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London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: Tim Soar

Tim Soar returns to London Fashion Week's Menswear Day with his unique blend of conceptual tailoring and super sexy materials - illustrated by Abby Wright!

Written by Matt Bramford

Illustration by Abby Wright

It’s always a treat at Fashion Week to find that the show you are about to see, starting in the next few minutes, is at a totally different venue to the one you had in your head and are currently standing at. I found myself in this marvellous situation as Tim Soar‘s show approached. God knows why I thought it was at Somerset House and not at the Freemason’s Hall. Menswear day brought these kind of surprises all day – with many designers scaling down their presence. I had seen Tim’s show a year ago in the BFC tent, so how dare they move its location?!

I need not have worried as I legged it up Drury Lane, for, true to form, the show was running late and hadn’t even been seated when I showed up. I was right at the back of the queue, though – AGAIN – so decided to perch by the photographer’s pit in the hope of getting a better shot than I would have positioned on one of the back rows.

This show saw Soar draw inspiration from the 1970s, and in particular David Bowie’s character ‘Mr Newton’ in Nicholas Roeg’s epic ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth.’ This inspiration was, in true Tim Soar style, handled with delicacy and acted only as a descrete reference here and there. Trousers flared off, but not in a grotesque fancy dress sense, and lapels were elongated, but not in a Stayin’ Alive, Stayin’ Alive, Hah Hah Hah Hah sense. The bulk of the collection relied on Soar’s showmanship as a really great tailor with a unique vision.

Illustration by Abby Wright

Making the best use of luxe fabrics like mohair, satin, wool crepe and linen, models wore strict suits with a piecemeal utilitarian aesthetic. The use of Tyvek, the waxy crushed industrial material usually reserved for workers boiler suits, also adds to this technical flavour.

Blazers were banded with cummerbund-like straps in contrasting colours – where jackets were dark, the bands were of gold silk, and where jackets were sand, the bands were black. Denim made an appearance, also creating horizontal lines across structured tailoring.

Alongside this semi-formal attire, there were the usual design quirks that Tim Soar is quickly faming himself for. His appreciation of the aesthetic properties of materials and quality of texture was also on display, with crushed materials and bursts of vibrant colour (he is, after all, also a graphic designer).

It’s hard to imagine how a Tyvek jailer-style striped suit will work alongside an exemplary tailored blazer, but somehow Tim Soar’s collections always convey a stylish coherence.

This season also brought more womenswear, which is basically menswear with allowances for hips, busts and bums. It’s a testament to Tim Soar’s generally cool attitude, though, that his aesthetic works wonders on both women and men.

All photography by Matt Bramford


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