It was cool and comfortable inside The Lambs Club at The Chatwal Hotel Tuesday night during our July menswear market week meeting of the MensWearNetwork (MWN) minds.We had a full house of approximately 100 executives, designers, media and others, who, it seemed, didn’t want Continue reading
There’s a new kid in town for menswear. Metaphorically speaking, that is. Stephen F isn’t really new, but he does seem to be taking New York by storm right now in a fresh, new manner. And as he should be. Suffice it to say, I have fallen for this handsomely talented man and his elegant work.
I first experienced Stephen F at last season’s New York Men’s Day, all tailored loveliness and sleek leather bomber jackets; however, the clothes were altered to fit female models and you couldn’t tell how they might suit a real guy. Fast-forward to this week’s show at The Oak Room at The Plaza Hotel — and all questions to that end were answered.
Creative Director/designer Stephen Ferber’s AW15 “Lili Collection,” serendipitously presented during a six-week window of availability before The Oak Room closes to undergo renovations (his PR genius Paula Rosado called it “The Last Photo Shoot at The Oak Room”), is a beautiful creative homage to Ferber’s maternal grandmother, who survived Auschwitz.
With models maneuvering in front of three white seamless stations amid a stylish group of editors and buyers, the clothes spoke for themselves. Brand ambassador, model and business partner Alex Lundqvist, seen below with Stephen, is the perfect face of the brand, which focuses on clothing crafted in the same Italian factories that assemble Zegna and Corneliani, as well as on sportswear that is elegant, suave and effortless. I was extremely impressed with the accessories, too, which included deerskin or fur portfolio/ hand warmers. Stephen F’s clothes, dark, luxe, all sharp cuts and trim tailoring, represent wearable luxury today’s modern guy will be drawn to acquire.
Speaking of buying, I spied Saks Fifth Avenue’s VP/Fashion Director Eric Jennings perusing the montages of models, making me hopeful that Saks will start carrying some of the Stephen F menswear. Stephen F’s creative results are too good not to be available in the States. Note that there should be news about a flagship shop opening here soon in NYC. Both Stephen and Alex mentioned they were waiting for paperwork to be finalized, possibly as early as yesterday.
Stay tuned for updates here, guys, regarding Stephen F’s availability for next winter. I know you’re going to want to snap up this designer’s elegant clothing the minute you touch it, let alone wear it around a fitting room.
Mexican designer Ricardo Seco has been doing such a wonderful job of making cool, wearable menswear since 2012 that every season I come away wishing my husband owned and wore at least one piece of his great artistically-crafted clothing.
But I’m on a different mission now after seeing his AW2015 collection and learning that this designer’s colorful collaborative work with New Balance isn’t selling anywhere here in the States. Okay, just do it, book my flight to Mexico City, stat! These brilliant beaded trainers are the perfect ticket for some hot sales here, if I do say so myself.
There was other beautifully beaded, or bead-inspired, work reminiscent of contemporary Mexican art. Seco said he wanted to bring Real to his collection this season, interpreting the traditions and innovations of Mexico for the rest of the world. Some of his graphic black and white patterns looked like stained glass mosaics reinvented without color. Some of those patterns ended up twisted into beaded detail work on the sleeves of pony skin and leather cropped jackets or on the flaps of backpacks or used overall for patterned punch on a hooded leather and wool coats, a pair of trim narrow trousers, even as a sport jacket with impeccable tailoring.
However, those shoes were truly the show stoppers. In black and white or in color. These are kicks that will take you stylin’ every step of the way, always in fashion and beyond. Ricardo Seco certainly is keeping it Real.
Serene, sophisticated, clean…with the prettiest palette this side of Lincoln Center. And, as tends to be the case, one of my favorite menswear collections. There’s always so much creativity, but such that is honed to perfection by unusual cut, impeccable tailoring and ultimate wearability.
Tearing down the walls of backstage and creating a transparency that merged into the front row, designers Steven Cox and Daniel Silver put their hopes and dreams for a new “tomorrow,” as their show invite stated, front and center at their West Village venue at Industria. It was one part voyeurism (were you, too, thinking 50 Shades of Brown?!) and one part fashion art performance.
