John Lawrence Sullivan: Natural Born Killer dandies
“There is good and bad in all men,” smiled Arashi Yanagawa backstage after presenting the opening show of Saturday morning’s events of London Fashion Week Men’s.
A heroic assemblage that managed to mix up a gentlemanly style with some rather evil references. The dark side of the American Dream from a punchy Tokyo-born designer.
Hence, linear topcoats and Eisenhower jackets were finished with leopard print mohair panels, while some enveloping double-breasted coats were cut with a swagger worthy of a sheriff from Twin Peaks. For nighttime, Yanagawa showed Yakusa gangster meets New York after-hours mobster in double-breasted jackets made of tobacco chalk stripe wool; for women and men, seeing as this show featured looks for both. And this designer loves a three-piece suit, though made of worn leather like a latter-day Johnny Hallyday about to jump on his Harley in New Mexico.
Most curiously, Yanagawa cuts his jackets with advanced shoulder seams. The result is that the models almost look like they are learning forward, crouching to land a punch, like an aggressive welterweight in the defining moment of a bout. This should not be so surprising since Yanagawa was a professional boxer before he created his own fashion brand.
“I named my brand after John L Sullivan. The great Irish-American boxer, and a great dresser. Plus, as he was Irish, he loved fighting,” smiled the designer backstage referring to the first official world heavyweight boxing champion.
Staged at 180 The Strand inside the British Fashion Council’s official show-space, this was a timely reminder of what London does best – offering a dash of edge to classical tailoring.
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