Far from the fanfare of Somerset House and the pinballing fashion set bouncing from venue to venue across the capital, I prefer to ease myself in to proceedings with showroom visits. For the last five seasons my London Fashion Week has begun with an elongated visit to the ever fruitful, Touba Distrubution curated, The Showroom Next Door. Each season, it exemplifies everything that I find exciting about design in London; namely it's diversity and sense of sartorial evolution and revolution. Having posted countless gushing reviews, it should be little wonder that I'm drawn back season after season. These are undoubtedly exciting times for menswear and I'm so pleased that there are platforms like the Showroom Next Door that help to showcase the obvious and abundant talent that call this capital of ours at home and abroad.
Now, with covetable rails full of personal favourites including the likes of Casely-Hayford, Bunney, Hannah Martin, Armando Cabral and Bruno Chaussignand, I've often described the space as my dream walk in wardrobe. Curated over two floors of Gallery Lazarides, I spent a couple of hours familiarising myself with and daydreaming about so much. Over the coming week or so I'll talk you through some of my favourites and I'd like to kick it off with Bruno Chaussignand. Now, if you're a regular reader you should remember that this fine maker of hand made frames forced me to re-evaluate eyewear. A childhood spent refusing to wear glasses because I thought they'd instantly transform me in to a laughing stock of the the playground (and to be honest my prescription was so small that I could get on fine with the odd squint), led me to a tad dismissive of their appeal. However, the moment I encountered the sculptural frames of the brad any lingering playground concerns evaporated.
Born in France in 1974, Bruno Chaussignand discovered the eyewear business at the age of 15. "At that time, I dreamed about being a designer. When I discovered the optical business, I was fascinated by the three sides to the business, which spanned fashion, technology and health. I was particularly interested in these aspects and became immediately passionate about the business." The eponymous brand was launched in 2004 and has since evolved to offer a number of frames and services. Last season, a range of strikingly modern luxury eyewear was launched. Entitled Time Out, the range of nine (and growing) styles in metal and acetate showcase the designer's new style. Quite simply it is a collection of architectural frames which come to life across broad, strong textures and bold, innovative cuts. Thankfully, the showroom had the full offering. Below are just a few frames that caught my eye...