[FASHION REVIEW] London Fashion Week Mens FW17 Roundup

text by Adam Lehrer

London Fashion Week Men’s, formerly London Collections Men’s aka LCM, was reenergized for the Fall-Winter 2017 season. Chalk it up to Brexit or Trump or all the existential uncertainty that arises in the wake of political devastation, designers are innovating once more. I was happy to see fashion designers starting to mess around with silhouettes again, no longer content to ape the oversized everything innovations of Demna Gvasalia; the London collections featured a plethora of big, small, skinny, baggy, tailored, sharp, clean, jagged, and everything in between set of shapes. There was less emphasis on sportswear and streetwear, with designers even finding new life and new ideas in the most traditional of menswear garb: the shirt, tie and trousers look. The message seemed to be that the creative class needs to be taken seriously, but we must also find ways to maintain our individuality in this conservative coup. Designers seamlessly blended the bizarre with the traditional, the maximal with the minimal, and the suit with the sporty.

Martine Rose Fall-Winter 2017

British menswear designer Martine Rose has had a subtle but profound impact on the introduction of underground sub-cultures to the palette of menswear design over the last 10 years. She has referenced the style and sexuality of Robert Mapplethorpe, the poetic genius and masculinity of The Fall’s Mark E. Smith, and the liberated glory of ‘90s ravers in her own collections, located the sub-cultural importance of workwear labels like CAT and Timberland in collaborations, worked extensively with the now defunct streetwear/music project Been Trill, and even consulted on Demna Gvasalia’s now iconic Balenciaga menswear debut. The Balenciaga consultancy manifested slightly in Martine Rose’s Fall-Winter 2017 menswear presentation, the designer’s first catwalk since 2013 and her first to heavily feature tailoring (right down to the neck tie). Rose has always had an ability to slightly alter staple menswear pieces to hint at punk undertones and sexual subversion. The collection dealt with everyday workers: the bus driver, the real estate agent, the banker, and the office worker among them. The collection’s central question was, “How does a man hold on to his individuality when entering the professional world?” That is why this collection connected so deeply. That is the most resonant clothing concept in the modern world. Every day, we have to dress in accordance with our institutions’ dress laws while holding onto icons of our selves. The collection offered simple shirt and tie looks in shiny and ostentatious silks and beautiful/ugly colors of orange and baby blue. The tailored jackets clung loose to the frames of the models, but not to the point of making a statement, seemingly more concerned with nonchalance and comfort. The nylon jackets and coats in the collection often concealed the restrictive office wear in youthful nylons, sometimes with the sleeves hanging off the shoulders nearly unattached. The collection was exceedingly sensible. I’d wear just about all of it. This is how you conform to standards without losing you sense of identity.

Craig Green Fall-Winter 2017

As brands grow and gain success, it is typical for them to start introducing more palatable and accessible elements to their collections. These are the products that can be repurposed and resold each season: Vetements and its now staple reassembled jeans, Raf Simons and his Adidas Stan Smith sneakers, Hood By Air and its branded t-shirts. Craig Green’s brand is undeniably growing; selling like crazy and earning Green a CFDA award for menswear design in the process. But almost like noise rock band Royal Trux did by signing to Virgin Records in the ‘90s and using the major label money to create highly iconoclastic and idiosyncratic rock records, Green has been using the freedom success has brought him to introduce more ideas, concepts and radical aesthetic gestures into his brand. In my opinion, his Fall-Winter 2017 collection is the best damn collection he’s had so far. Introducing heavy tweeds, Green used the durable fabric for severe all-over looks: statuesque jackets with ropes tied around the waist, wide leg trousers, scarves coiling around the neck, and a waist piece that could possibly be a bag, a cape or both. See, with Green fashion is about subverting the “form follows function” rule. For Green, form IS the function. Everything is designed for multiple uses and styles of wear, and the clothing takes on the form of its very purpose. That is at the essence of Green’s avant-garde sculpture. Padded satin looks (also head to toe) are topped off by a vest with belts wrapping around it, allowing the vest to take on a mass of potential ways to wear it. The most remembered looks of the collection will undeniably be the embroidered cloaks that resembled a monk wearing ornamental Korean carpets as religious garb.

