This week, New York once again saw the seasonal arrival of the big menswear trade shows. Think of it as a prelude to Fashion Week of sorts, since New York still combines its Men's runway show schedule with its women's. The Shophound went to Project and Capsule, and we have to admit that we breezed through faster than usual. Now that are familiar with these shows, a lot of the vendors are starting to look, well, familiar. That's not to say there aren't great things to be seen and bought by stores, but they can be overwhelming, so we breezed through looking for our favorite brands and anything else that caught our eyes. Let's not waste any time.
Can we take one more heritage/designer collaboration? Following the pattern set by Gant, Florsheim, Converse and any number of other beloved heritage labels, CHAMPION has finally found the designer to elevate it into luxury stores with up and comer TODD SNYDER (pictured above). His Fall line for the popular sweatshirt and athletic gear maker was previewed at Project with a prime display of selected pieces. Are we weary of such high/low mash-ups? We could be if this weren't such a perfect match. There may be no designer better than Snyder to give the sweats that Champion is known for just enough vintage zing to give them that coveted upscale appeal. Besides the obvious cotton fleece items there was a sweet suede bomber that gave the line some extra luxury.
Speaking of bombers and luxury, our favorite emerging designer IAN VELARDI featured a particularly fine one in icy grey shearling (at right). Velardi seems to win a new award every time we see him at one of these things, and this time is was a much deserved Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation prize. Aside from that tempting jacket, his collection featured the newest color palette of the season: a subtle mix of blues and greys that worked beautifully with his elegant yet sporty aesthetic. We saw the color scheme echoed in many brands including GANT's Rugger and Michael Bastian labels which hit the trade shows for the first time this season.
As a counterpoint to all those subtle blues and grays, we saw plenty of shoes and accessories in what we can now call Go-To-Hell colors. There's still plenty of camouflage out there, but the newest accent was bold, saturated color. The king of jarring mash-ups, MARK McNAIRY made his presence known in no less than three booths including his own. McNairy is notably averse to pictures at such events, but he had shelves full of his much copied colorful shoes and his apparel collection was as wildly patterned as ever. He could care less about trends, even if they are one he has started. His freshest footwear featured bright metallics, so get ready for those. If a classic derby boot in shining gold is too much for you, then take a look at some loden suede bucks with a gold saddle. Luckily, we can show them to you because musician/designer Pharrell was photographed in them last month (above left). Not everyone can wear them, but the ones who can will look awesome. And speaking of Pharrell, his new BEE LINE collection showed off another McNairy collaboration with a brightly colored take on preppy workwear, and then there is a new McNairy eyewear collection for GARRETT LEIGHT, with pamphlets packaged in demure pink envelopes elegantly emblazoned with the designer's favorite vulgar expletive.
We always look to FLORSHEIM by DUCKIE BROWN for daring shoes, and after seasons of elaborate brogues and boots, the newest looks here came in the form of classic double soled bluchers in shiny patent leather colors (above). There were plenty of metallics here too, but the sleek shiny shoes had a refreshingly non-nostalgic appeal.
Other accessories got the color treatment as well. PARABELLUM (at right), whose rich bison-skin line has made inroads at luxury retailers like Bergdorf Goodman and Fivestory, played both sides of the color fence, remaking its classic pieces in elegant shades of gray and navy as well as intense violet and cobalt blue.
We can't forget those heritage brands. At times they have threatened to overwhelm these shows with lumberjack and railroad worker looks, but the savviest ones have managed to evolve beyond nostalgia. EASTLAND (yet another McNairy Collaborator) has done well with its classic Made in Maine collection of handsewn moccasin style footwear, but now they are broadening their offerings with more traditionally structured brogues and boots. The turn towards dressier looks suits the label, and we can say that a cap-toe ankle boot in green Horween leather (at left) easily makes our list of items to look for next Fall.