New York's first properly organized Men's Fashion Week finished up yesterday in a calm, collected manner that contrasted pleasantly with the exhausted get-me-out-of-here feeling one often encountered at the end of the formerly combined New York Fashion Weeks of the past. Of course, NYFW: Women's will probably generate the same kind of frenzy anyway, bit for the menswear folks who had to endure it, the lack of drama was welcome. In fact, the only question was posed mostly by contrarian journalists who insisted on posing the question, "do we reeally neeeed another fashion week?" For the big names like Michael Kors and John Varvatos, it probably doesn't matter, but for emerging and independent designers, the answer is an emphatic yes.
These are the guys who get lost in crush of hundreds of shows when forced to share a schedule with women's designers. Take deTROIT, a new label from designer Robert Molnar (pictured above). Named after his hometown (where along with New York, the collection is entirely manufactured), Molnar's collection wouldn't be getting the same opportunity for attention before, and now it gets a proper chance to compete for the attention of buyers who aren't rushing from show to show in far flung venues because all of the central ones are booked up. They might have missed Molnar's thoughtful tweaks of classic shapes in fuller, softer more current silhouettes that fit in easily into menswear trends for spring with red-painted feet for an extra dash of kookiness.
Next, The Shophound slipped into Platform 2 to checkout ORLEY's offerings for next season. Designers are getting the hang of how to use these new spaces. The Orley's decided to forgo a traditional runway and set up vignettes around the perimeter of the room with mid-century furniture and oriental rugs. The models circled the room, posing at stations to be viewed and photographed by the standing audience, negating the need for seating arrangements and giving everyone a good view while taking full advantage of the entire space. The collection. It was a better way to show off the still evolving label's dedication to intricate knitting techniques than having a model swiftly stride by on a runway. These sweaters bear a lingering gaze, and while some of the styling seemed a bit more edgy than the brand's fresh-faced fashion image would have called for thus far (no more greasy hair please and thank you), you could see how some of the cropped sweaters will sell nicely at retail when they ship at a more classic length. The show also included more woven pieces to round out a full collection as well as some striking decorated sneakers made in collaboration with Greats, and though the finale-free format made the actual finish of the show somewhat unclear, the designers got a strong ovation when they made it out for a bow.
Toward the end of the day, LUCIO CASTRO staged his runway/presentation hybrid on platform 3. Castro is another of New York's striving up-and-comers in his first seasons with retailers like Bloomingdale's and Saks who stands to gain the most from a separate men's Fashion Week. This season it was a tribute to Nollywood, Nigerian Hollywood, said to be the world's second largest film industry. This brought out inspired prints and pattern combinations on a model cast that was appropriately but not gratuitously diverse.
Up on 14th Street, a more avant garde component of Fashion Week took it stage as Malaysian born, Belgium based designer EDMUND OOI presented his first New York show. Were the many pantsless looks and cut-out styles likely to make their way into Saks or Nordstrom? Probably not anytime soon, but Ooi's year-old company has already been invited to Pitti Imagine Uomo and his last collection's show was sponsored by Giorgio Armani in Milan. Each look was full of ideas —overflowing with them, in fact, but if you can look past the trailing lacing and skimpy briefs (and some really cool shoes), you might find a uncanny eye for innovative knit effects and graphic patterns that point to an inventive designer to emerge from under all the flashy details. Ooi rounds out the spectrum of designers that make a men's fashion week in New York not only worthwhile but necessary.
Have a look at the shows in the gallery below.
FASHION WEEK NOTES:
New York Fashion Week Men's Is Unveiled With Shinola, Timo Weiland, Duckie Brown & Robert Geller
Yesterday The Shophound finally got a look at the long awaited New York Fashion Week: Men's at Skylight Clarkson Square on the northwestern edge of SoHo —and it looks good. Pretty much anything would be an improvement over cramming the American men's designer shows into the overstuffed women's schedule, but the new set-up seem to be working well, as far as we could tell, though some designers seemed to have growing pains in leaving their familiar showing spaces.
