Perry Ellis Mens Spring/Summer 2011 Collection

So when did American men become so vain? I ask myself this as I survey all the different varieties of clothing and adornments for men to suck up like a hoover these days and I remember a time when you just had to own your navy blazer, a few work suits, sport jacket, a handful of dress shirts, coordinating slacks and a handful of ties. Don’t worry about color too much, just play it safe because your girlfriend or wife is undoubtedly going to upstage you anyway as you shrink and fade into her perfect little charge card carrying accessory.

So when did American men become so vain? When we realized that dressing with our fathers’ mentalities was becoming as fun and thrilling as watching a weevil bore a hole through his threadbare leisure suit. It’s become fun for men to play with cut, color, proportion, texture and finishings. Its become fun to merge fashion with tailoring while still paying homage to key rules (maybe even for the sake of rebellion, breaking a few). Its become fun for us men to use clothing to transport our minds back to the color of that drink or sunset in New England last summer or the print that readily reminds us why we lust after the Caribbean or love the New York City skyline at night. Women have long had these occasions in fashion, so now why not us too. I mean, after all, our brains move so quickly today and clothing is so personal that cars, electronics and liquor can’t be the only things to appeal to our ever growing senses.

Perry Ellis’ spring summer 2011 collection made me further wonder, when men began to look so natural in bright colors. The collection had a fresh resort kind of feeling to it and the colors made me think of what the modern cosmopolitan man might think of during the day in his mental travels outside the office. The cuts had hints of the 9 to 5 but in an easy, unobstructed and breezy way with unstructured slim jackets, easy lighthearted knits and comfortable plausible shorts and pants.

 
The colors took you straight to a resort with sea-foam greens, mints, sandy beiges, dusky oranges, strong corals and pops of white with a variety of grays. The outerwear was also fresh and made sense for updating a man’s closet for cool spring nights. This collection was built on separates in flattering proportions, a focus on small details like rounding off collars and playing with pocket placements and colors for a variety of skin tones from pasty to tanned to chocolate.

 
The show ended with a melange of swimwear that in my opinion, if the heat and trend tendency in New York this past summer was any indication, will be worn and look great as simple lightweight summer shorts. Women watch out! that battle for who’s accessorizing who grows on! see the finale below. DW

Duckie Brown Men’s Spring Summer 2011

Picture it! July 5, 2011! New York City! 100 degrees in the shade! Outside the shade? Forget about it!!! That had to have been one of the hottest days this summer and of course I was running around the city like a man possessed (I won’t mention that I was in and out of an air conditioned car service, it makes for a stronger story). Anyway, it was hot. Its days like that that had me thinking, how does the urban guy kill a couple of birds with one stone; stay cool and look cool. And if you’re anything like me with that hot island blood, you’ll realize that that is no easy task to surmount.

I am convinced that the designers for Duckie Brown, Steven Cox and Daniel Silver, saw me that July 5th day and thought “there’s a brave New Yorker”. Why? Their collection for Spring Summer 2011 was a brave take on modern dressing for the cosmopolitan man complete with the cool factor. Gone were a lot of the shrunken silhouettes with their higher armholes and “can I get some air in here” pants and in their places were breezy fluid silhouettes that they weren’t afraid to apply that Duckie Brown quirkiness to.

There were easy semi-sheer cuffed trouser, sleeveless tees, drapey knits and flowy button-downs in odd print pairings like leopard and plaid or stripes and linoleum. And while the collection was styled in that whimsical Duckie Brown style, each piece had a character all their own. The pants proportions were right on target with a lot of the showing this season and is beginning to more and more look right, almost like a natural progression to the stiffened denims and slim khakis that invade the spring summer seasons as well. The slightly and not so slightly dropped crotches were handled in a modern un-eighties sort of way and looked fresh when paired with a tunic length oversized tee or woven shirt. You can see the entire collection in the finale below

 

I got a good sense of ease seeing this collection, kind of like that breath of fresh air that Dries brings to his collections. Another commendable collection built on separates that I can see in the urban man’s (my) closet. DW

Nautica Mens Spring/Summer 2011 Collection

There’s always a few things that I immediately think about when I hear the word Nautica. First, its those orange floatation hang tags I never knew quite what to do with as a die hard city boy. Secondly, as a “Fashion guy”, it was the brand that David Chu spawned and turned into a household name. Finally, it was the thought that “since I won’t be catamaran-ing up to Cape Cod for the wane summer months, no need to even pass by that section on the men’s floor”.

