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“London Collections: Men” got off to a rainy start but that wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits of the fashion fans queuing up to see the latest creations by the UK’s rising design talent. “Globally the menswear market is going from strength to strength, a lot of it driven out of Asia, and so it’s providing lots of opportunities for British businesses to grow and develop, particularly in the menswear market because we have so much heritage,” said Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council. One of the first fashion houses showing off its Autumn-Winter collections was Topman. The show featured duffle coats, cut-off double breasted jackets, and peacoats worn over turtleneck jumpers. The collection didn’t shy away from boldness, with bright red and turquoise blue emerging from beneath the dark and tartan tops.“This was my romantic notion of tough northern boys going to work in the shipyards of old. They would have been like that. They would have worn donkey jackets, peacoats, they would have braved the elements, they wouldn’t have had any umbrellas, they would have gone out in the rain and it was that sort of romantic starting point,” said Topman creative director Gordon Richardson. Among the emerging talents showing off their collections was Alan Taylor for the MAN project. The Irish-born designer is known for exploring the idea of juxtaposition in his clothes, creating surreal outfits made of garments that can be worn separately from each other. The show also featured unsettling figures by Bobby Abley – models clad in pink, black or grey wore Mickey Mouse ears or Dracula-style haircuts and metal clamps in their mouths.