Vivienne Westwood Fall-Winter 2017

Ever the political firebrand, Vivienne Westwood used her Fall-Winter 2017 collection, Westwood’s first show on the menswear schedule comprising both menswear and womenswear lines, to further illuminate on the imminent disaster of global warming and corporate culture’s blatant disregard for it. Though it’s not what draws me to Westwood’s output, I firmly disagree with people questioning Westwood’s environmental intentions. Like any creative discipline, fashion can’t alter the political landscape so much as it can provide a conduit for awareness. Pushing awareness is beyond reproach. It’s a good thing to do. But at the end of the day, activism isn’t going to convince me or anyone else to buy any clothes, and Westwood’s collections for a few years seem to have missed the mark. But this collection hit the mark. Like Vivienne’s best output, it balanced the torn and tied together messiness that she got known for alongside some fantastic, wearable, and excellent quality traditional pieces. For every see through sweater dress was a sensible tailored double breasted blazer (made rocker cool with extensive finger rings and black leather boots). Women in baggy plaid suits, embroidered nutcracker jackets, stitched together pants and shirts, and abstract crowns made this a decidedly classic Westwood collection polished with a Victorian sheen. I quite liked the all-over camel early 20th century stage coach looks of a cashmere cape over a three piece suit styled with polished leather boots. the 50th look in the show, a patchwork crewneck sweatshirt with matching pants and black boots, is a rare runway look that I would wear head to toe. Daily. For years.

Kiko Kostadinov Fall-Winter 2017

Kiko Kostadinov is a rare designer on the London circuit. Instead of finding his inspiration in raves and clubs and sub-cultures, Kostadinov seeks to elevate uniform garb. His brand is for men that work, technicians and craftsman if you will. But instead of plumbers and custodians, Kostadinov seeks to give the comfort of uniformity to the world’s painters, sculptors, photographers, jazz musicians, and poets. There are very few designers elevating simplistic and clean silhouettes like Kostadinov is. The FW 2017 collection was minimal and expensive. Military sweaters in jet black came with wide legged wool trousers fitted with a tool belt, double breasted coats clung tight to the body refined and polished to a sheen, and jumpsuits were replete with multiple pockets in light wool fabric. Kostadinov discusses his desire to create a classless vision in his collection. Let’s face it, that is impossible. His high fashion price points ensure that working class people will never wear his clothes. But he is designing clothes that can be work through the bulk of life. Can’t wait to see the work Kiko does as creative director for Mackintosh coats.

JW Anderson Fall-Winter 2017

It gets hard writing about designers as they achieve stratospheric success. JW Anderson is certainly one such designer with his domination of CFDA womenswear and menswear awards and not to mention his total rebranding of Loewe that resulted in the brand becoming as associated with conceptual architecture and poetic appropriation as heritage Spanish luxury under his reign as creative director. But his collections are exciting no doubt, and he benefits from being able to tap into that “of the moment” resonance in his work. As per usual, the knits were beautiful and bountiful and the flares were wide and fey. But there was something palatably arcane within the collection, perhaps inspired by contemporary culture swaying back towards the bad ol’ days? Anderson also has a knack for finding the most overdone menswear looks and repurposing them for a taste of the uncanny. The 12th look in the show was sans description the minimal skinhead look: bomber, button down, and jeans. The kind of look that Raf made high fashion almost 20 years ago and Jerry Lorenzo made look tired and lazy with his overpriced philistine brand Fear of God. But JW makes his satin bomber fitted and sharp and adorns it with knit graphic patches and pairs it with a pair of jeans beautifully hand painted with a heaping of religious imagery and then decides the look works best with flip flops that look like flippers. And you know what? He was right.

Xander Zhou Fall-Winter 2017

Beijing-based designer Xander Zhou’s talent for utterly fucking with menswear proportions and silhouettes is vastly underrated. Like many designers of his age group, he wears his Raf Simons influence rather proudly and like the great Belgian has an obsession with youth culture that informs his designs. But Zhou’s collections are wild, dirty, and untamed in a way that Simons and his fellow intellectual Belgian designers aren’t. His Fall-Winter 2017 collection was his best outing yet, displaying his seamless hybrid of luxury and streetwear and drawing in all sorts of outer limits influences. Zhou displayed a fetish for misbehaved prep school boys in his first couple looks: models wore cropped vests over cropped button downs with ties resembling trash bags worn over the shoulder (dress codes can be fun when you know how to fuck with them). Those tailored looks continued with the addition of leather duster coats (the ones favored by Robert Mapplethorpe who is having a major fashion reincarnation this year). But Zhou’s true nastiness lies in his disregard for menswear rules. The double breasted blazer is turned into a biker dude leather daddy jacket. Denim jackets are elongated and contorted into deconstructed overcoats. The workman staple that is the jumpsuit is trimmed at the waist and given a day-goo dye job and another connotation rises to the surface. Zhou has eluded the press raves that so many of his contemporaries on the London schedule are lavished with on a regular basis. That needs to change; his clothes look like nothing else out there at the moment. That’s not easy in this hyper-saturated market.

