Ricardo Seco SS13

Mexican-born Ricardo Seco has become into one of my favorite new menswear designers. His rock ‘n roll take on clothes for guys showed at the end of Fashion Week last Thursday, opening with a band whose lead singer rocked red jeans, with leather and linen clad models that rocked the runway and accessories that rocked colorful Mexican embroideryhand-stitched onto natural leather.
Backstage, after the show, Seco spoke of

how he used the natural cut of a pelt to give leather jackets and shorts an unusually-textured bottom edge, played with linen and cotton for suits and tops that looked crisp, clean and contemporary and added accessories that built upon the black Converse tennis shoes he partnered with last year.

This season, Seco rubbed black, silver and then gold paint on the toes and heels of sneakers before distressing it. His bags — and even one pair of shorts — incorporated the Mexican embroidery that he procured from a small town specializing in that craft.
Additionally, Seco promised us he has a US department store exclusive to announce soon. Watch for it here.

Duckie Brown Designers Daniel Silver and Steven Cox, FW’s Friday:5ive

Meet menswear designers Steven Cox and Daniel Silver, the madcap, irreverent design (Steven) and business (Daniel) minds, hearts and souls behind Duckie Brown.
The award-winning designers just

wrapped up a particularly impressive New York Fashion Week, premiering their Perry Ellis by Duckie Brown Tuesday after a wildly successful turn down the runway the week before with Duckie Brown, the line they founded in 2001.
Perry Ellis by Duckie Brown photos (above and next two below) by John Aquino, courtesy of WWD
Within Duckie Brown, every season embraces innovation, wit and exacting tailoring, and, per their press bio, “each collection starts with the shoulder of a man’s jacket and then builds layer upon layer … .”
Just the way menswear should! At least, that’s the way menswear used to begin. Tailored clothing was always discussed in terms of point-to-point, the measurement from shoulder to shoulder, and in the past, the changes within menswear garments were nominal, maybe an eighth, a sixteenth of an inch at a time.
Today, those rules have mostly been thrown out the window. At Duckie Brown, changes can be voluminous, case in point, the pants silhouette from last season, that featured dropped crotches, below, and oversized legs, even in grey tweed.
Duckie Brown Fall 2012, photo by Thomas Iannoccone, courtesy of WWD
The award-winning duo — Duckie Brown received a nomination for the CFDA Perry Ellis New Menswear Award in 2006, followed in 2007 with a nomination for the CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year — also are featured in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum show, New York Fashion Now, a retrospective of up and coming American designers, with one of their outfits now part of the museum’s permanent collection.
FashionWhirled got the chance to Q&A them for this week’s Friday:5ive.
FashionWhirled: What role does fashion, or style, play in your lives personally and as designers? How does each of your personal styles inspire or affect your designs for Duckie Brown?
Daniel backstage and….

FW: What made you first realize you wanted to design clothes? Were you always into fashion and how? Tell me about your favorite fashion or designer pieces over the years?

and Steven backstage after their Duckie Brown show at the beginning of Fashion Week


Actor Alan Rickman front row at the Duckie Brown SS13 show. A possible muse?!


FW: Who is the muse of your collection, or of each one of you individually, and how does s/he affect the choices you make for your own personal wardrobe or any style decision you make for the collection’s designs?
FW: If you could have any notable individual — dead or alive — wear Duckie Brown, who would that be and why? What would you dress them in and why? How and why would you try to change their style?
FW:What words of wisdom do each of you live by, or strive to live by? What legacy, fashion or otherwise, as fashion designers and as human beings, do you hope to leave to the future?!
Daniel and Steven at their runway walk last week at Duckie Brown

John Bartlett SS13

Calm, cool, collected, with executives from The Bon Ton in the front row and clothes designed for the plant-based man on the runway, John Bartlett celebrated 20 years in the industry, remaining true to his sustainable spirit and eco-friendly nature. 
Designer John Bartlett walks his finale
His was a collection

all in linen. The concept, the execution, the clothing raising compassion to a creative art, menswear that aspires, in John’s words, to be cruelty free and earth friendly. From his watermelon/kale ticking stripe suit that opened the show, to his navy striped djellaba and “om” printed shorts, jackets and pants, John maintained his compassionate integrity and creative passion.

Happy Anniversary, JB!

Get Smart! Askmen.com Debuts Academy Series

FashionWhirled went back to school last week, making the grade past the discerning doorman before entering the exclusive cool and louche Electric Room venue of the Dream Downtown hotel, in what couldn’t have been a more perfect backdrop for Askmen.com’s launch of its Academy series.

