Fall 07 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week: The Rest of the Week

by Harry Sheff

For menswear, the excitement of fashion week really peaks early on, with most shows happening on that first Friday, then dropping off rapidly, scattered throughout the rest of the week, and overshadowed by our big sister, women’s apparel. So this week has, comparatively, been a little slow for me… a welcome break, given the pace of the past month or so, and that we are all heading to Las Vegas next week.

As I sat at some of the shows this past week, I was often juggling notes provided by the designer, my notebook and pen; desperately trying to get a good shot of an outfit—sometimes before I even knew if it was worth it or not—while trying to jot down mnemonic cues that would help me remember what an outfit was about, or how I’d want to describe it to you. My wee digital camera is only so good for the runway… it wasn’t too bad if the lighting was good and I was in the front row, but, for instance at the Z Zegna show, which was set up bleacher style, my pictures of the models began to look like hikers deep in the Grand Canyon as shot by someone on the helicopter tour. Well, if you really want a closer look at every outfit in a collection, I suppose you’ll be jumping over to men.style.com anyway.

[Editor’s note: if you’re going to get a camera, get a good camera! Avoid this:

I lost my camera right before The Collective. Better to lose it then than after the show when it’s full of usable information, I suppose. But I decided to buy a $99 special so I wouldn’t feel so bad if I lost yet another one (this has been number two since I became an editor). So my apologies to the many people I mention below who just don’t get a great illustration….]

Though the Z Zegna show was packed to the rafters of the cathedral-like ceiling of lower Broadway’s Cunard Building, it was a worthy spectacle. Susan Sidor, Forum Magazine’s fashion director, described the show as “the way menswear used to be.” The clothes themselves? Imagine the cross between the finest Milanese tailoring and the Italian version of “Oliver Twist.” These handsome young men were the finest street urchins ever to lift a wallet.

The Buckler and Diesel shows were each big on production values both for the shows and the clothes. Buckler worked a “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” theme, complete with lots of metallic finishes for any wayward astronaut (uh, the Richard Dreyfus sci-fi kind, not the Lisa Marie Nowak variety, that is). Diesel began by playing tracks from “Blade Runner,” while everyone was being seated, but also opened its show with the “tone sequence” from “Close Encounters.” More sheen, more shine and a great jeans cut that, as the Enzyte commercials say, added a little “male enhancement.”

Jill Stuart could always be relied on as the “rocker girl,” and last season, when she added her new men’s collection, Curtis Stuart, I was excited to see how she’d interpreted her sexy uber-chic aesthetic into menswear. This season Stuart abandoned Haight-Ashbury for Carnaby Street, and, although it’s nice to see her evolving and stretching her limits, a lot felt a little canned… too literally interpreted from 1960’s Pierre Cardin or Paco Rabanne. But her intense blacks and blues were right on trend for the season.

Cabbeen’s show included all the promised embroidery and denim. A fully-thought out collection of denim, shirts, jeans, jackets and accessories was presented as promised. I couldn’t help but want to compare the collection to Parasuco, the Canadian denim company with its own stores. And since Cabbeen owns many of his own stores in China, I think the comparison is valid. As I mentioned two blogs ago, keep your eyes on this brand….

 Adam Plus Eve

 Adam Plus Eve 

Adam Plus Eve’s presentation was, well…tough. I’m gonna need to go see this one in the showroom. I know that pretty much every fashion week I end up getting on a soapbox about something that pisses me off about fashion shows. Having a “tres intime” event, where everybody gets a chance to see the clothes up close, is a great idea… if only some people would get out of the way so the rest of us could see them! I did finally manage to fire off a few shots, and the collection, from that standpoint, looks very classic and like a home run at retail.

 Loris Diran

Of course it wouldn’t be fashion week if I didn’t get to talk about a couple of my favorite up and comers. Loris Diran has to be one of the most refined, tasteful and elegant of the new crop of designers. His menswear was spare and sensual, with one foot in Europe, and the other squarely in front of Bergdorf Goodman. And his women’s dresses belie his couture training.

 Gregory Climer

 Gregory Climer

OK, folks, it’s just Custo Barcelona and Sergio D’Avila to go now. The clock is running out on fashion week… and ticking down to Las Vegas.