Enter Nautica 2010. I was hired to wardrobe a television show for an up and coming personality recently and was told he needed a refined, relatable look consisting mainly of button downs. So after trudging to the local department stores men’s floor (yes floor as in singular; why do we always only get one floor?..but I digress) I stumbled across what seemed like a re-edited Nautica section. Gone were the overt nautical themes in colors and cuts that would make middle American dads stand up and shift themselves and instead I was surprised to see more streamlined cuts, updated wash and wear fabrics and this cool factor that would make even a subway taking, gin-drinking native New Yorker like me pull out his charge and not even ask “So is this on sale?”
Enter Nautica Spring/Summer 2011. What I got from this collection was more of the same relatable clothing that American men recognize and international men recognize us for, but in a fresh voice. Nautica is a great brand to introduce and implement the easily wearable, ultimately American and relaxed attitude that heritage aesthetic brings about.

The soft cottons in navies and cobalts and the dashes of interesting muted greys and beiges with the right nuances of color really allow in my opinion for an American man to give his wardrobe that modern, accessible boost. The collection had an underlying homage to cleanliness and a touch of ivy leaguery but it didn’t cram it down your throat.

The styling of the presentation suggested a way to wear the clothing but when you looked at each individual piece, a man can see a way to add it to his already existing wardrobe and also what he may very well need to update. With the cool use of fabric textures and washes, a man may do just that as well; update his wardrobe with a consumer friendly brand that translates well to a modern, sensible aesthetic. Some key items were great wash and wear wovens, slick comfortable outerwear and unstructured blazers that, when paired with dark denim, lend a sartorial elegance to a routine work/afterwork day; fitting for when you have to forgo your yellow catamaran for a yellow cab. DW

Number:Lab Spring/Summer 2011 Collection

So what comes first, the body or clothes? A casually observing realist would say of course the body. A casually observing fashionisto would say of course the clothes. Well say be true to both. Stay in-shape and fit because not only will your body love you more in the long run but you also can maintain your core size longer and get longevity out of your clothes. Although every once in a while something comes along that makes you question. Like are six pack abs worth forgoing the open bar or like I had to ask, are great streamlined clothes like what debuted at Number:Lab not worth coming back next season to get more great options.

I liked this collection. It was definitely for a city dwelling kind of guy who is active and wants to look good even in fitness inspired clothing. But I kind of had a thought upon viewing the collection. I thought to myself, what’s its relevancy? Then the thought of running around in the summer heat in impeccable but fashionable wovens this summer came to mind. I want to be comfy, stylish and stay cool all in one. Enter Number:Lab.

Number:Lab is like a combination of easy to wear, streamlined clothing in well executed cozy knit and stretch woven fabrics that give the wearer a bit of whimsy, style and comfort. I like the build up of separates because I could very well see an urban gent pairing of of Number: Lab’s blazers with khakis and a tank for an impromptu side walk cafe dinner or Fourth of July third floor terrace barbecue. I think the strongest message though was that easy casual clothing can have a sartorial air to them even clothing as basic as what one would normal deem as workout or exercise wear.

Wearing these clothes to exercise in is an option but certainly not the only option and I reckon to many of its future buyers will not exercise in them at all. The execution of the collection was body conscious and not sloppy by any means. Cool color-blocking with colors like mute reds, navy, cerulean, gray and white kept the collection city friendly and retail friendly as well. Little pops of color on short and pant cuffs and active inspired details like rope twisted belts on slim khakis gave the collection a forward edge.

The proportion and fit of the seamed tanks were flattering and not obscene and the short lengths were also ones that you could seem men, who are becoming more secure with their bodies, gravitate towards.

Now come this spring there are decisions to be made: red Cosmo or red Gatorade with their red blazer or blue hypnotiq or blue powerade with their blue Bermudas? Or perhaps I’ve just invented a couple new cocktails. DW

Ports 1961 Spring 2011 Collection Sneak Peek

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Designer, Fiona Cibani evokes the stillness, quiet and ever-changing beauty of the desert as her inspiration for her Ports 1961 Spring 2011 Collection. If you’ve ever been to the desert such as the the Sahara or Mojave, you noticed the mixed geography – smooth sands, mountainous dunes, rocky plateaus, refreshing streams and robust plantlife make up the wonderous landmass. I look forward to her translation.

