A CALL TO ACTION
WITH NOTES FROM RAF SIMONS’ RELOCATION TO NEW YORK, THE REVAMP AT HUGO BOSS TO EVEN DONALD TRUMP, THIS SEASON’S NEW YORK FASHION WEEK MIGHT JUST BE THE HOTTEST ONE YET
Thanks to Raf Simons, this year’s New York Fashion Week ( NYFW) and New York Fashion Week: Men’s ( NYFW: Men’s) is hotter than ever. Not only did he present his debut collection with Calvin Klein at NYFW, he also chose the Big Apple to showcase Raf Simon- the- brand’s fall/ winter 2017 collection.
But before Raf Simons- the- brand showcased its collection, first came Joseph Abboud. His show was held at St. Stephen’s church in Lexington Avenue. The gothic church was definitely an ideal venue considering the collection’s dark and mysterious feel with its lavish long coats and dark color palette of black, dark grey and dark blue.
As a matter of fact, famed author Edgar Allan Poe served as one of the inspirations behind the collection. The designer also brought some of the world’s most prominent models like Sean O’Pry, Brad Kroenig, Brian Shimansky, Garrett Neff and Tobias Sorensen to further amplify the rugged and masculine allure of the collection. “We continue to celebrate the American man, American production and the masculine individuality that is inherently Joseph Abboud,” explained Joseph Abboud-thedesigner about the collection.
Hugo Boss’ BOSS Menswear also managed to exude a similar vibe of sophistication and luxury. The difference, in this case, was context. While the collection from Joseph Abboud is more suitable for a luxurious night out, BOSS Menswear’s collection consists of what modern men would wear in and outside the office. Okay, before you start rolling your eyes at yet another interpretation of the so- called modern men, keep in mind that men’s formal wear is currently undergoing massive change away from the traditional grey suit. This is what Ingo Wilts, the brand’s new Chief Brand Officer, was trying to do.
Considering the last time BOSS held a menswear show was back in 2008, roughly nine years ago, expectations ran high. A- listers like Zachary Quinto, Miles Teller, Lucky Blue Smith and many more graced the front rows in anticipation for Ingo Wilts’ debut collection.
While the clothes still look clean and opulent, they appeared more versatile with looser fitting, broader shoulders and oversized trousers. The biggest surprise, however, was that there were no dress shirts or ties in the entire collection.
Another brand that marks as a debut is Raf Simons. For his debut collection in NYFW: Men’s, the designer goes all out in professing his love for the Big Apple, sporting the iconic “I [ heart] NY” design on a range of sweaters. It came as no surprise that the Belgian designer got quite a warm welcome from the crowd—which, at the occasion, included stars such as Neil Patrick Harris, David Burtka and A$ AP Rocky.
True to the designer’s urban and fashionforward DNA, his fall/winter 2017 collection boasted a lot of oversized details and loose knitwear. The urban look was further supported with slogans like the aforementioned “I [ heart] NY,” “Youth Project,” “Walk with Me” and so on.
Now, making a statement through fashion is, of course, not uncommon. Whether it is through words or design, there is always a message that each brand is trying to convey. Such is the case for John Varvatos, who closed NYFW: Men’s. This fall, John Varvatos- the- man designed clothes embodying free- thinking millennials.
Entitled “Wild at Heart,” his statement was expressed through calfskin coats, suede jackets, velvet tuxedos, double- breasted suits, motorcycle
“IT IS THE COMING TOGETHER OF DIFFERENT CHARACTERS AND DIFFERENT INDIVIDUALS, JUST LIKE AMERICA ITSELF. IT IS THE UNIQUE BEAUTY AND EMOTION OF AMERICA”
jackets and fingerless gloves. Whether clean or heavily accented with animal motifs, the pieces were nonchalantly cool. You could really feel the rebellious spirit of millenials and their existensial angst emanating from the collection.
While NYFW: Men’s may have ended after John Varvatos, new menswear collection continued coming out at NYFW.
But undoubtedly the highlight— and the most anticipated— show from both NYFW and NYFW: Men’s was Raf Simons’ Calvin Klein. Similar to his own eponymous brand, Simons’ work for Calvin Klein’s fall/winter 2017 collection was an ode to his new home in the United States of America.
“It reflects the environment. All of these different people with different styles and dress codes. It’s the future, the past, Art Deco, the city, the American West ... all of these things and none of these things,” Simons explained. “Not one era, not one thing, not one look. It is the coming together of different characters and different individuals, just like America itself. It is the unique beauty and emotion of America.”
From marching band uniforms to antique handcrafted quilting to jeans, Raf Simons offers an outsider’s view of America, which is brilliantly expressed through his Calvin Klein collection. The song that started the show, however, was David Bowie’s “This is Not America.”
The song might feel contradictory to the collection, but Simons had publicly commented on the country’s political climate and how one should stand up against what’s happening. Care to venture a guess as to what he’s talking about? It’s Donald Trump. From Calvin Klein to the street- savvy brand Public School with its caps and tops inscribed with slogans like “Make America New York” and “New Leaders,” this season’s NYFW and NYFW: Men’s is the most political one yet. Newcomer Willy Chavarria opened his show with models cramped together in cages to explore themes of oppression. Business of Fashion started a bandana movement with the hashtag # tiedtogether to show solidarity and human unity, and was joined by prominent designers like Tommy Hilfiger, Philip Lim and Diane Von Furstenberg.
Jeremy Scott, on the other hand, was on full rage mode. His vibrant collection that featured images of Jesus, Elvis and Michael Jackson was a strong statement on idolatry. Even more telling was how every front- of- house worker on his show sported T- shirts with the words “our voice is the only thing that will protect us” on the front and phone numbers for Senate representatives on the back. It was, quite simply, a call to action.
In hindsight, this season’s New York Fashion Week wasn’t just about fashion. It was about making a stance, about conveying support, anger, grief and disdain towards the social and political climate of the world. And what is fashion if not a way to express yourself ?