Welcome to a “Brave New World”

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (www.cfda.com) will be launching New York Fashion Week: Men’s, “a standalone showcase for American men’s fashion” on July 13th, with the Spring/Summer 2016 collections. There is no question that this is an exciting time for men’s fashion. The European menswear collections for Spring/Summer 2016, which began in London and ended in Paris on Monday, were testament to an ongoing antidisestablishmentarianism, and gender bending ambiguity, where lines continue to be blurred between masculine and feminine. On Friday, the Supreme Court came down with the decision to legalize same-sex marriages throughout the country, and Caitlyn Jenner made news and history with her recent ‘outing’ . Welcome to a “ Brave New World”!

Many designers are not only continuing to break with tradition and think out of the box, but are forging ahead with the sort of technical innovation and painstaking, artisanal workmanship one normally associates with couture. This was exemplified by Thom Browne, who lavishly decorated his (almost) otherwise traditional grey and navy three-piece suits with Japanese landscapes, blossoms, dragons, and Rei Kawakubo, whose Comme des Garcons Homme Plus “Broken Tailoring” collection, was all about “breaking down the art of tailoring” (“tearing it down to build it up” was how she explained it).

Closeup of scarf at neck at Hermes

And while the runways had their share of dandies, rock stars, safari, So Cal surfers, and grunge, those are just labels; there is not just one road to follow or just one trend. However, some trends were hard to ignore: the constant appearance of boy scout tied scarves at the neck, and an embrace of bare sandals and open toed footwear. Which means that like us gals, you guys will seriously need to schedule those pedicures this coming Spring/Summer. Then again, you could always wear socks with your sandals (another big trend), or follow Maison Margiela’s lead, and cover your toes with opaque toe peds.

Sandals with a suit at Marc Jacobs

But, most importantly, just as in women’s fashion there was truly something for everyone. Point/Counterpoint. For everything that was highly experimental, there was something conservative and classically traditional. I thought that the best way to illustrate this point and show the yin yang dichotomy that exists, is by taking some of the ‘sacred’, classic, time worn menswear staples (which were all over the runways in one form or another), and show how they were translated by designers who were unapologetically traditional if not mainstream, versus those who pushed the envelope and re imagined them; in some cases, rendering them almost unrecognizable (the ‘profane’, if you will, depending on your point of view).

The Balmacaan

Raf Simons & Margaret Howell

The Baseball Jacket 

Saint Laurent & Paul & Joe

The Crew Neck Sweater 

Ami & Dries Van Noten


The Breton Striped top

Officine Generale & Alexander McQueen

The Three Piece Suit

Thom Browne & Ralph Lauren

The Tuxedo

Ralph Lauren & Saint Laurent

The Biker Jacket

Ralph Lauren & Gucci

Morning Stripes

Dunhill & Commes des Garcons Homme

The Belted Trench

Lanvin & Gucci

The Field Jacket

Belstaff & Balmain

The Two Button Sport Jacket and Jeans

Brunello Cucinelli & Junya Watanabe

The Hooded Parka

Joseph & Y3

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.


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