mercoledì 2 marzo 2011

Tim Soar AW11 Him/She

During a day that saw me ricochet from Somerset House to the Royal Opera House and back again multiple times, the opportunity to stand still and admire was greatly appreciated. One such opportunity was afforded by Tim Soar's presentation in the Navy Board Rooms. Here, weary menswear folk gathered with a glass of champagne to gleefully toast the continued rise of the designer whilst admiring his collection of androgyny grounded in menswear.

For the last few seasons Soar has busied himself with examining and reinterpreting the true classics of menswear. Appropriating hits and remixing them to his own tune to much acclaim. He has ultimately produced collections which feel warm and familiar, those which have many overlapping memories and echoes from the past yet, at the same time still feel modern. Thankfully, this is a process that he continues for AW11. However, this time, he offers a carefully crafted concept of a functional wardrobe where many of the styles are available for women. Despite being grounded in menswear, the collection is as much for women as it is for men. Soar has managed to strike a perfect balance between menswear and womenswear or masculine and feminine. Both sexes are happy and well dressed as they nod along to Soar's tune. The focus is on making each piece desirable in its own right, regardless of gender. It was a pleasure to examine them up close as I walked around the presentation of faceless mannequins clad in the designer's signature mix of tailoring and sportswear...

For Him, Soar is interested in the point where tailoring and sportswear meet. The apex of good menswear. Here, he reveals Velcro waistband tuxedo pants, the zip hood duffle coat (a collaboration with noted London tailor, Joe Allen), the neoprene Harrington jacket and the striped, coated cotton dress shirts. Knitwear is either heavy with zips or latex coated. There are tailored ski panes and lacquered wools. However,the real highlight is the topcoat and its mix of heavy melton with bonded cotton sleeves. For She, Soar has kept the masculine mood of the collection. Each piece has started in menswear and delicately evolved. In fact, as I walked through the presentation, many of the style looked almost identical to the equivalent men's garments; the topcoats, jackets, trousers and knits. However, great care has been taken to ensure a fit that is flattering, chic, feminine.

The most obvious thread that tightly bonds this collection is the use of the classic fabrics of menswear which are used throughout. Soar is a long time collector of vintage military and has always loved the density, texture and strength of the wools used in British Army Dress uniforms. When he found out that Hainsworth was the company that produces many of these wold, he just had to work with them. In fact, Hainsworth is a specialist textile company that has been an unrivaled market leader for over two hundred and twenty five years, kitting out the Royal Guards uniform to the plush interiors at Windsor Castle. In choosing a palette of RAF blue-grey, Rifle Green and Khaki, Soar managed to paint a collection that felt simultaneously modern and classic. While, bonded and coated cottons, neoprenes, spun Fuji silk, double crepes and Japanese Plange leather carry on Soar's design signature mix of minimalism, sportswear, tailoring and unusual fabrications.

In light of the packed presentation space I was only able to shoot a few close ups but thankfully, Soar sent through his recently shot look book which I'm pleased to share with you...

Over the last few seasons, we have come to Tim Soar's collections as offering his take on the greatest hits of menswear. It is not about the exploration of a unique silhouette for the season and then moving on but rather, it concentrates on taking different elements and putting them together in a way that is a coherent whole while exploring a number of different references. In an interview with us last season, he declared that "you don't have to reinvent the wheel, especially not with menswear. The wheel exists, we just have to polish the spokes." Now, women can finally ride Tim Soar's well polished bicycle of menswear.

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