It's that trade show time of year again in New York. Since we don't have a separate Men's Fashion Week here (yet) lots of Men's designers and sportswear brands debut their lines at the trade shows around toen that just ended yesterday. The Shophound stopped by Project and Capsule just to see what jumped out as us as we breezed through. We found that camouflage is still happening, but it has whetted appetites for plenty of other prints like florals, geometrics and ever more animal prints. We found the most news in swimwear, actually, which is benefiting from new attention and detailing as men finally realize that exactly nobody looks good in sack shaped, calf grazing board shorts. be prepared to re-familiarize yourself with at least the lower half of your thighs next Summer. Here are some of the things that caught our eye:
RETURNING FAVORITE: IAN VELARDI'S ANIMAL-CAMO JACKET
He remains The Shophound's favorite new designer (and also one of GQ's and any number of Men's Editors'). Hardworking Ian Velardi's fourth collection has a more relaxed, laid back vibe with a new, signature spearhead motif (at left) and his usual laser-focused attention to detail. Along with sleek classics like a buttery-soft leather jacket or shirts with hand-picked sleeves, our favorite piece was the hooded jacket in a custom-camo print that, if you look closely, is created from the silhouettes of flamingos and other wild animals (pictured above). You will find his label in more stores this Fall, and the ever-charming designer was particularly excited about his capsule collection for the Gap that is dropping in late September as one of GQ's Best New Menswear Designers.
FAVORITE NON-FASHION ITEM: THE POKKET MIXER
Here's something you can buy right now at a few stores, and probably more by Christmas. The Pokket Mixer (at right) takes a couple of iPods and almost any speaker system to turn you into a genuine DJ. No extra power sources required. While there's no accounting for what you personal taste in tunes might be, almost anyone can now live out their DJ fantasy for real for just under $100. Right now you can find them at Atrium and Tekkies in Brooklyn, but we expect to see them everywhere soon, including The Shophound's hot little hands.
MADE IN THE U.S.A. IS ON THE RISE
Thanks to Ralph Lauren and the Olympics, there is a new awareness of where everything is made, and there are more and more brands who are making a point of producing as much as possible if not everything in the United States. Young, L.A. based label WAAR makes a point of its domestic manufacturing, and they impressed us by making the humble cargo short (at left) look fresh to us in a deep red cotton twill with zip details.
BEST LINE EXPANSION: ORLEBAR BROWN
Men everywhere owe a debt to the British brand Orlebar Brown (at right) for shaking complacent male beachgoers out of their baggy, elastic waist bathing suit habit. The brand's trunks are so well tailored that it is now officially outfitting Daniel Craig for all his 007-related swimwear needs. For next Summer, they have added a Moroccan basketweave pattern and an officially licensed David Hicks geometric print, but the real news is an expanded array of polos, t-shirts and other sportswear that show the same attention to fit as their famous swimwear along with a soft new color palette for 2013. Start your crunches now for next Summer.
TIME FOR A REVIVAL: CLUB TIES
There is still a lingering focus on classic and vintage looks among many of the brands we saw, but we were most amused by READ WALL's clever club tie (at left). After repp stripes and a barrage of bulky, hard to tie cottons and tweeds in recent seasons, The Shophound is hoping that the witty club patterned tie is next in line for a revival, because it's time.
BEST EVENING MASH-UP: ANTONIO AZZUOLO'S PLEATED SMOKING
The Project Show seemed particularly more casual and denim driven this season, so luxury designers like recent CFDA Swarovski Award nominee Antonio Azzuolo stood out even more. The Shophound was fascinated by his dinner jacket (at right) which took the pleats of a formal shirt, morphed them with the jacket's lapels and added a gleaming slice of silver metallic leather to the under-collar —all hand tailored in New York. We know this isn't for everyone, or even for us, but it was too clever and elegant to ignore. We are sure that there are a few rock stars out there whose lives will not be complete until they have this jacket.
THIS SEASON'S START-UP: NORMAN RUSSELL
There are no shortage of jeans lines out there, but something about the new denim brand Norman Russell caught our eye. Actually, it wasn't the jeans, but a sweet, simple tan suede motorcycle jacket (at left). We were told by Norman Russell founder and occasional catalog model Kortney Hastin that the jackets would be made in a limited edition because the guy in L.A. who makes them by hand can only work so fast. Along with jeans there were chunky handknits and smart pull-over chambray shirts. Keep an eye out for those, too. Pull-over shirts are happening any minute.
HERITAGE SURVIVOR: DICKIES 1922
It looks like the relentless menswear obsession with Heritage brands is waning a bit, which is kind of a relief, making room for newer ideas. That is not to say that the labels that have been revitalized don't still have worthwhile goods. One of our favorites remains Dickies 1922, Texas based workwear brand that keeps things simple. The still compact collection includes a few colorful collaboration pieces done with The Hill-Side along with a perfect pair of painters' pants in indigo twill (at right). The Shophound loves painters' pants, especially these.