New York, traditionally dubbed the home of commercial menswear, provided buyers with a few head-scratchers this week, proving that those incredibly durable stereotypes about each Fashion Week are by no means cover-all descriptions.
For, among the traditionally slick Calvin Kleins and luxe Antonio Azzuolos of the runway schedule, two key stories emerged.
The first will already resonate with UK shoppers and can be loosely dubbed The Outdoors and Band of Outsiders and Bespoken both here for their inspiration. It was all about mountaineering at BofO and Bespoken went all North Sea, with sailor stripes, hardy wools, tweeds, Aran-style roll necks, cable knits, kagoules and rubber boots.
Gant by Michael Bastian was similarly steered with a truly commercial collision of its New Haven preppy roots and the company’s Scandinavian home that saw the collection combine motif repeat trousers, duck boots, parkas, rugbys and blazers with quilted jackets and hairy knits (a movement for hairy knits is slowly gathering steam - we saw a few in Pitti this season, but that’s mole-like in its underground status at the moment) and even a biker-style puffa. And at Loden Dager it was a little Ginsburg-esque in its adoption of the patterned crew knit, and you can see the influence of upcoming biopic Howl on designers being a sensible one.
So - knits and coats replace suits as big ticket items? Yeah, partly, but there was a second alternative to emerge too.
Utility-tinged casualwear also came through with combat style pants filling up the Gant collection and Yohji Yamamoto’s Y-3 range hitting near Maharishi proportions in its adoption of pockets and drawstrings. Patrik Ervell even had models walk in jumpsuits that look genuinely parachute-worthy, which upped the pocket and zip count.
And with all those kagoules and four pocket coats looking more techy and ubiquitous than ever, it looks like this re-run of 90s casualwear could gather steam.
For now, we’re happy to see that there is still plenty of mileage in the outdoorsy looks. We know that men are enjoying it and it has worked well for the my-wardrobe.com man in search of a way to freshen his image.