Category: New York


Closing the file on New York Fashion Week SS14: some final thoughts

Posted on 14th September, by Colin Chapman in menswear, New York, New York Fashion Week. No Comments

New York fashion week ended Thursday with an apocalyptic-looking Marc Jacobs show featuring a spectacular set, cut-and-paste period looks, kooky home-cut hair and the theme music from Jaws – all in all a vision worthy of Tim Burton and quite brilliant. But by then I was already back in London attending the launch of the ICA’s amazing Off site exhibition to welcome myself home. So, as I close the file on the New York menswear shows for SS14 I attended last week, here are a few thoughts and images that didn’t make it into either the Guardian round up or my Duckie piece.

Duckie Brown

Duckie is always the best experience for me at NYFW: reliably confrontational and … Read More »


Menswear at New York fashion week reviewed

Posted on 12th September, by Colin Chapman in New York, New York Fashion Week. 1 Comment

My round up from The Guardian earlier this week, in case you missed it there or aren’t a Guardian visitor.

New York fashion week concludes soon and the more interesting menswear shows this week demonstrated that beneath the city’s reputation for understatement beats a less conventional heart

Duckie Brown

Duckie Brown are New York’s premier menswear experimentalists, and on Friday among the most surprising pieces in their collection were skirts and aprons inspired by sportswear and uniforms, shown alongside classic shapes such as bomber jackets and shorts. The idea of men in skirts still provokes strong reactions, which is why bolder menswear designers continue to return to it.

This collection was grounded in solid colours reminiscent of uniforms – navy, grey and khaki – and paired up with the solid heft of the … Read More »


New York Fashion Week SS14: Duckie Brown review

Posted on 6th September, by Colin Chapman in New York, New York Fashion Week. 4 Comments

Boys keep swinging: Duckie Brown’s SS14 collection doesn’t skirt around the issue of what men can wear.

Duckie Brown today played up to their reputation for being New York’s premier experimentalists in the form of menswear. And playing is the right word to use, not in the sense of being pointlessly frivolous but in the idea of a childlike refusal to accept rules as rules and to continuously test boundaries, especially when it comes to what can be worn and by whom. In the opening moments, a spoken word soundtrack, voiced by children, expressed the arbitrariness of male and female dress codes and their impact on aspirations and identities, a sentiment later underlined by the lyrics of some driving adult-vocalled hip hop.

Backstage before the show, Read More »


Limited edition Sharpened Lead T-shirts available: Be it like mad

Posted on 18th September, by Colin Chapman in Fashion blogging, menswear day, Menswear icons, New York, T Shirts. No Comments

I’ve had some Sharpened Lead T-shirts made up as a little celebration of Fashion weeks in NYC and London. T-shirts have already found their way to good homes in New York (some favourite designers, blogging friends and fashion editors) and now it’s London’s turn in prep for Wednesday’s Menswear day.

The T-shirt is screenprinted on a high-quality unbleached cotton by the lovely White Duck Screenprint people in Bath. The image is one I’ve licensed especially for this limited run of T-shirts, featuring a line drawing of Quentin Crisp, a personal idol of mine. The motto reads: “You first have to find out who you are, then be it like mad”, a saying that I’ve taken very much to heart in recent years and very much sums up my attitude to fashion.

There are still some available, so if you’re interested do drop me a line colin@sharpenedlead.com. They will retail for £35.00 +P&P. Only size SMALL available.

Some images of the magical screenprinting process follow:


NYC menswear boutique posts #1: Surface to Air

Posted on 17th September, by Colin Chapman in Blazers, Film and fashion, Lable Profile, menswear, Menswear icons, New York, T Shirts. 1 Comment

On my first visit to the new Surface to Air boutique during #FNO, a Kanye-esque hip-hop crew turned up complete with double-decker bus sized security guards and gold-plated credit cards to burn. It wasn’t the most conducive atmosphere to shop, though the spectacle was entertaining. I tend to be lukewarm about jeans brands, as they take up so much fashion space with little creativity to show for it. But I’m prepared to give Surface to Air the benefit, after all, the French label used to be a mainstay of my beloved and much missed BBlessing, the LES store that could claim to be my favourite menswear shop in the world. Minimal, savvy and with a dark edge, Surface to Air were a perfect label for BBlessing, a tiny shop that totally celebrated the dark side of Gotham City.


I’ll be your mirror: Bill Cunningham New York

Posted on 13th September, by Colin Chapman in Film and fashion, New York. No Comments

There have been times on this trip when I’ve had a sense of New York being an illusion, a dream from which eventually I will have to wake up. Something about the architecture, the attitude of the people living in this charmed place, the endless possibilities crammed into every block. In a taxi heading over the Williamsburg bridge the other night, the glittering towers of the city spread out before me, I had a sense of New York being a character, anthropmorphised as ‘someone’ you can get to know.

