NEW YORK – It’s not a fashion week if there isn’t a party.
At the introduction of New York Fashion Week: Men’s on Monday night at Amazon Imaging Studio in Brooklyn, there were leggy models (women, not men); Amazon Fashion employees dressed in black who held clipboards and checked iPads; nicely coifed waiters in crisp white tunics who carried trays loaded with plates of miniature BLTs and flutes of Champagne; fashion designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of the New York label Public School, who were backslapping their pals; a few amazingly dressed characters, such as mustachioed editor Ben Cobb of the British fashion and lifestyle magazine Another Man, who styled himself like Billy Crudup’s louche brother from the ‘70s; and a sprinkling of fashion-forward celebrities, including Joe Jonas.
The look was casual and easy, for the most part, perhaps a bit toned down compared with how people would dress for a similar event held during a fashion week centered on women’s clothes.
Chow wore a black T-shirt and a ball cap turned backward. “New York is such a street-based city,” he said. “People come out in a different way.”
Victor Cruz, star wide receiver for the New York Giants and a dedicated fashion follower, strolled through the breezy, warehouselike space in a gray-and-white Tim Coppens shirt and gray John Elliott & Co sweatpants. Had he put a lot of thought into his outfit?
“Actually, I came up with this by mistake,” Cruz said. “I found this shirt in my closet. I had an ‘aha’ moment: This looks very cool.”
The party wasn’t just a party: It was also an exhibition, with large-scale color photographs by Erik Madigan Heck featuring pieces by John Varvatos, Calvin Klein, Ovadia & Sons and other brands participating in the four-day fashion event.
Heck, who is 31 and about to be a father, was asked his opinion of the theory that men these days are putting more thought, energy and money into how they look. “I cared much more about clothing when I was 21,” he said. “I now care about what my kid is going to wear.”
But designer Billy Reid, who is presenting in New York this week, was bullish on the idea that men as a whole have a newfound interest in fashion. And not just urban men. One of Reid’s best performing stores, he said, is in Florence, Alabama. (The 2013 U.S. Census Bureau population estimate: 40,059.)
So is the Southern man outpeacocking the New York guy?
“Maybe not quite,” Reid said. “But younger men know more about what’s happening in fashion. Even in rural parts of the world.” NYT