theme of the show. Smeared shaving cream and wiry hair emphasized the ongoing deconstruction of the men’s collection defined by polished tailoring. Here we truly have wearable art that proceeds to offer a challenge. Ultimately Shannon has subverted the powers of gender objectification with this latest collection. As the flailing bikini tops that layered the zipped tunics made their way around the runway for the final walk, a remixed version of Sisqo’s ‘Thong Song’ saw them out. And I was left bowled over by the way Shannon’s intelligence for design and theme made me change my mind about the way men in 2016 might be able to dress.
Review: Shrai Popat
Christopher Shannon Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear Looks:
Review: Shrai Popat
Runway Photography: Christopher Dadey (Courtesy of Exposure London PR)