The good part is that the oppressive promotional atmosphere of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is gone, and on a day where scattered showers could make traveling around town problematic, a central location saved us and others from potential drenching. Also, since the shows are in a real building, there are real bathrooms —an amenity whose importance is not to be underestimated. The sponsors are fewer and more relevant. Cadillac's show car is parked on the sidewalk where it belongs rather than in the middle of things leaving lots of room for showgoers to sit down, charge their devices and get to work without having to squeeze into some cramped press pen. Amazon has kept its promotional presence relevant, focusing on the fashion division it is dedicated to growing. Another major sponsor, SHINOLA (pictured above), used its space to present its Spring 2016 collection, giving the Shophound a chance to chat with our friend Richard Lambertson of Lambertson Truex who have transformed the Detroit-based brand's artisanally styled leather line into a fully fledged accessories collection ready to compete at the top levels in quality and design with other luxury brands. No longer a charming side offering to the watches and bikes, the line boasts the same sumptuous leathers we are used to seeing from Shinola, now made into beautifully constructed duffels, backpacks, messenger bags and small leather goods featuring the thoughtful topstitching and details that erstwhile Lambertson Truex fans will recognize. Lambertson now shuttles between New York and Detroit where his design studio and sample workrooms are located, and like all of Shinola's products, the entire collection is manufactured in the U.S.A.
Next we were off to check out TIMO WEILAND's presentation. Platform 3, as the venue was called is a smaller room meant for static presentations. In recent seasons, the label has been showing its menswear at the Highline Hotel's cavernous space, and the move to a smaller room was not without its glitches. perhaps next season, they will avoid making a v-shaped presentation format that basically pushed the showers into a bottleneck against the narrower end of the room. Live and learn, but the collection looked fresh, a priority with the added attention a dedicated men's fashion week will bring. Known for a twisted take on preppy clothes, designers Weiland, Alan Eckstein and Donna Kang gave us more twist and less preppy for a more sophisticated feeling and a more international look. The line looked great. The presentation format needs rethinking.
Shophound Faves DUCKIE BROWN also had some relocation pains in moving from their longtime venue at Industria to the larger Platform 2 room at Clarkson Square. Menswear's current fascination with androgyny should put the veteran indie label right in its spotlight, as Steven Cox and Daniel Silver have been mixing masculine elements and traditionally feminine materials since day one. Their Spring 2016 collection found a way to continue their techniques without looking like their models stumbled through their mothers' closets or ransacked an overpriced thrift shop like a few high-profile European luxury brands have. Unfortunately, what was uncharacteristically awkward was the show staging which had half of the models walking the runway in shadow, frustrating the photographers who, as they will, made their displeasure known vocally. Having guest seated only on one side of the runway also left large portion of the room unused which seemed ill-advised. Again, with added attention to menswear this week, one would have liked such an accomplished collection to simply be seen better.
ROBERT GELLER, however, made the most of his new space. Used to showing in along, narrow, sometimes problematic space at Pier 59 Studios, the designer took to the spacious Platform 1 with apparent ease, constructing a northern European seaside-inspired set and a J-shaped runway format that made the most of the complex's largest room. Geller's sportswear beautifully reflected menswear's slow but steady move away from tight silhouettes toward looser fitting clothes with his rich color sense in full effect. Quirky hats and knitted cummerbunds pulled the looks together. Overall it was an upgrade in presentation for Geller along with a further evolution for his label.
Have a glimpse at the shows in the gallery below
The official Fashion Week that New York's menswear designers have been waiting for is finally here. While it won't rival the size and scope of the Women's seasonal event that it finally extricated itself from, It is already proving why it has been long overdue —even before it has technically started.
