Romeo Hunte Men’s Spring 2019

Romeo Hunte continues to make a name for himself on the New York fashion landscape. For spring 2019, Romeo Hunte threw a lot of current trends and references to`80s street wear into the proverbial fashion melting pot. Some of the mix of trends worked, some, not so well.

Early on in the spring 2019 outing it was clear that Romeo Hunte was concentrating mostly on light spring outerwear paired with his penchant for high-end street wear undergarments. While this could have been in interesting combination—and for some of the looks in this collection the pairing did work, while other pairings were questionable—overall this effect produced a collection that slightly disjointed. Still, this spring 2019 collection was a powerful reflection of where Hunte is attempting to push his design aesthetic.

Hunte ingeniously re-imagined neoprene from diving suits and camo prints on bombers as fashionable, urban spring outerwear. Hunte even included a few women’s looks in the collection. And though the women’s looks were an interesting addition, having so few women’s look—about three looks—rendered this injection of feminine silhouettes a distraction rather than a welcomed inclusive expansion.

What can be said about this collection is Hunte’s ability to inject a youthful charm into a collection that could have been dark and somber, which is sometimes what happens in collections that are heavily influenced by street wear culture. Hunte should consider a much better venue next season where editors and industry professionals are afforded the comfort and respect they deserve. (Never underestimate fashion editors’ ability to strike back when they are not treated well.)

                                                  Images courtesy of wwd.com

That said; Romeo Hunte’s men’s spring 2019 was one of the better shows/presentations during NYFW: Men’s (NYFWM) spring 2019 season. And although that is a good thing for Hunte, it is also a sad commentary of how NYFM, which once had such hope for American menswear brands, has declined.Come on CFDA, do whatever you have to do to get more energy and investment in NYFWM. The industry needs it!!

—William S. Gooch

Ricardo Seco Men’s Spring 2019

The devil is in the details, or in this case the divinity is in the details. For his spring/summer 2019 collection, Ricardo Seco looked to his home country of Mexico for inspiration, as he traditionally has, but this time he dug a little deeper than obvious Mexican references. The 1968 Summer Olympics was the source of inspiration for Seco’s spring 2019 men’s collection evidenced by the shorts and bright-patterned leggings which conjured up images of color themes and design aesthetics of the `68 Summer Olympics.

This collection was Seco’s perspective on competitive sportswear as a modern fashion choice. With its maximalist approach and luxury athleisure aesthetic, Seco’s spring 2019 collection reflects fashion’s current penchant for luxury streetwear. Seco also drew inspiration from the Mexican creatives that had a big influence of the `68 Olympics that took place in Mexico City.

Architect Pedro Ramirez Vásquez who brought together Eduardo Terrazas of New York, Pratt Institute grad Lance Wyman, and Peter Murdoch drew inspiration from Mexico’s indigenous Huichol thread craft culture to create the images and designs of the 1968 Olympics, bridging the gap between traditional and modern Mexico. The indigenous Huichol culture would be the inspiration for Seco’s 2015 Dreams collection, from which this spring 2019 collection was also built.

Variations of the Huichol culture appeared on t-shirts and bombers in black and white. The repetitions of stripes and optical illusions were an essential part of this collection. While the collection was modern, Seco worked to ensure that every garment was imbued with his Mexican roots. Huichol’s textile culture is often known for its brightly colored patterns, which was reflective in Seco’s color palette of black, white, green, red, and pink.

50 years ago, Vásquez, Terrazas, and Wyman came together to create the “La Ruta de la Amistad,” which still exist today. The sculptures, like Seco’s spring 2018 collection, are representative of the Mexican diaspora.

                                   Images courtesy of Paula Rosado PR

Today’s modern fashion man has an awareness of the world. He isn’t insular, he isn’t afraid of color, and he can go from sport to street with ease. And Ricardo Seco’s spring 2019 collection aptly reflected that fluidity.—Kristopher Fraser

Nick Graham Men’s Spring 2019

Nick Graham always puts on a good show. Whether it is a runway show that pays homage to tropical birds, hot Havana nights, Apollo 13 or a host of other reference points, Nick Graham every season finds a way to show his signature sporty suits in the best light, as well as entertain the audience.

