Psychedelic colours, ethnic patterns, and bohemian details. That’s what Matthew Williamson splashed out for his summer H&M line for men. It was a literal kaleidoscope that spoke to the past, present, and future of menswear in an extremely wearable context. At the least, I had a rough idea that Williamson would stick to his vibrant best and deliver a piña coladaesque collection that epitomized his signature aesthetic of sprightly prints and colours atop relaxed yet structured feminine pieces.
However, I wasn’t sure how that would translate into menswear. It’s rumoured that the designer is to launch a menswear collection in the near future. Let’s just say if his H&M line is a reflection of what’s to come from Williamson in menswear, then we have a lot to be encouraged by.
It’s a known fact that for affordability sake, the materials used for these capsule collections may not be as choice as what these designers have at their disposal for their primary collection. Even at that, pluses go to Williamson for not watering down his aesthetic (which is exactly what the customer is after from these diffuse collections–no adulteration). For instance, the vibrancy of Williamson shone through in the pink and blue tie-dyed knit sweater that was complemented with a pair of studded jeans in a hot pink hue. To cool things down a notch, Williamson traversed to the other end of the colour wheel and served up some lime green shorts, a summer must-have.
However, Williamson’s strong point was the diverse characters that were reflected in the garments. The neon bright pieces were fit for experimental cool kids strung out on colourful matching; the studded biker detail seen on the navy blue leather jacket brings out the rocker in anyone; and the Copacabana-themed shirt and cream seersucker suit is quintessential rico suave. Interestingly, my earlier comment towards the temporal consonance in the collection can be summed through these three looks. Each speaks to an era that has relatively come, gone or still hanging around on the terraces of what’s in vogue. In that, Williamson allows us to time travel in a sense and easily relive distant personalities that our parents may have embodied in the 60s. Or he provides a presentist escape route to keep things funky fresh with a short-suit or a black blazer with technicolor piping. Following on from the Commes des Garcon’s much raved line for H&M, Williamson, personally, had big shoes to fill and I think he’s done just that with this seminal diffuse line.