This past Monday, in advance of this year’s (capsule) trade show, I had the pleasure of joining my good friends photographer Liam Goslett and stylist James Jean down at Basketball City to shoot the Capturing Capsule look book. As brands arrived and unpacked, James and Liam, along with models Patrick Rood and Patrick Dery, braved the cold to create a series of looks inspired by the work of photographer Gavin Watson, using some of the best pieces from the scores of brands that showed at (capsule) this season. Thanks to an incredibly gracious offer by Liam, I was on hand to capture B-roll of the shoot and so here’s a look behind the scenes of Capturing Capsule.
When Ian Velardi turns to me and asks “so what do you think” I get the sense that he genuinely wants to know the answer. Amongst the innumerable booths of capsule, and even more innumerable boilerplate conversations filled with half-hearted queries, talking to Velardi feels like a much needed respite. He might be soft-spoken, but Velardi seems to actually consider every word he says, and so as I walked through his booth on the opening day of capsule, carrying on probably the only thoughtful conversation I had in a booth all day, I could tell that Velardi pays that same level of attention to the clothes he designs.
By the latter half of day two at (capsule) I had seen all I had come to see, and there were only so many times I could pace the show floor, so I spent most of the afternoon hanging around outside. As everyone rolled through, drinking beer after beer, and milling about the show came to a close, making for a fitting end to a hectic couple of days.
While I spent most of day one at (capsule) just wandering around, getting my bearings, day two was a lot more focused. I stopped by more booths, learned a bit, discovered a few new brands (particularly Journal Standard whose stuff was nothing less than amazing.) Here it is part one of day two of (capsule)
Originally I had thought that for (capsule) this season, I’d cover it the same way I did last time, pick out some brands, go through their collections, then write about them. But when I walked into the show on Monday morning, I realized that that just wasn’t going to work. It’s not that there wasn’t a lot of product worth writing about, because there certainly was, but the vibe was just a bit different this go around. The space was huge, the booths were stocked, people were milling about, everything was laid back, dare I say, it was just fun. So here it is, (capsule) day one.
As today marks the start of Market Week (actually it was yesterday but I was at work so I wasn’t able to make my way over to any shows) this week on Wax Wane will be a little bit different. Instead of the usual posting schedule I’ll be devoting the first half of this week to attending the shows, and the latter half to recapping what I’ve seen. So be sure to check back here in a few days for a look at what’s on deck, until then, enjoy yourselves, Jake.
In 1974 Anne Michelson, an employee at Eddie Bauer, began making custom down jackets for her friends in Seattle, Washington and Crescent Down Works was born. At it’s inception CDW’s outerwear wasn’t geared toward fashion, it was about functionality against the brutal northwestern weather. Michelson was, and still is, an avid outdoors-woman and CDW’s designs were based on her extensive knowledge of the elements, not only from her personal experience, but also from her time at Eddie Bauer.
Slowly the company grew, carving out a niche within the outdoor-world thanks to their goose-down filled jackets that provided insulation against the roughest of climates. The Italians were some of the first to take note of CDW’s products during the big outdoor craze in Italy during the 70′s and 80′s. The Japanese also took an interest in CDW during the late 80′s, as American made goods became insanely popular amongst Japanese youth. The brand was also especially popular in America, where the culture grew exponentially everyday. If you look back in the archives of Backpacker, and other outdoor-centric magazines, they’re peppered with advertisements for Crescent Down Works. The company was heralded back then because their products were no-nonsense and they simply worked. But you don’t have to scour ebay or vintage stores to find a quality Crescent Down Works jacket as the company still uses the exact same designs Michelson began with in the 1970′s, right down to hand-written production notes on the sides.
The company has understood what makes a great outerwear from day one, and they apply this to everything from a puffer jacket that could face the tundra, to a slim shirt jacket that is the quintessential layering piece. The brand keeps their products topical by changing up their palate and patterns, and this season they offer classic colors such as olive and navy, but also capitalize on current trends by adopting orange and a Navajo print.
Palmer Trading Company may be headquartered on Sullivan Street amidst the most heavily trafficked shopping district in New York, yet the brand itself is quintessentially New England. While PTC is already revered for their handsome store and impressive stock, their in house brand has become noteworthy in and of itself. Palmer stems from Palmer, Massachusetts the hometown of PTC designers, Willy and David, and this northeastern spirit is reflected in the brand’s collections. The duo keeps as much manufacturing as possible in the northeast and this thoughtful craftsmanship is evident in every stitch and seam of PTC’s pieces. Palmer’s most recent offering has a strong, dignified look throughout but the two most instantly remarkable pieces are the penny-loafers. The first features an emerald green, Horween leather body on top of a crepe sole, and has a classic New England prep look to it, but the non-traditional color really elevates the shoe. The second version is a beefrolled navy blue Chromexcel leather loafer with tan stitching on a white vibram sole. The sturdy sole and Americana details give this loafer an appropriately rugged northeastern feel. Palmer’s collection goes much deeper than just footwear, with wallets, belts, and other leather goods all manufactured out of dark, rich leathers that’ll age down to a beautiful worn patina. Finally, PTC offers a variety of leather and canvas bags, in particular a computer bag that’s functional and lightweight, a surprisingly difficult feat to pull off when making a quality bag.
Utility Canvas began when Hal Grano, a canoe guide, and his wife Jillian Kaufman-Grano, an artist, recognized the common theme in their lives: canvas. In 1990 the couple moved upstate to the Hudson Valley and began manufacturing practical products out of canvas. Canvas has a long history as an industrial strength material that is not only durable, but water resistant as well, making it a choice fabric for simple, functional pieces. Utility Canvas’ collection draws inspiration from European workwear in the 1960′s and 70′s, featuring straightforward, sensible designs that were initially tailored toward working class functionality. But Utility Canvas’ line is far from basic heritage-wear, as the brand thrives off subtle details to distinguish themselves from standard workwear. Utility Canvas employs a striking color scheme including oranges and reds, and uses horn buttons, and contrast stitching, and collars to give a modern spin to decade’s old designs.
Camo is infamous for their Annual Poker Game, a spectacle in the center of all the action at Pitti Uomo in which four models sit around a poker table, dressed in all Camo and play a few hands of poker. This demonstration is not only a really smart way to show off a collection, in a plaza surrounded by photographers, but also embodies the playful spirit that defines the brand. Camo’s Autumn/Winter 2012 line, titled the Casino Collection thrives off the details. Designer Stefano Ughetti utilizes elongated collars, contrast piping and other small design tweaks to place the distinct Camo stamp onto classic garments.
For me, the standouts from this diverse collection were the items that pulled strongest from Italian influences. Belted Cardigans in a variety of patterns brought the classic casual Italian style to the forefront of the collection. Ughetti was wearing a navy version that showed how the cardigan drapes to just the right length to appear comfortable, without bordering on femininity.
The double breasted sportcoat seems to be a staple in nearly every collection this year, but Camo modified their version to really separate it from the sea of other DB’s. Constructed in a deep blue hue, Camo’s double breasted appears almost as a workwear interpretation of this timeless garment. The two by two buttoning style and shorter cut add to the distinct appeal of this sportcoat.
Turtlenecks are notorious for being suffocatingly stiff, but Camo’s version is anything but. The contrast collar and ribbing break up the typical monotony that characterizes most turtlenecks.