Rory Parnell-Mooney's Nancy Boy at London Collections: Men AW16

On the opening day of London Collections: Men, Irish-born menswear designer and Central Saint Martins MA graduate, Rory Parnell-Mooney completed his final run of a total of three collections under the support of the MAN umbrella. If you don't already know, MAN is a program that was set up ten years ago by Lulu Kennedy (Fashion East) and Topman's Gordon Richardson in order to support and nurture young talents with both funding and business advice, allowing the designers to experiment but ultimately grow. It has been responsible for some of fashion's biggest names, from the early days of Kim Jones, Jonathan Anderson and Christopher Shannon to more recent names like Astrid Andersen and the boy everybody is talking about (and rightfully so), Craig Green. Massive thank you to Lulu, Gordon and all the others responsible for the careers of such great designers.

Anyway, back to Rory's collection. This time Rory expanded on his love for teenagers and youth mixed with a more ecclesiastical aesthetic, only this time he regressed to his angsty teenage past in a Catholic school and also however drew inspiration from Spanish Baroque artist Francisco de Zurbaran. It was his paintings of the rich draped robes of Carthusian monks - which suggested the velvet fabrics, lightweight silks and fluid layers. With a modern twist on the wide-leg jeans (so popular right now) with rolled up hems and slim-tailored silhouettes were a direct nod to Placebo's Brian Molko circa 1994 and with graphics that read "NANCY BOY" (a song by the band Placebo) or "REPENT" written across familiar garments of a well-established uniform representative of 90's dispossessed youth: hoodies, girl-like shrunken tees and sweatshirting. "It's like an angry teenager in a Catholic school," Mooney stated, "angry and reeling against a system that tells him how dress and act". Extremely nostalgic. Incredibly beautiful. 

This time Rory Parnell-Mooney on a whole may have felt more commercial than the previous two MAN collections and even his graduate collection, however that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It is remember his final collection under the MAN platform, and like I mentioned earlier, they offer support not only financially but also how to build a business for yourself and that of course means you have to compromise sometimes if it results in you selling the clothes you design. Because at the end of the day, if you don't sell, your business otherwise fails. Doing t-shirts and sweatshirts are an easy access into ways to sell your brand. Not saying they weren't beautiful and admirable because they in fact were. My favourite pieces from the collection included those riot-worthy hoodies with those incredibly "dark" hoods which were doubled and covered the face entirely almost. The ones with luxury fabrication. The collection felt much more luxurious than previous, just look at the shiny mock-croc fabric and the bags some models carried, it reminded me of an article on 1granary (by the students of CSM) I read a few days ago, on what luxury means to them, the students. Read it here. The debate between price, fabrics and construction was interesting.

The perfect styling tool for this collection was the collaboration with Converse, the shoe everyone wears when trying to desperately hang onto their youth. The fact they were the classic, black and white high-tops made it all the more better. The trousers I always love, I remember Rory commenting on his wide-leg trousers in an article I read last year sometime in which he says he has perfected to wide-leg trouser so it makes perfect sense he expands on that. That is what makes a successful business, developing the things you're good at, just not making your work predictable. This collection was nothing like I predicted. Something I'd also like to touch on is the models that are casted. The models are always these beautiful young-looking boys, tall and thin with the most interesting features. These boys and the clothes themselves kind of make me want to become a goth almost, but thats a story for another day. Overall, this was a fantastic collection I thought and my only hope is that he gets more stockists.

Images courtesy of Vogue Runway and Dazed Digital

Well that is it for my first blog post of 2016 and it's good to be back blogging. I would like to firstly say sorry for the lack of posts for the latter of 2015, but I would also like to take this time to thank everyone who's stuck with me and will hopefully continue to read my blog over the next few weeks of menswear. Join back later for more London menswear coverage.

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