Quick highlights and keywords to know when shopping the big stories of the season from the major brands.
There isn't much to say that hasn't already been said but I am very impressed with how many of the invitees actually stayed on theme this year compared to years past (I'm looking at you Punk: Chaos to Couture). Have a look at the Vogue instagram compilation video to get a feel for some of the amazing looks of the evening and check out my fave looks below.
W magazine put out a video yesterday featuring many of fashions most well known and inner circle elites giving recognition to the fact that society is made stronger when it is diverse and all should be respected as members of our multicultural nation.
As someone who has been an emigrant several times in life I know how difficult it can be but I also realize how easy I have had it and how, sadly, there are many people who are often times mistreated by a countries misguided choices.
Yes, the runway shows were July of 2016 and yes I already did a report or 2 on my favorite shows... ok 4 posts... but this one is not about what is coming but what has hit the shop floors now so by April or July you don't look like a loser. And since it's 60 degrees out today (ok, tomorrow we have a winter storm warning of 8 in. of snow...) I want to embrace Spring!
Top 4 menswear themes:
This season, it's all about the stripes! Floral made his entrance in men's wardrobe and good old basics as denim and sport are still very effective.
Thin stripes, Brenton stripes, pinstripes. Get 'em all!
Athleisure takes a turn in a more slick retro direction -aka- get a zip-up and a windbreaker.
I know big shocker! But unlike the denim you already own the new direction is patchwork and acid wash driven.
Top 4 menswear pieces:
Trench coats, raincoats, wide leg trousers and bombers are the top four menswear piece trends this season. Showcased in a huge amount of the shows, menswear becomes casual, elegant and sporty.
This menswear staple is still going strong. I mean everyone always looks cool in one.
This could go real wrong real fast proceed with caution. A silky or suit fabric in a tailored look but no JNCO style!
Not just for flashers and Inspector Gadget! make sure you get one that hits you correctly at the knee.
Don't get caught in the springtime rain without one.
I have to say I am quite surprised by the addition to the label! Raf and team have enough on their plate with this umbrella of a brand to work with that adding yet another line wasn't something I saw coming. But I think it a great way to bring his past experience of couture to a label known for its minimalist sportswear regardless of how viable it will be. I mean it's not like CK is hurting for cash so they might as well bring forward a made-to-measure line that was before exclusive to red carpet starlets.
Aside from that it's interesting to see how Raf reinvents Americana in this 14 look collection, each representing a decade in American woman's fashion from the 20-00 reinvented.
The ad images are a tongue in cheek view of what CK has to offer from it's money maker underwear to the new high-end one of a kind pieces. It also give us an idea of what to expect from the direction Raf will lead future campaigns and the clothes we will all be lining up to buy.
The Fall & Winter months edition. Why is this coming out in January you may ask yourself?
It's sale time so everything listed below will be easy and cheap to find especially important since men, in general, don't shop.
Also, thanks to global warming this is when winter finally hits. Albeit stores turning to Spring/Summer already nobody will be wearing that until July sales come around... leading us back to reason 1 and completing the circle of the maybe 2x a man goes into a store a year.
Now take some notes gentleman (or gf/bf/mom of said guy).
This is the first and most important hurdle for many men. The key to looking good is to not be a sloppy ass mess. That starts and ends with how the clothes fit your body. This will impact your mood, your posture and in turn, your confidence.
The right fit means the right proportions= the right look. Don't fuck it up.
Talking to a friend who designs outerwear, shout out to you Isabell, explained to me if you put enough pockets on it they will come.
Basically, men like to think that they can do things and every pocket/zip/button/hook... is a technical element creating interest and versatility to a garment.
I get it. The functionality adds newness to the styling and adds value in eye of the consumer. I'm looking at you G.Star... so many details.
From a design standpoint this is a place where creativity can work it's magic!
As a merchandiser I automatically think how can I remove items because how the fuck am I going to cost this out with each extra little detail.
Personally as a minimalist I prefer clothing that is free of any accoutrement. However that doesn't mean the functionality is lost. You'll be a lot happier in a pair of Hunter boots & a Rains jacket during a Lake District hike whereas a thin, overpriced, yet immaculate #likebutter Rick Owens turtleneck will function perfectly in an art gallery setting.
