Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Christopher Raeburn // Spring 2017 // Menswear

Christopher Raeburn had a busy London Collections: Men. On Saturday June 11, he presented a unisex collection in collaboration with German leather luxury goods brand MCM. The collaboration proposed ideas for easy travelling for men and women. The clothes were functional (aren’t they always?) and ready for the walk through the terminal and onto the plane, suitable for lounging and luxuriating in pre-holiday bliss, with an added element of ease to destress the wearer. The show was an elaborate display—the perks of working with a big brand, who aims to reach a sales figure of $2 billion by 2019.

The following day, Sunday June 12, Raeburn presented his collection for his eponymous label at 180 The Strand. (LC:M will return to the venue as usual in 2017; London Fashion Week will also be bogarting the brutalist building.) There were indiscreet references to space in the infancy of the collection—windbreakers printed with astronaut suiting and booting, rocket ships and medals, space-related art and astronauts. This expanded into Raeburn’s go to: urban utility. It game in slate grey and powder blue, it bore prescience given the gloomy weeks and months that have followed.
Spring 2017, shown the week prior to the UK EU membership referendum on June 23, was a politically charged outing. A true liberal fashion designer, Raeburn branded sweaters and t-shirts with “In”, boldly stating that the designer would be voting Remain the following week. These pieces ended up being showpieces, after the collection’s presentation. The UK decided to exit the EU—Brexit-ing, I suppose. That essentially nullified these clothes. Alas, they did make for great clothing and unlike many of his contemporaries, Raeburn tackled the Brexit topic head on, which proved for politically charged viewing material. It made this collection more important and worthwhile, undeniably.

When someone is busy the quality and coherence of their work is subdued. That simply wasn’t the case at Christopher Raeburn; if anything, working for both MCM and on his namesake label allowed him to create a clear and precise vision. His MCM collection was purposeful and to the point. His eponymous collection told, with its colour-coded sections, the story of the man with a preference for sustainable fashion. The products may be banal, but its the element of craft and in this case, political motivation, that proves that these clothes are worth purchasing. 

Some of the best work is produced under pressure, a tried and tested potion at Christopher Raeburn. 

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