Fashion Week Report: Day Two

The subtitle of this article should be “don’t wear new shoes to fashion week!” Yes, I committed the ultimate fashion victim’s mistake, and thought I’d wow everybody with a new pair of shoes…that ended up digging into my ankle and effectively wiping out my Fashion’s Night Out plans. Oh, well.

Fashion week for the fashion director of a trade publication isn’t quite like it is for, well…Anna Wintour or Jim Moore. I started my day on Thursday at Arts & Tannery, the trade show for the Italian Leather System Consortium (ILS). No runways here…just rows and rows of gorgeous possibilities. And the Italians are doing some amazing things with leather. The ILS’s Gianluca Gori presented trends for fall/winter 2013/2014 (yes…it’s that time), all incorporated under four themes, “Space Lab” (think Barbarella meets Darth Vader, “Deco Flair” (Rockefeller Center architecture featured prominently), “Icon Clash” (e.g. Queen Elizabeth meets Tina Turner) and “Sporty Cut” (water and motor sport technology). I’ll go into more detail on trends in a later column, but just a tease….

After A&T, we did a quick run up to Lincoln Center for the Richard Chai show, a collection that is truly on the cutting edge of fashion. In fact some of the trends that I’d just seen in Gori’s presentation were already apparent in Chai’s spring collection, including space age (remember the television show Space: 1999?) looks and metallic finishes. Chai took minimal, modernist styling, then pushed it to the edge with maximal finishes. A powder blue blouson jacket with sheer detailing was paired with fully-cut shorts, while a neutral color-blocked jacket in khaki, white and gray looked both athletic and arty. My favorite piece? A neoprene camp shirt.

Richard Chai powder blue jacket and shorts with nearly-sheer detail.

Richard Chai’s balmacaan over neoprene sweatshirt and tech pant.

Richard Chai’s neutral-blocked jacket.

Richard Chai’s neoprene shirt.

Each season I look forward to going to Duckie Brown to see a kind of American inventiveness, unleashed. Spring 2013 was no disappointment. From outsized overalls to plaid pattern mixing and incorporating tailoring elements as ornament, Steven Cox and Daniel Silver have gone to a new level of creativity. I can’t wait to see what they’re doing for Perry Ellis and for the Mr. Brown tailored clothing collection with Rothman’s.

Duckie Brown. The “caped’ detail in front of the trousers is the front panel of a suit coat.

Sophisticated plaid mixing at Duckie Brown in fabrics that were so light they were almost see-through.

Beautiful cut-away detail on a “blouson’ denim jacket at Duckie Brown. Better hit the lat pulldown machine at the gym this winter.

Duckie Brown’s bleached denim work jacket.

Another interesting point at the Duckie Brown show: those models with their slicked back hair had all been groomed with Menaji, a grooming and make-up collection targeted to men that we covered in MR‘s August 2011 issue. You want to look that good? Check it out here.

With tired and sore feet, I ended up heading home, foregoing FNO’s madness and eventually settling in front of the television for the night. Tellingly at one point, one of my delightful summer interns texted me…was one of the guys on the VMA’s wearing a Hook+Albert flower? I had to respond, “Sorry…I’m watching the DNC on PBS. Looks like John Kerry is wearing Joseph Abboud.” Well…maybe it was Hickey Freeman…maybe Brooks Brothers…one thing for sure…I hope it was Made in America.

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