This is key to achieve a multitude of looks. Once you've got the form and function under your belt you can literally tuck it in or hide it with a blazer! To get a good idea of what this means look at basically any J.Crew catalog.
4. Mix It Up
Have fun! Really part 2 or #3, this is key to dressing down an overly formal look and perfect for the modern office. Swap the classic shirt for an easy plaid or chambray option. To tie the look together put a sporty sweatshirt under a smart blazer and cuffed denim. Unexpected styling adds to the modern heritage trend that every guy wants to embody at some point.
5. The Chambray Shirt
Easy to wear and adaptable aka you wont look whack as fuck with this oldie but goodie. Just trust me.
6. Knitwear Hybrid
It's cold but not that cold... remember the functionality of point 2, here is where a sweater does the job but the trend factor comes in. 2-become-1 as knitwear becomes outerwear aka a chunky cardigan.
Look for chunky ribs and twisted yarns to create the right texture and weight for this jack of all trades. Thank me later or instead just go and buy a light down jacket at Uniqlo and call it a day. You'll be happy either way.
7. The Sweatshirt
The star of this new era of laid back dressing is the humble loop-back sweatshirt. Worn with smart chinos and sneakers, this is a key piece in the topic for wardrobe building. Works with separates and perfect for layering. Comfy enough for a lazy Sunday but nice enough to layer up on Monday at the office.
Salt & Pepper surfaces, space dyed yarns, mossy textures create the feeling of the season... Have I lost you already?
Just remember adding textured surfaces to plain crew necks add interest and a level of casual cool.
9. Shearling Jacket
Attention to detail with shearling trims. A cosiness is created with the teddy bear optic. A simple and effective way to elevate outerwear styles.
Started as a trend item the past few seasons and has grown to be a wardrobe staple.
Don't be scared, embrace something other than black and navy... unless your a Dutch man reading this. One look in a Scotch & Soda store tells me you guys got color and pattern down.
Key color statements most men can easily wear, especially in winter months, are jewel tones. Everyone looks good in them!
With a heavy heart I learned this afternoon that Franca has passed earlier today.
Such an influential figure in fashion bringing Vogue Italia to the forefront using powerful images to portray how the global climate affects fashion and in turn effects the the world.
Here is a slideshow from some of my favorite photos which was difficult to choose from an editorial archive spanning 1988-2016. Featuring some of the amazing and striking stories that show the encompassing power and boundary pushing Franca allowed photographers to portray in her magazine.
Thank you Franca and rest in peace.
The ever inspiring Michelle Obama has outdone her self the past few months campaigning for Hilary and showing us how to go high when others go low.
Perfect timing for T magazine this month to release a magnificent cover portrait of the much loved Michelle. Inside there are several articles written by famous admirers as to what she means to them and how she has affected all of America for the better.
In a bittersweet end the final State Dinner started with a jaw drop. With the Italians coming into town Michelle welcomed them in an Atelier Versace gold rose chainmail dress. A powerful statement about femininity & strength.
While we have to wait until Nov. 3rd to line up for the newest collaboration at least half the wait is over. The lookbook for the forthcoming Kenzo x H&M line came out today!
Keeping with Kenzo tradition the collection is full of color and print featuring several reincarnations of past highlights such as F16 zebra stripe & geo/flower trims. However a Kenzo staple, the tiger, has been altered for the line. The below slideshow are feature some of my must have items from the 40+ looks presented.
The images features several performers and social activist and could not be more different from the last H&M collab with Balmain. Unlike Balmain with the in your face Kardashian factor I don't think Kenzo will sell out within hours. Instead I foresee it will go more the direction of Margiela or Marni collections. Of course the line will be out the door and there will be some items gone in minutes. Don't get me wrong I am in LOVE and need several pieces ASAP but commercially it is a much more difficult for the average consumer to understand. Which means... easier for me to get ahold of!
I also find it an interesting collaboration from a selling stand point. Obviously, Kenzo has been a hyped brand ever since Humberto Leon & Carol Lim took the reigns. This will open the brand to a larger customer base. However similar to the A.Wang line, but unlike other past design collaborations, Kenzo is more of a contemporary level brand, tiered higher than "fast fashion" but lower than traditional high-end & fellow past collaborators such as Versace, Lanvin or Stella McCartney. For ex: Kenzo embroidered tiger sweater retails for $195, Balmain mohair with naval buttons is $990.
