Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Best of Menswear F/W 06-07

The menswear shows ended a couple of weeks ago, and it is time to choose some favorites. This season had the fewest surprises for me - pretty much all designers I revere produced excellent collections. I haven't seen some collections yet, such as Carol Christian Poell and Carpe Diem - but that is simply impossible, unless you are a buyer. So, I will wait until their clothes gets to stores. Anyway, here are my picks;

1. Raf Simons. Finally!!! I have been waiting and waiting for Raf to get back to his roots, and he produced an absolutely stellar, perfectly tailored collection. While I understood Rafs explorations of the youth culture and such, I have always felt that it was missing his incredible cutting skills, and his austure, yet innovative tailoring that dominated his late 90's collections and made him one of my favorites. This collection marks this return. Yet, it is not a complete return - that would be boring. There are plenty new interesting garments (notice the two-piece coat and the double-collared one). Perfect all around.

2. Number (N)ine. This was definitely the biggest surprise. I am not a fan of N(N) in general. I think Taka is more of a stylist, not a designer. Last season's horrendous Axl Rose show was the biggest proof of that... and so was this as a matter of fact. It was very derivative - you could see Raf Simons, early Dior Homme, and even Cloak in it. Yet, what made it attractive to me, and put it so high up on this list is how incredibly well executed it was. I could see myself in almost every garment from the show.

3. Rick Owens. I liked this show, because it was a bit of a progress for Rick, who is often accused (and sometimes rightfully so) of being a one-trick (the trick being the draping, and the earthly colors) pony. I liked the oversized coats with pinched shoulders - a definite step forward. If the fabrics in this collection are as exquisite as they usually are - this is a winner.

4. Ann Demeulemeester. My fashion love has toned it down a little ever since she started a stand-alone mens show. And maybe it's a good thing and a sign of progress. I do feel a tiny feeling of disappointment, as I am used to Ann's romantic, yet very confident tone. She retained it with the womenswear this season (the women's review to come in my next entry), but not with the menswear. However, the romantic part is still definitely there, and there are plenty of beautiful pieces. And she put her good friend and source of inspiration - Patty Smith - on the runway. How cool is that?!

5. Cloak. I got to go this show, and the atmosphere inside was fantastic. I love seeing a lot of people in one place who share a similar aesthetic, because I always hope that behind sharing an aesthetic, there are deeper cultural similarities. The clothes themselves were also less agressive then in the previous season, but the tailoring and a decisively masculine aspect is still there.

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