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New York fashion week is underway and amidst all the big-guns productions the final menswear shows of the fashion year (and what those attending them are wearing) confirm the trends for next summer.

New York fashion week is largely dominated by womenswear but there are menswear shows in the schedule too and New York retains a small but well formed core of talented young designers showing progressive men’s fashion. In addition, trends have had soak time and as the last big showcase of menswear in the annual calendar what editors and buyers are wearing to the shows this week is a good indication of what everyone else will want to be wearing next spring/summer (it’s also most likely what will be the shops).

1. New York menswear designers are doing really well at designing womenswear too. CFDA menswear designers of the year Public School stepped up to the mark yesterday showing womenswear alongside the menswear to a packed house including no less of a scary headmistress than Anna Wintour herself, proving their monochrome, impeccably tailored streetwear has appeal for both men and women. Signature layering and panels of contrasting fabric echoed the precision of sneaker design. In a similar vein, Tim Coppens also presented menswear and womenswear side-by-side last night and while the approach to materials and print were common the designs were carefully constructed with male and female form in mind rather than being unisex.

2. Minimal white trainers are de rigeur. As dictated by fashion editors, the Stan Smith (preferably the Raf Simons version), is the shoe of choice this week but credit must also be due to locals Common Projects whose classic white low top sneaker is also very visible. The New York brand also collaborated with Robert Geller and Tim Coppens producing shoes for their runway shows. As sports brands load up the layers of spongy foam and garish colour the alternative is simpler, low top and remarkably for a training shoe, looks better as it ages.

3. Ian Brown holds a spectral presence over New York. Duckie Brown showed bucket hats on Thursday (actually inspired by the day-to-day uniform of designer Daniel Silver’s 91-year old father) but shown alongside sporty bombers and cagoules and with a looped edit of Fool’s Gold as the soundtrack, the look was reminiscent of Manchester’s indie dance heyday. Remarkably, Brown also inspired a print at Tim Coppens demonstrating that the 90s revival isn’t just a British thing but demonstrates a more widespread interest in celebrating laddish tribal uniforms and the obsessiveness of British youth trends.

4. Almost nowhere does spectacle like New York. From Gareth Pugh’s video screen Stonehenge/contemporary dance event (attended by the likes of SJP and Maggie Gylenhaal and um, me) to Opening Ceremony’s Spike Jonze-directed one-act play and Hood by Air’s show where models appeared bound into perspex stocks and a huge dog stalked the runway, New York has shrugged off the straight up fashion show this season. My personal favourite though was <a href=”http://www.sharpenedlead.com/?p=4967″>N.Hoolywood</a>’s rooftop menswear show where the Japanese designer showed his latest menswear collection (inspired by vivid exotic insects) in the open air against a moody Gotham City sky awaiting only the symbol of the bat to appear.

5. The future is black and white. Public School and Hood by Air, who used a limited colour palette to focus on detail and form, pushed the starkest of fashion contrasts to excess. This seems perfectly natural in New York where a white T-shirt, a perfect pair of black jeans and battered Vans, can still define street style. There are no shades of grey allowed.

6. Sportswear is still where it’s at for next summer. With even the starchiest, suit-wearing of editors wearing sneakers with their whistles and with sports mesh, latex and other tech fabrics being celebrated across menswear shows from Tim Coppens, to Hood by Air, Public School and N. Hoolywood, the emphasis is on practicality for urban living. N,Hoolywood designer Daisuke Obana went so far as to say he was presenting clothes he wants to wear himself in the city, the shapes in his usually history-referencing collection were simple and functional focusing on colour and detail.

7. New York loves a concept. From Robert Geller’s pondering of the meaning of modern, to N.Hoolywood’s veneration of natural forms and the vivid colours of insect life in his native Japan to Thaddeus Neil’s romantic presentation of surfers as ‘hobos of the sea’ (3D glasses were supplied), in art-loving New York big ideas find a willing audience.


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