Five key menswear styles emerged from New York fashion week.
If there was one conclusion to take away from the menswear collections shown during New York's fashion week, it's that guys have a lot to get excited about when it comes to taking their autumn-winter wardrobes up a couple of notches. Below are five of the things that will have men looking forward to autumn.
The rise of cashmere
British Columbia-based designer Raif Adelberg made his New York Fashion Week runway debut with a collection of cashmere sweaters of every stripe (including a cashmere cardigan with felted cashmere elbow patches), herringbone double-breasted peacoats, plaid blazers, drop-crotch trousers and sweat pants in piercing blue, hand and leg wraps and more.
Billy Reid's men's and women's collections were both shot through with cashmere, the super-soft hand providing a textural counterpoint to leather pieces that had been fermentation-treated to crackling aged roughness. In addition to cotton/cashmere waistcoats and T-shirts printed with tree-ring inspired stripes, cashmere came down the catwalk in the form of a three-piece suit, a knit necktie, tailored evening coats and a shawl-collar tuxedo jacket and trousers.
Formalwear goes casual
From the digital camouflage tuxedo at Mark McNairy New Amsterdam (perfect for next hunting season's black-tie game supper) to the midnight blue tuxedo in sueded cotton in Todd Snyder's Rebel Gentlemen collection, there were all kinds of options for the guy who wants a less-stuffy take on the traditional formalwear silhouette.
But it was Black Fleece by Brooks Brothers that offered feel-good formalwear: a black-tie ensemble that included a ribbed-knit shawl-collar dinner jacket. Sure it resembled a cardigan sweater — but one that would make Mr Rogers look like Hugh Hefner.
Houndstooth with bite
Houndstooth check is turning out to be a trend with some serious legs this season. First in evidence at the Milan and Paris men's ready-to-wear shows last month (at Calvin Klein, Paul Smith and Versace, to name just a few), it showed up on this side of the Atlantic during fashion week as well. Tommy Hilfiger used the distinctive black-and-white pattern as the unifying graphic element — in a range of sizes and colors — for both his men's and women's fall-winter collections.
But the freshest take on the trend came from Asher Levine, whose collection riffed on and reinterpreted the houndstooth check, using a micro-scale version on ultra-cool, effortless rocker tuxedos, trousers and lounge pants, and a textured three-dimensional monochrome variation on sweat shirts and pants.
Tommy Hilfiger's men's runway show included a partnership with Southern California-based luxury shoe designer George Esquivel that resulted in distinctively color-blocked brogues — think rich red leather uppers with houndstooth-check soles — that played off the houndstooth-heavy collection. Whether the shoes will make it from the runway to the cash register remains unclear (an Esquivel rep would only say the Hilfiger/Esquivel runway shoes are part of an "ongoing relationship"). But based on what came down the catwalk, it's a partnership that holds promise.
Billy Reid used his runway show to introduce a new collaboration with Coach. The result was a limited-edition line of rustic but refined totes, satchels and weekend bags in sturdy canvas or croc-pattern stamped leather.
New logo to love
Few polo shirt logos have the lasting resonance of Lacoste's alligator, but men of a certain age will remember one that came close: Boast's embroidered pot-leaf-like logo (the company says it's a Japanese maple leaf, by the way), which launched in 1973 with polo shirts and shorts for the East Coast tennis set. Now Boast has been revived with a team that includes Andy Spade (co-founder of the Kate Spade and Jack Spade brands) as creative consultant and investor.
The collection that was presented at the August Harvard Club during fashion week was all about an Ivy League aesthetic grounded in navy blue and muted red with bright accent pops of blue and yellow in a range of rugbys, polos, blazers with gold logo buttons and bright yellow elbow patches. Varsity jackets boasted a bold yellow "B", and there were mixed fabrication pieces with knit sleeves made from repurposed hockey socks.