Image: Margaret Howell S/S15 collection at London Collections: Men
You can almost hear the sound of suits being brushed down and ties straightened, as international buyers and press from 28 countries prepare for the menswear extravaganza, London Collections: Men which kicks off tomorrow. Burberry, Tom Ford and Alexander McQueen are among the headline shows - as well as Moschino, Belstaff and Manolo Blahnik - who will all be revealing their autumn wares at the London showcase.
And where better to host it than the heart of the flourishing British menswear industry, which according to market research company Mintel, was worth a staggering £12.9 billion in 2013 and is forecast to grow to £16.4billion by 2018. The Daily Muse will be posting a round-up over the four days from the LC:M front line, but in the meantime, we grabbed 60 seconds with its chairman and editor of GQ magazine, Dylan Jones, to talk suits, Prince George and Britain as style epicentre of the world.
Why did you launch LC:M?
To showcase the many British menswear designers who used to show during London Fashion Week. We moved it to a more appropriate part of the season (the beginning), and then set about encouraging great British brands who had previously only shown abroad - brands such as Burberry, Paul Smith, Alexander McQueen, Belstaff etc to show here. We also encouraged international designers to come and take part, and so far we have been supported by Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, Tom Ford, Moschino etc. We also wanted to use LC: M as a way to celebrate Savile Row. And I have to say, we have been blown away by the enormous enthusiasm for the project.
Which shows are on your radar this season?
We are especially pleased to be able to welcome Moschino back again, and to welcome Belstaff, Aquascutum, Coach and Manolo Blahnik. And, obviously, John Galliano, who has decided to show his new couture collection in London instead of Paris.
How has menswear changed throughout your time at GQ?
The market has expanded so much in the last fifteen years as menswear has become one of the more dominant sectors in the industry. The sector grew enormously throughout the recession, as womenswear brands started launching men’s lines, and men started becoming far more interested in dressing well. Essentially this is a generational thing, as so many more young men see the sense in dressing well.
Is London now the most influential men’s style capital?
Obviously, but then it always has been. We invented everything from the suit to bondage trousers. We are the home of tradition, the home of rebellion. But it's not just London, which has become a sartorial capital for menswear, you only have to go to Cardiff, Manchester, Liverpool or Edinburgh to see the way in which menswear has become a dominant force. Every man now expects to be able to buy good clothes at every price point and at every entry level, be that high street, mid market, designer, luxury or bespoke.
Who inspires your style?
I've always thought that Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack epitomised the way a man should dress - with a sense of style, decorum, and wit. No bad ever came from wearing a good suit.
You have featured in many best-dressed lists - what are some of the secrets to dressing well?
I get up in the morning and put a blue suit on. That's it. They are always nice suits - one of my particular favourites in Savile Row is Richard James - but I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel.
Why are English men the most stylish in the world?
Individuality, and idiosyncrasy.
Whose style do you admire on this year’s GQ best dressed list?
Prince George. You can already tell he's going to be a trendsetter!
Is the pressure to look good at LC:M as high as it is at the womenswear shows?
I don't think so. People dress up because it's fun, not because of a sense of competition.
If our readers could buy one thing today to up their style ante, what would it be?
Can you guess? It might be a blue suit. One made by a British designer, of course.