Pinks and clarets in silk charmeuse served as open wrapped cardigans. Floaty white chiffon turtlenecks were tucked into pleated trousers that flowed languid and loose. Collarless overcoats came out in grey flannels and buffalo checks. These were the obvious makings of a grown-up collection worthy of the self-possessed mature man.
Bring it, Duckie. We are ready for tomorrow.
New York Fashion Week may have kicked off yesterday with the emphasis on women’s fashion, female models and all the hair and makeup backstage pampering and primping that gets the long-limbed ladies ready to catwalk during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center — not to mention all the other wayward environs in and around NYC that can and are laying host to fashion spectacle this season.
But it’s menswear that is getting quite the shout out this season, with double bookings held at Industria Superstudio for the New York Mens Day shows this past Wednesday, talk on the scene about a new menswear fashion week this summer hosted by the Council of Fashion Designers and sponsored by Amazon, and interest and excitement in a fast-growing market segment reinforced by up-ticking sales figures at retail. It’s all thanks, in large part, to Erin Hawker at Agentry PR, who started NYMD three seasons ago to accommodate her menswear clients and never looked back.
A roster of six designers presented at the 11 a.m. morning session — Fingers Crossed, newcomer Garcie Velez, David Hart, Ernest Alexander in the main building and Cadet and Lucio Castro across the street in the West 12th Street studio building. Another six later in the day at 5 p.m. included Gents, who launched a new socks line, Chapter, J.Lindeberg, Timo Weiland, Carlos Campos and a vamped-up Hickey Freeman designed by its new Creative Director David Hart (yes, he of his eponymous line shown in the a.m. hour). Focusing on crisp tailoring, modern athletic looks and just plain great men’s sportswear gussied up enough for that very, very interested consumer come Autumn/Winter 2015, consider this just a little sneak peek at what the upcoming four days of New York Fashion Week: Men’s in July may hold as the CFDA amps up the menswear sway with its own runway calendar dates.
It’s been a while since menswear has had its own calendar week. And, okay, while four days in July is not quite a week, it’ll do for now. But as those attending Wednesday’s NYMD shows attested to, we are ready for a major menswear movement.
Tom Julian, men’s fashion director at The Doneger Group, believes that “the men’s market is timed well for 2016 given the men’s sales growth (over $60 billion now) and interest in men’s style from young millennial consumers to boomers. Menswear taking the stage is a marketing platform that will help designers and brands to be global, cultural, retail-right. We have seen concepts of a men’s fashion week in prior decades but it was always trade focused…today, the consumer connection is key and will help to drive the business quicker.”
My favorites at this season’s NYMD were the collections designed by David Hart with his deft hand at American West blanket-style sweaters and great outerwear, the cooler-than-cool mix of outerwear, narrow trousers and silver at J.Lindeberg and the sleek, crisp tailoring at GarciaVelez.
Gentlemen, get ready to rock some inspired looks. There’s even a furry lambswool chaps-like pair of pants from David Hart!
A distinct European flavor peppered the menswear at the MAN Show NY last week. Held at the intimate trade show space provided at Industria Super Studio, many vendors hailed from Norway, Portuguese, France, Sweden and other Euro locales. But there were a number of American designers enlivening this show, too, a new trend this season.
Many of the wares, in keeping with menswear from other shows we loved last week, celebrated a sense of individuality supported by handcrafting at the utmost quality level. KikaNY’s amazing leather bags had a heft, balance and unique design shape made even more special by the fact that designer Kika Vliegenthart earned her leather-making chops from East Village leather maven Barbara Shaum.
Victoria, BC-based Viberg Shoe Company, a family-run business, is modernizing the handmade shoe outlook with dressier boot styles under the next-generation tutelage of Brett Viberg, who learned the trade scampering about/growing up in his grandfather’s factory.
Older Brother’s Bobby Bonaparte (and, yes, he IS the older brother of all his siblings) calls Portland, Oregan home, and gives his spartanly-styled pieces cool contemporary cuts. He wax-carves his cast jewelry, which is onspot and genderless. In that vein, Older Brother will be back for the Women’s Show in a couple of weeks.
Uniforms for the Dedicated’s creative director/founding partner Fredrik Wikholm has just brought his Swedish company stateside, having just moved to Brooklyn. With great outerwear and fun printed pants, this is a collection to keep on your radar, guys.