Only 6 months after the former MyTheresa womenswear buyer, with no design experience but 102k Instagram followers, was made creative director. Within that time he re-branded the house including new logo and advertisements juxtapositioning high-end cashmere with Metallica as models.
Re-branding is never an easy task. Sometimes it works i.e- Gucci, but trying to move forward and not loose your super rich traditional customer (Bironi suits start at 5K) before the new customer base has picked up is very tricky.
It's hard to say what exactly caused the rift but it's safe to assume that holding company Kering didn't like the direction the house was going despite the clothing itself getting general good reviews... but reviews are one thing turning a profit is another and the conservative CEO-type might not like seeing their traditional brand with a new font and a heavy metal band, who (safe bet) probably doesn't speak to the customer, fronting the campaign.
H&M really shows what it takes to be a clothing company in 2016. Celebrating diversity & equality.
As ADweek put it: "H&M has created a feminist anthem soundtracked by a classically misogynist song, for a spot meant to redefine how you think women should look, act and think, where they stand in society..."
Another remarkable H&M campaign launched last year with the same ad agency, Forsman & Bodenfors, featuring the voice-over of Iggy Pop shows how being yourself can be stylish however you see fit. But above all what really is cool is recycling items you no longer need.
Palette cleanser, much more clean, modern, airy draped over jewel tones in deep teal blue, jade and a royal purple. Active wear mixed with casual, soft and loose blazer and shorts. Socks & sandals. Technical fabrics with silk. A subtle mixture of luxury and masculinity without the jarring use of in your face logos Versace is known for.
The prints were serving up more intricate Tiger of Sweden, the camo however was ok but not wow. It was either too small or the colors were not my thing. I did like that the traditional Japanese silhouettes were included and made new. The criss-cross espadrilles need to be on me now! However what really sold the collection was the Adidas collaboration. Move over Y-3 there is a new Japanese brand to bring it! The black/white was a stark contrast to the first half of the collection but works well for the collaboration and the retro-sport Adidas looks are also perfect.
With the same feelings I have for Marni I also have always been a huge fan of the Korean brand and that hasn't changed this season! Their take on Sol LeWitt wall art works perfectly with the garments creating new ginghams and oversize checks. The fabric bases also made sense. Laxer cut trench coats, silk pajama style shorts and shirts, oversize bottoms where the draping allows the pattern to move, dense knit sweaters allowing for structured looks. Basically put it all on me!
Special shout out to:
MSGM- Made me like actually argyle for the first time in my life.
N.Hollywood- I'm a sucker for neoprene, I can't help myself.
Rag & Bone- Very American silhouettes, workwear meets minimalist streetwear, clean vibrant primary colors.
Rick Owens- Giving us some color and a new way of draping to his ever so billowy styles.
The Kooples- New more laid back casual direction, boxier fits. more color and Japanese indigo heavy with a take on America approach.
As not to overwhelm here is a continuation from my last post featuring another set of reviews to my fave Menswear designers this season.
Every season I am astounded. His collections bring sophistication to the masses. Always bringing fans on a journey to another time and place. Normally I am not a print kinda guy but when it comes out of het Modepaleis I know it will be something I need in my closet. This season is no different the collection moves effortlessly from cream, soft whites and punches of metallic silver intermixing with macrame and patch work reminiscent of the arts & crafts movement of the 70's intermixing. Then medieval tapestry prints and camouflage. Ending in loose draped indigo fabric looks. Wow. Basically, Scotch & Soda will be knocking this off in...
I found the Ziggy platforms to be a bit distracting but I know the Caden twins always have something tongue-and-cheek to offset their designs but also show that gender-fuck can be mainstream! DSquared2 always love a good theme and I am right there with them! They can make anything be over the top yet still masculine enough that a fashionable guy would want in their closet regardless, ok maybe the sequined camo parka is pushing it... This SS the theme was skinhead which has been done by numerous designers over the season and I've always been a fan of the outcome. This time around Dean & Dan added a bit of an overtly homo-dandy twist to make it their own.
