FALL COLLECTIONS • TOP FIVE LONDON

the british style society is one of privilege and secrecy. with it’s proximity to paris and milan, it’s interesting to see the ways that rebellion is etched in the style history of london. it’s also interesting to see the ways that formality of tailoring and that rebellion lead into an intersection today. there has been an interesting struggle with the fashion calendar, particularly with menswear and london continues to fight for it’s place as a priority on the fashion map, sandwiched between the enormous showing of new york fashion week and milan fashion week. all said, there is only good design that can truly make a difference, and the labels seem to be doing just fine in that arena. representing design and influence in a way that only the british can, this season’s showing was one of strength. from vibrance, to the new influences of minimalism which seem to live in every corner of the fashion globe- these were my favorites of the season from our friends across the pond.

ERDEM starting the season off with a bang, erdem added coloring to the fall season. really dope use of floral, and most impressive were the use of floral in an ombre’d technique that took the outerwear to a new level. started in london, the design label is among british style society’s favorites. there were mod silhouettes, a take on tweeds and even some silhouettes that were reminiscent of valentino. while I’m not a fan of print, or complicated design, i think the ways that the collection was produced, and the story that was told for the season was super interesting. each piece held it’s own, adding themselves into this overall powerful collection of bold new style. inspired by interior design and an installation seen at the frieze master art fair; you could definitely feel the interiors influence, in the use of florals which almost drew a likeness to wallpaper. containing an art collectors feel for the season. i think the collection makes a strong statement, and will do well amongst the international retail audience, in the luxury sector. thinking like an editor, the collection would be dope for use of bold color themed editorials as that seems to be the concept trend of choice for designers for fall 2015. strong casting, which represented diversity and there was a rich, decadent aesthetic with this collection which was inspiring for me, in a new way, that rethinks style intricacy. a collection i wouldn’t have normally selected, i have to be mindful of london’s own independent style direction. the erdem label is definitely mindful of representing such flavoring, from season to season, and there was a great deal of continuity for the season, in adding another collection to the house DNA.

GARETH PUGH (concepts are the strength of gareth pugh, and even in this way that lacks actual function. it’s almost as if thats the beauty of it though. pugh returns to the mindset that fashion shows are, well, just that- a show! often a dark aesthetic, pugh stayed true to himself as a designer with his runway show which opted out of his usual fashion film format. with clothes seeming more like armor, there was a confrontational edge from the collection, more so than usual. the expected use of fur and leather was there; which is a par to the brand’s identity. even as some of the clothes in the collection were less functional, to the untrained eye. there was a wearability about this collection, in contrast to seasons past. i really loved the unabashed approach to further of pugh’s aesthetic. but after a while, the desensitized approach, and style stubbornness wears your senses thin. your expectations become numbed and all the collections begin to look the same. i loved the beauty theme of the collection with the red painted faces of the models. but would like to see something a bit more expansive. i would love to see a dark attempt at evening wear; just to prove that pugh has more up his sleeve than flowing outerwear and black fur. it’s all dope, but to a certain degree- fashion is about versatility and his concepts seem to be at a stand still. still! that being said, his collections are among the most bold, and his vision and execution set him apart. would love to see versatility going into next season, and a play on delicacy and romanticism. pugh is definitely a visionary, and his collection archive shows a very specific vision, now it’s time to broaden that horizon. vision is not enough when it’s not expansive.

PAUL SMITH streamlined and sleek, the paul smith collections really draw back to classic british tailoring. a beautiful fall palette of heavy tones of blue and brown, with the expected use of black- the collection hosted flares of yellow and flushes of pink as well. i loved the reinterpretation of plaid, as well as the feminized approach to menswear. the collection fits well into the existing market, while the brand visage of paul smith was never once smeared. there is a way that interpretation of certain design influences begin to trickle and what’s exceptional of the paul smith label is their revisiting and reminders of what is classic. there is a standardization in the collections, in this timeless and effortless way. turtle necks and wider silhouettes were seen in the collection, enlarged coat pockets and large button shift dresses were seen through the collection, which hosted a pretty strict palette. while other labels have been opting for bold tones this fall, paul smith remained stern in it’s own vision of style. i love that most of collections. as anna wintour said of new york, and i am now relating to show season as a whole, and fashion as an entire industry. she mentioned that labels are really strong in their own identity, and that’s what makes them stand out most. i think a clear point of view is always the most attractive. we love labels with an established heritage, which refer back to their own archives instead of trends or concepts that others are producing. while not the most forward thinking, i think there is an important classicism in london that is needed, as far as representation in the united kingdom. paul smith is a label we can always count on to deliver such an aesthetic- for men and women.

