New York Men’s Day, Morning

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Images by: Paola Castillo

 

When my editor told me that 2017 New York Men’s Fashion Week would kick off in a converted office space at the heart of the financial district, I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical. Exasperation replaced reservation when I was met with a wall of paparazzi and a scramble to find our globe-trotting photographer, Castle. Then, after ascending an escalator with a man who absolutely, positively, in my opinion, probably, maybe, could have been Jamie Foxx, I saw an industrial accented espresso bar and found acceptance. It was just going to be one of those weeks.

New York Men’s Day at Dune Studios hosted a range of designers all around its circular hallway, and the first line I got a serious look at was David Hart’s fall collection. I give him props for his dedication to local textiles in the rapidly disappearing Garment District, and his commitment to source exclusively from the US, UK, and Italy. But the designs themselves just don’t do it for me. Ralph Lauren and Bonobos have been doing the whole sporty gentleman thing for so long that it feels a little generic. He breaks up all the sameness with suede-y 70s kicks transposed from his original line of bow ties and scarves, to be sure, but it’s just not enough to distinguish him.

The next label I stumbled upon was Bristol, and their multimedia 360° catwalk experience immediately elevated my mood. It was dressed down and reminded me of those all night bashes Alexis used to throw in our college’s gallery space. I was not at all surprised when the designers, a duo of Lakers fans, told me that this was their first show and they had only released one line previously. Yet, the fashion came off without a hitch. Starting with a stark, monochrome palette of Scandinavian origins, they distilled the dreamy energy of basketball, the highlight reel of Magic projecting onto every wall. There was a palpable nostalgia, reflected in everything from red eyeliner to give the models a kiddish, Saturday morning look, to the crowd, almost invariably long time friends of the designers from LA. Incidentally, I found out, the brand’s name isn’t some posh shout out to England. It’s in memory of the street everyone grew up on. It all fit.

Down the hall, Kozaburo was recreating his own childhood through fashion. He arranged Persian rugs and red satin curtains to make the studio space “feel like home.” He proceeded to fill that home with a nonchalant mixture of punk and Harajuku, enmeshing leather jackets, platform shoes, and hairstyles of nigh visual kei complexity, to encapsulate teenage years spent partying in 1990s Tokyo. But one piece eluded that aesthetic, appearing at once stranger and more familiar than anything which the designer had put on his models. At the time, in Japanese, I called them “marbled pants” although, with the benefit of reflection and my native language, I think they’re more accurately described as “driftwood, sea-foam jeans.” When I asked Kozaburo about them, his eyes lit up. It is his signature. It is an homage to sakiori, the traditional Japanese craft of warping and wefting old strips of clothing into a new garment. And, if you are looking for a pair of pants which are at once timeless and edgy, sure to play as well in the club as they do on 5th Avenue, it is undoubtedly the choice for you.