EXCLUSIVE: River Island S/S 2013 Menswear Preview

Morning everyone.

Firstly, apologies for already breaking my new mantra to write every day in under a week. Sadly the perils of Winter illness have taken their toll, resulting in a lot of time spent asleep, watching Disney films and being fed water by other people whilst in bed. Luckily, however, I was feeling well enough to attend the River Island menswear press preview for next season.

And wow, I was glad I did. Despite my visit being tinged with my ‘FIRST EVER PRESS EVENT!’ glasses, it was well beyond my riverisland preview 1expectations. As I slowly opened the smart glass door, just round the corner from Oxford Street, I entered what seemed to be a fake River Island shop.

The collection itself was in some ways what I would expect from River Island: lots of tribal Aztec prints, turned up jeans and bold sunglasses. But, this was mixed in with a real sense of the designer trying to get the brand to mature and in her own words ‘grow up a bit’. Thinking about River Island in relation to its high street rivals, this can only be a good thing. The bold neons and pannels were inter-mixed with smart tweed jackets, heritage style elbow patches, and great quality hardware.

So, let me talk you through a couple of my favourite ranges:

1. Authentic Blue 

Primarily what I liked about this collection, in which all the pieces were in varying shades of blue, was that it was so obvious it was actually ingenious. Key to this range are different washing and distressing techniques, which River Island describe as being ‘inspired by the rugged work wear of the 19th century’. The standout piece for me has to be the Seersucker Denim Shorts: perfect light weight denim for summer in an easy-to-wear toned down blue.

Authentic Blue

Authentic Blue

2. Holloway Road

As the oh-so-charming press officer informed me, the first River Island store was indeed on Holloway Road. So, it goes without saying that this range is all about heritage, tradition, and classic tailoring. Perhaps not what you would come to mind when you think of River Island, but I really admire their bravery in modifying the essence of their brand. Their classic blazer is, however, given a modern twist with a thinner linen fabric rather than conventional tweed and geometric elbow patches, making it more ‘street’ and less ‘geography teacher’.

Holloway Road

Holloway Road

3. Cosmic

Take everything you’ve ever thought about River Island, multiply it by ten, and distill it. Then, you will be somewhere close to their Cosmic collection. In the words of the press officer, this range is ‘where the designers had a bit of fun’. Inspired by the 90s (worryingly the decade in which I was born), think neon brights, cartoon prints and sportswear. Inspired by the ravey Summer of Love, look no further for some great pieces to take on holiday (if you are thinking that far ahead already…) But, rather than being tired and samey, this range is given a fresh edge by its juxtaposition with the rest of the collection.

Cosmic

Cosmic

Essentially, the beauty of the collection is that all the pieces are interchangeable. It’s like a grown up version of mix-and-match clothes, if you like. Little motifs run throughout the whole collection, linking the ranges together in an almost cerebral way. There is a real focus on the small details: contrast PU collars, chunky zips and buttons and paneling. This utilitarian edge is what makes the collection so easy to wear, and crucially brings the new heritage style pieces down to the ground.

riverislandpreview2The afternoon itself was extremely enjoyable. Britpop tunes and old-school disco beats subtly bopped away in the background, and I was offered a tantalising range of 90s themed cocktails including a ‘Spice Up Your Life’ served in a Coke cup. Genius.

All in all, a fantastic way to spend my first EVER press preview. Now, bring on the rest!

Ally

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  1. […] other news, graphic prints are big (as predicted at the River Island S/S preview HERE). The midi skirt has also converted me. I once hated it, but I am now truly and utterly obsessed. […]



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