The imagination of Alessandro Michele is unique in that he can take so many different ideas jumble them up and create something new out of it. Always exciting and intriguing this season is no different. There are so many elements at play you don't know where to look first! Now to say fishermen, Dynasty China & Donald Duck don't mix hasn't seen the Edwardian preppy dandy boys of Gucci under Alessandro!
Quintessential imperfectly perfect Margiela delivered as always. Why do something dramatic when you have a wining combo every time? Paper fabrics mix with fluid fabrics, unfinished garments and tailors tacking galore left me feeling happy.
Sports references were still heavily referenced, and do well for the brand. Instead of the army green, black & white palette we have become used to has now branched out into more 70's brown tones with red-orange and yellow highlights used in diagonal inserts and modern graphics. Also something we haven't seen much in past seasons is his use of denim. I've always been a fan of his work but I like this toned down grown-up direction more than the use of broken-up statues artworks of past seasons. I especially love some of the leather pieces with symmetrical inserts on the sleeves and breasts.
Nylon. The fabric that started Prada. Season after season reinventing the label only this time using the founding fabric to create yet another utilitarian look. This Prada man is ready to wander. Weather it be trekking across countries or from work to the gym the look is apparent. Athleisure is king and peoples attitudes towards relaxed dressing has long been the norm. So why not pair breathable nylon with a suit coat, leggings, socks & sandals. Bright colors, weather maps and some cute conversational prints added for good measure.
In collaboration with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation images adorn each outfit with the over all look of each model sent out as an homage to the great photographer. Whether a still life, Patti Smith or a semi-hard dick with a cock ring the pictures framed, printed, cut & sewn to the items brought to life the works of a great photographer and melded perfectly with the oversize garments and added another layer to the thinking man's wardrobe.
As a designer & stylist I am always looking for inspiration. New silhouettes, colors, ways of combining looks... needless to say I always pay very close attention to the runways.
While there are always certain designers that I look to every season with anticipation there are also seasons that can be a let down and all I can think is...
But I digress... here are my top SS17 shows that had me wanting more.
Always a brand that really scours the archives to evolve. This season the contrast highlights of a McQueen look were seen in sharp tailoring while styled with sneakers for a contemporary feel. Paisley brocade, military silhouettes, vintage postcard travel motifs and punk-meets-India inspired jewelry. Serving up some Dries van Noten vibes and I am here for it!
Ami can be quite simple and give off APC basic vibes at times. But this season brought me back to what I love about the brand: The Parisian way of life. The bobo slightly oversized suit worn in a casual just-woke-up-threw-this-on/je-ne-sais-quoi attitude that only the French can pull off. All combined make for a great look but even alone they are stand out while still being traditional pieces for the every-man.
Sébastien Meunier’s take on Demeulemeester has developed from a place of love. He has made his mark over the past 3 years at helm by bringing newness to the collection while providing a consistent "red line" that stays true to the brand however I haven't found it fully encompass a collection until this season. SS17 intermixed with women's resort has brought romance to the runway through the inaugural monochromatic black with highlights of white and with flashes of red seen in the beaded tags "I am red with love". Ribbons, chainlettes and paint dipped feathers hung from the loose often striped or open knit garments accompanied by embroidered bird cummerbunds. I am always a fan and this time around I found the soft poetic feel of this collection to be on point and a highlight of the past several seasons.
Ok Vetements is an enigma. Sometimes I am like YAAAAS and other times I am like W T F. Now that Demna has take the helm at Balenciaga we have seen how he has flipped the women's line from the monochrome Wang direction to ...well an elevated Vetements without budget constraints. One can already see a dramatic push in the first menswear collection. Boxy fits and elongated shoulders juxtaposed on either large or shrunken silhouettes. While the extremity of the collection might not be wearable for all his pushing the boundaries will help to open the tightly constructed world of menswear and that in itself is a reason to be excited!
I am living for this! Since F/W14 when Coach restructured they have come a long way. From the get go I found the rebranding a great idea. No longer the monogram purse mall magnet the clothing has a voice of it's own. Each season since has been a fast progression. While they have learned what works and what doesn't for the customer the designs still push for the boundaries and the themes are obvious but subtle. Taking everyday classic pieces and give them life without screaming straight kitsch. This seasons 50's rockabilly-lite meets cowboy feeling has me hooked! I am in love with all the leather jackets! The use of Gary Basemans artistic flair really is the perfect touch and I know I will be on the look out for several pieces for when I join a fashion forward 50's gang.
