Willy Chavarria Men’s Spring 2020

For his spring 2020 collection, Willy Chavarria tapped into the San Francisco and New York underground club scenes of the late 1980s and early 1990s. In an era where Latin machismo was front and center in underground gay culture, what has probably never been acknowledged in the fashion industry until Willy Chavarria’s spring 2020 collection was the incredible style and fashion-forward sensibility that came out of the gay Latino underground club scene.

Chavarria’s menswear is for a niche audience. And more specifically for that stylish man who is enamored with vintage looks and does not shy away from fashion that conjures up images of the late 80s and early 90s. That particular consumer will be attracted to Willy Chavarria’s spring 2020 collection.

That said; there were no groundbreaking menswear silhouettes or unfamiliar fabric choices or combinations in this outing. However, what Chavarria did accomplish was presenting the sexy masculinity of gay Latin culture of that era, and doing that with very simple, familiar silhouettes.

Though this collection was simple an unadorned in scope, there was quite a b it of charm to the clothes. The loose-fitted jeans with mesh tops and silk bombers were expertly juxtaposed against Chavarria’s choice of Latin male models.

 And though this collection demonstrated the swagger and confidence of Latino machismo, there were some slightly feminine silhouettes thrown in. In fact, the feminine touches throughout the collection did not distract from Chavarria’s design aesthetic, but interestingly added to it. Only a self-assured man can pull off feminine silhouettes with confidence and aplomb.

Images courtesy of vogue.com

Willy Chavarria’s collections appeal mostly to a niche audience. And that is not a bad thing. With menswear brands folding every season, maintaining a niche audience may be the key to market stability. And Willy just might have the key!!

—William S. Gooch

Siki Im Men’s Spring 2020

If you are familiar with Siki Im’s men’s collections, you are familiar with Siki Im’s affection for a 90s counter-culture punk design aesthetic with hints of a dystopian disorder. Previous collections include updated 90s punk looks seen through the lens of a North African design aesthetic, as well as 90s grunge married with a dystopian zombie culture. All these points of view worked for Siki Im’s niche consumer. That said; his current collection will successfully expand Im’s consumer base beyond his niche.

For spring 2020 Siki Im paired his signature design aesthetic of 90s punk/grunge with a robot perspective. Im combined this Siki Im Robot X spring 2020 collection with the brand’s Siki Im CROSS, the brand’s performance line. This melding of the two lines facilitated a more consumer-friendly collection that would have a wider appeal.

Similar to previous collections, there was lots of layering in this collection—a must for any Siki Im collection. The real revelation of this outing was Siki Im’s fabric choice. This season light wools are paired with organic linens and soft silks against voluminous silhouettes with technical details. Bungee cord details allow our wearer to play with proportions and easily mix style with the brand’s performance line.

There were also nods in this collection to East meets West, evidenced in Siki Im’s kimono-styled jackets and shirts in silk charmeuse or worsted wool with Gundam prints. And though Siki Im played around with lots of volume which was displayed in extended crouch pants, oversized sweatshirts, and layered shorts, Im expertly paired the volume of these looks with other garments that gave length and dimension.

Images courtesy of Siki Im

With this spring 2020 collection, Siki Im not only expands his consumer base but also injected some vim and vision into an otherwise milquetoast men’s fall 2020 season. Bravo!!

—William S. Gooch

David Hart Men’s Spring 2020

If there was one redeeming aspect of New York Fashion Week: Men’s (NYFWM) spring 2020 collections, it would be New York Men’s Day (NYMD). As a precursor to what eventually become NYFWM, NYMD still seems to have some relevance while NYFWM is quickly fading into oblivion.

David Hart is one of the few New York City–based menswear brands that has consistently presented his menswear collections during NYMD.  And where other menswear brands have faded by the wayside or entirely gone out of existence, David Hart is staying strong.

For spring 2020, David Hart looked to crimes scenes of the 1930s and 1940s as seen in the photography of Weegee (formerly known as Usher Fellig). Weegee documented dramatic crimes scenes and emergencies of the 30s and 40s often by following ambulances and sirens which accounted for him being the first person at the scene of the crime. Hart even had chalky outlines of bodies and caution tape to conjure images of crime scenes.

Inspired by the black and white photographs from the Weegee estate, Hart’s collection was mostly in black, grey, and white color tones with a little lapis lazuli suits thrown in for good measure. The only other bold color in this color collection were the jewel-toned Louboutin sneakers.

