I finally got my film processed from New York Fashion Week, so here are my photos from the inside last week.
Yesterday, as I watched the first crop of photographers raise their cameras up to snap their initial round of street style photos for NYFW, I began to think about all those New York icons that won’t be captured during this week. The scope of Fashion Week is actually fairly narrow in comparison to all how vital of a city New York is to the menswear world, and there are countless men who fly under the radar, or simply don’t pop up at all during NYFW, because they’re just working away in their offices far above the frenzy in the streets below.
New York Fashion Week is nigh upon us here in the city, which means that it’s been about a year now since I first came face to face with the bizarre world of “capital F Fashion.” In that year, my style hasn’t changed much, (which I’m happy about for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is monetary), so with a few exceptions here and there, I plan to keep it pretty boring and just wear the same pieces this time around as I did twelve months ago. Although, there are two things that I wore heavily this past winter, but will remain in my closet this time around, and that’s my pair of down vests. It was around this time last year, as menswear was reaching it’s peak of Italian infatuation, that the down vest was thrust from the L.L. Bean back catalog, slimmed down and reinterpreted as winter’s layering pièce de résistance for much of the younger generation (myself included.)
You know, I swore to myself I wouldn’t do it, but I suppose the time has finally come where I have to talk about street style. Since day one, I’ve always rejected the idea of giving any shine to street style photos on this blog, mainly because I feel that street style has evolved into this attention hungry beast that gets further away from itself with each subsequent fashion week. I watched this belief get validated over and over again this past week, as it seemed like half the people that I saw heading into the shows were painfully uncomfortable in their own skin. I say uncomfortable because I’m not going to dig into the whole “fashion Halloween” thing or whatever people like to compare street style to these days. I don’t mind that people dress in ways that I would deem ridiculous, it’s never been my place to critique someone’s personal style. But what does bother me is when I see a guy who can barely cross the street because his leather jeans are painted on so tight he can’t bend his knees, forgoing ability to function normally, all in hopes that someone will take his photo.
Dare I say that we’re nearing the end of the soft seasons? Fueled by menswear’s Neapolitan love affair, for years now the dominant belief has been, the more unstructured the body, the more subtle the shoulder the better, but based on what I saw this past week I have a feeling we might be heading toward a changing of the guard. This isn’t to say that I’m relishing the day that the soft shoulder is no longer king, I mean to be fair the jackets that I throw on most often are all Italian made, unstructured slopping shouldered sport coats, and I happen to think they fit me better than anything else in my closet. Yet, even I’ll admit that it’s high time we get a few more options out there. The soft shouldered jacket is an undeniably great piece of design, but that doesn’t mean every label should go find their own tailoring house in Naples and forget every other suiting style out there. Which is why, a couple collections I saw a week ago felt like a breath of fresh air, albeit a very small one, but menswear is glacially slow, and it all it takes is a handful of looks now, and maybe things will be different in say half a decade or so (if we’re lucky.) What I’m referring to of course, is the return of the under-appreciated roped shoulder.
On the Streets
For me, New York Fashion Week, and really all fashion week’s in general, bring about the disconnect between what is wearable and what is simply admirable. Even taking cost out of the equation for a moment, there’s this notion of “how far outside the norm can I go,” and when it really comes down to it, I love so much of what I see during NYFW, but I rarely end up buying that much of it. Yet with what I saw a few days ago, this year is a bit different because, If I suffer from a condition of appreciation over action, then J. Press’ York Street collection was the antidote to all that.
Sitting at his Spring/Summer ’13 show a few days ago, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe I’d been wrong to label Bastian as prep for all these years. Coming off last season’s collection, I felt like I understood Bastian and his preppy by way of Italy sensibility, but after what I saw a few days ago, I began to question all that. The familiar elements were still there: the washed denims, the chambrays, cashmere sweaters, peak lapels all wrapped punchy colors and rich textures. I could still catch some hints of that traditional East Coast attitude, but it just doesn’t seem to be dominant narrative for Bastian anymore. This wasn’t the New Wave Neapolitan New England Bastian that I was used to, instead as the collection came down the runway I felt almost like I was watching a seventies dramedy set in the Hamptons, complete with all the big hair, cheeky slogans, and cleavage (unfortunately for me it was strictly male, no nip-slips from Bastian this year) that goes along with that. There was something incredible about watching Bastian take a departure from his prep-school past, replacing it the vibrant tones of sun-washed celluloid film.