As you are probably aware, much of New York Fashion Week: Men’s has already gone on before any of these designers let this eager young writer enter a show. Some of these shows (Robert Geller, John Elliot + Co., Thom Browne, the great N. Hoolywood) I would very much have liked to have seen. Others I remain ambivalent towards.
There seems to be an underlying notion that the New York collections, for men and women, feel a little lightweight compared to those in London, Milan, and of course, Paris. That notion may be true, at least when it comes to designers that get a bit of publicity. Some of the best American menswear designers, from Alexander Wang up to Ralph Lauren, opted to show their SS 2016 collections in other countries. And all together, New York menswear design does feel a bit safe in comparison with its London and Paris counterparts.
At these New York collections, there seems to be three separate camps. One camp of designers excels in clothes that are tailor-made to be worn by the brands’ specific customers. Public School, who yesterday showed their collection as a police lineup, is one such brand. They have honed in on a sharp dressing but streetwise guy, with lots of black and expertly tailored jogger pants. Other designers, like Robert Geller who showed yesterday, or Patrik Ervell who is showing later this week, are showing easy-to-wear clothing but presented through a conceptual lens. Thom Browne is also a designer with big ideas and even bigger sales.
But at New York this year, there are also designers showing menswear collections that have very little name recognition. These are the shows that young journalists will be let into, and these might be the shows that define what New York Fashion Week: Men’s could turn into. Just as the London menswear shows have highlighted an entire generation of forward-thinking designers, maybe New York Men’s Fashion Week will introduce the world to a whole world of menswear designers looking to bend and break rules. Are the next J.W. Anderson’s and Sibling’s of the world about to erupt from New York, who knows?
Is Asaf Ganot, who just showed his SS 2016 collection, one of these designers? I am learning towards no, at least not from this collection. But, I am of a fashion generation brought up on experimental electronic music, Rick Owens, and Raf Simons. Ganot’s bright and sharply tailored clothes adorning the bodies of hulking beefcake types is different than the fashion world that I have been attuned to appreciate. And maybe that makes it radical? Or, at the very least, different.
Ganot has said that this collection is based on Brazil, and the oiled up, hyper-masculine, beach muscles thing can certainly attest to that aesthetic. But the clothes themselves were not profoundly interesting, or anything that I would wear.
Again, perhaps I am not to judge a collection such as this. I have been taught that any fashion collection that isn’t channeling abstract expressionism through proto-punk primitivism to (insert avant-garde sub-culture here), is not fashion worth my attention.
Adam Lehrer is a writer, journalist, and art and fashion critic based in New York City. On top of being Autre’s fashion and art correspondent, he is also a regular contributor to Forbes Magazine. His unique interests in punk, hip hop, skateboarding and subculture have given him a distinctive, discerning eye and voice in the world of culture, et al.Oh, and he also loves The Sopranos. Follow him on Instagram: @adam102287
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