Paint It!

Fred Perry X Gary HumeFred Perry is no stranger to collaborations. They have been pairing with others for so long that we can’t now remember when the two-designing-minds-are-better-than-one approach started. But what’s noteworthy is that the brand does not limit its alliances to fashion designers only. They have a soft spot for artists too. Previously, they have paired with punk’s visual mouthpiece Jamie Reid and Japanese textile artist Hiroko Takahashi. This season, Fred Perry’s classic polo shirts get a brush stroke treatment by British painter Gary Hume.

Mr Hume, known for his high-gloss works done with industrial paints as well as the series “door paintings” (specifically hospital doors!), has created something rather a tad more boisterous than one imagines he would for Fred Perry. An exclamation mark to take the place of the shirt’s placket, for instance, could be a loud complaint or a strident protest—we may never know. But there could be something clever about his fashion endeavour that he’s trying to articulate. As his official statement on the collaboration reveals, “To me, Fred Perry is the uniform of the smart disgruntled youth. I might not have been a smart youth, but I was definitely disgruntled. Finally given the opportunity to get smart, how could I resist?”

Wouldn’t you want to get smart too?

Fred Perry X Gary Hume polo shirts, SGD209, are available at Fred Perry, Mandarin Gallery

Not The Dark Side Of The Moon

Lyle & Scott X Jonathan Saunders FW 2014 T-ShirtT-shirt with the playful clash of patterns designer Jonathan Saunders is partial to

Just last week, the Scots said “yes” to staying with the rest of the United Kingdom, and the attention generated could elevate Scottish brands to a new level not seen before. One of Scotland’s favourite fashion sons Jonathan Saunders is creating a bit of a buzz with the country’s premier heritage label Lyle & Scott. In his collaboration with the 140 year-old knitwear label, it’s aye to colour all the way. Yes, bright colours for guys who aren’t afraid of them, and patterns too. For some reason, we’re seeing a transgressive Happy Days directed by John Waters!

Print and colour from Mr Saunders are to be expected. And Lyle & Scott—sometimes considered the UK’s Lacoste—is also not a brand to shy from a vivid palette. The pairing seems to be made in colour wheel heaven. What’s a joy to see is Mr Saunders’s unabashed clashing of prints in some of the styles, which rides on Lyle & Scott’s 1960s golfing heritage. It is also, according to the Glaswegian designer, inspired by “Peter Saville’s artworks and traditional iconography that was translated in a sort of op-art way” (as revealed in an interview with The Independent last month). The result is sports-geek-friendly, yet won’t be out of place in a discotheque.

Lyle & Scott X Jonathan Saunders videoScreen grab of the promotional video of the capsule collection

The psychedelic vibe is further boosted by a video released to commemorate this collaboration, possibly to keep pace with so many posh brands augmenting their artistic standing by releasing fashion films of art-house aspiration. Lyle & Scott’s short is, however, a frenetic Vimeo-worthy film that captures Mr Saunders’s bold aesthetics unapologetically, with loads of graphic interplay to enhance the clothes’ colour-infused patterns. This should lift the standing of Lyle & Scott above golf-playing men of a certain age, without having to drastically redraw or wreck the label’s blueprint.

Mr Saunders, who presently celebrates his 10th year as a designer, has been winning accolades since graduating with an MA from London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2002. In fact, it was reported that two days after his graduation show, Mr Saunders was commissioned by Alexander McQueen, whose label was then freshly acquired by the Gucci Group, to design prints for his spring/summer 2003 collection. The result was a burst of colour that came together to form what would be known as the bird of paradise dresses. His prints continue to win him fans and commissions, especially by fashion’s big boys such as Chloé (under Phoebe Philo) as well as Pucci (under Christian Lacroix). In 2008, the Italian label Pollini (the shoes, designed by Nicholas Kirkwood, are stocked at Robinsons The Hereen) appointed Mr Saunders as creative director, a position vacated by Rifat Ozbek, the Turkish-born designer who was quite a sensation in London in the late Eighties and early Nineties.

Lyle & Scott X Jonathan Saunders FW 2014 ShirtCotton colour-block shirt cut slim for a modern fit

Lyle & Scotts’s pairing with Mr Saunders isn’t the label’s first outing with a non-mainstream designer. Back in 2012, they collaborated with Junya Watanabe (under the “Eye” line) for a capsule collection of polo shirts that had the usual unexpected details Mr Watanabe is known for. Lyle & Scott sits alongside other heritage brands to have their polo shirts re-imagined such as Lacoste and Fred Perry. Whether with the eagle, the alligator, or the laurel wreath (or other creatures or fauna), we say, keep the creative coupling coming.

Lyle & Scott X Jonathan Saunders tees, SGD139, and shirts, SGD299, are available at Tangs Orchard

High On Hybrid

Ganryu shirt AW 2014The Japanese are known for taking two (or more) disparate elements, bring them together and somehow the sum is a sensible whole. No matter how unrelated the components of a shirt are, for example, the finished product will still look like a shirt, wearable to boot. That’s their mastery.

Take this seemingly commonplace shirt, something an insouciant urbanite would pick.  It’s from Ganryu, designed by Fumito Ganryu, part of the Comme des Garçons stable of designers. From afar, it looks like a chemise given the colour-block treatment, now so scarily common. But upon closer inspection—and you will look it over—the shirt is also a wannabe anorak! The cotton body is in micro-check and the sleeve in gingham, and across the chest is a solid-colour nylon pocket with invisible zipper. Athletic wear details do crop up in shirts, but weather wear elements are as unusual as a solar storm.

It’s geek-chic, no doubt, and with a touch of norm-core, but it’s a regular more guys should adopt.

The Ganryu micro gingham poly BD shirt, SGD390, is available at Club21B, Forum Galeria