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Englishman On New York (Fashion Week)
September 13, 2017
That next mashing up of a song title heralds the next instalment of my New York Fashion Week reviews. I do hope you’ve been enjoying them as much as I have. Can you believe looking at pics of clothes is a job? Yeah, I do pinch myself sometimes. Sadly I’m not in New York, I’m writing this from a hotel room in Cambridge, so I’m pretending my ‘cup of joe’ is from a 5th Avenue cart not a sachet, and the complimentary biscuits are salted pretzels; anyway on with the reviews. (By the way, shortbread is a TERRIBLE biscuit.)
Zadig & Voltaire can slip under the radar at times. Their collection is usually predominantly female-orientated but for the guys, the show is always worth a look even if it’s a bit like mining – have a dig and you’ll find some outfit gems. I loved the almost ombre effect of some of the shirting, an interesting return to an older technique with a modern twist. It fades into the whiteness of the rest of the look excellently; less pared-back is the statement coat that is routed in a fusion of bold with military. In winter it’s important not just to get somewhere, you want to arrive.
Speaking of making a statement, here comes Libertine with a print that channels The Velvet Underground, some statement eye-related jumpers and the most exquisite floral-brocaded suit. This isn’t a collection for the wallflowers out there; this is big, bollocked look-at-me couture, and who wouldn’t want to look. Yes I do love chic elegance, but every so often I want to see and wear clothes that make me feel like a strutting peacock of a man, and Libertine are delivering that over and over.
Meanwhile over at Billy Reid there is a much softer feel, gentle fabrics, relaxed lines and a slightly washed-out hue to the tones. It’s the exact opposite to Libertine, but when spring comes round and the four days a year the UK calls summer, these are the looks you’ll want. I can see it now, drinks overlooking the river, watching the sunset, or a party in a garden, smell of food cooking, light breeze wafting at the layers. You’ll feel cooler than that jug of Pimms being poured over ice.
Staying with soft and simple, we arrive at the final destination on our personal L-Train for the day, The Elder Statesman. You could call these looks essentials, simple jumpers and shirts for building out a wardrobe, but that would be to miss the point. These are elegance woven into relaxed. We can’t always wear sharp suits or tailored looks, sometimes we just want to feel a good casual and get on with things. They bring that on with almost perfection in this collection. Great prints on excellent relaxed fabrics, it’s like the joyous, soft, laid-back Sunday of a collection and for that I adore them.