Like clockwork, New York Fashion Week came and went in a swift blur of broken heels, extravagant weirdos, and free party swag. Big fancy designers showcased the same ol' shit uptown while newer, upcoming, and quite frankly, more exciting designers showcased their new stuff downtown. Now that the dust has settled, here's what we saw and whether or not it made us smile or barf. Enjoy!
Zana Bayne is a 20-something-year-old designer and leatherworker whose eponymous fashion house is by all accounts a hit. By tastefully straddling the line between fashion and fetish, her clothing has appeared in many of Vogue's international iterations and has even been worn by famous people like Beyonce and Lady Gaga. Fashion pedigree and celebutante cosigns aside, her work is, if nothing else, empowering—exuding confidence and controversy.
Sure, its outsider BDSM appeal is somewhat irresponsible and largely derivative but so what? As long as it's being marketed to MILFs in the Hamptons, I'm a happy camper.
Judging by the exorbitant number of fashion crows in attendance, this was the show of the season. There was smart clothing for both sexes in black, white, and blue, and that's pretty much all I remember. After being burned at the stake by highbrow fashion editors in ballet flats who thought I smelled like weed (I did), I tripped over André Leon Talley’s moo moo. The glamor of fashion is overpowering, and I want out.
After seeing only one of Mark McNairy’s shows, you can easily predict what every other season will look like. Camo, daisy print, and beer are just a few hints. With a show titled “Whatever,” it’s clear that Mark doesn’t give a fuck about impressing anyone at Fashion Week. He literally had a shirt that said “Shitty T-shirt” on it because that is just the kind of guy he is and we love it.
The one surprise that Mark throws in every presentation, however, is a celebrity cameo at the end of the show. But, just when we thought we had him figured out, he sent Travis $cott as the first model down the runway. The rapper and producer did the robot before skipping and jumping in a pair of plaid pants and a two-tone bomber jacket. Fashion kids looked startled as they fervently tried to image search who the crazy man was. Thanks to wi-fi, by the time Scott made his final appearance wearing a red plaid shirt and flicking off the cameras, every poser in the audience was his biggest fan.
HOOD BY AIR
HBA was once again a full-fledged shit show outside, with fans new and old crowding the block outside of Spring Studios. On a production level, the show was far more simple than last season, taking place in a vast expanse of a room with floor to ceiling windows. Not ones to withhold the crowd the over the top shit they've come to expect from HBA, their poster model Boychild walked a confused Great Dane down the runway only a few looks after a young man made his way to the photo pit on HBA crutches. I could tell you how their now familiar silhouettes are being refined in exciting ways and how they’ve moved beyond the long sleeve T-shirt, setting a new status quo for a genre they basically created themselves, but that's not really the point.
VFILES SPORTS SHOWCASE (TIGRAN AVETISYAN, HAMM, ZDDZ, DTTK)
Tigran Avetisyan was, by far, the best thing in this showcase. And it's not necessarily because I really liked the 80's L'oreal nod (which I did), but because they're the only ones who bothered with a proper name for their label—unlike the rest of the lot, who thought acronyms would suffice.
That being said, here are my reviews (which can be read in any order) for the other three: SMH, LOL, and FOH.
It's a shame that when a lot of dudes on the street talk about Robert Geller, they talk a lot about black. To me, next to his brave silhouettes, Robert's greatest contribution to the way cool dudes are dressing is his use of color. Over the course of his previous collections, he's changed the way I look at colors and how to use them in an outfit. All black has become the de-facto go-to for dudes who are kind of into clothes, which has made the look come off more lazy than cutting edge. On the other hand, too much color can be vulgar and come off as cheap and peacock-y. Instead, Robert has a knack for zeroing in on darker shades of purple and red and navy and placing them in palettes that allow them to pop in a supremely elegant way. The power is in his subtlety and precision.
With his latest spring/summer 2015 collection, he opted to focus on design for design's sake and eschewed the kinds of narrative threads he's used to build his past few collections. This change up was awesome because as much as I love the stories of previous collections, this new direction allowed him to explore my favorite part of his work and it definitely produced some dope results. There were bright pastels like lilac and beige and the return of his familiar shades of deep red and navy placed onto tops that were extra-long and perfectly tailored slim-cut high waisted pants. Some of the coolest pieces featured a kind of ragged painter's brush pattern on neoprene in two-tones like navy and coral, and mauve and grey.
There were also a couple of collaborative surprises in this collection. Robert has paired up with Garrett Leight California Optical to make some convertible shades that look like something Mickey would wear in Natural Born Killers. And, most awesomely, the show debuted the latest installment in the the extremely fruitful collab between Robert and Common Projects. This time around, they dropped a luxury slip-on with a Vans-style silhouette and a derby with a zipper closure. The derbies in patent leather were by far my favorite shoes on the runway this Fashion Week. They are pretty flashy with their shiny leather and zipper, but they have a casual spin thanks to their thick sole that reminds me of Red Wing's iconic Postman Oxfords… I think it's time to start selling some Nikes on eBay so my bank account and closet will be ready for those bad boys to drop.
