ONE time protégé to Roland Mouret and now full-time head of his own label, Todd Lynn seems to have it sewn up. Canadian by birth, but educated in Europe, the graduate of Central Saint Martins has shown on schedule at London Fashion Week for the past handful of seasons; both with a menswear collection and womenswear range. Bespoke clients include Bono and Marilyn Manson, but his aesthetic is far from rhinestones and leather, expect elegance circa 1930, fur stoles and attention to trousers. Lynn sums up his approach to what his customers want in these words, “People just was to look effortless, beautiful and thin.” Nail on the head.
“Milan is about money, Paris is about houses, New York is just big, there are hundreds of shows. I think you can make a really good imprint in London.”
Sitting in a back office at the headquarters of the Hervia Group in Manchester, the designer looks a little exhausted. Lynn debuted his collection only three days before, at London Fashion Week, and before flying to Manchester was in Paris choosing fabrics for Autumn/Winter ’12. “This time the fabric fayre was after [London Fashion Week], I had to do it... but now I’ve come to do this and I’m a little bit more relaxed.” Lynn is in Manchester to present his AW11 and a snippet of his SS12 collections at the Hervia Bazaar store, the only Todd Lynn stockist outside London, to a select group of Coutts’ bank cardholders, as Todd is the recipient of the Coutts Fashion Forward prize.
After only being back from London Fashion Week for three days myself, it was as good a place as any to start our chat, “Why did you choose London to show when New York is closer to home?” Expecting a shrug and some gesture toward his current geographical location, I was taken aback by Lynn’s thought process. “There is a big support system, especially when you’re starting out. I don’t think you get that in other cities.” An artist with a firm eye on business, Lynn weighed up his options before deciding on London as the base for his fashion label. “Milan is about money, Paris is about houses, New York is just big, there are hundreds of shows. I think you can make a really good imprint in London.”
Before occupying the British Fashion Council’s show space for a fifteen minute stint seasonally, Lynn worked under someone else’s label; a label that wasn’t entirely the property of the man whose name it bore. “I started working with Roland Mouret and I was ready to take over, maybe their menswear, but then the company folded.” Mouret’s label collapsed during the pinnacle of his celebrated success after a public battle with his financier and corporate partner. Mouret is now back, with full use of his own name, but the original spat left Lynn without an employer. This was when Todd Lynn, the label, was born, “It wasn’t a life-long ambition, but I was in the position to either assist someone else or take the opportunity and see what happened.”
That he did, Lynn works tirelessly to keep up with the London fash-pack but still manages to enjoy his work. “London designers are able to do different things, we’re all friends with each other because we’re not stepping on each others’ toes.” A true testament to the sense of community exhibited at the event, Jonathan Saunders supported Richard Nicoll this season, telling me, “Well, he’s just a mate’, and Lynn himself was eager to hear about Mark Fast’s show; occupying the same catwalk just hours before his own catwalk presentation.
As we spoke, items from Lynn’s current and upcoming collections were hung on rails with shoes placed delicately underneath. Hannah Martin, the designer of ‘jewellery for men, that their girlfriends will want to steal’ browses the options and begins to accessorise the show with her The Man Who Knows Everything collection for AW11, a collection which was inspired by the Compte de Saint-Germain, who was referred to as ‘the man who knows everything, and never dies by Voltaire, 1760. Todd’s pallet is a dusty, creamy hue with sprinkles of chocolate in the form of fur embellishment. The palette moves to metallic black and grey as tailoring stiffens and eventually boasts blood red over drapery. SS12 sees a continuation of the metallics and an eventual surrender to ocean blues. High necks with a nod to sport fashions dominate for Autumn/Winter where asymmetric neck and hemlines make for a less rigid result for Spring/Summer.
Never boring, always androgynous and quintessentially London, Todd Lynn has arrived.
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Todd Lynn portrait by Irene Scioti
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