New York fashion week is underway, and as ever, the menswear shows will play their part, lightly peppered across the schedule, and often held at smaller, more intimate locations than the media carnival around the major league womenswear shows at the Lincoln Centre. During fashion week, the island of Manhattan is invaded by an army of fashionable women (and some men) from across the U.S., the former generally rivaling the tall buildings in their heels, all seemingly in a constant rush and making as much noise about it as possible.
The menswear shows tend to have a more sedate feel, as a select and recognisable crew gathers in warehouse spaces and studios around Chelsea and the Meatpacking District to demonstrate their allegiance to the idea of men’s fashion in New York. But changes are afoot, with the recent announcement of a specific menswear week in July. For those showing this week there will no doubt be (or have been) consternation about whether to show in July too. Thus far, Public School, Calvin Klein, Robert Geller, Duckie Brown and Patrik Ervell and others have been announced for July. Until now, there have been certain fixtures in the NYFW schedule: Duckie Brown (the Anglo/Canadian design partnership who have been at the vanguard of keeping an adventurous European edge alive in New York men’s fashion) always show on the first Thurday in the week; Sunday has for some time been a semi-official menswear day with presentations being held at Milk Studios that have brought the likes of Public School to their current prominence, and Patrik Ervell generally shows on the Sunday evening too. It will be interesting to see how New York designers adapt to the new fashion calendar and what the rest of the world will make of it. Internationally, coverage of the menswear shows has been slight, with few European representatives present.
Tim Coppens, and CFDA and Woolmark prize-winners Public School have garnered probably the widest press coverage, but appropriately enough for a city famous for providing a foothold for immigrants, there are often designers from further afield showing, such as Korea’s General Idea, Japanese designer Daisuke Obana’s N.Hoolywood and, for the first time this season, London/Swedish talent Astrid Andersen. In contrast, there has been an increasing attendance at LC: M by the New York fashion press, spearheaded by former New York Times men’s fashion director Bruce Pask (now at Bergdorf Goodman), who have no doubt returned home with tales of London’s burgeoning menswear scene. The bond between London and New York is a strong one, sometimes pitched as rivals, sometimes as like-minded siblings. Whether the new menswear week will help to foster the same kind of renaissance in New York menswear as has happened in London, elevating it above the conservative uniformity that plagues men’s fashion in America, is yet to be seen.