MAC_0182JULIEN MACDONALD fashion is a new business these days, in that, a collection can debut one day and it’s on a celebrity’s back the very next day, across the world. so was the case of julien macdonald, and their PR team getting it on the back of country pop singer, taylor swift. it’s that kind of PR that allows for the concepts to take on greater form and influence even faster. the focus for julien macdonald was evening wear, in an almost sinister way. there are often dark overtones for fall collections, which I’m all for. the collection hosted a range of intricate designs that were almost embroidery influenced. the collection featured laser cut leather dresses, which paired well alongside other dresses in the collection, simply for their attention to detail. while the collection hosts strong concepts, those concepts were divided into looks, and only one strong concept was presented. through it’s strength, however, that one design theme was enough to carry through, in a way that will be instantly recognizable once this collection hits retail. there was a festish-eque quality to the designs, which was interesting. there were satin robes; and chokers, all in this very sensual way. there is a polish to the collection and i selected this season’s set as a top in london for it’s strength and cohesion though to the end, in design. i always look at collections and judge based on editorial value as well. this collection would be dope for a range of editorial themes. definitely looking forward to the ways that the glossies will style this collection up.

J.W. ANDERSON presented with a bit of 80’s style futurism, the J.W. anderson collection was among the best, conceptually out of london. while the designer’s spring collection seemingly went viral with the oversized brimmed hats he presented, this collection cuts away from such concepts, presenting something entirely free from the previous season. which i appreciate. the new wave collection interpretations reminded me of ghesquiere for balenciaga; the silhouettes were sleek and modern, but in a familiar way. i loved the use of color and leather in this collection. a true presentation of style from a specific viewpoint was seen here. i always love labels that interpret styles drastically different from season; so was the case of this collection. while there were more vibrant, almost trend driven pieces, i naturally gravitated towards the more minimal pieces. i loved the use of warm caramel tones in the collection, and felt the focus of accessories as well. everything from the earrings to the knee-high boots, it was all very well communicated as a new wave inspiration. belted waists ruled the collection, for silhouettes of noted visibility. a range of style was seen, and while new wave was the focus, it was done so in this very versatile way that can still be managed for today’s modern market. the cleanly designed dresses in single tones can cater to the minimal consumer, and the punches of color can go to everyone else. containing a varied number of concepts with use of print, to use of textiles; the collection packed a powerful punch as the most far spanning in london. it seemed to take the main attractions of each of my selections and combine them, in one oddly attractive collection.

visit style.com for full collection coverage of the FW15 season
click image to view collection gallery

FALL COLLECTIONS • TOP FIVE NEW YORK

new york is the epitome of street style. while paris and london have their own respective scenes, the streets of new york are king. the designers that live in their studios have cultivated a perception of style that is truly american. vastly inspired by a range of influences from past and present. there is a hybrid aesthetic that we see on the runways, and the american style scene grows stronger and stronger with each year. other fashion capitals bring their own set of influences, but we as american’s are the most important. we brought with us the internet. america is the epicenter of exploitation and with our highly publicized, reality TV infested ideals, we create and break markets. these are the style collections that have communicated the clearest vision for style, as it relates to america. the home of mass appeal, commercialization and the multi-layered culture.

ONP_8362HOOD BY AIR of new york city influence and represntation is hood by air. a brewing fashion brand that has been long in the making of its own history. they started back in the early 2000’s, putting out these dope hats with lucite lettering. then they disbanded, from what i heard in new york city social circles. they somehow reformed, and started putting together more stronger concepts and full collections. just last year, they were awarded the LVMH young designers award. the award is the equivalent of the CFDA fashion fund put on by vogue, except LVMH is the leading fashion conglomerate in all of luxury. the awarding process of such funding for LVMH is new. an interesting choice winner, hood by air is a true defender of american culture, at the epicenter of new york city. blending transsexuality, with house and hip-hop culture, the collection truly fucks your mental with regard to style. there was an asexual componenet to the collection which is unseen in fashion. there is a radical approach to how HBA does all their shit. with the awarding of the LVMH young designers award, you feel a greater feel of luxury in textile. i love the collection for it’s representation of a slightly unrepresented piece of american culture and view point of strength. i love the idea of really going against the grain, and think there is a greater sense of validation within that framework of thinking when LVMH is shooting you an award. the contest has hailed some of the strongest design talent, the world over. of course, hood by air is a unique brand that i’ve been able to follow before all the style.com hype, back when it was a label existing within underground street culture, among the gays, and circling the community where the greatest of influences often live. with the conceptual designs hitting the runway, i am curious to see what is put into production. the use of fur in the collection made the greatest impact.

JASON WU sophisticated sensuality glided down the runways of new york fashion week, by way of jason wu. warm toned use of brown started the collection, as a progressive cool began to show close to the end. the collection featured sleek design, slim silhouettes and beautiful use of color, in a standard way that only further accentuated the clean lines of the collection. crown molded walls surrounded the runway as beautifully simple use of fur was seen throughout. at the close of the collection there was a focus on outwear as standalone pieces, which i really loved. fall is definitely all about the outerwear. there was an expectation fulfilled, in that, wu is developing his customer even further. adult, but in a way that is free and still maintaining of youth all the same, the collection is a true design progression. as featured in my pre-fall collection, the same sense of consistency and bankable deliverables is here in this collection. this was a wardrobe of classics, but seemingly re-interpreted in this way that made you look at them in a new way. while cut and color are key, there is an energy to the clothes and a clear vision of the wu woman was presented. with his expansion into creating advertising campaigns, i love the collections; but have yet to see a campaign that really allows the strengths of wu’s collections to be showcased. there’s a classic appeal in the clothes, that reads as boring in the ad campaigns. he normally features some of the most famous models in the world, and even makes a cameo himself. wondering who will be cast and where the campaign will be shot for this collection. the focus seemed to be upon, ‘sexy’. but not in an over the top way, it was subtle and gentle.