And that is a good thing!! Particularly in a spring 2019 season that was short on great menswear collections.

Because of the defection of so many American menswear brands from the New York Fashion Week: Men’s (NYFWM) season—Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, John Varvatos, Calvin Klein, Perry Ellis, and others have jumped ship—NYFWM is trying to survive on emerging menswear designers and the occasional off-shore menswear brand that is trying to get traction in the US.

Nick Graham has stayed true to his American customer and his niche of sporty men’s suits. He has always stayed loyal to NYFWM. Still, Graham recognizes that his penchant for great sports suiting is not enough, particularly, for younger male consumers. And he did something about that this season.

Inspired by the year 1969, Graham sought to draw from iconic moments that happened in that year. “1969 was one of most transformational years in our history, a year that had not only the first landing on the Moon by Apollo 11 and hosted Woodstock, both pretty pivotal events in our culture.” Graham explained.

Graham gave references to astronauts, hippy flower children as expressed in his Woodstock reference, and laid-back, late 1960s Los Angeles style. And true to form, Nick Graham made all these 1969 references somehow work for his design aesthetic.

Interestingly, Graham also found an ingenious way of tying in 60s cultural references with fashion trends that are now popular. Logo embellishment is huge right now and Graham incorporated logos into this collection with his brand name emblazoned on hoodies and sweatshirts, still, not garish, but tastefully done.

To much industry fanfare, the street wear aesthetic has been embraced by most of the men’s European luxury houses for spring 2019. Again, Graham brilliantly tapped into this trend by marrying sports jackets with hoodies, classic sneakers, and jogging pants.

                                                   Images courtesy of wwd.com

By pairing his signature look with the continuing trends of logo embellishment and street wear; Graham is proving that he knows how to gallop with the big boys. And if he continues on this current trajectory, he may surpass them.—William S. Gooch

Missoni Men’s Spring 2019

Looking back to previous decades as inspiration for new fashion collections is common practice for fashion brands/designers/creative directors. A few years back punk fashion was all the rage and no brand did it better that year than Versace. (Though it was an updated look at punk seen through the lens of sensuality and hot lava passion.) And last season it was all about a revitalized look at 1980s street style. We are talking about an updated look at tracksuits, classic high top sneakers, and round-the-way girl glam. Virgil Abloh of Off White set the standard for this 80s glance back.

For spring 2019 Missoni takes a reflective look at Paris-Dakar rally of 1979. This rally was the initial event for what has become one of the premier world motorcycle competitions. The course takes competitors from Paris to the capital city of Dakar, Senegal. The 1979 competition was one by Cyril Neveu, driving a Yamaha motorcycle.

Missoni in their men’s spring 2019 conjured up images or motor cross racing across cultures as was evidenced in 1979 Paris-Dakar rally were competitors raced across the European land mass and the North African and West African cultures. This season’s color palettes move from verdant fields to golden deserts as reflections of alternating landscapes and memories, while the overall collection reveals a worn and weathered patina. And we all know no one mixes color palettes better than Missioni.

Sandstone and electric citrine color palettes stream through expanses of olive green, medallion gold and lac-rose red. Racing yellow and bleu de France cut across stretches of midnight blue, bright green and cerulean. Cascades of multi-colored space-dyes emerge as illuminating storms of colors and as moments of celebration.

Layered silhouettes reflect a contrast of extreme proportions and an amalgamation of the Missoni Man’s transformative journey. Softly tailored double-breasted suits in lightweight loom-knit fabrics give way to slightly more disheveled, put-together looks that take on a more ethnic vibe and styling; mixing and matching elongated intimo pieces with oversized shawl-collar cardigans, polos and V-necks, field jackets and nylon pullovers, cutaway collar or pajama shirts and relaxed linen trousers or cargo shorts.

