New York Fashion Week SS14: still set to inspire
I’m off to New York next week for fashion week, where I’ll be posting from the most exciting menswear shows around the city.
New York’s men’s shows may not fit into a few neat days like London’s collections, there’s a lot of preppy conformity to filter out and the inevitable September humidity to deal with, but half the inspiration of being in a city like New York at any time, never mind fashion week, is experiencing what the well dressed are wearing. New Yorkers are expert at dressing for extremes, adept at wearing the right thing for those long sweaty summers as well as layering up for some seriously cold winters.
There may not be quite the bargains to be had of the 90’s, when Manhattan streets were packed with Brit shoppers wheeling empty suitcases towards then little-known outlet stores, but at a higher level the understated style of the city’s residents continues to be an influence. In menswear, simple combinations like a button-down Oxford shirt worn untucked over slim black jeans with a cap-toe shoe or Vans-style plimsoll is a classic NY look that still works, even if you don’t happen to play in a Brooklyn indie band. Directional boutiques like Opening Ceremony and some of the world’s best vintage stores means that shopping in the city continues to be worthwhile.
Regarding ongoing influence, a case in point is the Danish brand Wood Wood who took a visit to New York and the way its residents dress as inspiration for their current, AW13 collection, presented at Copenhagen fashion week. Monochrome sporty pieces and tailoring combined to put a dark spin on sportswear, where logos are disrupted and branding is off-centre and minimal. I can see the cast iron buildings and low key, ‘paint it black’ shopfronts of downtown New York in this collection. Another facet of the inspiration was the clash of dress codes and functions one sees on crowded corners of Manhattan, where the uniforms of business and sportswear (both functional and tribal) often collide. Its not that other major cities don’t have this clash, there’s just an intensity about the urban experience on that narrow island (and of course it’s increasingly influential outlying boroughs) that is unique.
Former residents and habitués of New York may complain that the city isn’t what it was, but there are still some exciting designers at work and some serious people watching to be done, so check back in for updates on both. For a reminder of some of my highlights last season, take a look at my piece for The Guardian here.
Shots below are from Wood Wood’s New York inspired AW13 collection, as seen at Copenhagen fashion week.