Once a sort of afterthought in some of the New York Fashion Week women’s shows, the men stepped out on their own just a very few seasons ago with their very own Fashion Week, held a week before the women’s shows. This season, the boys have taken another step away, showing their wares, and ready-to-wears, in late July, months before the girls. But whatever the configuration, there has always been NYMD, a day put aside for mostly young or new independent designers to present their collections at individual spaces within Industria Superstudio. The cooperative effort was the brilliant brainchild of Agentry PR. What the designers do with the space is up to them, and what you find here are some of the most creative efforts, both in design and presentation.
Sadly, this season, we were only able to cover the second part of the day, but what we found was room after room full of beautiful design and innovative presentations.
KRAMMER & STOUDT SPRING/SUMMER 2017: AN ALL-INCLUSIVE PARTY ON THE BEACH IN L.A.
It starts, as all good, hot July afternoons should, with a beach party, courtesy of Krammer & Stoudt, the always interesting, creative and just-a-bit-out-there L.A.-based line taking the men’s fashion market by storm.
If you’re looking for inspiration in fashion, then this collection inspires pure joy, from the relaxed, loose-fitting pants that will have you humming “Margaritaville”, to the whimsical bomber jackets and baseball shirts. Even their suits, some with three-quarter length swing jackets, offer up a summer of fun, alternative dressing. Just in case you didn’t get that this was a true men’s summer collection (something that’s often hard to distinguish in men’s wear), the woven sun hats are there to confirm. I hope they’re for sale, along with the rest of the collection, tailor made for men who love summer.
RIDEAU SPRING/SUMMER 2017: A RAY OF SUNSHINE FOR THE VERY CONFIDENT MAN
How many times have I said it, “this men’s line is not for the faint of heart”? Well, I’m saying it again. Rideau is most definitely not for the faint of heart. This distinctly New York-based line is for the most confident of men. But if you find that part of yourself that believes clothes maketh the man, and you are the man who loves bright color, wild patterns and unusual cuts, then Rideau is the line for you.
The fabrics are unexpected in men’s suits, the softest silks and bright brocades, all, in keeping with the season, with shorts. The patterns are wildly out there, one with an Asian dragon print on black background, another with a swirling, Van Gogh-style fruit motif. Traditional biker jackets take on a colorful twist, in a bright yellow and a rusty gold.
There is little you could call “traditional” about Rideau, except the tailoring, which is impeccable, with beautiful, clean lines that allow the designs to stand out. It is truly a favorite in the men’s fashion world.
PRIVATE POLICY SPRING/SUMMER 2017: COOL CLOTHES, SERIOUS SOCIAL MESSAGE
For Private Policy, sending a message is as important as producing fun, wearable fashion. If it seems like a bit of a dichotomy, well it is. And, it isn’t. Nothing about Private Policy is exactly as it seems.
This season, they’re using their presentation to bring attention to the fishermen of Southeast Asia, many treated as slaves, forced to work, often around the clock, fearing violent punishment or even murder if they rebel. Many stay at sea for four or five years.
The designers used color, texture and pattern, mixed with what they call “symbols of imprisonment, restriction and pain” to interpret the horror of modern slavery. Pants, shorts, even bomber jackets were made out of hazmat disposal bags. Some models wore chains.
But, fear not, this collection is not all about maudlin messages, it’s also about cool summer styles. The New York-based designers took much of their inspiration from Downtown neighborhoods, the Lower East Side, SoHo and Chinatown, where they observed people just walking around. So, there is a lot of fun in this line: menswear for girls, a bomber jacket in velvet and silk wool, and a wild match of bright colors and whimsical patterns. They should be applauded for getting lesser-known messages out there, without forgetting the fashion.
CHAPTER SPRING/SUMMER 2017: TURNING DISARRAY INTO HARMONIOUS FASHION
Classic, yet edgy, serious, yet whimsical, Chapter’s Spring/Summer collection kind of defies definition. And that is no accident. Looking to “the juxtaposition of a city’s harsh architectural lines intersecting with the socialization and human interaction”, and turning that into a cohesive clothing line is no easy feat.
But, somehow, Chapter accomplishes just that. Inspired, according to their notes, by ‘90s culture, with a particular focus on Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo and Juliet”, the designers started with structured silhouettes, like tailored jackets, slacks and shorts, then mixed in soft details, embroidery, washing and printing. The effect is pretty amazing. Longer jackets, wider pant legs and softer fabrics combine to take classic looks, like the standard bomber jacket, to new places.
The basic black is still there, but this season, mustard makes the occasional appearance offering up a little, muted, pop of color. Chapter’s fans will recognize this as another step in their journey. And the balance of hard and soft, order and disarray, new twists on old favorite, is bound to win over some new customers.
URI MINKOFF SPRING/SUMMER 2017: WHERE SPORTING MIXED WITH SERIOUS SUITING
Part performance art, part fashion presentation, Uri Minkoff found the perfect way to showcase his Spring/Summer 2017 collection, a mix of performance wear and traditional men’s clothing. Dancers, wearing suit jackets and cycling shorts, stretchy pants and dress shirts, stretched and danced, combining athletic and artsy moves the way the collection combined lifestyle and work style.
The colors, blues and pinks, were inspired by Italy’s Lake Como, but the inspiration came from men working hard, rather than relaxing, and from the designer’s own love of cycling. There were three-quarter coats and impeccably fitted jackets, some with shorter-length pants, some with actual shorts (some very short). Of course, there were bomber jackets and biker jackets.
One absolute constant was the tailoring. Perfect, clean lines, details and fit were what anchored the serious side of this collection. Men may, or may not, want to combine their active wear with their tailored suits, but every piece of this line, every suit, every shirt, every bit of active wear, are works of art on their own.
BY ROBERT JAMES SPRING/SUMMER 2017: ROCKIN’ LOOKS FOR MEN WHO KNOW FASHION
Music and fashion aren’t just for Lola. The two have a long, synergistic history. You can’t have a runway without the pounding beat of house music, right? By Robert James completed the music/fashion marriage in his Spring/Summer 2017 presentation. The music was the fashion, or vice versa.
His sleek, tailored styles were worn by a fantastic band called “The Brittany’s” as they performed at Sub Rosa, a club just around the corner from Industria Superstudio. The cool vibe of the place and the music provided the perfect backdrop for the collection, comprised of slightly relaxed suits, some with shorts, some with slacks, a jazzy collection of pants, the requisite bomber jackets, a gorgeous leather vest and chic, sturdy outerwear.
This is what the cool kids wear, hipsters heading for work, or a hot night out. There’s a bright, young elegance to By Robert James, both in the clothes, and the presentation. Fans of the line, and of the Brittany’s, will love it and, hopefully, that fan base will just keep growing.
© Red Stiletto Media 2016
Photography: Anton Brookes. Video/Original Music Scott Fetterman.