                                              Images courtesy of C&M Media

And though this collection is a look back to the late 1970s men’s style silhouettes of cardigan sweaters, polo shirts and linen trousers, there was much in this men’s spring 2019 collection that exhibited Missoni’s genius at repurposing vintage looks for the modern palette. Which is a hard thing to do in that most of Missoni’s youthful consumer base was not even born when the Paris-Dakar rally took place or is familiar with late 70s style. Still, Missoni made work and made it work, brilliantly.—William S. Gooch

Raun Larose Men’s Spring 2018

Raun_Larose_spring_2018The Eighties are back and that is most evidenced in the Raun Larose spring 2018 collection. In a season where menswear designers reinvented 90’s hip-hop, reimagined office suiting, and continued to experiment with androgyny, Raun Larose chose to stay with what his brand does best, reposition traditional menswear silhouettes through a lens of modernity and gender neutral sensibility.

Inspired by 80s tech startups—think Apple and Compaq—Raun Larose in this “Systems Down” collection collaborated with Portuguese artist Jose Cigna on the graphics in the collection. Many of the graphics were modeled after old error messages found on 80s IBM computers.

Collages1383Understanding that fashion should be now and next, Larose wove current trends—futuristic metallic, restrained volume, and off-the-shoulder silhouettes—into the landscape of where menswear is heading, androgyny and statement pieces that are not for mass consumption. Though most male consumers are not ready for where Larose is projecting the brand, millenials, if they can get past stagnant wages and there very deep college debt, will stand up and take notice. Remember, this is the generation of legalized marijuana, same gender marriage, and a breakdown of government and societal institutions.

All that said; there was a lot of craftsmanship in this spring 2018 outing. Larose deconstructed typical men’s suiting by adding volume and replacing jacket buttons with a jacket wrap tie. He also did some interesting layering with metallic shorts and layered over and under slacks. Larose incorporated man skirts/culottes that rose high on the hips interestingly paired with oxford and graphic print tops.

Images courtesy of Raun Larose

Images courtesy of Raun Larose

Though there was a strong focus on expanded silhouettes that most male consumers cannot wrap their heads around, there were some separates that have retail viability. And a lot of the outerwear would work in most male consumer’s wardrobes.

In a season were most of the revamped 90s silhouettes seemed dusty and other menswear directions just didn’t register, Raun Larose was one of the few collections that gave hope to a very lackluster season. Vive la difference!!

—William S. Gooch

DIM MAK Collection Men’s Spring 2018

Dim_Mak_Spring_2018At one time, New York City was the American hub of men’s fashion. As one of the major international fashion markets, New York City produced Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Perry Ellis, Billy Reid, Todd Snyder, and John Bartlett, all great American sportswear designers in their own right.

Those days may have past. Los Angeles is fast becoming the hub of American menswear design. Though this still second city of American menswear fashion is not producing sportswear, LA is quickly coming to the fore when it comes to athletic or athleisure wear, as some call it. This growing menswear genre includes skater culture, rock n’ roll points of view, and leisure/Baja-inspired clothes.

Dim_Mak_Spring_20181If you examine the list of designers showing during New York Fashion Week: Men’s spring 2018—Bristol, C2H4 Los Angeles, N-P-Elliot, and several others—a good percentage of the collections are coming out of Los Angeles. Add DIM MAK to the list of LA–based menswear brands.

The brainchild of Grammy-nominated Steve Aoki the DIM MAK Collection launched n 2014. The street wear brand was inspired by skater culture and indie rock sounds. DIM MaAK epitomizes the sound and the mood of Aoki’s music and is worn by those hipsters that are risk-takers.

For its spring 2018 collection, “Paradise Found,” Aoki sought reprieve from all the global turmoil of environmental genocide, income inequality, war, racism and sexism. Aoki found his reprieve, so to speak, in the unity and the commonality that can be found in all people. And this is evidenced in collection that places some focus in garments that can be worn by both genders. In some respect, this is a genderless society.

Images courtesy of Williamson PR

Images courtesy of Williamson PR

Understanding that society is moving beyond gender, Aoki has tapped into a restrained volume aesthetic and very neutral tones that can fit well on anybody. Perhaps, the most interesting element in this collection are the paint-splashed, Pollock-like pants. This aesthetic also popped up in some of tee shirts and jackets.

