If you're going to design a workwear collection, you might as well put your models to work. That seemed to be the reasoning behind Phoebe English’s presentation which involved a handful of male models in an ersatz laundry, folding, pressing and hanging out to dry a seemingly never-ending pile of monochrome washing. Further down the line in this scene of domesticated bliss, a mop was pushed around, as was the silver egg of a space age vacuum cleaner. The enthusiasm with which the tasks in hand were met seemed to put paid to the fact that young men are almost universally maligned for their lack of aptitude in the domestic sphere.
Phoebe English has a talent for creating these engaging tableaux, which in turn help to bolster affection for her collections and make the most of what is only ever a capsule. That's by no means meant disparagingly. In a world in which fledgling fashion designers are all too often encouraged to run before they can walk and create a huge catwalk spectacle, it's refreshing to see those who are confident enough to keep things intimate (and few things are as intimate as the sight of someone pegging out their smalls).
English’s womenswear often has a fragility to it - an impression only aided by the ethereal quality of the designer herself - but her menswear is based on far more solid foundations. This season fabrics were sturdy - heavy denim, corduroy and velvet were cut into boxy jackets and cuffed trousers and layered with collarless, striped shirts worn loose and long. A pitch black oversized hoodie looked great, as did those jackets with their ribbed cuffs and hems. Clever oversize drawstring totes could double up as back packs, proving that function as well as form informed more than just English’s entirely engaging mise en scene. The palette was straightforward and subdued - navy, black, charcoal and brown - further adding to the quiet strength of the collection.