For A/W 16, a few designers have been scrapping the usual seasonal theme and creating collections based solely around that clichéd term - brand DNA. On the first day of the London menswear shows, Nasir Mazhar talked of approaching his collection look by look, creating individual stories and ideas within each outfit. Maybe he’d been sharing notes with Astrid Andersen. This season she too eschewed a more romantic or artistic source of inspiration and focused instead on herself. A little me time for A/W 16. Intuition, though, has got her a long way in the past - so why not build a whole collection around it? Indeed, thinking back on her ascent while watching the show, one couldn’t help but identify hits from seasons past - that familiar lace and fur in particular stood out.
But for every recognisable idea there was a twist, usually thanks to some intriguing fabrication or new technique. With this show, Andersen is quietly establishing her label as a good place to go for knits. She’s also offering some intriguing plays on technical denim. But, in terms of fabric, the most surprising addition to today’s show was a bouclé tweed, made by Linton Tweeds - Chanel’s supplier. That fabric, and its use on strangely sweet mittens and dungarees couldn’t help but conjure images of Karl Lagerfeld’s playful, youthful twists on luxury over in Paris. Chanel seems a long way from the London menswear shows. But then those ladies who adore the bouclé suits and quilted bags of Chanel dress with precision and an almost obsessive quality. You can truly relate that to Andersen’s man - those who really buy into the label are informed dressers with specific tastes and high expectations. They may not wear couture, but they approach their wardrobe with the same focus on details, styling tweaks, rules and regulations. Andersen understands this modern man - this new, important, consumer. She knows his demands are as high as that of a couture client - and for A/W 16 she got a little closer to fulfilling his every need.