Yesterday, New York Men's Day gave the week its unofficial kick-start with a series of twelve presentations split into two shifts, morning and afternoon from some of America's emerging men's labels. Organized by Agentry PR, the event has previously taken place a part of the formerly merged New York Fashion Week, but as with most men's shows, got swallowed up in that overstuffed schedule. Now that it has room to breathe, all the designers should benefit from more focused attention, and they rose to the occasion. The twelve labels on the roster range from a few who are probably ready for their own full shows to newbies just starting to cause a stir. Standouts included David Hart's Bauhaus inspired suits and sportswear (pictured above), Cadet's continuously evolving take on military looks —including an appearance from cult model Chad White— and immaculately styled retro tinged tailoring from Eponymous. Have a glimpse at those collections as well as looks from Boyswear, CWST, Garciavelez, PLAC, Kenneth Ning, Matiere, Fingers Crossed, Chapter and Carlos Campos in the galleries above for the morning presentations and below for the afternoon shows.
There were no big surprises as IMG officially announced the new homes for its New York Fashion Week shows, and it will be just the pain in the ass we predicted. Next season's official shows will be taking place at two far flung locations as had been widely predicted. The schedule will be split between Skylight at Moynihan Station at 360 West 33rd Street and Skylight Clarkson Square at 550 Washington Street. In addition, IMG has full acquired Made at Milk which has been providing show space for designers at little or no rental cost, and it will continue to operate independent of the other locations. That means that This September's fashion week shows will have press and buyers shuttling between 33rd Street, the western end of 15th street and the far western edge of SoHo just below Houston street. That doesn't include other popular venues like Industria, Spring Studios in Tribeca, the various Armories and any other of the off-site locations that will be required to host the hundreds of shows that aren't officially on IMG's misleadingly tight schedule.
So it really won't be that much different, although Moynihan station shaves about 30 blocks off the span of territory now that Lincoln Center is off the map. One plus is that the men's shows will be consolidated at Skylight Clarkson Square in July, so they won't have to compete for venues and production teams, and that might ease the schedule just a bit. Moynihan Station, the Farley Post Office which will ultimately become a full train station has the advantage of being right on an express stop for the A, C and E trains, but the other two locations are at least a couple of crosstown blocks away from the subway, so expect Uber to be as busy and peak priced as ever. Eventually, Fashion Week is expected to consolidate itself at the fabled Culture Shed planned for Hudson Yards, but since that isn't really expected to be ready until 2019, it looks like this is what Fashion Week is going to look like for the foreseeable future.
Get your comfortable shoes ready, fashion folks.
Oh, who are we kidding, they're never going to wear comfortable shoes.
As many of you regular Shophounders out here may have noticed, we have toned down out Fashion Week coverage here over the past few seasons. it's not that we don't love a great runway show.
We just don't want to waste our time running to and from the ones that aren't so great.
Having said that, it wouldn't seem like Fashion Week without at least one full-on parade of glam, and so we have NAEEM KHAN to thank very kindly for making sure we didn't miss out.
Fashion has become so fragmented that, at this point, most designers seem to just do their own thing without regard to trends as long as they know they have faithful customers who love what they do. Khan's thing is glamorous eveningwear with no holds barred. Sequins, palettes, bugle beads, feathers and lamé are all in welcome abundance on his runways and his Fall 2015 collection, his tenth runway show, was no exception.
There's a lot more to making sparkly gowns than throwing sequins at a bias cut dress, and Khan makes sure we can see that with intricately patterned beaded embroideries, and deceptively sleek shapes. There were some non-shiny looks in chiffon or other matte silks, but the standouts were, as always, the sparkly looks including a few beautifully engineered gowns in black with gunmetal beaded geometric or scalloped patterns that fell into tumbling palettes by the time they reached the hems. For the overstaters, there was minidress in bugle bead fringe or perhaps one in ostrich feathers? Maybe the giant white fox hunting hats were a bit much, but overall, it was, as expected, a rousing and particularly satisfying show that left his audience, clients and retailers, smiling.
