Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Day 1 NYFWM Spring 2017: Gimmickry Works Better Some Places (Suitsupply, Robert James) Than Others (Uri Minkoff)


The players of Day 1: David Hart, David Naman, Max 'n Chester, Maiden Noir, Plac, Wood House, Linder, Suitsupply, Chapter, Krammer & Stoudt, Private Policy, Rideau, Robert James, Uri Minkoff

colleague who covers fashion for The Economist asks me during our chat at the Uri Minkoff presentation whether I have noticed any trends emerging on Day 1 of New York Fashion Week: Men's S/S 2017 (11-14 July).

I say no, as we are discussing the state of fashion as well as the vastly altered state of fashion journalism, owing to the digital revolution. We are also watching the UM models - dancers were cast - gadding about Studio 5 at Industria Superstudio. The name of the designer's latest collection is TIME.

It is as I am observing that UM S/S2017 is a collection that relies heavily on shades of blue and further that it is nothing particularly special as it regards the actual clothes, that in fact a small trend has emerged: the gimmick.

UM employs two gimmicks in one show: casting dancers instead of models and directing said dancers to move around the space in a dancerly fashion. Ironically, the idea of runway shows and presentations is to sell the clothes, yet the clothes here are overshadowed by the bodies within them.

Perhaps something special is going on - a dark (is that silk?) shirt with Nehru collar is crisp and polished - but it is difficult to know with all of the genuflection and one set of exquisite thighs on bow legs.

Robert James fares better with gimmickry. The space at Industria's Sub Rose studio, taken up by numerous pillars, is well-suited for the cross-formation runway show. The clothes are as hip and rock star-centric as the soundtrack. The blindingly silver bomber jacket is ready to rock and roll. The Army green blazer (canvass-like fabric) with zipper in back has swagger to spare. Interspersed are nerdy-cool ensems. Like the song says, "born to be wild."

Last year, one of the models gives me to know, Suitsupply used the street outside its office on Broome Street for its show. One year later, for a collection inspired by the German design school, Bauhaus (practicality, simplicity in everyday objects), the models blew in from hither and yon on bikes, then upstairs for a conventional presentation.

If the idea of the bikes suggests a simple and practical mode of transport where practical, the gimmick works. S/S17 at Suitsupply does not appear to have an impractical stitch. A few models are sitting but most are on their feet. They are standing close together as if for a group shot, presenting a united front that is arresting and quite ties the tongue.

Here is a tableau defined largely by linen in the fabric category. It has an elusive, albeit special quality about it. Could it be splendid Italian fabrics used to construct suits of clothes at highly accessible pricepoints?

Three outfits standout, however. The tuxedos in a superfine silk-linen blend. One is in dark navy. The other a dark brown that looks black, with a indigo stripe down the side. Both are as suave as James Bond, the man for whom they are named. Elsewhere, the brown tweed (merino wool) jacket has a quiet dignity about it ... More shortly from Day 1.

On deck today, Day 2: Joseph Abboud, New Republic by Mark McNairy, Tim Coppens, Garciavalez, Stampd, Simon Miller, Michael Kors, EFM, Loris Diran, Robert Geller, N-P-Elliott, Carlos Campos, Gypsy Sport, N. Hoolywood, Cadet, Brett Johnson, Ovadia & Sons

Visit http://www.cfda.com/programs/new-york-mens-week to learn more about New York Fashion Week: Men’s, including shows and show times.

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