—WILBERT L. COOPER
Becca McCharen knows how to cage a woman. A week before her show at The Standard Hotel for MADE Fashion Week, she was given four hours to successfully turn Beyonce’s dancers into bondage badasses for her VMA performance. Her new Chromat collection was just as impressive, leaving no body part unbound, from the tip of the model’s ponytails to their toes. Until the show, I never thought I would long to wear an accessory that resembles the reverse bear trap from Saw. I wouldn’t even care if it ripped my face in half at the end of the night.
When it comes to the useless talent of being able to sell people cliché cultural vomit, Jeremy Scott is in a league of his own. On a good day, he'll take the aspects we're fond of, like the Simpsons, and make something we don't hate. On bad days, he'll rape and pillage something sacred like Santa Cruz skateboard designs and get hit with a lawsuit. Running out of shit to rip off, it looks like this is the season where he's finally tripped over himself.
For his latest collection, Jeremy Scott is literally selling glorified Shrek merchandise. Keeping with the franchise's strict diarrhea-vomit color wheel, comes a $260 denim plaid shirt, a $225 zipper front plaid bra, and a kitschy $120 tie-dye T-shirt that says "SHREK HAPPENS" in the beaten-to-death Vision Street Wear style that looks like something Scott himself wiped his ass with. That wasn't even the most nauseating part—at the end the show he grabbed Miley Cyrus, the poster child for the garbage tweeny-bopper demographic, from the front row and paraded her off the runway. Which is fine as long as long we're all on the same page here: "artist-muse relationship" is just a fancy way of saying "cocaine dependency."
The philosophy behind Telfar's latest Spring/Summer 2015 collection is "Simplex." Although it sounds like some kind of STD or new mental disorder, it's actually a (quoting the press release here), "construction method in composed of two overlapping half-circles… [sic] " I'm not 100 percent sure what that statement even means, but it sounds pretty smart. And at this point, I've accepted the fact that the Liberian born and Queens raised designer Telfar Clemens has way more brain power than I do. So, I'm just going to roll with it because he always seems to be ahead of the curve. When he first started to portray his label with this fantasy that it was a global mega-brand, it seemed weird. And look at Telfar now, two seasons in at NYFW with glowing reviews coming in from Vogue to VICE and everywhere in between. So I have a hunch Simplex—with it's Kmart meets 90s-era Helmut Lang aesthetic—will catch on… Just hopefully not in my genitals.
—WILBERT L. COOPER
I arrived at the Betsey Johnson show with blood on my shirt and a band-aid on my arm. Thanks to my immune deficiency—which, unfortunately for VICE commenters, is a genetic condition, not HIV—I ended up at the emergency room. But the doctors discharged me around 12:30, allowing me to rush to Betsey Johnson’s prenup-themed show. I felt like shit, and I worried I’d witness a shitshow because Johnson has faced financial difficulties in past years. Her last runway show looked like Lisa Frank’s cocaine-fueled vomit. I wasn’t shocked when the show started with two sexy twinks walking down the aisle (read: runway) in matching wedding jackets. (One jacket said “pre” on the back in sparkly letters, and the other said “nup.”) Johnson’s sales pitch might've been “edgy” for a 76-year-old woman, but it was pretty tame to me… That is, until the twinks started making out on the runway.
Against a song that included the lyrics “I won’t grow up,” the other models continued breaking standard conventions. Instead of stealing downtown drag queen’s looks and tossing them on anorexic girls who sell the gowns to middle-aged store owners and Johnson’s lesbian fans, Johnson hired drag queens and butch girls to model her clothes. But one model eclipsed the queens: the former Real Housewife of Beverly Hills, Camille Grammer. Grammer’s life has sucked the last few years. She divorced her husband Kelsey, a.k.a. Fraiser, and survived cancer. But I forgot all of that when I saw Grammer dance in Johnson’s skimpy wedding gown and flashy gold necklace, with smeared makeup around her eyes. She looked like a woman who discovered how to act like a teenager at age 46. Besides attracting press attention, the antics of the drag queens and reality stars showcased how Johnson is more than a woman who creates material for gay tabloid reporters who love camp. She’s a genius who can make cancer survivors look as sexy as Kate Moss and make sick people forget their health issues for 10 minutes with the power of her short runway shows.
Patrik Ervell is a tinkerer. He came into the game with a very clear vision and approach and he's been perfecting it and polishing it ever since to increasingly great results. When he drops a new collection, it's not about reinventing silhouettes for men. Instead, it's about making the classics even better by using the latest innovations in fabrics and materials. Fittingly, spring/summer 2015's theme was "World of Interiors"—building on the idea that interior design moves at a much more sustainable, functional pace than fashion. Instead of being pushed forth by trends that come in as quick as they fizzle out, interiors are about durability and longevity. This is a concept that has always been close to the Patrik Ervell ethos for menswear, but this season put this idea front and center with a collection that focused on basics updated with exciting new materials. My favorite looks of the collection featured outerwear pieces made of transparent nylon, vented track pants made of polyurethane, and that tough calfskin racing leather jacket that closed the show. However, the piece I hope to be wearing next spring is the zip-up flight jacket in jade fluted silk. It's cut like something out of Red Tails, but it has an extraordinary sheen. It's the perfect encapsulation of Patrik Ervell—classic silhouette with a forward thinking design.
