Remolding history into something new is almost as good as reliving it.
Garrett Neff, face of Calvin Klein’s underwear ads and seen off late in Swarowski’s ads, premiered his swimwear line last year and gave a golden ovation to the crowds with his SS17 collection at New York Fashion Week Mens (NYFWM). Called Katama, his was a story soaked in his own personal history, akin to a vintage road trip through the continental United States in the 1950s.
Taking inspiration from his own childhood, he proclaimed to have lived every summer in his swimsuit at Katama Bay, an island of the coast of Massachusetts, and a namesake to the line. Dedicating the collection to his father (a racquet sports guy), his uncle (a Navy Seal) and his grandfather (a veteran from the World War and world traveler), he fondly took inspiration from sunsets as he listened to his grandfather talk about his travels to Europe and Asia. Describing his collection as one that rose from this necessity, he ensured sharp tailoring, a worldly feel and overall preppy athleticism as a mainstay for all his clothing.
The emotional connection with his family and history ensured that the collection was a well sequenced one, flowing in harmony from design to texture to color to cut. And to think that every piece had a story nested in childhood to back it up.
There were a total of 25 looks including shorts, joggers, polo shirts, tank tops and varieties of swimwear from low cut briefs to loose fit boxer-looking shorts. The colors were smooth whites and mellow pastels, inspired by an artist from Neff’s hometown, Andrew Wyeth. Known for landscape paintings, he used pastel hues, contrasting soft colors with painted textures. These translated to piping and textural details in Katama.
The yellow theme punched onlookers in the face when they walked into the longitudinally built Cadillac House. With prominent models in yellow striped trunks, and yellow swim shorts with grey accenting, the boys were clearly the finest of the crop, complete with gold and bronze body makeup and bulging muscles.
The yellow ultra low rise trunks were a particular highlight, which on closer look had a repeating motif of a man with a fishing net, explained later to be an image of Neff’s uncle.
The swim shorts with a fly front in alternative colors of waistband and piping and grey and yellow were an inventive take on swimwear, allowing it to be worn as cooly as shorts, as is.
Stripes, a trend on several runways, were a prominent pattern on swimwear too. Two men sported renditions in low cut briefs and high cut shorts, in wide stripe check. Elastic waists and drawstrings offered a variety of functional options. The boating stripe shorts were coincidentally inspired by an old bathing suit adorned by Neff in his childhood.
Amidst the six packs and tanned bodices were several knit tanks, cotton shorts, loose fit half-sleeve shirts and polos.
One of the key trends this season was pink menswear. And Katama continued with baby pinks and deeper hues. One lined tennis curved fitness shorts with peekaboo underwear elastic, knit polos, wafer thin tanks, mock turtle sweatshirts and coral hued shorts complemented the beachy tones and summer vibes perfectly.
With timeless whites seen on many runways, Katama embraced the hues of frosty clouds and pristine sands in boyish tank tops, crisp white shirts and burnout tees.
There was one oversized print of a man holding a fishing net on a plain white tank top, which was apparently Neff’s Navy Seal uncle, who was credited with the inspiration for the prints in the collection.
And so a resurgence of a family history and remolded memories came to life for everyone to see.
Why must the good times, like memorable summers, always come to an end?