Basically a personalized private tutoring of sorts to a select group of its hip readers and friends, the  Academy premier last Thursday night catered to the fashion set with men’s style guru and author Tom Julian dispensing dressing tips, while hair stylist Jen Atkin, using Clear Men Scalp Therapy, gave grooming insight meted out with free trims.

 Askmen’s Armando Gomez, left, Jen Atkin and Tom Julian

Askmen’s director of advertising and promotions Armando Gomez said the night’s event
will serve as the first of many more on the Academy “syllabus,” as other select readers will get further specialized education from additional pros — among other real life lessons, like mixology manners, to name one upcoming session planned within the series.

Jen Atkin at her grooming station

The robust crowd was fashion savvy yet enthralled and educated by Julian’s fashion know-how and the complimentary way in which he steered them toward a new dress direction. Julian set up three distinct lifestyle fashion groupings — the Creative, the Casual, the Conservative — presenting clothes in each from Ted Baker, Lacoste and Joe’s Jeans.

 The Creative and how to become him
The Conservative and how to achieve the look
Still life with cool brogues
Boat shoes go upscale 

Most of the party goers fit easily into one of the style classifications, like the three gentleman to the left — who were perfect runway-to-real life creative, casual and conservative examples. Many attending even wore their own bespoke tailored jackets, like Reginald in the rockin’ orange trou, among other financial agents, fashion executives, tourist board directors and media producers. Julian pushed casual guys toward adopting sophisticated pocket squares in their three-button sport coats worn over untucked plaid shirts and jeans, while he led dressy tailor-made suited guests toward dimpling their ties.

But guys, don’t sweat booking up before Askmen’s next class act. You may have a lot to learn, but when the Academy is in session, all you need is to just be present. Can I get a raised-hand “here!?”

l-r Reginald Charlot of NYC and Co. tourism, 
Joe Amodio from Newsday, and Brandon Warner, NBC Universal
Julian with Anthony Nunziata, who performs 
with his brother at Feinstein’s next month
Will Nunziata, the other half of the Nunziata Brothers
Greg Daniels of Trapdoor Productions with interior decorator Michael Arguello
Errol Ellis, Julian, Kristina Velasco and Kris Triplett

Stylist Kris Triplett dimpling Errol  Ellis’ woven silk tie
Daniel Urtiaga, from the just-opened Rudy’s Barbershop at the Ace


You knew from the first vibrantly-hued urban trekker look Luis Fernandez sent out in his technical-slash-tailored NUMBER:lab collection Thursday morning that this was hybrid sportswear and clothing a guy could dig a pick into and come out on top while wearing in the corporate, creative or weekend worlds. 
Outerwear was functionally detailed or inclemently coated, as was the case of one toggle-buttoned plaid duffel coat.  Accessories were ice-cool, too, with color-blocked totes and backpacks, comfy muffler cowl scarves and white-soled Redwing booties.
I was happy to see this show joining the ranks of other hybrid menswear presentations, like Tim Coppens the night before, starting out as runway and finishing with a static tableau, excellent for those photogs snapping away for bloggage purposes, i.e. moi!

Duckie Brown at Work

Work it!
Duckie Brown designers Steven Cox and Daniel Silver gave us Super Duckie this season and it was all about their DB man at work, with plenty of options for autumn/winter 2012: go subtle and slim or loud, exploded and voluminous. And, of course, always wear a pant silhouette that makes a statement.
Tweedy black and white or dark charcoal suits were pulled in and slender with peg legged trousers sewn with “messed up” twisted inseams or rounded, dropped crotches accentuating dressy lace up Florsheims. Three-button jackets were worn over super-sized “circular” pants with side pleats that floated over the tops of the models’ shoes. Exploded plaid overcoats copped a colorful attitude, while work shirts and Fair Isle sweaters were equally bold and graphic. 
There was lots of hair and hat-titude, with many looks topped with a Robert Smith-style wig, knit cap or a Mongolian shearling hat, as well as sweater gloves that came up to the elbows of suit sleeves. Well played, that work thing.

Ties to Taxidermy?! Neckwear to Necromancy?!

No, this post isn’t about the latest episode of American Stuffers, the extreme taxidermy show airing now on the Discovery Channel.
Rather, it’s about this beautiful beast below, the inspiration for Jonathan Meizler’s provocative new neckwear line, title of work, and the designer’s Taxidermy Couture collection, an “exploration of duality inspired this season by the hybrid creations of sculptural artist Enrique Gomez de Molina.”

