The relaunch of an American fashion week dedicated solely to menswear has taken over New York from July 13-16. Europe has weeks dedicated to menswear but New York has not hosted one since the 1990s. The menswear market has seen a dramatic uptick over the last decade with booming ecommerce that outdid other retail categories in the past 5 years and a visible new generation of designers. So it’s ripe time The Council of Fashion Designers of America reintroduced the event. More than 50 designers showcased their Spring/ Summer’16 collections.
David Hart kicked off day one with a Bauhaus meets tropical island collection that featured fresh pastel suits, remixed safari shorts and graphic color-block shirts and cardigans the modernist art school would love. The collection had accessories galore; bi-colored coke-bottle glasses and thick beaded necklaces brought an avant garde spirit mixed with island charm.
Designer Robert Geller reimagined summers spent by the sea side with rippling layers and lush earthy colors for this Spring/Summer ’16 collection. Airy sport jackets and shirts of satin and Japanese linen paired with board shorts and high-waisted trousers that at times were wrapped at the waist with knit cummerbunds made for a loose and textual kind of elegance. Geological prints appeared on shimmery satin shirts and jackets that hinted of ocean cliffs or tide marks. Models sported wet, sea-mussed hair or grey felt caps that pulled down over their eyes. Several looks included socks with sandals, some with the toes cut out to reveal a half-sock/ half-skin take on the dad sandals trend.
Public School took their hip-hop loving, skater boy chic to the next level of sophistication with street wear favorites mixed with elongated silhouettes. Models didn't walk the runway but grimaced in front of a faux police line in all black, white and navy garments. Crisp button ups, long socks and creased, over-the-knee shorts showed off the classic bad-boy look while rumbled, elongated baseball jackets lent the perfect mix of experimentation.
It’s not everyday Pantone creates a new color, and even rarer that the inspiration comes from gibberish speaking, single-celled, computer animated creatures. In April, Pantone revealed “Minion Yellow,” based on the characters in the “Despicable Me” spin-off movies, the first time in three years the company invented a new color. KPCC spoke to trend forecaster blogger Michelle Dalton Tyree about the blockbuster’s effect on the fashion world. Besides plush toys, clothing and a plethora of kids merch, high end designers from the UK have taken the Minions craze to another level. The Minions Bello Yellow Collection, that hit Selfridges in June, is a limited-edition high-end clothing and accessories line that features popular London brands including shoe designer Rupert Sanderson’s Minions’ high heels and 60’s-esque shift dresses by Gilles Deacon.
“Movie marketing has come a long way from the days of going to get your favorite “Star Wars” cup at Burger King or McDonalds…now we’re seeing studios do a lot of high end tie ins and designer collaborations ” said Tyree, who mentioned the “Cinderella”/ Jimmy Chu $5,000, shoe as another prime example. Though the shelf life of such trends may be tied to box office successes (“Despicable Me 2” is now the fourth highest-grossing animated film) and driven by kitsch, the influence on fashion and design could be long lasting. "Color is contextual and right now there is a desire for colors that are more vibrant and uplifting. This is especially the case with the yellows, so given the worldwide popularity of the Minions, it seemed only natural to name a color after a character for the first time in our history," said Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute. Pantone worked with the Illumination animation team to study the Minions’ “aura” to find the characters’ perfect hue. According to the color company, the soft yellow color heightens awareness, creates clarity and is the color of hope, joy and optimism.
The popular online retailer Nasty Gal moved its headquarters from San Francisco to the downtown L.A’s 1908 Pacific Mutual Building, the oldest structure in Pershing Square, to accommodate its departments in style. The building had seen a century’s worth of renovations and additions that left the interior in an disorderly state. Architects and construction teams knocked down all the renovation layers and got the interior back to its foundational state with original clerestories, skylights, fittings and windows to create a 30,000-square-foot space that includes conference rooms and creative studios. In contrast to the retailer’s signature brand of sassy, on-trend fashion, the HQ is toned-down with bright white concrete and exposed brick walls, open floor workspaces lit by suspended lights and dotted with vintage 60’s furniture. Work spaces are unified, besides the few glass walled private offices, and a kitchen/ hangout area encourages collaboration. One wall of the reception is covered in greenery, a nicely relevant touch for a newly bloomed company that appears to have really put its roots down.
Christian Audigier, the man responsible for the Ed Hardy and Von Dutch sparkly rhinestone trucker hats and tattoo inspired muscle tee’s made popular in 2000’s, passed away on Friday, July 10 at age 57 after a battle with cancer. The French fashion designer and marketing mogul catapulted his brands into the spotlight with celebrity fueled promotions which included the likes of Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Madonna. Audigier aggressively commercialized his brand’s images and created an empire of Ed Hardy products that included shoes, sunglasses, lighters, air fresheners, wallets, perfume, wine and even a teeth hygiene line. Before the luxury loving designer attained his flashy lifestyle in Los Angeles, he worked for about 20 companies with mixed success. After splitting from both Ed Hardy and Von Dutch, he put out his own self-named line in 2007 that featured similar tattoo and car-culture influences. “I was dreaming all my life of America, of the blue jean, of Marlon Brando,” he told GQ in 2009 , “and the trucker hat.”
Covering up has never been cooler; leotards have become a summer staple. Unitards have long been a fashion favorite, and now with an upheaval in sporty athleisure renditions, you don’t have to sweat (literally) to try this trend. The 80’s workout leotard was re-popularized thanks to American Apparel and now Ekat and other brands have made sporty onesies that go beyond basic with a dizzying array of trippy prints. Kim Kardashian and Demi Moore have been seen rocking onesies lately, and who can blame them? The catsuit is comfy.
The Rise of Sneaker Culture at The Brooklyn Museum is the first exhibition that discusses the history and cultural importance of the popular footwear. From Converse’s 1917 debut of its rubber-soled, canvas All Star gym shows to 80’s Nike Jordan Air’s to Yeezy’s high end sneakers of today, the show traces the shoe’s evolution through time. The more than 150 sneakers on display include designs from fashion houses such as Prada as well as art pieces and items from private collections from Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and other stars. Photographs, film footage, interactive media and design drawings capture the trends and technological and social changes the sneaker has seen through the ages. The exhibit, which runs from from July 10-October 4 in NYC, opened serendipitously at the same time as the New York Menswear Fashion Week. Elizabeth Semmelhack, senior curator at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto and the brains behind the exhibit, said she was interested in how sneakers have changed concepts around masculinity and status. Besides being totems of athleticism, sneakers have long been signs of wealth from the upper class of the early 1900’s to the 70’s generation alike.
“Sneakers are allowing men to express their individuality in increasingly nuanced ways,” Semmelhack said. “I keep thinking of that Bruno Mars lyric: ‘Got Chucks on with Saint Laurent/Got to kiss myself I’m so pretty.’ ”
Sneakers have a lot to do with the dissolution of the divide between street wear and high end fashion. “There was a time even in the ’70s when it wasn’t acceptable to show up in sneakers to restaurants, clubs, churches,” said Sean Williams, producer of online talk show “Obsessive Sneaker Disorder. “Now there are people getting married in sneakers.” For sneaker heads, their soul-or sole passion- has finally been given its proper recognition.
Surfs up, dude. Take it to Huntington Beach for Van’s Surfing US Open from Saturday, July 25, through Sunday, August 2 for nine days of surfing, skating and BMX competitions plus pop-up shops, art shows and movie nights.