Words: Colin Chapman
New York Fashion Week: Men’s wrapped last night and for the final installment of our coverage I’ve selected a few of the collections shown over the last two days that were genuinely beautiful. These weren’t necessarily the loudest shows or presentations in town but are evidence that New York menswear has some real talent at its heart, you just have to dig through the noisy schedule to find it.
On Wednesday British designer Stuart Vevers continued his appropriation of the venerable New York brand, Coach with a strong emphasis on customisation and embellishment in collaboration with artist Gary Baseman. American classics such as the leather biker and souvenir jacket were daubed with Baseman’s work, replete with googly eyed characters and cryptic slogans. Bottle cap badges, studs and even animal print patches added a chic punk aesthetic to the brand’s luxury leather wear, creating a tension between the luxury materials and a raw, downtown edge.
In keeping with the swampy temperatures outside, Thaddeus O’Neil’s presentation was titled Temple of The Burning Sun, and brought an Eastern flavour to the designer’s signature high-end leisurewear, replete with live taiko temple drummers. Luxury fabrics including a palm jacquard and washi paper knit were as tactile as the shapes were easy-going, maintaining O’Neil’s surfy, easy going vibe.
Orley chose to present their collection in a chic apartment setting, away from the main venue on Washington Street, creating a perfect opportunity to focus on the details of their beautiful Spring/Summer collection. Traditional quilting touches, gingham, stripes and marbling referenced American folk traditions and textiles while the layering and combinations of patterns kept the aesthetic entirely contemporary.
General Idea designer, Bumsuk Choi took us on an intergalactic trip, complete with wheelie suitcases, in a collection of oversized pieces in stiff cottons and supple leathers. The palette of gentle greens, dusky pink, khaki and the occasional metallic softened the uniform-like shapes and kept the looks grounded in our atmosphere.
Inspired by Zen monks, Siki Im’s collection, reflected the theme of quiet contemplation and restraint through the use of simple shapes and monochrome minimalism. Ascetic, oversized coats were matched with cropped wide trousers or shorts, shirts were collarless, emphasising the lack of adornment. As a former architect, Im’s work often reflects his interest in physical spaces and here he used a cross motif, based on a structural column, by one of his favourite architects, Mies van der Rohe.