There were no extra frills or embellishments on David Hart’s classic 90’s boy band suits. And as well-made and well-tailored as Hart’s suits were—he never really reinvents masculine silhouettes—what stood out most were Weegee scenes of Coney Island and a sexy 40s club dance imprinted on some the shirts and bomber jackets is what stood out most in this fashion outing.

Photos courtesy of Agentry PR

One other element to take not of in this collection is Hart’s decision go more youthful which was particularly apparent in the graphic-printed bomber jacket and shirts. This spring 2020 collection is a winner; Hart keep up the good work!!

—William S. Gooch

 

 

 

 

Ka Wa Key Men’s Spring 2020

New York Men’s Day (NYMD), which was a predecessor to New York Fashion Week: Men’s (NYFWM), has always had great success presenting emerging designers to the fashion industry. With the almost demise of NYFWM, NYMD continues what it began almost six years ago, presenting emerging designers’ collections to the larger fashion community.

Ka Wa Key is a London-based fashion line that project gender fluidity into its collections. With roots in Asian and Scandinavian design aesthetics, the brand strives to work sustainability and ethical fashion into its collections, as well as centering its creativity on reworking casual wear.

For its spring 2020 menswear collection, Ka Wa Key’s “What happens in grandpa’s closet stays in grandpa’s closet” collection was a reworking of things that could have been sitting in a man’s (grandpa’s) closet for decades. These looks could be those treasured, secretive garments one would acquire from exotic locales, but were only worn at a less conservative time in one’s life. Interesting pajamas, lounge wear, faded sweaters, and deconstructed pants and tops all waiting to be reinvigorated with a fashion-forward designers’ touch. And the Ka Wa Key design team accomplished that.

There were several deconstructed sweaters and pants in this collection, original dreamy watercolor handprinted prints and knitted fabrics, all done in creamy pastels, for the most part. And in line with the signature look of the brand, there were lots of layered jackets and tops. The layered looks of this collection are a plus for Ka Wa Key, giving their consumer base lots of options.

Images courtesy of Agentry PR

Known for their “twink” projection, Ka Wa Key presented this collection on model/dancers, exhibiting the ease of movement and casual nature of the garments. Though there were some merits in this spring 2020 outing, this collection was still focused mostly on the brand’s niche audience. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

William S. Gooch

 

 

 

 

Missoni Resort 2020

In case you haven’t noticed, the fashion industry loves looking back to other fashionable eras for inspiration. The 1970s appears to the era that the fashion industry is currently having a love affair with. And when it comes to resort collections, no fashion period correlates to easy, breezy, fun-loving times than the 1970s. And isn’t that what resort collections are supposed to be about. After all, resort season conjures up images of comfortable, but fashionable clothes.

No other current fashion brand can distill a 70s design aesthetic better than Missoni., particularly an early 70s perspective. Mission has set a standard for their bohemian, crazy quilt-patterned collections. And their 2020 resort collection is no exception.

Inspired by 70s icons Lauren Hutton and Elsa Perretti, this free-spirited 2020 resort collection draws heavily from familiar archival motif that have been reworked to create new patterns. There are reworked zebra motifs, revisited leopard prints, multicolored foliage, and Missoni’s artsy camouflage. This kaleidoscope of reworked motifs is juxtaposed against the brand’s signature bold geometrics. 

This collection is designed for that sophisticated urbanite who effortlessly elegant and primed for adventure. This collection marries and equatorial tropical mood with the essential wardrobe staples of an urban dweller. Jacquard mini dresses are worn also as vests on fluid maxi dresses. Shirts take center stage from the bowling styles shown in a patchwork of different materials to the fitted silhouettes with roomy sleeves and the more classic options punctuated with knitted details. They are paired with high-waisted pants or with the new skirt pants injected with an easy-chic attitude. Micro aviator jackets crafted from sartorial fabrics introduce a mannish touch, while the classic tuxedo comes in a knitted version enriched with metallic accents.

Photos courtesy of C&M Media

And like many brands this season, Missoni has created their version of the mini bags, designed in collaboration with Iacobella Gaetani. Can anyone say, ”Put it in your peace pipe, smoke it on up.”

William S. Gooch

 

 

 

Linder Resort 2020

Linder’s resort 2020 collection was the first resort collection for the namesake brand. Adding resort to its collections of women’s and menswear is an ambitious feat for a brand that only launched in 2016. However, creative director Sam Linder was up for the challenge.