A-Cold-Wall Fall-Winter 2017

I’ve been thoroughly taken with British designer Samuel Ross’ brand A-Cold-Wall since first coming into contact with it a couple years ago mindlessly browsing the Hypebeast website (a bad habit I’m happy so say I’m fully detoxed from). The brand functions as a conceptual art project cum streetwear brand from which Ross examines the disparities between working class culture and high fashion. Using a minimalist color palette informed by the dreary buildings and walls of low income London neighborhoods, Ross has introduced a surprisingly striking body of products ranging from French terry graphic hoodies to Nylon ponchos to tote bags. It’d be easy to dismiss an elevation of working class garb as well, a dismissal, but Ross has located something beautiful and pure in this style of dress. His Fall-Winter 2017 presentation was his first show using a cat walk. Ross celebrated the occasion by stepping well outside his comfort zone presenting both men’s and women’s collections, adding tailoring into the mix, and introducing some bold fabric pairings. Collection stand-outs included a technical satin overcoat, a wool sweatsuit, a leather t-shirt paired with wide legged trousers, and a white mesh suit and the whole collection was paired with Ross’ simplistic Nike Air Force 1 collaboration. 

Cottweiler Fall-Winter 2017

The design duo of Matthew Dainty and Ben Cottrell have been hard at work, introducing this Fall-Winter 2017 collection just days before their much anticipated collaborative line with Reebok debuted at Pitti Uomo. The conceptual sportswear brand seems to be evolving past its minimalist beginning into something more vibrant, ostentatious, and showy. Cottweiler has always been about the fetishization of sportswear and the duo nailed its approach in its early seasons. Now, they are embellishing that fetishization. Cottrell cited an “apocalyptic” vibe to this collection but honestly, that tag could apply to just about anything and has become a near unbearable fashion design cliche. What I saw in this collection was flash. The satin tracksuits were richer in color, the sports designs were over-emphasized (a sleeping bag worn as a cape, for instance), and the accessories were plentiful (electronic navel piercings and handblown UV glass pendants). Cottweiler obsesses over dual nature of sportswear: good for playing sports, better for dancing your nut off. This was the comfortable, breathable club wear that a luxury price tag offers.

MAN Show (Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, Feng Chen Wang, and Per Götesson Fall-Winter 2017)

Must make mention of another excellent Top Man sponsored MAN Show event that demonstrated the talents of three designers, all of whom have shown collections at the event previously. All three collections demonstrated an escalation in the clarity of the participating designers’ visions. All three designers fall firmly into the category of avant-garde fashion and occasionally into the field of nonsensical inscrutability, but appear to be trying to push their concept into wearable products. Swedish designer Per Götesson presented his collection almost entirely in denim and introduced a multitude of silhouettes that you’ve surely never seen that tried and true fabric take form in prior. London designer Fang Chen Wang used leather and foil to drape all manner of architectural fuckeries over the bodies of a diverse cast of models. But the big story here was the British raving wunderkind Charles Jeffrey and his Loverboy label. Jeffrey is tapping into the late ‘90s rave fueled moment of madly inspired fashion design, but somehow makes his collections more contemporary by reaching for the antiquated. For every super cool looking oversized thrashed Freddy Krueger sweater, there are ten looks that look like ecstasy fairyland versions of Victorian London suits. Fueling the macabre strangeness of the presentation was not only Jeffrey’s wild club kid friends dancing in the background but the incorporation of several fine art sculpture pieces that surely can’t be expected to be sold by any reputable retailer. One looked like a gigantic American flag themed cone head and one was the grim reaper. I mean that in the literal sense. 

