Now that we’re on the run to kick off the next men’s round of shows for SS’16, it’s sometimes hard to forget we are still in May and AW’15 is yet to launch, dropping in store in Mid July. That’s the problem with writing about both men’s and women’s fashion. You have all the ready to wear collections to attend and review at different times in the year and that’s not to mention couture and the now much feted womenswear Pre-Collections. It’s such a busy roster that packing for shows means you often hear journos exclaim, ‘what season am I in, again?’
On my last little jaunt to London last week not only did it jolt and nourish me culturally, I managed to fit in some press appointments with one of the hot tickets being House of Fraser with it’s large selection of own brands mixed with designer labels. House of Fraser is a dept store that still quietly excels. I say, quietly, as often people forget what an incredible mix of beauty and fashion brands the store stocks for such a nationwide department store. As is always the case, the big players and big labels will all be found in HoF’s biggest stores in its biggest cities – London, Glasgow, Manchester, Dublin, Bath and so on. But, saying that, the own label choice is such that consumers have grown to recognise these in their own right – not necessarily realising they are House of Fraser’s in-house design.
The menswear labels have clear definition from the discreet smart suiting of Kenneth Cole to the faint street-style of Criminal and the preppie, casual sportiness of Howick (which has close connections to rugby, adding to its authenticity and sponsoring umpteen British rugby teams including the Glasgow Warriors).
For Autumn Winter 2015, House of Fraser have professionally and masterfully kept to the clearly delineated lines of each of their brands ensuring that each collection offers the very best in the high street menswear selection. Throw in brands like Farah, Religion, Ted Baker, Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss, Barbour, Paul Smith, Converse and Fred Perry and you’ll understand why menswear is a lynchpin of House of Fraser attracting a regular customer who knows that he’ll find not only what he needs but the service to boot.
At the Autumn/Winter ‘15 press day, I stumbled across a full selection of casualwear and formalwear from the latter brands. Beautifully cut, single breasted camel coats by Corsivo and American city tailoring and Macs from Kenneth Cole jostled alongside a huge selection of casualwear including parkas and t-shirts from Criminal, classic casualwear shirts, cords and checks from Howick and vintage touches like sports bombers and padded jackets from Fila and Farah respectively as well as contemporary leatherwear accessories from Boss and Ted Baker as well as a selection of fine Harris Tweed accessories. There was also a limited exclusive edition Land Rover Barbour jacket that stood out.
The tailoring, though, is the winner with its quality feel and attention to detail. With House of Fraser’s continued sponsorship of BAFTA and with a celebrity closing party planned for London Collections; Men SS’16 in June, it’s easy to see why the the formal wear is gaining attention. It’s fitting.
House of Fraser menswear new AW’15 season is available in House of Fraser stores nationwide from late July 2015.