Choosing Pier 29 as the venue for the launch of the brand’s resort collection was a good choice. The outdoor deck decorated with palm fronds and wood-hewn flooring and seats set the mood for a tropical locale, even the event and guests were inundated with torrential rain. Still, the intention was in the right place.

That said; there was a strong 1970s theme in this first resort outing, with a strong color palette of lime green, blue, cream, and off-white. Sam Linder also injected tennis and a Country Club aesthetic evidenced in a color-blocked tennis shorts, Polo shirts with white piping, and a low-neck tank top.

To make the 70s references even stronger Sam Linder threw in a 70s-inspired jogging suit and runner’s shorts with side ventilation. And the jogging suit and runner’s shorts are an integral part of a definitive fashion trend of a glance back to the 70s.

Though many of the garments in this collection could fit into the athleisure wear category, this collection is so much more than that. Sam Linder has done a good job of finding what is still popular about athleisure wear—comfortable fit, ease of movement, and low clothing maintenance—and mixing in some elements of luxury.

Photos courtesy of vogue

Overall, this was a pretty good attempt at resort wear for the brand. Though it may take a couple of seasons for Sam Linder to find his oeuvre in the resort genre, he is definitely on the right path.

—William S. Gooch

Ozwald Boateng at the Apollo

The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s was one of the most revolutionary and creative eras of black history. Harlem, New York became the pinnacle of black intellectual, artistic and social movements, forever changing black culture and putting the merits of black artists on display. Needless to say, even modern-day black contributions to creative industries owe themselves to the work of those who made the Harlem Renaissance happen from Langston Hughes to Countee Cullen to Zora Neale Hurston.

The influence of this movement is still remembered today on a global scale by black creatives around the world, including fashion designer Ozwald Boateng. Boateng is best known for being the first black designer to ever have his own shop on London’s Savile Row in addition to being a former creative director of menswear for Givenchy. For the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance, the designer decided to not only stage a show at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theatre, but also launch womenswear as well, which took a see-now-buy-now approach.

In April when it was announced that the designer would be doing a show based on AI, everyone assumed that he meant Artificial Intelligence. As the runway show began, it was clear that this was not an homage to the future of fashion and technology, but, rather, an ode to black arts and culture past, present, and future. In this case, AI stood for “Authentic Identity.”

Boateng, who is of Ghanaian heritage, stayed true to his identity by infusing West African design influences, including tribal prints, in his clothes while blending them with Harlem Renaissance influences. Although womenswear is new for Boateng and a big divergence from traditional Savile Row tailoring, his knowledge of textiles, color, and silhouettes were front and center throughout the collection with his cohesive approach to color and the tailoring of the women’s pieces.

Notably, the majority of the models in Boateng’s show were people of color, an approach that has been bandied about in the fashion industry where diversity and inclusion has become hot topics. And true to form, Boateng’s models reflect the sassiness and sexiness of his designs.

Boateng’s show was truly groundbreaking, not only for him as a designer launching womenswear, but also as a moment in history for Black designers, many of whom go unsung or never reach these merits of notoriety. Remember, the Harlem Renaissance is not only noteworthy for great literature and black arts explosion, but also for the great fashion that the era produced.

Images courtesy of vogue.com

Boateng’s Apollo show was a renaissance of sorts for black models, black designers, and the black fashion intelligentsia, calling for a new age of black fashion in the fashion industry (Note Edward Enninful at British Vogue, Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton, and the rise of Pyer Moss, Laquan Smith, and Romeo Hunte, all garnishing an international audience.)The beauty of black culture received the celebration it deserved, and Boateng didn’t disappoint his audience with this once in a lifetime experience. Ozwald Boateng welcome back to New York City!!

—Kristopher Fraser

Naeem Khan Bridal Spring 2020

Naeem Khan has his finger, and a lot more, on the pulse of where modern bridal collections should be. Influenced by an article in The New York Times, as a part of their New York International Bridal Week spring 2020 season pre-coverage, that extolled the need for bridal designers to be more aware of the fact that the modern bridal customer is in the market for something that goes beyond fairytale, princess bridal gowns. Khan took notice of this and adjusted his spring 2020 bridal collection accordingly.

Still, Naeem Khan’s bridal collections have always been far more than conventional princess wedding gowns. Khan’s bridal collections have always played and frolicked on the side of sexiness and romantic abandon, and was never a concoction of whimsical, dreamy princess bride fare.

