Now in its second official season, New York Fashion Week: Men’s is showing signs of some growing pains. Taking place a full week after its European brother weeks call it a day, the stateside showcase is still missing the boat slightly, with menswear authorities already spotlighting trends and major US labels like Coach and Calvin Klein simply re-showing collections they’d already presented in London and Milan, respectively.
Still, with well over 50 shows, a pack of sharply dressed ambassadors – including the New York Giants’ Victor Cruz and man about town Johannes Huebl – and the usual street style stunting, we couldn’t afford to miss it. These were the best bits:
Hats Off To The Week’s Street Style
While top knots and man buns seem to have fallen out of favour with New York’s show-going set, they’re still letting attention go to their head.
Sure, plenty of models sported hats on the runway – with brands like Joseph Abboud, Krammer & Stoudt and Public School sourcing toppers from large companies like Stetson and smaller outfits such as Albertus Swanepoel – but guests on the FROW garnered just as much attention off the runway.
From wide-brimmed, stiff fedoras to 1990s bucket hats, the Big Apple’s menswear dons brought serious headwear game this season.
John Varvatos’ Haunted House Of Rock
As you may or may not know, fashion shows are pretty tightly run ships, with security omnipresent and seating arranged according to one’s importance in the food chain.
You can imagine, then, the furious tongue-wagging that went down on Tuesday when designer John Varvatos hadn’t even sent out seating allocations ahead of his show scheduled to take place the same night at his Bowery store:
“Am I actually invited?” “Does this mean someone’s jacked up intern will be placed in front of me?!” “What kind of fresh hell is this?!” etc. etc.
Luckily, the stunt paid off. While rumours had circulated that Varvatos was planning to close his Bowery store, it was in fact being transformed into what the designer eventually revealed on Tuesday night: ‘JV’s Fun House’ – a multimedia exhibition/menswear scare maze that refuted claims that ‘rock [one of Varvatos’ longtime brand pillars] is dead’.
Models wore masks, while mannequins were dressed in the new season collection (gig-ready leathers and tailoring) but had heads that ranged from taxidermy animals to the effigies of US political candidates like Donald Trump – who, quite frankly, had never looked better.
Public School Really Made Things Public
Though fashion has historically been known as an elitist industry, forever intent on bolstering its gilded walls from the masses, recent years have seen shows become public events with the advent of live streaming and social media.
Last season, during the womenswear shows in New York, French megabrand Givenchy made its show public, offering 820 tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis. This season, Public School picked up the baton.
On Monday, the label known for its smart sportswear tweeted that it was giving away some 50 wristbands that would guarantee entry to its upcoming runway presentation. The catch? Wannabe show attendees had to hotfoot it to the Whitney Museum of Art at 5pm the same day and find the person that had them.
And so they did. In their droves. And for what exactly? The opportunity to stand outside the show venue and watch models make an extended lap, exclusively for their enjoyment. It’s not exactly sitting next to The Woost, but it beats Vogue runway photos.
Duckie Brown’s Brevity
How long does a fashion show need to be? In an industry that’s increasingly falling victim to its own breakneck pace, Duckie Brown went one step further, revving up not the process of creating new and original collections, but the actual show itself.
The brand’s presentation was – whether intended to merely poke fun at some of the grave stories surrounding fashion’s relentless pace or as a serious reaction against it – a simple affair. A distilled collection comprised of just six tailored looks, the show had barely started before it was over, with models speeding through their circuits followed promptly by designers Steven Cox and Daniel Silver taking their bows to hesitant applause from a crowd still thinking, “What the hell just happened?” It was a palette cleanser – something well received after Joseph Abboud’s saga-like ‘American Savile Row’ comeback show.
Is the five-minute show the future of fashion? It’s one way of saving on overheads, that’s for sure. And making a splash.
Ovadia & Sons’ Belted Situation
When Ovadia & Sons made its break in the industry, it was on the back of its natty European take on American tailoring. Now, however, with menswear’s tide shifting from buttoned-up to sleek, sporty basics the Brooklyn brothers are changing tack, offering up green silk bombers, cargo trousers and olive fishtail parkas. But they haven’t forgotten their suits.
Inspired by the convergence of streetwear and Hasidism, the 30-look strong collection fused the formality of Saturday temple dress with the ease of off-duty weekend wear. Far and away the most obvious marker were the tasselled belts that cinched tight silk suit separates and topcoats – somewhere between a synagogue and Ziggy Stardust.
It was a silhouette similarly pushed by the likes of Public School and Edmund Ooi. Even Joseph Abboud picked up on the shape, belting luxe leather coats and tailored blazers to fit snugly on the upper torso and hang loosely around the waist.
Greg Lauren’s Night At The Ring
If Duckie Brown was a sorbet, Greg Lauren was a nine-course tasting menu. With 33 models (as well as one tiny tot) cast to pose, skip rope and throw punches in vignettes around the Skylight Modern venue, Lauren’s was a show in the truest sense.
The clothes themselves were every inch (snag, hole and patch) Greg Lauren – ranging from deconstructed sweats that looked like they’d seen a few scraps to loose wool tailoring that was built for a day’s work.
They were difficult to focus on though, without getting distracted by the main attraction: two models settling it in a ring the old-fashioned way, mano y mano. It was a moment for Snapchat if there ever was one.
Do you think New York needs its own menswear showcase? Or is it overkill? And what were your favourite moments?
Share your two cents below.