New York Fashion Week was quite a monumental affair this year. Partly because this is the last season where Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week will be held at Bryant Park (come next season, it will be held at the new Lincoln Centre instead), and partly because menswear (traditionally taking a back seat to the women’s collections) has been quite strong with a good balance of classical revival as well as surprising twists.
Some key trends spotted on the stateside this year include the wonderful British sartorial expat–the bespoke suit. Whether it’s done with a slightly more traditional intent like BESPOKEN’s finely tailored double breasted suit topped with lapel pins, and Simon Spurr’s gorgeous indigo rendition– or with a Lower East Side twist, like J. Sabatino’s all over plaid, designers are urging men to suit up and bring the dandy back for fall.
At most shows, it’s layers galore as men start to take the layering concept liberally beyond the three-piece suit. Robert Geller takes the concept of piling on items to an artful limit as he champions pulling unexpected pieces from the wardrobe together. In Geller’s world, it is more than perfectly fine to wear a puffy vest over a peacoat, with a sleek plum dress shirt underneath and topped off with an exaggerated silk ribbon tie. Then, pull everything over shredded denim for the finale, which is surprisingly harmonious. Also, with the abundance of fur (which has been paired with a sporty purple bomber jacket and tailored striped trousers), Geller proves that men too, can juggle luxe theatrics. Meanwhile, George McCraken layers with a tad more measured restrain for the average man. McCracken pulls together easily wearable pieces such as boat-neck sweaters over button downs the topped with a hooded camel coat. Then, he adds an element of simple surprise with fingerless woolen gloves that seem like they are extensions of the sweater.
On another note, since menswear is usually less adventurous with colors and prints and more prone to keeping things simple and wearable, excitement comes from being creative with proportions and volume. At Y-3, Yohji Yamamoto expands shorts to calf length so they swish around in motion over ribbed leggings; sleeveless hooded coats hang like capes for the urban vagabond. With LACOSTE, when shades are kept simple, volume comes out to play with a large, slouchy cream over coat and generously cut trousers.
In terms of the king of fashion statements, this season, the award goes to the forever irreverent Jeremy Scott. Scott spells out “FASHION” and “STYLE” on batwing sweaters and dresses the classic bomber in an opulent print featuring his namesake on brass plates in a o-so-very-Versace-on-Rodeo-Drive manner. Then, Yamamoto from Y-3 holds the runner-up position with more subtle coloring (nonetheless effectively byzantine proclamation) of black and white statements “23 Years In Prison – 3 = Y-3″.
Last but not least, a challenge for menswear has always been the expression of masculinity, and this season, the influences come from the ever-cool biker meets downtown looks and military garb. Yohji Yamamoto brings military influences into his collection for the futuristic vagabond attempting to escape the mundane present, and Moncler has no qualms about playing off bullet-proof vests and everything that seemed impenetrable and ready for apocalypse. On another note, Andrew Buckler, Sabatino and BESPOKEN have all brought leather into the mix, regardless if it’s a cool leather biker (Sabatino) or a toggle coat remixed with leather shoulder accents and weaved leather belt (Buckler), leather just immediately brings clothes to a new level of toughness.
In review, next Fall/Winter seems like a season to layer generously, suit up whenever appropriate (or whenever one wishes), and to go larger than life in stretched silhouettes or attention-winning slogans. All in all, be brave, go ahead and dress up for fall.