The quick spots shining on the models switching out atop small box platforms for the Krammer & Stoudt show during Monday afternoon’s New York Men’s Day session were disturbingly and frustratingly fast. After speaking to co-designer Mike Rubin, who said his wife, co-designer Courtenay Nearburg, wanted it that way and that snappers would get the picture if they were good enough photographers, I was still in the dark.
It took me until after leaving the show to “get the picture.” The teasing, almost strobing effect of the spotlights highlighted (or obscured) the fact that all the models in this menswear show were “male-presenting females,” as a bit of Googling informed me, “nonbinary” women who prefer to define themselves as gender nonspecific. The designers’ concept was best presented by Guy Trebay in his article on the presentation that used models like Rain Dove and TJ (Terra Juano) and Madison Paige. Whether it was for that reason, the incredible fashion inspired, as the designers pointed out in their liner notes, by Sam Shepard’s play “Cowboy Mouth”, the amazing boots by PS Kaufman footwear icon Paul Kaufman or the out-of-this-world hats from Esenshel’s Rodney Patterson, the collection was tantalizing. Cool trousers, workshirts, coats and jackets in traditional menswear fabrics definitely go both ways. Their design style works: this married couple was recently presented The Fashion Group International’s Rising Star award and each season, their collections just get better and better.
Other great stand outs kicking off fashion week in New York at Dune Studios (NYMD hosted six collections in the morning, six in the afternoon) included Julian Woodhouse and his Woodhouse Army, concentrating on what he termed his “nu CLEAR” movement, with army-influences straight from his own military career life, like camo patterned tux-striped pants, nuclear emblazoned tees and outerwear like sophisticated puffers and parkas that packed a punch.
David Hart’s Autumn Winter layover in Paris created menswear that would ensure men never became the “Ugly Americaine,” smashing stereotypes with the most colorfully-tweaked Breton stripes and coolest handmade painter pants.
First-time presenters Diplomacy employed an eyepatch contrivance for styling that reminded me of the Hathaway Man but the pieces were imminently wearable, athletic-inspired and my favorites were the patent plaid jumpsuits and shorts and anorak sets.
Maiden Noir always has a beautifully-shaded point of view and this season was no exception, pulling inspiration from the Sucia Islands of the Pacific Northwest. The blue-green spruce hues were saturated and compelling in tactile fabric choices.
Another first-timer, TAAKK from Japanese designer Takuya Morikawa, who had been part of Issey Miyake’s menswear team, may have shown an oddly styled show, replete with caution tape used as “tops” and whatnot, but the ideas underneath, like the exploded plaid pieces, the indigo patchwork for a deconstructed denim poncho “jacket” and Canadienne were spot on.
Others to keep an eye on? Descendant of Thieves and Private Policy.