Have a look at some runway highlights in the gallery below
There was so much going on this past weekend what with the Saturday Night Live anniversary and some Basketball thing, but, there was also Fashion Week and, as always, the first few days are still heavy on Menswear in advance of the guys finally getting their own week to themselves this Summer. One wonders if, once a bigger spotlight is shining, designers will get more room to show off. On Wednesday, we visited both sessions of New York Men's Day at Industria in the West Village, which was a great showcase for up and coming (and in some cases, old and revamping) labels, but kind of crammed them into some small, hot, brightly lit rooms. On Saturday, General Idea, a Fashion Week stalwart from designer Bumsik Choi, got Industria all to itself. Choi is one of the designers who is quietly making Seoul a fashion capital to reckon with, and has developed a faithful cult clientele. Typically, Choi has opted for a runway show, but this season he went for a more efficient presentation where visitors could examine his collection in a bit more detail. As always, bold outerwear was the standout including double lapeled coats that made a striking diagonal slash of contrast across their wearers. One irony was that despite the presentation being staged in an actual photo studio, the lighting was unusually dim, making for a strangely gloomy ambiance, but perhaps they were simply trying to mitigate the inevitably unfavorable combination of heavy wintercoats and bright lighting in a smallish, white room.
Later in the day, we made our way to Robert Geller's show at Pier 59 Studios. Last season, Geller moved to a bigger studio in the complex with an X-shaped runway that beautifully showcased the collection, but for Fall 2015, he moved back to his familiar long, narrow studio for a proscenium-like set-up against a chain-link backdrop. How it related to Geller's inspiration, Aldo and Nedo Nadi, a pair of brothers form the 1920s who were Olympic level fencers, and, apparently, extremely natty dressers. As he does, Geller melded inspiration from the past to modern techniques for a striking collection, though, again, the dark, moody lighting made it tricky to get a handle on exactly what one was seeing, even from a decent seat. We hear that there were great shoes from Common Projects, but they mostly obscured to us. Maybe next season's Men's Fashion Week will give both designers better showing options in a less tightly packed schedule. They both deserve the lights on a full power.
See that car?
It's a new Mercedes coupe. Pretty sweet, right? It's in the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week tents at Lincoln Center where we went this morning for a couple of runway shows.
It was the best thing we saw there.
Many runway seasons ago, when The Shophound first went to Fashion Week as a blogger, we saw a ton of shows.
It was easy. We were invited to some, and once we were inside the tent at Bryant Park with credentials, many PR reps were happy to let us inside others if there was room —and more often than not, there was. There were plenty of designers we hadn't heard of, but they all had something worthwhile to offer, even if was only a good model lineup. That was even before Mercedes had signed on as the title sponsor for Fashion Week, and now it is their last season. In the intervening years, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week has declined in prestige so much that the fact that a city lawsuit has forced it to find a new home seems almost like a relief.
It's too bad, back in the 90's when the CFDA and 7th on Sixth first erected the tents in Bryant Park, it was a sign of status to show a collection there, and nearly every major New York designer, Calvin, Ralph and Donna included, showed there. Even Prada staged shows there. One season it was the main label, the next it was Miu Miu. By the time when we stared blogging, it still seemed clear that a designer needed to be vetted somehow in order to show at the tents. They weren't just handing out runways and time slots to anybody with a label. There were standards. DVF, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Rucci, Isaac Mizrahi, Bill Blass, Jason Wu, Tuleh, J.Mendel, and others kept the prestige up. European labels like Malo and Neil Barrett debuted collections there. While there were always a few oddballs and a couple of duds in the mix, by and large it was a respectable lineup even when it included little known designers from overseas looking to make a splash with the press. We saw a few of them from Korea, Australia, India and even Serbia. Even if they failed to make the impact they had hoped, they still had something to offer creatively.
Cut to this morning, when The Shophound made our first visit to the tents this season to see Mongol by Bayarmaa Bayarkhuu in the big Theater tent at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Described as a combination of traditional Mongolian costumes combined with urban casual as well as entrepreneur lifestyle, it was kind of a mess, and certainly not ready for what is supposed to be one of the most coveted runway venues in New York. Taking into consideration the amount of hard work it takes to get anything on a runway in a major city, we can only say that it looked like on of those dusty downtown Mongolian import stores got cross pollinated with a night at the Limelight sometime around 1992. Theoretically, that could be amusing, but it wasn't. It just wasn't up to snuff, and we had to wonder why anyone thought that this would be a good designer to showcase in what still touts itself as the central hub of New York Fashion Week. Then we just figured that nobody at MBFW cares anymore. They had a runway time that needed to be filled and here was someone who would pay the fee.