That said; for spring 2020 Khan did stray away from his penchant for overly embellished gowns, some of which could serve someone well at a discotheque or on a red carpet. There were more traditional bridal silhouettes in his current bridal collection with the embellishments appearing more on the veils than the bridal gowns themselves.

That said; thankfully not every look in this collection was traditional bridal fare. There were adequate amounts of bridal cocktail dresses, low exposing décolletage dresses, bridal gowns with statement sleeves, and one halter lace and sequined embellished jumpsuit that was to die for.

Photos courtesy of UK Maracaibo Photography

With this bridal collection, Naeem Khan did not score any points for innovation and originality. However, when it comes to versatility, Khan, perhaps, outdid his many bridal competitors with his range of looks and bridal silhouettes. Variety is the spice of life.—William S. Gooch

Serge Jevaguine Bridal Spring 2020

Serge Jevaguine has always been inspired by early couturiers and their design aesthetic. As a youth in his native Russia, Jevaguine continued his fascination with great art and famous couturiers of past like Christian Dior, Jeanne Lanvin, Cristobal Balenciaga, Madeleine Vionnet, and others by studying at the Academy of Arts of Moscow.

Not until he moved to Toronto, Canada did Jevaguine get the opportunity to create bridal wear. With his spring 2020 bridal collection, Jevaguine debuts this collection in New York City.

For the spring 2020 bridal collection, Serge Jevaguine was mesmerized by the simple and chic style of French actresses Brigitte Bardot, Michele Mercier, and Juliette Binoche. The collection seeks to capture the elegance of French Glamour featuring shimmering sequin gowns, luxe brocades paired with cascading, tulle overskirts and silk crepes with clean, style lines.

Each design is handcrafted from the best European fabrics and gives close attention to details like bejeweled belts, sheer hemlines and thigh high slits. Every gown is designed to emphasize the soft and feminine nature of each bride.

In this collection, Jevaguine emphasized the old adage, “less is more.”  The less is classic, yet not fussy, bridal silhouettes that have stood the test of time, combined with high quality fabrics. The more comes from the distinction that many of the bridal gowns in this collection are accompanied by attachments that can either accentuate the gown or be taken off.

Photos courtesy of Serge Jevaguine

Case in point, the brand’s Sophia SK bridal gown with the detachable train. Additionally, several of the gowns in the spring 2020 collection come in alternative colors and are appropriate for red garments or special events.What sets this bridal collection apart from other collections of its ilk is the luxury fabric choices and the appeal of the collection for an ever-evolving bridal consumer. Bravo on your New York debut!!

William S. Gooch

Watters Bridal Fall 2019

Watters is always known for pushing the envelope, and this season was no exception. The company debuted all three of their lines including their namesake Watters, Willowby, and Wtoo. Building on their own ahead of the curve DNA, the company had something to offer every type of bride.

Watters Photos courtesy of Coded PR

The namesake Watters line was all about love and lace, with classic romantic details including gorgeous veils with appliqués. During Bridal Week, there is, of course, so much emphasis put on the gowns, often details like the veil are ignored, but Watters didn’t miss a beat. And like many brands this season Watters also included plus-size models, with 67 percent of women in the US being a size 12 and beyond, it is important that they court that customer.Willowby, on the other hand, continues to play the role of the much younger sister to Watters in design aesthetic and demographic. For its spring 2020 collection, a portion of the gowns were a bit outside the traditional realm of bridal in some ways, with sheer embroidered overlays that projected as subtle sensuality and the absence of princess gowns.

Willowby fall 2019 photos courtesy of Coded PR

That said; the Willowby customer is a different kind of bride; one who dances to the beat of her own drum. It isn’t too often that you see an A-line wedding dress with a halter neckline and a key-hole cutout bodice.Wtoo was less cohesive than it was in past seasons, with looks going from traditional princess gowns to crop-top wedding dresses. Nevertheless, the collection still played to the fantasy aspect of the wedding day with whimsical floral details and tiered tulle dresses. Classic details, like lace embroidery, contrasted with the more contemporary details of deep V-necklines. The Wtoo girl isn’t afraid to be a little sexier than your classic bride, and she loves a good revealing neckline.

WToo fall 2019 photos courtesy of Coded PR

Watters, as a bridal brand, is gathering steam and more market dominance in its appeal to a variety of bridal customers. One of the most difficult challenges for a bridal brand is the creation of garments that can have market appeal to wide range of bridal customers. In spite of this challenge, Watters continues to successfully pull this exacting feat off. That in itself continues to be their greatest strength.—Kristopher Fraser

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