CFDA’s epicentral biannual event dictating the aesthetic and anatomical everything for the coming season in fashion. Traditionally, NYFW is synonymous with Womenswear collections, however, more recently –– with the burgeoning world of boutique urban / high street wear lines –– NYFW Men’s emerges as a contemporary establishment in its own right.
“New York men’s week is more important than ever, now that it’s more established. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next guard of American men’s wear has in store for us: David Hart, John Elliot, Stampd, Todd Snyder … These guys are pushing the industry forward in exciting ways.” –– Jim Moore, GQ
This year, roughly 70 shows and presentations make their way to Manhattan’s mecca mainstage, with designers ranging from newcomers and buzzy brands (Kenneth Ning, Deveaux, Nick Graham) to established majors and mainstays (John Varvatos, Raf Simons). Fashion’s influence and inspiration evolves in tandem with the times, as style shifts with culture, and so with the ascent of the urban creative comes the roving eye of fashion design: for the latest take on classic, it’s all eyes on the runway.
Editors of fashion magazines and department store buyers have lately traveled through men’s fashion shows in London, Florence, Milan and Paris. The New York shows tend to have a looser, grittier feel than the often-extravagant runway exhibitions in Milan and Paris, and the people who attend seem more relaxed.
For the contemporary creative, fresh from the runway: ones to watch, and how to work the runway into the look you’ve got.
NYWF Men’s 2017
You As built their brand with a strong focus on established staple masculine design, highlighting “a midcentury aesthetic and creating non-trendy staples that can be worn over and over.” This year, creative mettle mastermind, Tony Liu brought convention center-square with contemporary culture for the NYFW Men’s F/W 2017 collection.
This season that exploration included preppy and punk and he built a wardrobe for “the unassuming background character with that twinkle in his eye who you just know will come forward as the leading man.”
The look, beyond the label: Think Millennial Mad Men meets Mod with low-key flair… “the rebel and the nerd.” Single-pleat slim trousers, symmetrical patterns and prints, unobtrusive cool tones, starchless collars –– detail-oriented disaffection, contrast is key, stark and subtle. If it’s denim, it’s slim-fit dark wash with a potential cuff. Outerwear is an outward extension of sartorial expression, an arena where shearling lining echoes the humble reign of a lion’s signature mane.
The prep-punk aesthetic takes an air of “time capsule, shaken, stirred and served in a tumbler over ice.” The style blends neat Forties and Sixties-era standards, and time warps it to a tailor in today’s Tribeca or East London. Pair slim-fit darkwash denim jeans with a black crew neck, top off the look with a silver-zippered black bomber jacket, and vintage white Vans to finish. Simple, stark, elemental, layer up with a wool coat and scarf for bulk, or keep it clean with the core components –– non-trendy staples styled to last.
Dim Mak makes its NYFW debut this year, and brings a distinctly Far East movement to the modern Menswear space. Steve Aoki’s streetwear line imprint is on its fourth collection since its inception in 2014. Housed in Japan, the line’s Stateside runway collection debut reflects contemporary fashion’s strong Japanese and urban design influences.
His aesthetic is a unique mix of nightclub-y, skate-centric, Los Angeleno, and generally energetic cues (and was further informed today by the Beat Generation and ’70s-era New York), with results that are a little eccentric but not so much that they alienate.
The look, beyond the label: Think diesel-fitted Angeles. Dim Mak’s aesthetic lends weight to svelte figures, and boasts bulk built to fit the otherwise nimble. Minimalist elements, maximal fabric, definitive prints and patterns, zippers, pockets, echoing design undertones of punk culture beneath the skater surface.
If this sounds like your aesthetic, customize it to break from the carbon copy. First things first: start with staple skinny jet black denim jeans (selvedge for the denim die-hards and authentic modern Japanese designheads). Aoki’s niche is the “young and cool,” denim transcends trends, and defines cool, it’s a necessary step-up from the seasonal standard of the brand’s affinity for khaki.
Add visual stock to the pant legs by pairing with black field boots. Layer the minimalist look with a long-sleeve crew neck and patterned bomber jacket, or layer up and go with a faded black denim jacket and two-tone wool overcoat. Stocky high street beneath understated Angeleno cool.
Calvin Klein Chief Creative Officer, Raf Simons, debuts his eponymous line at NYWFM for his first Stateside showing in over two decades. The Belgian-born designer is synonymous with an aesthetic reflective of personal experience wrapped in youth subculture –– design through the lens of fashion-as-narrative. Simons brings an unparalleled level of established industry mettle and innovative authority to the NYFWM stage, with his solo menswear show serving as an unofficial harbinger to his Calvin Klein presentation at NYFW proper.
The collection feels distinctly New York (not “New York), while echoing Simons’ strong native-European influences, converging in an alloy of subversive social statements and pronounced cultural identity by way of sartorial composition and sheer style: muted mantras and modern manifestos in tailored motion.
In times like these, fashion can seem more trivial than ever. But Raf Simons reminds us of the soft power clothes can possess. Oversized sweaters can feel like cozy suits of armor. But waistcoats secured by two tenuous pieces of duct tape remind us that no matter how vulnerable we feel in this uncertain era, we have to do our best to hold it all together.
The look, beyond the label: Oversized with tailored precision focus on a considered cut-and-custom-fit for the modern gentleman –– a few sizes up from the wearer himself. Bold statements in subtle communicative forms, an ode to New York’s underground elite, by way of City mastery over solely-conventional monetary means.
Layers, lapels, belts, accessories, enhanced accentuation, collars set in effortless surrender to the physics of gravity, cuffless trousers pulling focus to the aesthetic foundation where fabric-meets-footwear in a just-so unfolding, patterned knits, rich colors, a collectively inherently neat feel beyond the relaxed proportions… an ode to the life of style in modern times, and a uniform for the mod vivant.
Give the modern vivant a counterculture shift, trade trousers for dark wash straight leg denim. Leave the fabric uncuffed at the ankle, so as to sit just-so upon the cut of a simple black leather loafer, for a more structured look that maintains room in the leg for effortless mobility beneath defined proportion. Channel understated denizen awareness with a relaxed charcoal modern crew neck tee, scoop neck black knit pullover sweater, and black wool overcoat to finish: layer with a sense of considered leisure in active creative life and style.
Three looks to cement steady grounding for the contemporary urban creative wardrobe this season –– mix, match, and redefine runway Manhattan.