The film Bill Cunningham New York which we saw last night is one of the ways in which the character of the city can be understood. If you care about fashion, and if you’re reading this I imagine you do, I cannot recommend the film enough. An ego-less Zen-like character, Cunningham has been photographing what people wear in New York, and annually in Paris, since the 1940s. Living in a decrepid Crisp-like single room in Carnegie Hall, Cunningham sets out every day on bicycle, clad in an iconic blue workwear jacket, to capture what people are wearing on the streets, whatever the weather. This film has so much resonance for fashion blogging as a pursuit, although he is very much part of the establishment in some respects, on first name terms with the likes of Anna Wintour, Cunningham remains outside of the system to a great extent, his passion is to capture beauty, not the pursuit of wealth or status. Unspoken cameos by Mordechai Rubenstein and Scott Schuman set the film directly in the context of how fashion is currently consumed and communicated in our complex, connected media world, though Cunningham’s New York Times column remains central.


Fashion’s Night Out New York Sept 2011 – a heady mix of fashion and music

Posted on 12th September, by Colin Chapman in Fashion launch, New York, shopping. No Comments

I’ve never experienced Fashion’s Night Out in London, but here in New York it really is a major happening. Streets thronged with people and events hosted by every major label and fashion retail outlet in the city. This year I made the resolution to restrict events to SOHO, though there was more than enough going on in this one neighbourhood to make the night a busy one. A few highlights: Helmut Lang won hands down as longest queue of the evening, and there was more than a hint of Studio 54 exclusivity going on at the door. Speaking of Studio 54, OAK on Bond Street held a disco-themed party, with limited edition T-shirts featuring the likes of Burt Reynolds in his beefcake pin-up days and an iconic Bianca Jagger astride a white horse at the legendary nightclub. As FNO really isn’t a time to shop, I returned to pick up one of each the next morning. Music is always a highlight of FNO in New York, with artists as diverse as Patti Smith, Courtney Love and indie bands Best Coast and Sun Airway playing in the city that night. Nomi Ruiz DJed the If boutique party before playing with her band Jessica 6 at the launch of Nicola Formichetti’s Nicola pop-up store, though the nearest our weary feet came to dancing was at the Odin party, where indie-dance by the likes of HolyGhost! and The Rapture had the crowd moving.


You read it here: cropped, turned-up trousers replace the hated tuck

Posted on 26th August, by Colin Chapman in New York, pants, Street trends, trousers. No Comments

Something has to be done about the tucked into boots look. Even as one of the original tuckers I take no responsibility for it. But as young British men continue to dress (literally) like an All Saints shop window dummy, the trend must die. Don’t get me wrong, compared to some of the trouser outrages of recent decades (trailing, frayed boot cut denim anyone?) the slim jean tucked into boot is merely a miscreant. And I’ve already seen the answer: the slim, cropped trouser with a deep turn-up worn with high, laced-up boots. Remarkably, the wonderful Duckie Brown were prescient enough to show this exact look over 2 years ago in their Fall 2010 collection. I’ve already spotted a few scions of the future wearing it on the streets of E2 (cord over brogued boots seems to be popular option). And it’s one solution to how to wear your cropped, rolled trousers now that the weather’s gone parky and showing your ankles isn’t so appealing.

I suggest you stick to classic pant styles: think flat-fronted with side angled front pockets in solid, earthy colours and have a tailor create a generous turn-up for you. And they really don’t have to be bovver boy, drainpipe tight.


NYFW: Boutique picks and the buzz about Duckie and Patrik

Posted on 13th September, by Colin Chapman in menswear, New York. No Comments

So, my jaunt to New York for at least some of fashion week has come to an abrupt end and I’m left wondering where my next cup of Stumptown coffee is coming from. I did a quick whizz around my beloved downtown menswear boutiques (summed up below) yesterday afternoon, and had my eyes and ears open for the buzz on the street about the best of the menswear shows (Patrik Ervell and Duckie Brown it seeems).

So firstly, those boutiques. I’d been quite distraught that my very favourite spot, BBlessing, has closed down, but I have to say I was very impressed with Odin, on Lafayette, which even seems to have inherited BB’s signature emblem of a raven for itself. The spacious, menswear-only store features current favourites like Gitman … Read More »


New York Report II: Fashion’s Night Out 10 Sept 2010

Posted on 11th September, by Colin Chapman in Fashion blogging, menswear, New York. No Comments

New York was crazy last night! Even if you chose to stay in your hotel room and live vicariously through the Twitter/blogger spheres (which my exhausted feet tell me I didn’t) the sheer range of events and the numbers of people involved would be truly staggering. From Iggy Pop on stage at the POP (geddit?) party at Don Hill’s, to Karen Elson at Balenciaga to the roadblocked Opening Ceremony French-themed fleamarket at the Ace hotel and various downtown block parties, Manhattan was gridlocked with fashion people schlepping from hotspot to hotspot across the island.

Outside the Ace hotel, Opening Ceremony

My personal experience was a mix of hits and misses: next year I will come much more prepared with a strict schedule that doesn’t rely so much on scarce taxis.

Highlight for me was the Opening Ceremony event at the … Read More »

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