[Fashion] Paris Fashion Week Men's 2016

photograph by Thibault Camus

Text by Adam Lehrer

It feels like every season I find myself almost wanting the Paris round of menswear shows to suck, just to change it up. I can make claims like, “London is ground zero for cutting edge young menswear designers,” or “Italian luxury is forever,” or “New York is on the up and up,” but when it comes down to it, everything still pales in comparison to the lineup of designers that show their new duds in Paris. And until Raf Simons, Rick Owens, Kim Jones, Dries Van Noten, Yohji Yammamoto, Junya Watanabe, and so forth decide to show elsewhere, that appears to be how it will stay.

The FW 2016 Paris menswear shows seemed to emphasize time, nostalgia, and at times a rejection of nostalgia. Raf Simons, free of the punishing time constraints placed upon him as creative director of Dior, unleashed his most furiously cultural referent collection since his work with Sterling Ruby. Yohji Yammamoto looked nowhere but the future for his new Y-3 collection, preparing fashions for the final frontier. Kris Van Assche at Dior Homme elevated two fondly remembered sub-cultures, early New Wave and ‘90s skate culture, to Dior-ian qualities (with mixed results). Fashion is all about looking towards the future or remembering the past in efforts to co-opt those thoughts for the here and now. That sentiment was evident all throughout Paris this past week.

Raf Simons

Raf Simons has always managed to be a designer that sparks interest in people that may not be overwhelmingly interested in fashion, but who adore music and visual art. Joy Division and Factory Records fans delighted in his FW 2003 “Closer” collection that referenced Peter Saville graphics. His FW 2014 collection with Sterling Ruby may have been the most intriguing artist/designer collab of all time. Raf’s FW 2016 collection found Raf delighting in all the various works of art that inspire him now. Free of Dior, he has time to smartly cultivate a network of ideas and tie them together in a manner that feels effortless even if painstaking. The most talked about reference here was David Lynch (it also happened to be David’s birthday). The show was soundtracked to a recording of composer Angelo Badalmenti discussing his work scoring Twin Peaks, and the clothes had that macabre sense of banal Americana, or dare I say “Lynchian” qualities; the oversized letterman sweaters brought to mind the sultry princess of The Great Northern Audrey Horne, and the slashing of them the threat of imminent danger. And though grotesque Americana was the main theme here, with Raf also mentioning the Boy Scouts, The Breakfast Club, and slasher films as primary influences, he also took time to reference two more of his favorite artists. Raf cited Cindy Sherman as an influence on the collection, and the reference makes sense: Sherman’s portraiture of classically “American” figures (whatever that means) always hinted at something sinister beneath the surface. These clothes, while objectively normal or “American” (high school puffer jackets, oxfort shirts) were presented in such a manner to subvert their own expectations. Raf also claimed to be thinking more of aruguably his greatest influence, Martin Margiela, during the designing of this collection. The way the coats were so big to hang off the frames of the models, the smart tattering of sleeves, and the emphasis on the garments as objects all blatantly but brilliantly paid ode to Margiela and his legacy. This was a magnificent collection, perhaps the best Raf has presented since his work with Ruby. It was conceptually brilliant and aesthetically beautiful, and most importantly I want all of this stuff. Even better? Raf finally started diversifying his models, perhaps realizing that his justification of his use of white models is due to the street casting he does in Antwerp, probably won’t work anymore.

Dries Van Noten

Dries van Noten had been trying to secure the location of his FW 2016 show for 15 years. The Palais Garnier, an opulent shrine to French glory, was a fitting testament to the impact of this show. FW ’16 felt like the most quintessentially “Dries” show that Van Noten has shown in quite some time, finding the traditional and statuesque beauty in the imagery of the subversive and radical. The first coat, a black trench with a mock-neck collar and a waist flap, came emblazoned with a coiling snake graphic perfectly placed. While jackets fit rather slim, pants and shorts came oversized, emphasizing Dries’s tendency to go off-trend and come up with silhouettes you didn’t even realize that you wanted right now. All things told, the Dries collection had my favorite coats of the season, and there were so many options. Floral patterns, plaids, and psychedelic graphics designed by Wes Wilson, he of the era of psychedelic record covers and concert posters (Grateful Dead, Cream, etc..). The Belgians are coming out hard this season.