Though this collection definitely projects toward skateboard culture, there are some good staples that can fit easily in a lot of male consumers’ wardrobe. Projecting into the future, perhaps, Aoki can distinguish his brand from other similar brands by adding more color and some interesting twists.

—William S. Gooch

Parke & Ronen Men’s Spring 2018

Parke_Ronen_Spring_2018Twenty years is a landmark accomplishment in any pursuit. Whether it is a 20-year wedding anniversary or a 20-year relationship or the even more occasion these days, 20 years on the same job, 20 years on the same track is worth noting.

Nowadays, in the fashion industry, for a fashion brand to last twenty is a miracle in itself. And in that respect, Parke & Ronen’s 20-year anniversary is a cause for celebration.

Parke_Ronen_Spring_20181Inspired by John Denver’s 70s hit “Rocky Mountain High,” the Parke & Ronen design team of Parke Lutter and Ronen Jehezkel took a retrospective look back at their collections over the past 20 years. And interestingly, the brand has evolved from mostly a swimwear brand at its inception to include head-to-toe looks.

Collages1361This collection had a definite early 70s, freespirit, commune, hippy reference, evidenced in some of the relaxed camo and cannabis prints, as well as the lambskin vests and jackets. Perhaps, Lutter and Jehezkel are vibbing off the new passed legal marijuana laws in several states. And though the high in the collection was not exactly a “Rocky Mountain High,” it was a current inebriation reference that will appeal to young male consumers.

Collages1363Throughout the brand’s 20 years, Lutter and Jehezkel have stuck to their brand aesthetic—casual American sportswear with a penchant toward youthful athleticism—an aesthetic, if done right, that never goes out of style. And though this 20-year respective was slightly nostalgic, Lutter and Jehezkel did introduce some new looks and continued to expand their brand aesthetic.

Collages1364As always with Parke & Ronen there were lots of swimwear looks in the collection; however, the 50-garment collection did include some interesting camo look as well as some great spring jackets. Also, Parke & Ronene strayed away slightly from the form-fitting athletic looks the brand has become known for. And this redirection is a much need brand evolution.

Images courtesy of Parke & Ronen

Images courtesy of Parke & Ronen

Standout looks in this spring 2018 outing include the brand’s sage camo stretch poplin jacket with pistachio daisy print stretch mesh tank and sage camo skinny cargo short, beige cannabis print stretch cotton twill jean jacket with beige cannabis print stretch cotton twill holler short, grass green Zed knit cotton crewneck with beige stretch cotton skinny cargo short, sky blue double-faced linen storm jacket, red multi-stripe knit cotton mock neck tee with mustard stretch cotton twill trouser, bleach denim button-down shirt with orange/green plaid cotton flannel pleated short, and tan lambskin suede jean jacket.

—William S. Gooch

General Idea Men’s Spring 2018

General_Idea_Spring_2018General Idea’s spring 2018 collection was one of the best collections during New York Fashion Week Men’s (NYFWM). However, that is not saying a lot in a very lackluster menswear season.

Sadly, most of the more mainstream menswear brands, Tommy Hilfiger, John Varvatos, Nautica, and Michael Bastian have exited NYFWM. Even some lesser known, but popular brands—Tim Coppens, Siki Im, Loris Diran, and Timo Weiland—are also no longer showing during NYFWM. That leaves only a handful of brands that have any real market viability in the troubled menswear market. General Idea is one of those brands; and they did deliver, well, kind of.

Collages1339General Idea’s creative director Bumsuk Choi incorporated a lot trends in this spring collection—oversized pants, dangling belts, a 90s hip hop aesthetic, and bold color. There was even a variation of a man skirt—a trend that popped in General Idea’s collection about three years ago, but never gained enough traction in the menswear market. There was also a man’s jumpsuit—another trend from as season or two ago that never got a lot of traction. All these trend were incorporated very well into the collection; perhaps, better than any other collection this season.

This was collection for the young, hip international traveler. This international traveler is perhaps more interested in where he is traveling than how he looks. Many fashion pundits and predictors contend that this is the motivation of millenials. And Bumsuk Choi has reflected that is his collection by paring down his down aesthetic to the bare minimum.

