The Never-Ending Trendquest

by Harry Sheff

Tuesday’s Project seemed like it was picking up steam, or at least traffic, but an informal survey implied a lack of excitement—and the heady, party atmosphere of previous Projects was a no-show. The ennui was laid to rest at the feet of product—everybody seems to be waiting for the next “premium denim” or the apparel equivalent of an iPod.

Putting on my fashion director hat, I’m seeing a couple of trends from the show that, with the proper spin and the help of merchandising, display and good old-fashioned salesmanship, should help retailers fend off malaise on their sales floors.

1) Translucence: Now, I’m from Pennsylvania, so voile always makes me think of Mennonite women’s prim starched caps. My number-one concern about this trend? I’m hoping that the contemporary market has the bodies to pull it off. Now, if the general look of the boys at Project is any indication, this will NOT BE A PROBLEM. (And yes, I did re-up my gym membership this week.) Alpana Bawa adds a light touch to her collection with a crisp, green voile that weighs nothing—a plus on summer days like these, and it’s not completely see-through. There’s a slightly more daring version in silk from Dulce de Leche (who showed offsite, at a 39th Street showroom). Yes, the sleeves of the vintage tuxedo-inspired sportcoat are too long for Luis (see below), but I MADE him put it on because it’s so GORGEOUS.. just like Carlos and him.

Alpana Bawa stands by her collection

Sheer madness at Dulce de Leche

Carlos Mejia, Dulce de Leche

Luis Toro, Dulce de Leche

2) Texture: PF Flyers summed this one up for me with a nubby canvas shoe that was an excellent melding of retro and modern (which was, oddly enough, the theme of the Fila party we went to later Tuesday evening). The faux-python version took it to a whole new level for me, though—and perhaps could pair with  Manuel’s python jacket? American Chang’s mink cross sportcoat also drive the point home.

PF Flyer’s faux python high-top

Manuel’s Mia Fischer dons the men’s python shooting jacket.

3) The wide, low V-neck: Again, my first clue to this trend was the aforementioned pretty boys running around Project in V-neck T-shirts—a great look if you’ve got the pecs for it. But then I kept seeing variations on them—from johnny collars to henleys;, all cut to show off. I’ll be really curious to see how this trend plays in the more gentlemanly Collective show next week….

Boiish (top) and Dulce de Leche: How low can you go?