Louis Vuitton

Kim Jones, a man who undoubtedly clocks over 50 hours a week designing menswear for the world’s biggest fashion house, still finds seemingly tons of time to see the world, and his travels often influence his collections. But this time around for FW 2016 Louis Vuitton menswear collection, Jones looked around him at home. What does Paris mean to the world now? How does its heritage affect the world and how is that heritage viewed by those outside it? And most importantly, how do we push Paris and all its inherent ideas into the future? Jones answered swiftly, taking the most iconic of Parisian references, from Jean Cocteau to Art Deco, and employing them into garments imagined for an optimistically bright future. After the attacks in November, the show takes on a defiantly political tone: Paris thrives. The clothes here were utterly sleek, perfectly cut, and shimmering with promise. The belted trench coat at the beginning made its wearer look like an assassin after just completing a highly lucrative and expertly executed kill. A blue velvet double breasted coat was one of the best pieces Jones has ever designed. The clothes here were almost too spectacular to name one by one, so let’s just say that Louis Vuitton is still the historical fashion house making wealthy old men shell out credit and also making young urban guys want to grow up and get their shit together, trade in their Schott Perfectos and 501s for an immaculately coiffed double breasted suit.

Gosha Rubchinskiy

When Rei Kawakubo shows up, you know something is going on. As was the case with Gosha Rubchinskiy’s FW 2016 collection. Though it is smart business for Rei to support her suportees (Gosha’s brand is manufactured by Comme facilities, but is not a “Comme brand” as in Junya or Sacai), you hardly ever see her in-person anymore. But Rei, as with many of the more forward thinking in this industry, sees something in Gosha. When he debuted his first collection, he didn’t have much more to offer other than sweats and hoodies with eye-grabbing prints on them. But there was something in the perspective; here was someone that had to work hard to learn culture, and is working just as hard to show the world his culture. He’s one of the true original voices in the industry. Now to progress his brand, the Gosha FW 2016 collection took on a harder edge, employing more types of fashions as well as more capital “F” fashion. The high-waisted jeans and suspenders brought to mind the sinister underbellies of the hardened skinhead while also celebrating a goofiness in self-presentation. Near see-through jet-black turtlenecks with Russian prints will fly off the racks of Dover Street Market. The cargo trousers had the perfect silhouette for such a pant, loose but not baggy and cropped but never tight. The outerwear, which Gosha is proving he has a knack for, was excellent. The oversized shearling coats were the type of coat you just want to live in all winter.

Haider Ackermann

Haider Ackermann’s brand has always had this interesting aesthetic that seems like it’s designed for the wild child son or daughter of some aristocratic one percenter. The child who shuns the family business, goes to art school, takes tons of drugs and spends daddy’s money on records and expensive clothes, and still inherits his/her parents’ worth and stumbles into a board meeting one day ready to take total control. While wearing Haider of course. That is always what has made the brand cool to me, and perhaps why the brand is favored by so many of our most inherently punk rock pop culture icons. Tilda Swinton loves the brand, and Kanye has employed various Haider products (oversized velvet sweatshirts, velvet bombers, gigantic hoodies) and made them the new look of the fashion conscious hip-hop industry (Jerry Lorenzo’s Fear of God line is basically Haider silhouettes of skateboarding garb). Perhaps with that newfound relevance, Haider embraced his most abrasive inner wild child with the FW 2016 collection. While nothing new for Haider, it’s still totally unique in the culture of brands. The male models in the show, wearing Bauhaus Mohawks, wore mis-matched jacquard suits and magnificently garish velvet coats. The women, with shaved heads, snugged themselves into lovely leathers. The blue velvet pieces were out of this world, and immediately brought to mind the fetishizing of the material in its namesake David Lynch film. I want to wear some of Haider’s stuff badly, perhaps he could do the next H&M collection?


Fresh off a very successful collection with adidas (his Ultra Boost colorway was fire, I got a paid, woohoo) Junichi Abe has never appeared so confident in his design chops. The Kolor FW 2016 collection, though lacking in the color that you might expect, employed all the aesthetic choices that make Abe so compelling. Everything is slightly mismatched, a little off, and yet so right all the same. A multi-layered look with trousers, bomber jacket, and shirt, was actually one solitary piece. I’m not sure anyone wants to buy a pre-made outfit, but that is the level of skill you are dealing with when it comes to Abe. The most conventional looks, such as a droopy double-breasted khaki blazer, and the oddest looks, such as a blue plastic labcoat, all felt part of a cohesive narrative world. That is I suppose what is so interesting about Abe. Perception of him as a whole is of an artistic rebel in the world of fashion, but his clothes are quite normal and easy on the eyes. In person however, you find design flourishes that are more difficult, and even more compelling.

