History cannot be unlived, but need not be lived again.
Maya Angelou’s poignant words speak to the rewriting of history for men’s liberation: for the first time ever, CFDA announced the first ever New York Fashion Week Mens (#NYFWM), a needed departure from the mens shows being overwhelmed by the vast womenswear collections at my frequented NYFW events of the past.
And so begins a saga of my week at NYFWM, an inspiring and enlightening week, the aftereffects of which are still being inhaled. For learning never really ends does it?
The first coverage focuses on color, for so much of what I saw was drenched in somber hues of grays and blacks and navys. While Perry Ellis did give mustard a new leash of life, I found Gypsy Sport and Ricardo Seco to be more creative and, indulgent if you like. Hence titled mermaid motifs for a nod to a branch away from womenswear, alongside baby blues and baby pinks for an ode to childhood fascination.
Ricardo Seco was the other designer who stood out in my mind for indulging in color for his collection. And what color! My eyes were struck by the fun and whimsical yellows and oranges and teals and reds with barely any sign of gray or navy, a staple in other collections. Even the homely black was always given a shiny, leather-like facelift on sleeves, jackets and prints.
Titled Luck, the mascot was a bare breasted mermaid in coral fins submerged partially in water with a provocative twist. Placed either iconically on a tee or in mosaics and motifs across jackets, shorts and swimwear, lady luck was always present, sometimes along with her sidekicks like palm trees or marine creatures. And one borderline disturbia motif of an anatomically correct heart pierced with an arrow!
My favorite formulations werewith her on a tank top, much preferred to nightwear style shorts and shirt combo with recurring motifs in baby blue, again. The activewear jacket fell in between – looking cool and fashionable over a scorpion tee but likely not to be used for activewear!
While recurring motifs are not a new trend, the combination with punchy colors for menswear in particular was new. In shiny fabrics or crisp cottons, I found the blazers with lady luck in blue and coral charming for a summer soiree. The activewear in punchy yellow or vibrant orange were an easy addition to any menswear wardrobe – easy to dress up for a night or dress down for a casual look.
While recurring motifs was a theme for bottoms too, cropped shorts and slim, cropped trousers made for delicious solitary pieces. From bright red swimwear to punchy yellow with marine creatures (on sand perhaps?) to a chessboard pair of shorts, I was already mentally shopping for my next summer outfit.
Gypsy Sport sported a cheeky show by Rio Uribe who combined what I felt was bedding wear and pajama parties with performance wear and sheer funk. Desribed as clothing for the Information Age for Generations X, Y and Z, I definitely felt it to be a fluid and universal series of designs, with flowing fabrics, odes to basketball, tributes to sports matches matches, and excessive ruffles. While bordering androgynous, I heard that this was a gender fluid line, a progressive and provocative, tongue-in-cheek mischief line up of looks. A few things stood out about this collection.
Starting with caps, hats and head pieces, I personally found many headers that I would wear – with detailed and tan hued beadwork and embroidery that was making its embellishing debut into menswear, much to my pleasure. Did I just see a cowrie shell studded whistle? Ola sportswear!
Next was the abundance fishnets, akin to basketball nets if not the very same, almost an equivalent to a recently trending mesh trend. I liked the use of these cobweb like straw mesh styles on bodices, alongside sheer fabrics, and often alone, relaying a sense of mystic movement, especially when combined with trending fringes and pleats.
On similar notes was a tribal look, using safari and tan, straw-like hues and textures interlaced with shells and beads for accenting hats, necklaces, neckwear and headwear. A favorite that reminded me of my beachy days, I liked seeing another foray of traditional women’s accenting blending in with modern menswear.
Baby blue and baby pink hues were predominant. Probably as an ode to childhood, and one which I interpreted as youthful whimsy, its not wonder that I found some of the clothing to be comfortable enough to play snooze time in. The shorts in gym-like nylon were instantly wearable, while the patchwork pants with vertical pockets would likely take getting used to, as would the wide leg denim. Tank tops, long tops, sports jerseys and lace sleeves all added to the persona, and in varying levels of sheen and sparkle, catered to a variety of men.
Half begun is half done, and I am less than half done with sharing my #NYFWM experience. Starting with punchy hues, next up is formalwear and personal lookbook choices.