Ok, I wasn't expecting this either. I think what got me was the denim mixed COS & Carhartt together et voilà! I am a sucker for clean lines, boxy shapes, fabric mixes and workwear details... oh, lets not forget about a gladiator sandal. While some of it was a bit OTT there are several pieces (hello denim jinbei) I will be looking for in the come Jan when it hits stores.
Like every season I flock to Kris van Assche's Dior Homme this season got me yet again, shocker! The punk & new wave references combined with sporting elements were spot on. A few items veered a bit too Hot Topic for my taste but in general the mesh and harnesswork made up for the Juggalo pants.
I don't mean for this blog to be a magazine post every time, but... some things just need to be mentioned.
Like God damn! 3x Vogue cover girl Lupita looks STUNNING. Everything about this is perfection. She gets better every time. Anna must really love her and honestly what isn't to love? Not only does she photograph perfectly but she is well spoken and is using her platform for good!
This photoshoot inside is also amazing. The clothes work great with the setting and let's be real she can wear anything you put on her.
Here are some of my fave images from the editorial shot my Testino & styles by Tonne Goodman.
How does the saying go? Don't hate the player hate the game.
To say that Gigi has been everywhere the past year is like me saying Hi, my name is Mike. I'm gay and love mesh.
This months HB's cover has the Hadid sister looking as fab as she always does. Only this isn't just any cover it's the inaugural Age issue... I can't wait to read 21 year old Gigi's secrets to her youthful glow.
Having just spent a long weekend with a good friend of mine from Switzerland, shout out to you Jeremy, I am again reminded of Bally. Looking back at the evolution of past collections Pablo Coppola has consistently gotten it right since taking the reigns with FW14.
Not only are the accessories on point but the clothing just keeps getting better! Coppola himself said "the clothes are the accessories to the accessories" which coming from a company founded in 1851 on shoes makes perfect sense. It doesn't however deter me from wanting to wear multiple looks head to toe each season.
The Swiss brand remains in a fun bright dynamic nod to mod preppy 60's/70's direction but has recently gone in a more adventurous quirky way with SS17 that has worked well for the more obvious dandy man Alessandro Michele has created at Gucci.
Menswear is a difficult business. While it may be joining womenswear in terms of churning trends there is still the big challenge of dressing the average man! But being one of the biggest names on the Swiss luxury market known for it's paired down, conservative, yet equally as complex goods has worked well for the brand.
As women's SS17 shows started up this week I will be looking out for what Bally has in store.
Here's some of my fave look from over the years:
By now this is no surprise. Starting in April the rumor mill was already rampant and by August it was confirmed.
I've waited a bit to put my thought down but personally, I am here for it! I do wish he spent more time focusing on his eponymous line... but I can't hate, get that American coin!
I think it will be great for Calvin Klein. The official word from the company: “A new brand direction will ultimately follow one creative vision across all categories of the business.” is a big deal both for Raf and CK. To have his creative focus really streamline the brand will be quite interesting to see.
But it is a lot. There are tons of sub-brands! Of course PVH (the company that owns CK among other heavy hitters like Tommy) is. A. Machine. Unlike Dior there are MANY teams and licensees that are constantly developing the lines Raf will oversee. From an outsiders perspective he likely will put his main focus on Collection, hopefully keeping chances of a burn out to a minimal (however Collection is more or less for marketing purposes) and just giving his ok on direction and finished product for the other lines..
While we all know Raf can do modern, timeless, clean and minimal. How will his image of the CK man affect the customer? What worried me is that Calvin Klein is known for machismo athleticism. Raf has, in the past, been all about waif, sexless boys. That is what intrigues me. How will he make the red line from Collection through to Underwear coherent while keeping the best-sellers unaffected.
Let's just hope he stays long enough to see how it will impact the everyday consumer!
Fashions worst kept secret... Raf for CK being numero uno, obvs.
Coveted September issue of US Vogue goes to Kendall Jenner.
The backdrop is giving me Beyonce March 2013 & the Instagirl line is straight up September 2014.
At least she is wearing Gucci.
This is how you make Balmain not look straight off the set of Dynasty.