Rick Owens

Few designers do post-apocalyptic fashion better than Rick Owens, afterall, he was the designer who kept Mad Max in vogue long before Fury Road collectively blew our fucking minds last year. But with 2015 the world’s hottest year ever recorded, Owens is legitimately worried that the world is ending. But he’s a tough guy. It’s easy to see Rick Owens as the Rick Grimes of his own goth fashion tribe, and he’s not going down without a fight. His apocalypse army will survive looking sick, of course. The looks oscillated between Owens touchstones, like his perfect minimalist bomber jackets and his brutalist man dresses, between works of great architectural care that nevertheless presented themselves as part of some eternal unknown. Perhaps the biggest shockers were the standard black blazers. But nevertheless, Rick is ready to take on the end, and he will have his acolytes going out looking tough and stylish as fuck.


While people swooned over the garish H&M X Balmain collaborative collection, I was happily picking up every piece by from the understated, comfortable, and elegant collection from Christopher Lemaire’s collaboration with Uniqlo. Lemaire, a former designer of Hermes, understands that luxury is not always (or for everyone) about standing out. It’s about feeling good and comfortable so you can stand out on you own, and let your personality do the talking for you. He is a true minimalist designer, finding perfection in blank slates and unique structures. His FW 2016 collection was full of chalky and dark colored structured jackets and blazers, oversized trousers, tunics, and more. These are the types of clothes that I would most often like to wear, and their easiness is their inherent appeal.

Yohji Yammamoto

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a Yojhi nut, but I don’t feel biased in declaring this one of Yammamoto’s best seasons in recent memories (though the last one was pretty good). The Japanese revolution of designers has been insanely long-lasting in the ever-evolving fashion sphere. Rei Kawakubo’s Comme des Garcons is the largest avant fashion label in the world and she is the champion of so many of the leftfield designers of the future. Issey Miyake, though less involved in the design of his garments, continues diversifying in his brand. And Yohji, at age 72, continues to push the envelop. His Y-3 show was as interesting as ever, especially considering that Y-3 has been tapped by NASA to design the first ever fashion for space. But Yammamoto’s namesake brand has always been his ideal man, a cigarette smoking frolicking dark dandy with a permanent sourpuss. The FW 2016 collection featured Yammamoto at his most precious, with tiny t-shirts covering heavy outerwear displaying a squeezed effect inspired by when kids go out in the snow and their parents make them put on all their clothes. Everything was nicely draped. The scarves were sick. And as always, Yohji’s underrated footwear designs were some of the nicest on any catwalk.

Honorable Mentions

Sacai’s FW 2016 collection, apparently about peace and love or something, displayed a stunning color palettes of greys and burgundies as well as black stripe pattern. Takahiro Miyashita the Soloist’s new collection, always inspired by rock n’ roll, offered some sly but wearable design flourishes, like a pullover MA-1. Ann Demeulemeester, now designed by ever-intense Sebastian Meunier, offered a romantic and gothic take on contemporary male beauty. And Thom Browne threw luxury in your face and then tattered it to pieces before turning it into luxury again.

[FASHION REVIEW] New York Fashion Week Round Up Part One: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

photograph by Kevin Tachman

Here are some collections that I deem to be excellent, and a couple that I found to be quite a letdown, from the first four days of New York Fashion Week.

Wednesday, September 9


VFiles has been influential in retailing exciting young designers. There have been numerous cases of it carrying brands that I personally would never have heard of otherwise. This year, the retailer featured five young new designers, each offering an entirely different design aesthetic: the Beijing born newly graduated Feng Chen Wang, the London-Based David Ferreira, Design duo Namilia, Japanese Central Saint Martins and Parson-educated Kozabura Akasaka, and New York-based trio Moses Gauntlett Cheng.

Wang’s collection was birthed from her experience learning of her father’s cancer diagnosis. She sought to find the beauty in the ugliness of the deterioration of the human being, and the designs in her section of show recall the strength found within human organs.

Of the five designers, it feels as if Akasaka might be the big seller out of all of them. He has a knack for menswear and womenswear, and though his silhouettes are avant-garde, they also have a real slickness to them. His Japanese heritage is a huge part of the collection, as if filtering his Yohji influences into his country’s obsession with high quality denim.

Moses Gauntlett Cheng is the hometown favorites. I actually met 1/3 of the trio at that Alexandra Marzella performance that I wrote about here, but had no idea that I was speaking to a talented new fashion designer. In any case, the trio fearlessly plays with gender in a manner that is not played out, and is neither masculine nor feminine.