Freedom of choice, it’s what men want. And what men will be getting for AW15. Especially if the clothing seen at the Freedom Hall installation at Liberty Fairs on Pier 94 earlier this week is any indication. Throughout the rest of the show, as well. The menswear we saw was innovative, from patterned lambswool gloves from Honns that work on touch screen devices to rain gear from Norway Rain modernized with cape silhouettes that included arm holes and detachable shearling collars. The clothing was quality driven, like the handmade bags at Peg and Awl, the handmade boots at Austrian-based Ludwig Reiter and the hand hewn knives at Poglia. All fit for the contemporary style freedom of today’s fashion fearless guy.
If the Project and Agenda shows on Monday at the Javits Center were any indication, menswear for Autumn/Winter 2015 is being thoughtfully designed for the guy with his own fully-formed, style signature, a gentleman who seeks out quality-made products that speak to individuality and statement, often handmade, sometimes signed and always unique. I think of the handmade boots by the Italian family-run company Fracap, the handmade bags from Bleu de Chauffe, each one signed by the individual artisan, and the sterling or gold artisan cuffs from Brighten’s Juki Morizane.
The penguin had me at hello.
Macko’s Picks @MRket, curated by the always spot-on and creative Michael Macko, showcased the penguin standing next to the most adorable igloo (the next teepee in the bloggersphere?!) amid the attire suitable for Autumn/Winter 2015’s cold-weather — arctic even — temps. Then there were a few other favorite picks I found at MRket that held my attention rapt and pure. Especially among those booths located in the Vanguard section.
The new to MRket designer Brett Johnson rocked a solid collection of exquisitely produced luxury leathers (the bull leather was by far the most fascinating), suedes and a wool/cashmere that showed off a herringbone grain when the light hit it right. His knits were chunky and artistically hewn and his jackets were softly tailored but elegantly casual. He called this new collection “1989,” saying that it was a riff off that era when the Armani jackets become so popular in menswear. You might even say, we may have another Giorgio on our American hands.
Then there was the always sophisticated Robert Tateossian, jewelry designer extraordinaire who is celebrating a quarter of a century in business. That sounds like a mighty long time, and for a jewelry designer it kind of is, but it seems like only yesterday when I used to cover him in Florence at Pitti Uomo and in Paris at Sehm. For this anniversary collection, he scoured his archives and pulled out favorites from the globe cufflinks to skulls and beyond. My favorites, though, were his black diamond and diamond chain bracelets. Talk about sophisticated!
Vicki Vasilopoulos – journalist, colleague, friend, MensWearNetwork associate, Fairchild family member and now director/producer – kicked off the New Year the right way: with the New York City theatrical premiere of her documentary “Men of the Cloth,” which we attended this past Thursday night at the Village East Cinema on Second Avenue. This was my second time seeing the film, P’s first. Unfortunately, we missed the Q and A with the tailors and filmmakers after the sold out 7pm showing, but were able to catch Vicki’s directorial debut during the quickly-added 9:30 viewing.
This nascent director took on the abbreviated audience after the second showing in a solo Q&A session, deftly and gracefully fielding questions about the business of fashion, female tailors (the world’s not quite there yet) and her first-ever custom-made suit (see her in that premiere, too, below). She said it felt like “wearing air.”
The film took Vicki 11 years to make, and culminated in tracing three master tailors — Italian Americans Nino Corvato and Joe Centofanti, and Brioni’s head tailor, the Italian Checchino Fonticoli — as they ply their trade amid the dying art of tailoring, creating made-to-measure suits for clients. There is a bright spot, though, — to both the craft and the movie — as new apprentices step into the mix and future schools for tailoring are discussed and planned.
I definitely place it on the list of must-sees, especially for anyone in the menswear industry or for those with a passion for custom-made clothing. So catch it if you can. Upcoming screenings are schedule in Long Island this Wednesday and in Westchester on the 25th of January. Of course, you can always buy the DVD and create your own screening. Visit her website link here to purchase.
The Crew of MEN OF THE CLOTH:
Produced and Directed by Vicki Vasilopoulos
Edited by Sandrine Isambert
Assistant editors: AJ Gesualdo, Jason Sacharoff
Filmed by David Gaynes, Andrew David Watson, Christian Jacks
Original Music by Chris Hajian