As far as style goes, January 2017 is the month of the man. The fashion industry raked in millions after shows in Paris, Milan, New York, Florence — you name it. The farthest reaching fashion media feeds gave menswear its due, Vogue publishing its usual glorious photo slides of each collection and hundreds of articles were published raving over or criticizing this season’s batch. Yet as relevant as it may be, I simply haven’t kept up with men’s fashion, really at all in comparison to the way I keep up with women’s fashion. The most I’d seen or paid attention to it was in unisex collections or styles because simply put, androgyny is in.
But before scrolling through the slides of the most popular, recent runway collections whose designers I’d at least heard of, I made a number of assumptions about my expectations for modern menswear, namely in comparison to womenswear. It would be more practical, less flashy and, above all, boring (sexist, I know). But upon finally thinking about it and scrolling through the collections, I wondered why I hadn’t at least viewed men’s fashion week. From a personal standpoint, I buy plenty of men’s clothing at a thrift store and would agree the men’s section has infinitely better sweaters. Entertainment-wise, the spectacle of menswear runway shows rival the finesse, detail and extravagance exhibited in any women’s runway collection. The men’s fashion industry currently stands valued at $440 billion and incredibly famous and acclaimed designers like Raf Simmons and Marcus Wainwright made their debut in menswear.
So here are a few thoughts of my favorite menswear collections of the season, interpreted by an almost completely blank slate.
Nick Graham, apparently the maker of some of the greatest suits to walk the earth, debuted a Mars-themed collection for New York Fashion Week, hosted by, you guessed it, actually probably not: Bill Nye. The patterns and colors were bold and inventive but just understated enough to maintain the integrity of a dressy, professional suit. I completely agree with the hype.
Raf Simmons: because of his work with Dior and Calvin Klein, this is biased in his favor. His recent immigration and succession of Calvin Klein has garnered plenty of attention. Regardless of whether or not his menswear collection expressed any of the recent uproar in regards to American immigration policy or sentiment about his new status as a U.S. citizen, the collection was unmistakably themed with pieces like an unforgettable “I heart New York” sweater and working class overcoats donned by especially thin models. His work was oversized, occasionally cinched with caution tape and plastic belts emboldened with trademark New York sayings. Much of it included exciting graphics and a remarkably unisex appeal.
Hugo Boss, unfortunately, was what I expected to dislike about menswear. Everything was clean-cut but nothing remotely exciting. Maybe I’m simple-minded or misinformed for wanting some color, any color.
My brief encounter with menswear forces me to conclude that I’ve been missing out. As womenswear and menswear continue to collide and mix, menswear just might reign supreme one of these days.