—WILBERT L. COOPER
For a couple of years, I was thoroughly convinced that Daisuke Obana, the guy behind Japanese concept label N. Hoolywood, could send anything down the runway and I'd quickly scarf it down and ask for seconds. His MO is pretty much taking a certain era of classic Americana that we take for granted—like prohibition mafiosos and Marlboro man cowboys—and giving these looks (that have since been abandoned and left to die on costume store shelves) the much needed Japanese revisit they deserve.
Unfortunately for his latest season, Obana decided to appropriate the year 2099, an era where Teva sandals and digi-camo worked so well the first time around, that they were in desperate need of a remix.
If you don’t know anything about fashion, you could easily throw on one of ØDD’s runway looks and appear like you belong frontrow at a show. Sure, the geometric cuts and subdued colors can resemble a prison uniform or a comfy pajama set, but that is part of the appeal. The collection is about feeling sexy in clothing that isn’t super revealing. So now, if my boyfriend gives me shit about wearing house clothes in public, I will tell him they’re designer.
Eckhaus Latta always incorporate their elaborate humor and intelligence into their work, and this show was no different. And a children's choir, busty models, sock wedges with built-in woven socks, and heads of lettuce on the runway is testament to that. These weirdos are only getting better.
A lot of my #menswear buddies who write and blog or design and promote fashion have always hyped up visvim to me. visvim holds this rarefied place among dudes who are into clothes because of designer Hiroki Nakamura's relentless pursuit to make garments that spare no expense and make no compromises in terms of quality and craftsmanship. Past seasons have featured sweaters dyed with the colorful remains of the Cochineal insect—it takes 80,000 of them to make one kilogram of dye, a $30,000 robe made of tree bark, and a teepee tanned with buffalo brains. The brand has been doing crazy stuff like this for like 13 years. It came out of Japan's Ura-Hara movement, along with labels like Bathing Ape. But like a lot of people in the US, it really came to my attention when famous guys like Kanye West and John Mayer started rocking it and style sites like Complex stared pumping it up.
So, when I got the invitation to check out the brand's latest Spring/Summer 2015 collection, I was beyond stoked. The collection was presented at Industria Studios in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. It had a 50s greaser meets Hawaiian kitsch theme. I know that sounds far-fetched at first, but all-American bad boys back in the day were obsessed with Hawaii—just listen to the tiki-torch slide guitar at the opening of Hank Williams "Your Cheating Heart" for proof.
A lot of the clothing and shoes were new versions of the brand's staples that I'd seen online—like their famed FTB moccasins, gorgeous leather outwear, and button-down shirts with eccentric flourishes. But you can't really get visvim by looking at the clothes in pictures over the internet. You have to touch and feel them to understand why a lot of dudes go bonkers for the brand and are willing to pony up for their hefty price tag. After seeing the stuff for myself, I'm definitely a fan. For this collection, Hiroki did some pretty crazy stuff like make some shirts out of pineapple fibers to support the Hawaii theme. Not to mention all of the embroidery and graphics were sewed and painted by hand by remote artisans who've been painstakingly making garments the same way for centuries.
There were very few people checking out the collection when I was there, but those who were present were heavy hitters like Nick Wooster, William Yan, and Lynn Yaeger. They also had all kinds of fancy little goodies on deck, too—like chocolate strawberries, lemonade, and brownie-cakes—which was dope. Hiroki Nakamura was there, too, talking to some of the guest about the collection with a great fervor. In addition to the clothes and food, they had this old antique car there that looked like something out of American Graffiti. It was very weathered by time, and everyone was wondering if it could still even run. When prodded, Hiroki, got inside and revved the bad boy up something fierce. It was an awesome moment that spoke to ethos behind his brand, which eschews modern production techniques for methods that are often seen as outdated. visvim's gorgeous garments and unparalleled craftsmanship is reminder that back in the day, they did things the hard way for a reason. Like that classic car, I bet these new visvim garments will be making cool dudes happy for a long time.
—WILBERT L. COOPER
MARIA KE FISHERMAN
The braids, the vinyl, and the zip-up knee-high boots—it was all so good. Maria ke Fisherman delivered their second solid collection of pleated miniskirts, cropped jackets, and mesh tops for MADE Fashion Week at The Standard Hotel. Maria Lemus and Victor Alonso have successfully transformed the 90s cyberpunk style of the weirdo tech kids hanging out in the dark abyss of Hot Topic, into a sexy badass look that fashion kids are drooling over. The only downside of the presentation is that more people are going to wish they had crammed in there to see it.
How the Blonds can get Paris and Perez Hilton in the same room and still be Fashion Week's best-kept secret is beyond me.