>> Let's ignore the fact that it's mid-June and I'm wearing a tweed winter coat, albeit with dramatic cut-outs in the sleeves to let the draft blow in, but nonetheless a heavy garment that I actually enjoyed enveloping myself in it, because it still isn't all that warm in London. Let's just concentrate on the coat itself. It's what you'd call a key trigger piece that set the brain in agog mode as to who designed it. Its simultaneous simplicity and complexity, familiarity and strangeness, makes it a piece that was seared into my memory. Beyond whether it's menswear or womenswear, it's a fine example of clever design that instantly endeared me to its creator - a young Alan Taylor, who has been selected to be a part of this Sunday's exciting MAN line-up during London Collections: Men. Steve had a similarly dramatic reaction to Taylor's work, which resulted in this somewhat sappy bit of text...
"It felt familiar yet was truly captivating. It was like meeting someone for the first time and walking away feeling as though you'd always known them. Is that sappy? I make no excuses other than that I'm in love (and it's my birthday at the time of posting). With its considered construction, sculptural showcases, textural trickery and accomplished juxtaposition of both concept and silhouette throughout, it had everything, and more, that I hope to see in menswear."
Taylor is also the subject of my latest column for Business of Fashion, allowing me the opportunity to wear this coat and thus enter Taylor's "Fourth Dimension" as his A/W13-4 collection is so aptly named. Taylor cut his tailoring teeth through having done BA womenswear at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, and after a few internships, landed a job with fellow Irish compatriot Simone Rocha, where he worked for three years. Taylor decided menswear was where it's at and started off with a small capsule collection for A/W 12, building up to his most resolved, complete and definitely impressive current A/W 13-4 collection, which this coat is from. Inspired by the theory that there might be a fourth dimension out there, Taylor took classic shapes and altered and bent them until he had a collection that hummed along a weird geometric trip of juxtaposed textures - for example lush red-shot Donegal tweed from a company called Magee Tweed in Ireland wanders over to delicate white mesh seamlessly - and strange structural growths - cut-outs in sleeves, jackets with the appearance of another jacket at the back of it, trousers with flattened shorts and jacket vents layered on top. Essentially in one ensemble, you have elements of three or four garments combined togeether in harmony, with everything rooted in old fashioned tailoring so that the result doesn't seem outlandishly implausible. They feel like pieces that both men and women can grasp, not because it's a unisex collection in any way, but that regardless of sex, we can all appreciate something that's been well-made, well-thought-out and imbued with unexpected proportions that isn't particularly driven towards either gender sensibility. I have promptly ordered the coat from Taylor so that I can get to grips with his fourth dimension properly when the time comes. After all.... WINTER IS COMING...*
*You're just going to have to endure the Game of Thrones references for a while, whilst I mourn the fact that we have to wait a whole bloody year for the next series to air. Sorry.
P.S. As a commenter has already pointed out, the coat is a tad too big for me (although I'm personally a fan of the oversized) as it's a menswear sample. When the order comes though, hopefully it will be sized down a little.