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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

London Fashion Week: MAN

Daryoush Haj-Najafi reports...

First, a disclosure. This correspondent is on MAN's panel, which also includes i-D editor Ben Reardon, Dazed & Confused fashion director Nicola Formichetti and, for the first time, the mega-talented fashion writer and party animal Tim Blanks. As you may know, Tim is a menswear authority and pens the men's reports for Style.com. His brainstorm with the rest of the MAN panel was as energetic as any previous MAN meeting, but as you just can't argue with Tim (he's too knowledgeable!), this season saw three fresh names—James Long, Kesh, Hans Christian Madsen—in the line-up with Topman.

Of James Long, a graduate of the Royal College of Art, and his incredibly complicated leathers and sheepskins, British GQ's Charlie Porter (another panelist) says, "The commitment and effort put into James' collection was just extraordinary, which makes it even worse that his whole collection was stolen later that night. Hopefully the industry can rally around him, because he deserves the support." Kesh's aesthetic, meanwhile, could be described as Pharrell's Billionaire Boys Club designed by Bernhard Willhelm—the difference being that Kesh is a women, who, by the way, is the subject of a BBC documentary currently in the works.

Lulu Kennedy, director of Fashion East and MAN, was also enthusiastic, saying (while trying on James' designs backstage), "I'm in love with this show. And most of the models." Yes, let's not forget the models. Her favorite? Ryan (of D1 agency), a platinum-haired boxer on the English team and—you knew this was coming—a total knock-out.

James Long (images 1 & 2), Kesh (3 & 4)...

Hans Christian Madsen (1 & 2), Topman (3 & 4)...

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