By Mateo Palacio – Fashion Contributor
Photos Adam Wamsley (@adamwamsley)
With industries that are evolving at a rate that appears to be on methamphetamines, it is clear to say that there is definitely some sort of sartorial shift occurring. Since the rise of industrialization, the clothing industry has been preparing itself for a revolutionary approach to the production of fashion. In 1994 the term “metrosexual “ was coined; an interesting portmanteau of metropolitan and sexual, it was used to reference a male who is very meticulous about his grooming and physical appearance, While it is no secret that people are becoming more fashion conscious, men are becoming more self-aware and have finally decided to entertain the idea that appearances and clothing is important.
Nowadays the term is not as widely used or even recognized, but if we look at the correlation between a great jacket and how important it is to match that piece with a nice shoe that also has a nice price tag, there is no difference in how meticulous one can be; and oh by nice, I mean designer.
NYFW : Men’s continues to evolve as well, as something much more significant than the stepchild of the womenswear brands. This season began with many new designers and returning ones showing as well. From January 30th – February 2, 2017 I attended substantial and vital Men’s presentations and runway shows, shuttling between Skylight Clarkson, Cadillac House for the the NYFW mens proper, and Dune Studios for New York Men’s Day.
While moving past the busy streets and below zero temperatures, I arrived at Dune Studios for NYMD. Through the tough times of dehumanization that we are living in, many might think that Fashion Week serves as some sort of escape where many of us who reside in this fashion realm fully forget about the world we live in and are only focused on nice clothes, gift bags, and exclusive parties. That was definitely not the case this season, as it was almost impossible to escape the projection of political statements and made at many of the presentations. Bandit masks and camo gear were constant for Manhattan based designer Robert James and menswear label Palmiers du Mal. Both assumed an image of roguish sophistication, rebellion and refinement despite the criminal underpinnings. James was ready to make a statement to Trump America with models holding protest signs with hashtags like #FIGHTFASCISM #NOTMYGOVT, and #WOMENSMARCH.
Mexican designer Ricardo Seco presented his “JUNTOS / TOGETHER FW 17” collection opening night at the W Downtown. The presentation explored the Transformative Journey of Migration and expressed Seco’s desire to reject “those invisible walls that exclude and separate.” A very powerful collection that had a wide array of mixed-garment styles from casual, sporty, and very contemporary adaptations for both men and women. Mexican Model Cristina Piccone took the night with a Mexican flag-colored coat that had the words “ PROUD IMMIGRANT “.
For the Fall Winter 17 season of PRIVATE POLICY, designers Siying Qu and Haoran Li, took cues from globalization and commented on how each nation’s unique beliefs, cultural identity and interests are all now one body for the giant global system- which can easily be affected by a single action taken by any other country; everyone’s actions affect everyone.
The showstopper was a biker jacket and cropped pants combined to make a jacket out of flags from multiple countries. Chains, straps, harness details, and the mixing of unconventional fabrics like denim and velvet further the support and concept of opposites coming together. One thing for sure we know about PRIVATE POLICY is that they just want to make cool shit for people.
Not every designer was feeling the fashion anarchy vibes. NYC gay designer Rafal Swiader and his fashion house R.Swiader presented their first ever show. Adaptations from the British punk rock scene and hints of Parisian romanticism served as a catalyst to a peaceful revolution of fine dressed punk boys with the sounds of a ukulele player, reciting bohemian tunes. Construction and intricate details served the first collection very well. Another openly-gay designer, Julian Woodhouse– who served in the military and gained inspiration for his brand Woodhouse while in Seoul, Korea- showed effective styles and details like a pink sweater with the words “ YOU DON’T WANT TO FUCK WITH THIS LITTLE PIGGY “ , giving the consumer a chance to step out of one’s comfort zone and perhaps to make some uncomfortable.
For Day 2 I sashayed away and back to Skylight Clarkson and Cadillac House, starting the day off with New York – based menswear designer, Raun LaRose for his Autumn/Winter 2017-18 debut collection. LaRose “designed for the alternative,” emphasizing the ‘new look’ sensibilities of today’s new media era. Raun sought out to create pieces that were exaggerated, reworking the track pant and showing very generously-made trousers (both I predict will be a huge trend in fashion this season). Palmiers du Mal’s “The Evil Palms“ AW 17 collection featured men walking down the runway in oversized bell bottom pants made from denim and suede, with a statement white text T-shirt that stole the show with the word “ CONSIGNMENT “.
I almost missed the third season of menswear label Landlord due to annoying Instagram hypebeasts trying to get in without proper credentials. Anyway… Creative Director, Ryohei Kawanishi took cultural assimilation to the next level with a fusion of ethnic minorities as models and placed them in dominant hip hop fashion swag. Taking inspiration from 90’s and 2000s Hip – Hop artist such as Outkast, Lil Wayne, Ludacris, etc., as well as from the looks he sees in his Harlem neighborhood:
“ Me and Akeem Smith styled the models exactly how the trends were in the early 90’s and 2000’s. Pants were sagged under the butt and the Sneaker tongues would be extended in front of the jean obnoxiously. As seen down the runway the play on bandanas with designer sunglasses really set the tone along with the models having their hands in their pockets very thug-esque. The intention was to transport the viewer back to a time where overlaying as much jewelry and wearing bright color was cool. “ – Jared Martell (@nycflames) – Assistant Stylist.
The crowd and the vibe at Landlord made everything super lit, and although there were more than a few standout pieces in the collection, I personally stand fixatedly, patiently waiting for that pink fur coat- the TRUE standout.
Last but not least, I attended the most anticipated show all season, (well at least I think so). Palomo Spain by Alejandro Gomez presented his fourth collection and first ever collection for NYFW: Mens – “ OBJETO SEXUAL “ (which translates to “ SEXUAL OBJECT “), which turned out to be a unique collection for New York Fashion Week Men’s season.
Traditional masculine styles were not even considered; in fact they were broken, manipulated and left the idea of masculinity totally reconstructed. The Palomo Spain collection was a celebration of femininity and the union of the masculine, sex disconnected from intimacy with a charming effect, and most importantly the pursuit of status, self-reliance, strength and aggression.
Female adaptations for males has been around since biblical times, clothing came to symbolize the human being in a literal way. Gomez’ eccentric elegant design style will make you question the social construct of gender in modern times. By his use of complex fabric manipulation, patterns, construction and silhouettes, we are reminded of the techniques seen and used during antiquity- albeit more evolved and precise.
The CFDA did a fantastic job in putting up such a good Men’s season. The over-arching statement of the week seemed to be that through the tangible object of clothing, we are allowed to appreciate and indulge in the intangible, direct experiences that we are confronted with in life- be it the current ideas around nationalism, masculinity, or just plain old freedom. Our vision and physical sight allows us to see beyond any 3D item, whether it be a male sporting 90’s saggy jeans or a ruffled dress. Fashion- specifically Men’s Fashion- is here to play and test our curiosity, so we must allow it to continue the spectrum of evolution in order for us to fully embrace it.