That instinct was confirmed by the end of our next show, Mark And Estel, another label we were unfamiliar with. We didn't think things could get much worse, but we were wrong. Apparently the duo is not only a fashion label but a music act, too, which means that once the show was finally over, we had to hear them sing.
We thought the whole thing was a put-on for a minute, but that was the grand finale. The clothes were OK in a tawdry sort of L.A. Rock and Roll way, but they looked a lot cheaper than they actually are. Note to designers: Sheer stretchy dress with visible black bra and panties underneath may be salable club wear, but it is not something that people need to venture forth on a 9˚ winter morning to go see trotting down a runway. The musical performance was just preposterous. If ever the thought "Oh, God, please don't sing" runs through your head at a runway show, then you know you are at the wrong one. Again, we found ourselves wondering how this act got accepted to show at what is actually a desirable 11 AM time slot on what is supposed to be the stage for America's greatest fashion? The answer could only be that it was the best they could get. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week has long since lost its marquee designers, and now its name sponsor and its location, and it kind of looks like they have just given up until they can figure out what form it is going to take in the future. All we could imagine as Mark and Estel bellowed "We are Rock Stars!" into microphones on their runway was Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy from "30 Rock" marching in and shouting, "Shut it down! Shut it down!" because it was just too awful to continue. On the plus side, the pair managed to pull together a decent gift bag including some nice Paul Mitchell products and a Mark And Estel commemorative T-shirt. it reminded us of the pre-2008 days at Bryant park when we would end the day with armfuls of swag, but, of course it was only placed on the seats for the first two rows. No matter, the attendance was so poor that it was a cinch to score a seat with a bag. The other pleasant surprise was the free Yoplait yogurt being offered after the show which is the first free snack I have seen at the tents in years that was something I actually wanted to eat.
There are still plenty of respectable designers like Todd Snyder, Carolina Herrera, Anna Sui and Monique Lhuillier still on the MBFW schedule, and at their shows, things generally seem just the way they ought to be, but they are fewer and further between at Lincoln Center. Rather than scrambling to find a replacement site for next season, maybe it is time for the Fashion Week tent concept to take a few seasons off and really figure out a way to rebuild its prestige before it turns into a venue to avoid on principle for both designers and guests.
Have a look at some magic moments below
The Shophound has never actually been to a Josie Natori show, so we figured it would be a perfectly fine way to kick off the Fall shows with the Queen of Intimate Apparel. Of course, there were no bras and panties on the runway at the DiMenna Center on West 37th Street. Though Natori is an innerwear giant, which brought the major retail execs to her dutiful front row, this show was for the designer's own, much more exclusive ready-to-wear line, and if anything, it was extra covered up in layers of cozy scarves, coats and sweaters. Ms. Natori is a fashion veteran whose signature line is small and more personal, so she makes what she likes which turns out to be some lovely clothes for women who are after a certain sort of luxurious, well-tended look. Her inspiration was a trip to Istanbul which produced lots of rich embroideries and sweeping hems and tall Sufi sikke hats, one of which made a run for it before its model could make it backstage. Oh, the hazards of extreme accessorizing. It certainly wasn't enough to distract too much from what was an otherwise sumptuous if not groundbreaking show, and a pleasant way to ease into Fashion Week.
Have a look at some undisrupted looks below:
NEW YORK FASHION WEEK:
Final Fashion Week Production Notes
Reem Acra, Perry Ellis & Cesar Galindo
Reem Acra, Perry Ellis & Cesar Galindo
So Fashion Week has come and gone, and The Shophound has once again found that it is much easier to take when you don't go to as many shows. Given the benefits of modern technology, there are now many shows that we are perfectly happy to see at home streaming live on our computer rather than running all over town in miserably muggy weather to get a partial view of the runway.
