It’s only the second season for the especially dedicated men’s section of New York fashion week, but so far it seems there is something missing. In Europe, the fashion weeks are perfectly in sync with the industry’s buying calendar, so that when buyers from the elite stores across the globe are eyeing up what they think will sit perfectly in their shop window.
This means that designers such as Valentino, Raf Simons, Saint Laurent and the recently revitalized Gucci are able to create beautifully crafted garments to essentially flaunt what will be available to us in the coming seasons. Fashion shows are a way for designers to express their creative vision for their brand, in a setting that will reflect the overall mood and inspiration for their more ‘wearable’ collections.
Thom Browne for example; his grey cropped suits are impeccable and are the main driver for the brand, but it is his runway shows that allow him to think outside the box and express his vision through elaborate displays. Recently his Paris show featuring a troupe of battle scarred men stood out, as did his women’s show at New York fashion week.
One issue with New York fashion week: Men is there is no sign of grand old theaters, velodromes and even grocery stores like many of the other fashion weeks have seen. New York seems to squeeze most of the shows in the soulless commercial space of Skylight Jackson Square. Seems a shame considering the potential New York has to offer in terms of inspiring architectural setting. Many of America’s biggest names choose to highlight their main men’s collection abroad, which sets the stage for some of New York’s smaller labels to give it a go. This sometimes can result in fresh, exciting new design, but it seems all too often the shows are played safe and are a little predictable. Grumbling aside, there has still been a lot to get excited about across the men’s FW16 shows so here is some of the best bits:
Grey, Lots of Grey.
It looks like the ‘all black everything’ days are finally over, as designers mixed different shades of grey in many of their looks. This has allowed them to play around with texture a bit more and incorporate more depth and layers in to their looks without going over the top.
The 70’s is back
Allesandro Michele’s Gucci is on the tips of everyone’s tongues these days, and the menswear circuit was abuzz with excitement in the lead up to his FW16 show which displayed lavish embroideries, dazzling patterns, graphics depicting snoopy, jacquard florals, teddy bear motifs, snakeskin suiting all inspired by the 70’s. Saint Laurent’s show was of similar quality, including guests such as Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Lenny Kravitz and Pamela Anderson to name just a few, the show was as far away as possible from the brands Spring/Summer ’16 surf-inspired offering, the fall collection falling upon the lush, decorative rigouts of 70’s Glam Rock.
Billy Reid played with sophisticated volumes and soft shapes to create a relaxed elegant collection.
New York’s native designers get a chance to show off their wares and while many of them seem to follow social trends and can hard to distinguish between, the bigger names proved why they’ve been constantly in the spotlight in the big apple.
- Billy Reid brought some of his southern charm to the runway with a soft sophisticated collection
- Todd Snyder formally held positions at Ralph Lauren, Gap and J Crew and this season has brought some interesting collaborations including one with Timex.
- Tim Coppens seems to be going from strength to strength; this season was no different as he displayed some remarkable looks mixing traditional fits with contemporary design.
- Public School had its first runway show in February 2014. With a few major fashion awards to its credit (including two from the CFDA) and the recent appointment for Mr. Osborne and Mr. Chow as the new creative heads of DKNY, Public School just keeps winning.
Still a lot for New York to take in to consideration for their men’s fashion week, but it is still in its youth so fingers crossed for a bit more excitement next time. Maybe it could get some pointers from watching how the women do it.