Rome was not built in one day.
After all, good things take time.
Having just returned from Rome, I find the juxtaposition of what we know of Romans, and their real lifestyle, staggeringly disparate. But yet, it is often surreal to suspend yourself in the belief that what you know of a city is perhaps what its like. Speaking specifically of its style, while I felt most in Rome were dressed to kill, with impeccably folded cuffs or immaculately accessorized outfits, nothing compared to Cadet‘s view of a Roman holiday.
Titled Roman Legion MMXVII (2017 in Roman numerals), it was a visual transportation to Italy’s iconic city, and thus one of the most unique ideas seen at New York Fashion Week Mens (NYFWM).
Designers Raul Arevalo and Brad Schmidt based the brand on the post-war military era, and generally showcased mid-century America. With a focus on clean lines and classic silhouettes with solid fabrics, they chose to interpret the Roman fashions for modern men, interlacing known figures and cuts with their signature military style.
Naturally, there were the sweatshirts for the American boys market; thankfully printed with Latin numerals and with lifted V-shaped collars for an offbeat look.
My favorite pieces were the ones that showcased shoulders, one of the most underrated focal points in menswear (albeit so heavily focused on at the gym!). White and grey crew neck linen shirts were slit at the shoulders and held together with safety pins, making for an simple and unusually inventive option for a hot summer day.
Slightly less over-the-top options included similar designs in zipper shoulders, seemingly more costume drama, but perfectly fit for cosmopolitan cities. These were also showcased in fuzzy maroons and teals, giving hope of line extensions of these imaginably popular styles.
A major trend were the silhouettes with boxy tees in linens and cottons, with short cut raglan sleeves, in sync with the non-conformative fits that made slimming tees languish from most runways. Often paired with high waist shorts, pleated trousers or wide belts, they made for a wearable translation of Roman style.
Another favorite was a series of cropped, bulky tunics with wide elastic waists. Sometimes worn with matching shorts, and once seen in sparkling black, the style was one of the most inventive and comfy of outfits that I could easily envision being a success off the runways too.
With unbuttoned and low cut shirts being a mainstay in Italian fashion, the show ended with a series of boys in v-cut and open buttoned shirts in soothing solids like whites and chocolate browns. Many sported long and sparkling metal chains on fit pectorals, and opted for pleated shorts or trousers for a cool and casual look.
The shirts had immense detailing, either extra folds along the waist, zipper lining on shoulders, slim lapels on elastic waist shorts, and several others that I may have missed in the flurry of runway activity, and many of which mandated a second glance behind the scenes.
As the boys made an exit, I could not help but itch to travel to Italy again, perhaps to gape at the fashions of Romans, or to wander in Cadet’s new lineup.
For Rome is not a city, but an emotion. Or as some say, a poem, pressed into service as a city.
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