#5. Reflections on January, Fashion and Writing For HERO.

It has been almost two weeks since my last post, and, in that time, my stint of contributing to HERO magazine has drawn to a close. I was lucky enough to have been offered the opportunity to cover a multitude of menswear shows across not just one, but each of the four major cities; the experience began with London Collections: Men, back at the beginning of the new year, during which time the lovely editors at HERO allowed me the chance to have some work published by them.

I received an email from their editor, in which it was mentioned that she had read a few of my posts on Paris and thought that my writing would be a suitable fit for their style. I was asked whether I would be interested in writing for them during LC:M, and to draft up a sample report that could be used as a framework for constructive criticism moving forward. I wrote a piece on the Alexander McQueen SS16 menswear collection, a personal favourite since Sarah Burton’s takeover of the iconic brand. Here is the report, in case anyone fancied a read:

Sarah Burton casts out a new line in the Alexander McQueen SS16 collection with an ode to Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Harnessing the most beautiful elements of the sea, and mingling them amidst the motifs of sailor-sung shanties and nautical iconography, Burton delivers a collection that encompasses the world of the waters from stem to stern.

The runway is no more; rather, it is a galley, upon which the crew of models showcase the sapphire, pearl and onyx treasures from the depths of Burton’s creative trove. A cutlass-carved rendition of the Breton stripe makes an appearance in the form of a sleek and silhouetted top, followed by sailor tattoo-spangled suit jackets, shirts and trousers; Toile de Jouy is recurrent, featuring pin-ups, anchors, nautical stars and compasses, and naval epaulettes serve to embellish a ghostly-white captain’s jacket. It becomes apparent that this is the calm before the storm, as Burton brings forth hyperbole to the outerwear with an oversized midnight-blue trench-coat, adorning it with porthole-reminiscent detail. The waves wash over the suits that follow, leaving behind patterning akin to flotsam adrift on the ocean of black and blue fabric. McQueen’s ship makes port with its leviathan; jackets, shirts and trousers decorated with mythical sea creatures and swirling script, in an array of sunset and cerulean hues.

Following the sample report, I received word from the editor that HERO would like me to cover seven shows over the course of the few days in London. Some hugely influential and iconic labels made an appearance in the list, from the time-tested designs of Paul Smith, Coach, Belstaff and Margaret Howell, to newer names of critical acclaim, in Christopher Kane and Patrick Grant’s revival of E. Tautz. I had also been asked to cover a cult leviathan; Moschino. Bearing in mind that I had expected to be given a small number of shows, and ones of arguably a little less prestige, I was taken slightly aback, but there was zero chance that I was going to pass up the opportunity to write for an internationally-published magazine. It was to be a challenge; the long weekend consisted of research into the designers’ histories, intense scrutiny of the shows, drafting of seven 2-300 word reports, editing and redrafting of those reports, and finally sending them off to HERO to be read through and published.

I genuinely cannot stress the sea of ceaseless satisfaction that washed over me when those show reports began to make themselves known on the HERO website, and through their social media streams. And whilst it can be said that online publishing is no equivalent to print, which I would agree it is not, there is no better feeling for a writer, of any form, than the recognition of your endeavours, print or otherwise.

As LC: M drew its curtains, Milan and Paris began to bat their eyelids, inviting me to gain more experience and extend my published portfolio, something that may be invaluable when it comes to a possible MA application. I was offered nine shows, over the course of two weeks, which seemed an even bigger challenge but one that I was more than happy to rise to. The list was variant, and one of curiosity; Zegna, Damir Doma, MSGM and Giorgio Armani for Milan, and Issey Miyake, Junya Watanabe, Sacai, Berluti, and Wooyoungmi for Paris.

Having now spent countless hours of January pouring over notes and details and photos, I was most definitely ready for a break from writing, at least on runway shows. My enthusiasm had not budged but with my brain slowly turning to mush from the dictionary spiralling around my mind, I decided I needed a few days away from the pen and Microsoft Word.

(I realise that this post may be starting to grow tiresome, and your attention might be slipping further by the sentence, so I’ll try to wrap it up.)

Then, a few days ago, I received another email from the editor of HERO, thanking me for my work and asking if I’d be interested in New York. I literally couldn’t bring myself to turn it down, especially seeing as New York would be the last of the major menswear fashion weeks for Autumn/Winter 2016. Being busy with other work, mainly university, I said that I would be happy to cover a couple of designers, and I am so glad that I did.

Duckie Brown was the first of the two shows, interesting in that the entire collection was a modest six looks, all composed from one sketch of a black suit. You can read my full report on it here:

The show that brought my experience at HERO to a close was Robert Geller, and it was quite possibly my favourite collection of the entirety of my coverage. Here’s the link to that report:

And that concludes this monster post, hopefully it has been somewhat enjoyable, or at least of moderate interest.

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