The Art World Report
By Juan Pablo Jim
Runway photos: http://www.style.com/
It is always special to be part of the first of anything, so there was a certain atmosphere of history-making during the first ever New York Fashion Week: Men’s. After some brands had separated their presentations from the women’s collection in September – Michael Kors being a pioneer in this endeavor – the CFDA decided to group them all together to present a platform dedicated to menswear, one of the fastest-growing industries in fashion, even more so than womenswear.
Most presentations were small, intimate, with models posing as tableaux vivants and chatting casually. This gave NYFW a sense of ease: buyers and media getting to know the collections more intimately and closely than the women’s collections, where at times things seem to be more about the large scale shows than the clothes.
This time it was really about the clothes, both inside the shows and in the streets. Some notable trends for SS16 were billowy tops with cummerbunds and cinched waists (at Robert Geller and Detroit), Marni-esque oversized square-cut tops (at the emerging designers Capsule presentation), and nostalgia (seventies boho-chic at J.Lindberg, early-nineties preppy at Tommy Hilfiger).
Eighties rock-n-roll glamour was on full display during the closing show at John Varvatos, the most spectacular presentation, with hundreds of umbrellas above the runway, a front row full of celebrities (mostly aging rockers), and the production team of the designer’s Milan runway shows. The Washington Post called him the “most valuable player” for his efforts in turning NYFWM into a full-fledged fashion event, such as those we are used to seeing for the main collections.
When it came to street style, people showed a more subdued dressing style for photographers. Instead of the extravagant looks that are usually on display during women’s FW, the most visible trends were double-breasted suits with impeccable tailoring and details (for the thinnest of attendants), casual wear and luxe sportswear (younger Asian models – beware of wearing an oversized jersey if you’re under 6”), flowery prints, lots of sandals (Michael Kors said during his presentation that if a man wants to show his toes, there are now plenty of options, but no one should ever wear flip-flops in the city), and clutches. Will the man purse finally become mainstream and break the bad reputation it has had for so many years?
NYFWM might be the force to break with such stereotype, and with a more fundamental one: that men are not interested in fashion, and that brands should not pay attention to their male costumers. The time and money spent in this first edition clearly shows than menswear is a force to be reckoned with.