Still, there are some shows that we would hate to give up seeing in person. We would miss being there in person for our favorites like Duckie Brown or Robert Geller to name a few. We always love to see at least one glamorous evening show. it wouldn't seem like Fashion Week without some serious sparkle and shine and REEM ACRA, one of New York's finest practitioners of such arts, has regularly obliged The Shophound very kindly in seeing her collection on the runway. This season, she again showed in Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, but we couldn't quite get the full view we are used to at her show. It wasn't Reem's fault at all. In redesigning the venues, the folks at MBFW came up with a winner in the Pavilion tent, which allowed designers to use a multi-runway format without high bleachers and raked seating to great effect and good sightlines, but Reem's usual venue, the Salon, formerly the second biggest "Stage" tent, traded out a highly serviceable stepped bleacher configuration for benches on a lower rake that may have been more customizable, but also made it hard to see below the models' waists from as close as a very respectable third row seat (as in the finale photo above). Thankfully, the folks at Reem Acra just sent us a full video and photo package so we can get a better look at the luminous collection and share it with our readers. Have a clear, unobstructed look at some highlights in the gallery below.
The folks at PERRY ELLIS have had a rocky road re-establishing its fashion image after a halfhearted attempt at designer collaboration with Duckie Brown (two runway shows, nothing ever produced) the brand is relaunching its main men's line with a new creative director. The show was also at a new venue for the brand, the vast Terminal Building which many still remember as the site of the Tunnel nightclub. An ambitious runway design had wooden slats dividing the runway down the center for an interesting visual effect that mostly kept people sitting on one side of the runway from seeing across to the other side. That way, you could only see the models when they were walking in one direction on your side. What we saw during those brief moments looked like a solid update for the brand, but we had to go back and look at our pictures afterward to figure out exactly what we saw (which included Teva Sandals with dark socks —that's a thing that is apparently happening for real). Next time, let's hope they remember when and where less is more.
Finally, we saw that the Lincoln Center tents took advantage of the nearby Hudson Hotel to replace its smaller Hub venue for static presentations. Unfortunately, it lacked the super-efficient admission system that has been one of MBFW's most prominent advantages. We had comfortably seen shows there in the past, but when it came time to check out independent designer Cesar Galindo's CZAR collection, we found a crush at the door and another tiresome journey down two levels to the sub-basement. Galindo's line was a clever translation of his signature dramatic gowns into sportier, more accessible pieces. It might have seemed like a cool idea to invite a group of artists to create drawings and paintings of the presentation in person (seen below), but the practical result was more crowding in a limited space and the fear that you were going to knock over someone's palette and get paint on your shoes. Still, we hope he got some great fashion drawings out of the deal. Anything that promotes fashion illustration, something of a neglected art these days, is ultimately all right with us, even when it gets in our way.
One thing about New York Fashion Week compared to other cities is that it is still conservative in some ways. While bared breasts might not be so notable in Milan or Paris, in New York, they are still something of an anomaly, at least when they are on purpose, Every now and then, an errant nipple will make a run for it out of a plunging neckline, but when Transylvanian designer Dorin Negrau's model came down the runway earlier today in an open jacket over a leather underbust corset there was no question about where your eyes were meant to be directed. It is a fairly unusual sight on New York's catwalks, especially at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week tents, but, there they were as a fairly nonplussed looking model. snaked her way through the multi-runway configuration of Lincoln Center's new Pavilion tent. Whether the designer's Dracula-inspired New York debut collection will make an impact remains to be seen. It's tough when the top editors and buyers are most likely on their way down to Tribeca to see Calvin Klein Collection, but perhaps the talk of bare breasts will get them to take a look at the show. It's tough to create awareness when there are a couple hundred shows during Fashion Week and you are coming all the way from Romania, but when in doubt, a few boobs will always get at least a little bit of extra attention. Have a look at the collection (including the NSFW version of the shot above) in the gallery after the jump