September 10

Creatures of the Wind

The idea that the most stylish ladies out there wear a little bit of everything to accentuate their own uniqueness is firmly implanted in the design aesthetic of Creatures of the Wind’s design duo Christopher Peters and Shane Gabier. The brand’s SS 2016 collection felt like a lineup of different cool girls throwing together various COTW pieces to meet their respective moods. There were a few motifs that showed up throughout the collection in a variety of different styles; blue floral prints, studded black satin, army jackets, and more. Gabier and Peters don’t seem interested in creating a tribe, instead they offer beautifully made garments that any fashion conscious girl could make work for her. The brand’s identity feels inclusive and refreshing.

Adam Selman

Adam Selman’s approach to high fashion feels simultaneously kitschy AND subversive, a description that may have been bestowed upon a young Jeremy Scott all those seasons ago. I don’t mean to compare the two designers, as it would be unfair to label Selman anything akin to derivative. He’s a monumental talent, and his work is everything that is great about a New York designer: unstuffy, loosely conceptual, and wearable.

His inspiration for this SS ‘16 collection was Taylor Camp, a ‘60s and ‘70s nudist colony established outside the beachfront property of Howard Taylor (brother of Elizabeth). In that, the clothes read like the garments that a nudist lady might wear in the situations that they were forced to put clothes on. Much of the collection is all black and all white, with some of the pieces featuring some well-placed sun-soaked prints. The collection was also influenced by American designer Todd Oldham, who’s own unpretentious approach from fashion to design makes him something of a Selman spiritual forebear.

September 11


One of the few shows that I was allowed access to was Giulieta, which is traditionally elegant, but in a good way. Designer Sofia Sizzi used a futuristic vision of tennis as her springboard. The collection begs the question, “What will hautey rich country club gals be dressed like when we’ve colonized Mars?” A soft and cerebral beauty permeated the collection.


Easily the biggest show of this year’s NYFW calendar: Kanye, Kim, Julia Roberts, Debbie Harry, Liv Tyler and more all came out to see Ricardo Tisci debut a new Givenchy collection for the first time ever in New York. The whole thing did feel very much like a gift to New York, an ode to its majesty on the day commemorating its tragedy, even if it was covert marketing for the new Givenchy store. The event was held outside the pier in Tribeca and art directed by Marina Abramovic. Tisci hardly needs to add more beauty to his shows, his clothes do the trick, but Abramovic’s inclusion of women climbing ladders, Serbian folk singers, cellists, grand pianos and even fucking llamas all made for the darkly surrealist glamour that has rightfully placed Tisci as one of the world’s leading fashion designers.

Between this show, and his recent SS 2016 menswear show in Paris, it feels like Tisci might be more on top of his game than he ever has been. Women draped in black and white satin with razor sharp tailoring lent gothic class to the eerie environment. Some have issues with men’s looks in women’s shows, but with Tisci it always feels right. The men’s look complimented the women’s, and the jet black suiting made me want to grow up, start pulling in $500K a year, and alter my wardrobe to rightfully take my place amongst the illuminati.

Saturday, September 12

Baja East

Scott Studenberg and John Targon entered the “loose luxury” trade in 2012 with their brand Baja East, and their SS 2016 collection was their best to date. This show took cues from ‘90s rave, and strobe light-akin shades of red, blue, and green were featured on ultra soft tunics and dresses. Men walked in the show too, but Studenberg and Targon are aware that their business is coming from women. It’s hard to imagine most men, especially other boring straight ones, getting in to clothes like this. But it’s a nice sentiment.

Alexander Wang

While other designers might be crushed after getting shit-canned from a brand like Balenciaga, the brand Alexander Wang is so beloved amongst its tribe that it may have even helped the designer. After all, Alexander Wang has always been more a high street than a high fashion brand, with Lykke Li saying it best, “His clothes seem made for that girl that you see and can’t help but notice how cool her shoes are, or how cool her jacket is.”

Alexander Wang has always been for confident casual New York cool types. That vibe felt on-point from the first look of a tank top and wide striped trousers. Wang also applied cool details like black fringe to cool girl staples like army jackets. The men’s looks, the first ever in an Alexander Wang show, were great too, particularly a long plaid shirt jacket with neoprene front pockets. The show ended with a video collage of the many successes of Alexander these last 10 years; let’s hope for many more.

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