AW17 saw two separate yet entwined collections from Malan Breton; whilst AW17 showed a total absence of colour at Madison Square Gardens during NYFW, the ‘Fantôme’ collection at LFW’s Fashion Scout recalled elements of the modern dandy, with military precision tailoring and references to post-WWII millinery. This collection was strongly influenced by androgyny, throwing away the rulebook when it comes to gender norms in fashion.
‘Fantôme’ was inspired by the the films of Charlie Chaplin, and his ability to bring hope and joy to people in times of darkness – something relateable in today’s political climate. Breton drew from Eastern influences, with Chinese-inspired watercolour shades on silk, brocade, sequins and angora alongside rich, plush velvet in deepest black. Chaplin’s iconic bowler hat even made an appearance.
Models came down the runway in long satin elbow-length gloves. Greens, golds and pewters punctuated sharp shapes and old school Hollywood glamour; sweeping ball gowns and structured shirts, suits shown in luxe velvets and satins and printed brocades reminiscent of Imperial China, and trench coats in leather embellished with velvet. This juxtaposition of textures was a signature throughout the collection.Menswear saw models in kilts and streamlined wool biker-style jackets or brocade jackets simultaneously hooded and tailored. Womenswear included cravats and softy knotted bow ties alongside jewel encrusted hooded ballgowns. Breton used demi-couture techniques in this Ready-to Wear collection, as well as British heritage tailoring.
Despite his use of embellishments, this was not a showy collection; there was nothing gaudy or garish about Fantôme. The silhouettes were strong and tailored impeccably, with a distinct lean towards androgyny and heritage for both women and men.