Meizler’s clever, highly sophisticated neckwear is based on beautiful bespoke fabrics in a somber, classic palette of charcoals, navies and black juxtaposed by the “opposition” of adornment by cock feathers, sterling silver amulets, rattlesnake vertebrae and hand-beaded mesh bands. 
“With this collection I wanted to interpret an unusual subject, the beauty of decomposition,” Meizler says in his Fall 2012 press release. “I have become intrigued with the concept of mortality, incorporating elements that play with our sense of existence. It is both a great and appealing challenge, especially given the nature of working with a symbol of men’s refinement.”
Meizler’s background at JonValdi Couture, the former women’s and men’s wear designer collection where he and his partner had a strong women’s evening and Red Carpet gown presence, serves him well with the hand-beading aspect of certain neckwear styles. He’s also expanding his designs this season to include super soft leather and shearling scarves, as well as sterling tie clips. 
But it’s the chalkstripe ties with feathers or the herringbone black and white ties with one tiny backbone front and center that intrigue me the most. Which is YOUR favorite???

More Menswear Camo

 We may be movin’ out of Iraq, but the hot military camouflage pattern shows no signs of retreating.

Camo spread like shotgun scatter shot across this past two week’s menswear trade shows, from Capsule to MRket to ENK. Here, just some bullet highlights:

Comstock’s pony skin duffel tote was an elegant take on the trend. Partnering up with young Sony executives including Ryan Wright, Robert Comstock’s sophisticated rugged new collection plays up the luxury side the designer is known for with a more contemporary fit and attitude, according to Wright.
  Howe multimedia camo nylon and knit “flack” jacket
Form vs Funktion by Jerry Kaye’s unconstructed laser-cut camo wool coat

The Lambs Club’s Menswear Gathering 2012

As the second January menswear market week got under way with MRket and ENK shows taking place earlier on Monday, members of the menswear industry reunited at The Bar at The Lambs Club at the Chatwal Hotel on West 44th Street last night. Our fifth go-round, this was our first of the new year.

Built to house the Lambs theatrical club, the Stanford White-designed building was a perfect midtown location for the group. The auspicious room, below, was a welcome respite from the rainy mess outside. Surprise guests included Derrill Osborn, former Neiman Marcus men’s tailored clothing director, who among others dared the weather to share their camaraderie, raise a toast and indulge in the sumptuous appetizers provided for the group by the amazing Chatwal general manager Joel Freyberg. 
Designer John Bartlett caught up with Osborn and retail mavens Stan Tucker and Joe Cecil. Journalists John Birmingham and Catherine Salfino reconnected with former DNR staffers, fashion show producers, marketing and publishing specialists. Designers new to the group included Raz Keren and Rufus shirt designer April Singer with colleague Kyle Cherek, who also hosts a television foodie show. 
Cherek would’ve been in heaven at the beginning of the evening, as we walked into the bar just as Lambs Club chef Geoffrey Zakarian, Food Network ‘s Anne Burrell and others were convening at a plush banquette booth in the middle of the upstairs bar.
Designer John Bartlett, right, with Stan Tucker and Randa’s John Kammeier (left)
Fairchild/DNR’s John Birmingham, Beverly Cogan Marksohn, producer Susan Sidor
Susan Snee Stolar and Robin Eckstein
Joe Cecil with Randa’s John Kammeier
Mr. Osborn with event organizer Holly Adam
George Saffo, John Kammeier, Mr. Osborn, Joe Cecil
Photographer Karin Kohlberg and prop specialist Bobby Taylor

Cozy banquettes provided for comfy communicating, noshing and drinking

L-R: designer Kevin Stewart, Susan Sidor, Catherine Salfino, Barney Bishop, Gary Williams

 Max Wilson brought designer Raz Keren, a newcomer to the group

Event organizer Mary Ellen Barone with Mr. Osborn
The Bar kept us sated with a flow of yumbly appetizers  —
 rice balls, meat balls, sauteed peppers and calamari

Project Show: All Together Now

With ENK and MRket menswear shows kicking off this Sunday, the boys’ club interaction at Project last week is still fresh on show goers minds, perhaps best exemplified by Orlebar Brown collaborator and internet phenomenon Nick Wooster sitting down for a shave and a haircut at The Blind Barber’s booth during Tuesday’s afternoon activities. 
Live blogging transpired at a group table in front, while martinis were shaken and probably also stirred at the Tanteo tequila bar in back. Project was full of real essentials for real guy shoppers. Made by Project capitalized on that with “The Essentials Kit,” the pop up concept of hand crafted artisanal brands featuring tailored stitching by Martin Greenfield, jacket re-proofing at Barbour’s waxing station, homebrew beer making by Bitter and Esters, cobbler-style hand sewing at Oak Street Bootmakers, onsite blocking by LES milliner Victor Osborne, garment dyeing at Metsa, and fragrance tailoring at D.S. & Durga.