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Ovadia & Sons

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It was like being in the stands to watch your high school quarterback make it to the pros. The room was filled with every fixture of the New York scene, from buyers, to bloggers (as if we really needed an excuse to get together) but it still felt entirely personal. I don’t like writing about NYFW, as the lack of any real possibility for critique in “fashion reviews” makes me question how authentic I really am whenever I write a piece such as this, but for Ovadia & Sons, I’ll make an exception. It’s not because I feel that I know the brothers well enough to critique them, but because I genuinely feel extremely proud of what they accomplished this season.

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It was in late 2010, just as my interest in clothing became less a hobby and more of an obsession, that Ariel and Shimon Ovadia, two identical twins from Brooklyn emerged on the scene as the face(s) of what would the New York Times would call the “neo-geezer” movement. To me, and many of my peers, it was just American sportswear done right, a collection of clothes that was designed with us in mind. The inspirations were classic, the cuts were flattering. The designs were innovative, the clothes were wearable. The collections were timely, the spirit was timeless.

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From the first time I saw their collection in person, at Capsule a couple years back, I was amazed by the duo’s extraordinary creative output. That collection felt like four, or even five collections in one, spanning across eras, movements, and cultures, to create one of the deepest debut offerings I’ve ever seen. They continued on this way with each subsequent collection, exceeding expectations, and progressing the line without ever losing their direction.

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After making it’s debut half a year ago, J. Press’ York Street collection finally hit stores this past month. Coinciding with the launch of the line, and as a continuation of J. Press’ efforts to win over a younger audience, the brand decided to open up a York Street flagship, the first such store of it’s kind, in New York’s West Village. Situated on Bleecker Street, which is rapidly becoming one of the most important blocks for shopping in the entire city, the York Street flagship has been unofficially open for roughly a month now, but it wasn’t until this past Tuesday night that the team over at J. Press and Ariel and Shimon Ovadia of Ovadia & Sons, (the duo behind the collection), properly flung open the doors to christen the new space.

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As a nice mid-week diversion, I was pleasantly surprised yesterday to discover that the brothers Ovadia had updated their website to include their Spring 2013 offerings. The collection was enough to temporarily soothe the insatiable appetite of the menswear masses, expectedly full of unexpected gems across the board including this indigo seersucker suit, this hand-dyed oxford, and this vintage inspired combat jacket. Although, if you ask me, the real treasure of this latest collection from Ovadia & Sons lies in the shoe department, which is quickly becoming what I would deem to be the most exciting area of Ariel and Shimon’s portfolio.

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On January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy stepped up to the mic to deliver his inaugural address and created the great menswear myth.  As the story goes, JFK’s decision to address the crowd without a hat on his head delivered a fatal blow to the hat industry as American men followed his lead and shed the once obligatory hat.  Is the story romantic? Sure.  Is it true?  Well, probably not.  But, there’s no denying that an inauguration is a time for the president to make a statement.  As a President that often remarks how he doesn’t even know what jacket he’s wearing, Obama has never been a paragon of style, but as he ushers in a new term, it provides him with the rare chance to prove just what clothes can mean.  A return to American innovation and production would do this country some good, and what better way to show support for this country’s up-and-coming and established designers than to wear them proudly to start off four more years.

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Looking back on these past ten or so days, I would have to say that the best way to describe Fashion Week is like watching a thousand movie clips, all at once.  Sped up, slowed down, spliced together, forward, backward, until I can’t even tell what I’m watching anymore, everything just becomes a two dimensional blur.  Sitting through show after show, picking up on a random shirt here, a fabric there, maybe a pair of shoes, or a full suit in a rare moment of clarity, it all became really difficult to process.  And I won’t even try to touch upon the nauseating circus of try-hards in their best “please-take-my-photo-please-please” outfits that congregated outside the show.  All I know is that by the end of the week it was next to process anything.  Each show had some takeaways but trying to interpret them instantly just became an exercise in futility.

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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.

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