“Fiona Cibani, draws inspiration from the magic allure of the desert. With delicate mirage abstractions and a landscape in constant evolution as her muse, Fiona crafts a collection within a realm of harmonic contrasts”

Cynthia Rowley for Roxy

Amazing designer and Author, Cynthia Rowley, teamed up with junior line Roxy to create a very sporty beach chic collection for the ultimate Betty (surfer girl in non-California speak), Cynthia Rowley for Roxy, which was showcased at CO-OP Barneys.
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The collection consisted of  colorful apparel, shoes and accessories with many apparel items made out of wet suit fabric aka Neoprene. I got a chance to speak to some of the models wearing the apparel made out of Neoprene and they all said that it was quite comfortable and breathable; and the did feel quite soft to the touch

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I tried to get a quick interview with Cynthia Rowley but I’d have a better chance of talking to the Pope, she was completely surrounded from the time I stepped into the event until I left – I’m surprised I got a photo of her but I took a chance and snuck in while someone else was interviewing her (she’s in the first photo for those who are not familiar).
Will you be grabbing some pieces from the Cynthia Rowley for Roxy collection?

ShāToBu™ – The Workout You Wear

You may remember that I first mentioned (and discovered) ShāToBu in my post on the Robert Verdi Suite from this past season of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Click HERE for a refresher. Anyway, while attending the CurveNY Show, which is a trade show held at the Jacobs Javits Center for lingerie, shapewear, etc. I decided to begin trying out my pair of ShāToBu™ (you’ve heard me discuss my thighs over and over again, and walking the trade show is a great workout). I was happily surprised to run into their booth at CurveNY.

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But it turns out I surprised them when I was asked by the creator, Dr. Denise Perron, if I was familiar with ShāToBu™, I told them not only did I find out all about it at the Robert Verdi Suite but I was actually wearing a pair right now (yes I showed them) and how much I loved them (I really do). Many people who wear shapewear and the few complaints you hear the most are “they’re not comfortable, can’t breathe, bulging, visible lines through your clothes, too hot, etc” – well, I haven’t experienced any of that. In fact, I tend to forget that I am wearing the Waist to Knee Shape. Directly below is the High Waist to Knee Shaper which gives you a more enhanced hourglass look

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ShāToBu – The Workout You Wear™ – is the revolutionary shaper that helps women shape, tone and burn more calories during everyday activities. It burns up to 12% more daily calories while helping you maintain a sleek, smooth silhouette in today’s fashions.
The benefits go beyond ordinary shapewear – ShaToBu instantly gives a sleeker silhouette, but women can also see and feel a difference in their bodies with regular use over time. By incorporating resistance bands right into the garment, muscles work a little harder and more calories are burned during daily activities.
ShaToBu helps women fit a workout into their normal day while looking and feeling great.

It was a wonderful experience visiting the ShāToBu booth and I enjoyed meeting Dr. Denise Perron

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Find out all the technical details of the magic of ShāToBu in their video below

 

video courtesy of  ShāToBu™

Vassilios Kostetsos Fall 2010 Show

Lately, all I’ve been listening to on my i-pod are songs thats I listened to when I was growing up. Hearing songs from when I was in college and high school, even grade school, take me back to what I like to call ‘My Life Eras’. I have a whole host of songs that apply to my ‘Could a guy have any more friends’ grade school days to ‘When did everyone grow up but me’ junior high days to my ‘Hey, have you seen my identity’ high school days and then onward to my ‘I’m driving too slow, let the alter ego take the wheel’ college fantasy ride.

Somewhere between the safety of grade school and the shell shock of junior high a friend had introduced me to a cartoon called Jem and the Holograms (Can you already guess where this is going?). While the cartoon totally capitalized on the music video craze , it also highlighted to outrageous colors and proportions that made the eighties were it was.
In flies Vassilios Kostetsos. Now while I understand that fashion is cyclical, there rests a certain side of me that wants designers to push forward even if they reference a little. I guess my problem with this collection was the percentage to which they pushed and referenced. Kostetsos showed a collection that was chock full of 80’s and even early 90’s references with his shocking bright color palette, leg-o-mutton sleeves and mini dresses. Male models sauntered onto the runway in slick cropped leather jackets and leather pants complete with bold hardware and what seemed like punk rock face painting. Trench coats and trousers in fabrications that if leather, came off like PVC seamed intricately were a bit of a tongue in cheek misstep.

Mr. Kostetsos’ strength is womenswear, but again, it needed more forward and less reference. There were sexy little dresses with interesting draping but they were then made a bit over the top by over the knee boots and over-accessorizing. His trenches were chic and ladylike but needed tweaking in their proportions and detailing. My favorite number of the show is pictured below; it’s a one shouldered silk aqua blue blouse and beautifully draped skirt shown with a simple clean clutch.

My thinking is that buyers with heavily “influence” Mr. Kostetsos to ‘tailor’ this collection come market. It may be a collection that looks better in the showroom where one can see the work of each piece but also interject some friendly and necessary retail editing. As for now, Mr. Kostetsos’ talent is there but his vision needs cultivating. As for me I’ll stick to the music of the eighties with an appreciation for, but wary eye of its references. Enjoy the show’s finale below. DW