New York Fashion Week: Men’s was a welcomed diversion to current happenings in the political arena and around the world in general. New York menswear designers played it safe, offering a clean fashion palette, not swinging the pendulum too far to the left. Here are just a few of worthy high-notes that we saw among the 65 shows and presentations last week in New York City.
JOHN VARVATOS came out in typical Varvatos style with a tight runway show at the Diamond Horseshoe Cabaret in Times Square. John stayed true to the signature of his brand, offering lush fabrics in modern silhouettes – there were long, bulky wool sweaters, short leather jackets, narrow trousers, all pulled together with his cool rock ‘n roll vibe. The fabric story was all about washed velvet, cracked leather and a lynx trouser that was quite refreshing. The animal elements and sexy, fingerless leather gloves added to the allure of the collection. Backstage, the designer talked about a “nonchalant cool” for the Varvatos man. He said that he’s seeking meaning, because his customer aches to be wild and spontaneous, yet he’s also feeling careful and thinking about longevity.
JOSEPH ABBOUD opted for the old St Stephen’s Church in Murray Hill to unleash his dark side. “Everybody has a dark side,” he told the media before the show. The darkness of legends like Dorian Gray, Edgar Allen Poe and Oscar Wilde were exposed in loose pinstripe trousers tucked into knee high leather boots. A black velvet wrapped coat and several tailored black suits completed the collection.
BILLY REID showed 21 looks in a speakeasy situation surrounded by stark brick walls at the Beekman Hotel, downtown near City Hall. Guests were served a whiskey drink and viewed what was described as the designer most polished collection. A baggy steel gray trouser paired with a crisp white jacket caught my eyes. So did the grey peacoat and a slew of boxy plaid jackets. A slick blue suede blazer with brown suede pants looked comfortable. A cool denim shirt under a knit sweater, shown with a textured jacket was another standout in Billy’s line up. His cabine’ of models looked like a bunch of regular folks and friends that included a few female models in between.
BRETT JOHNSON, son of BETs founder Bob Johnson, is on a solid career trajectory. With just over a year on the fashion show circuit, this young designer shows terrific promise. Over 500 guests attended his show, including leading media houses and fashion tastemakers. “This season I wanted the collection to adopt a more relaxed, understated perspective, with a looser more casual silhouette, without loosing the refined sensibility, synonymous with the Brett Johnson brand,” said the designer. Brett’s keen clash of intricate geometrics of Navajo blankets, with flavors of New Mexico brought a powerful punch to the collection. Cotton poplins, Japanese denim, coated cotton twill jersey and printed suedes were manipulated into Eisenhouer bomber jackets, iron grey cargo pants and polo shirts. In colors like olive green, sun bleached yellow, translucent blue, indigo and dusty rose, this collection was definitely refined, retail-ready and offered easy looks suitable for the modern man.

Brett Johnson Men's Fall 2017

New designer V.K.NAGRANI did an unconventional presentation in his downtown Manhattan store. This designer who started out creating a line of unique luxury socks, now has a full line of menswear and accessories. Models were positioned around the store in perfectly styled outfits like the carpenter pants and captain shirt paired with a quilted club sweater and tweed jacket on model Phil. Nagrani also showed a dapper combination of a gingham shirt and Air Force jacket on model Will. The relaxed and informal setting added to the beauty of this presentation, as guests munched on mini Chicken and waffle bites, as well as mini chicken burgers with french fries…..not to mention the open bar with specialty drinks that flowed all afternoon.

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