London fashion week ends on note of 'rebellious decadence'

Topman and JW Anderson among designers mixing youthfulness, retro and a dash of paisley silk pyjamas

"Rebellious Decadence" said the show notes on the white benches at Topman's spring/summer 2012 catwalk collection, which was shown on the closing day of London fashion week. According to the trendsetting high street brand, next season you really should be teaming retro silk paisley pyjamas with a tailored suit jacket.

Staged at the Royal Opera House, this was a positively confident and sexy show featuring thigh-skimming suede shorts, shopper bags carried as clutches, vibrant orange penny loafers, multi-coloured knits and lots of paisley-style patterns.

This show had all the hallmarks of a buzzy designer show in Milan rather than a high-street one in London. But then this London fashion week has very much shed the old image of dingy car parks and three-legged catsuits in favour of a new era of slick, grown-up glamour.

Right on message, Topman kicked off with a series of expensive-looking tailoring – the first outfit was a beige double-breasted suit in a textured jacquard cotton with short trousers featuring a deep turn-up. Here was a prime example of how this high-end high-street collection balances youthfulness and polish with enough edge to appeal to their most fashion-forward, ankle-flashing customers.

"I wanted it to be glamorous," said Gordon Richardson, Topman's design director, after the show. He name-checked the Rolling Stones as an early reference point for the collection but said that he always thinks about how their customer approaches, buys and wears clothes. "Basically our boy is someone who just puts on clothes in a irreverent way and mixes it all up," he said.

JW Anderson – who is one of London's most talked about young labels, and designs a capsule collection for Topman – is the creative director of the label Sunspel and has been showing his menswear mainline collection in the capital, to growing acclaim, since 2007. He is a designer who certainly knows how to influence – his recently launched womenswear has proved popular with Vogue editors.

On Wednesday at Somerset House's very oversubscribed Portico Rooms, he delivered an edgy knockout collection literally brimming with ideas. There were bold sleeveless tops with crochet details, colourful trousers, a fuzzy fronted knit with a perforated leather back, a patchwork rucksack featuring leather and raffia and a modern paisley print, which appeared on shorts and tops. After the show, Anderson cited the artist Robert Rauschenburg as a reference , which you could see coming through in his exploration of surface and texture. The designer explained that he'd also been exploring "severe colours that weren't necessarily meant to go together."

Another rising London menswear star is Christopher Shannon, a Central St Martins graduate who has been showing his label since 2008. Shannon is known for a cool and modern take on a sporty aesthetic – he has previously collaborated with Eastpak and Reebok. For spring/summer 2012, despite the appearance of fantastic head pieces made from colourful combs, the designer had decided to calm things down. "We started off really bright but took it down in the end," he said after the show, which included tracksuit-style trousers, shirting in anorak fabrics or featuring Madras checks, leather drawstring kit bags and textured patchwork sweat shirts.

Contributor

Simon Chilvers

The GuardianTramp

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