Collages1340That said there were some good combinations in the collection. Choi’s tan beret with paisley shirt and khaki pants was a very good combination, as well as oversized burnt orange shirt with navy vest and pants accessorized with updated love beads.

Still, missing from this spring 2018 collection was so many of the things menswear editors have come to love about General Idea. Known for its great outerwear, Bumsuk Choi this season stayed pretty minimal with the coats and jackets, sticking mainly to simple trenches, a denim jacket, and a hoodie jacket.

Collages1341What did work in this collection was Choi use of bold color. And including purple and purple paisley was a brilliant idea. The bold color used in this collection offset the otherwise pedestrian look of many of the garments.

Collages1342

Images courtesy of Williamson PR

Go back to what has been working for you!! Fashion editors love it, and so does the public!!

—William S. Gooch

Kenneth Ning Men’s Spring 2018

Kenneth_Ning_Spring_2018Every fashion season, fashion journalists and industry professionals anxiously await a designer/brand that stretches the proverbial fashion envelope. Understanding that in the current economic climate—with so many stores and boutiques closing nationwide—expanding design horizons is a huge risk that few design houses are willing to make. Still, there are those designers that throw caution to the wind and follow the beat of their own drum. Fashion industry professionals are grateful for those courageous few.

Collages1353Kenneth Ning is of the courageous set!! For spring 2018 Kenneth Ning looked to reimagine male office attire and the juxtaposition of political hackers and the government. This collection featured reimagined dress shirts, dress slacks, suits and even office casual wear as seen through the lens of an updated, downtown hipster aesthetic and deconstructed tailoring. Ning accomplished this by employing asymmetrical techniques, inserting statement sleeves, and inverting shirts and business jackets upside down and inside out. These reimagined shirts were often paired with the trend of slouchy pants.

Interestingly, Ning would mix and match deconstructed office attire with military fatigues which evoked his political hacker/government juxtaposition. Also evident in this collection was Ning’s take on gender bending apparel. Genderless apparel was a design motif that has popped up in several spring 2018 collections. And while some designer/brands were able to successfully insert this trend, most designers were lost in translation when attempting to employ gender nonspecific aesthetics.

Images courtesy of Kenneth Ning

Images courtesy of Kenneth Ning

Ning’s design aesthetic is not for most male consumers. And though his core audience is niche and mostly confined to coastal, hipster consumers, Ning’s spring 2018 collection is cheeky, playful and full of potential.

—William S. Gooch

Nick Graham Men’s Spring 2018

Nick_Graham_Spring_20181Nick Graham’s runway shows are one of the most entertaining runway shows of New York Fashion Week: Men’s. He always has interesting themes and he finds ingenious way to inject his inspiration into his collections. Which is a feat in itself, in that Graham’s oeuvre is classic men’s suiting. From Latin inspirations to futuristic references to a nautical approach, Nick Graham always delivers, season after season.

Nick Graham’s spring 2018 collection was no exception. Inspired by Plato’s 360 A.D. original work on Atlantis and 60’s pop singer Donovan’s song of the same name. Graham realized his inspiration with some appropriate fashion props. Dangling rope belts, fake seaweed disguised as a Polynesian lei accessory, fake lobsters on the shoulders of suit jackets, and of course what would a nautical theme be without some nautical netting.

Collages1370All these fashion props added to this sea-inspired collection, not overwhelming the classic American menswear suiting. And though there was some shirtless suiting, rolled-up slacks and lots of exposed torsos, Graham demonstrated that the quality and fashion-forward sensibility of his spring suits stood out on their own.

Unlike several menswear collections during this rather uninspired season that leaned toward a dusty re-interpretation of a 90s hip-hop aesthetic, Nick Graham stayed with what he does best, and it made it entertaining at the same time. Something he always does!!

Images courtesy of wwd.com and Nick Graham, respectively

Images courtesy of wwd.com and Nick Graham, respectively

Stick to your guns Nick Graham. Keep bringing the class and sophistication that is a well-acknowledged mainstay of your brand. If only some other menswear brands had your taste!!

—William S. Gooch

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