OSCAR DE LA RENTA the first collection following his passing, and the debut collection of his successor, peter copping. the ODLR fall collection was a return to quality and signified an understanding of house DNA. the collection was significantly more understated in a way that oscar himself had a flare for drama, but there is a refinement by way of youth that was seen here. a representation of polish and new perspective that was respectful. the usual use of vibrance in palette was visible, which honored the legacy and choice aesthetic of de la renta. there is an elegance that is felt from the brand, and i am very interested to see how the iconic label’s design archives will be re-interpreted. at last nights oscars, actress sienna miller debuted a dress from this collection, sending the de la renta name into the award season fashion stratosphere, for the first time. while there have been strong developments for the brand, this era we live revolves around publicity, and that is what peter copping is doing. the turn around time is remarkable, and is indicative of the care that was put into the decisions for copping to take the lead as a successor. copping, previously at the house of nina ricci, seems like a fitting choice. considering his work at ricci, the de la renta name is a great next footing for his design career. this collection was the tip of the iceberg, and there is much ground to be covered. i am excited to see the developments into next season, i am also excited to see how the marketing approach will be re-developed as well. quality was the name of the game, and copping shoots and scores.

PROENZA SCHOULER usually structured and tight, the fall collection from proenza schouler came with greater ease and softer lines. there was a greater focus on the beauty of details, seen in the trims and the use of sequin. it was among the most creative of collections show in new york city, for the season. the duality of proenza’s jack and lazaro is one of my favorites of american style. there is a truly artistic influence in the clothes. the creative process which resulted in the process for the two was more unintentional than season’s past, spoke lazaro. as the first winner’s of the coveted CFDA vogue fashion fund award, it’s as though proenza is a leader of new school fashion and design. following their entrance into fashion came other design hopefuls who have seemingly carried and continued the aesthetic that they represented here in america, first. so as the american fashion scene continues to thrive with new viable talent. proenza is definitely daddy. the collection was held in the old space where the whitney museum once was, here in new york city. and the artistic feel of the collection was appropriate for that very reason. in an almost against the grain attempt, the collection hosted a range of looks that were much more exposed. it felt almost spring in a sense, the way the collection was styled on the runway. but thinking with a stylist framework on, i would love to see the ways things could be layered. there was an artistic science to the collection. of course, technicality of textile is expected with a collection of luxury at the level of proenza. strong collection, overall and a collection i am excited to see shot in editorial. interestingly, there was little to no focus on accessories.

THE ROW mary-kate and ashley olsen named their high end brand, the row, with inspiration to saville row; london’s premiere block of sharply tailored men’s suits. the collection drips in androgyny, modernism and clean minimalism. while tailoring was the early focus of the brand, which started with one t-shirt; we see much more these days. the twins have grown up in the industry, beginning work as actresses at just nine months old. the taste which is represented in their collections is almost as well developed as their minds of business. the row is poised as one of the strongest american labels, all around. with entrance into the fragrance market last year, the accessories and womenswear from the twins has been hailed by the council of fashion designer’s of america, while industry heads nod with respect to the womenswear collection. the ways that style is reinterpreted by the row is so interesting, because it’s so forward thinking. it’s often times much more cognitive, in contrast to other labels. it’s about creating trends, not following them. about expanding ideas, not ahering to the pre-existing. there are rarely any pop colors, nor is there use of print. it’s very adult in a serious fashion way, and this collection was among their most beautiful. it’s almost as if the row is the american competitor of céline in paris. but even in that comparison, there is a different type of development at the row. it’s quiet, in this really exclusive and privileged way. distinct in palette, fluid by lines, luxe by design- dripping from the accessories and melting from every seam. the row is among my favorite labels, but some seasons are much more difficult for me to understand. this fall, they hit the nail on the head, providing competition for other minimal, new school labels while extending themselves to a realm of creativity that provides an offering of beauty that cannot be denied. hands up for the olsens!

visit style.com for full collection coverage of the FW15 season
click image to view collection gallery

THE TOP FALL 2015 MENSWEAR COLLECTIONS

serving fashion and function is no easy task, and being in new york has reshaped my idea of function. in the concept of convertible, or multi-weather dressing, i have mostly sat in observation since my landing here in the fall. i’ve been humbled in this experience to know that, i don’t dress as bad as i think i do. typical of style, one must first understand coordination and ones own body. for my menswear collection picks of the season, a new eye was revealed. looking more toward function, with style becoming secondary; menswear adds a greater deal of ease, as it is standardized for us dudes. while greater creative concepts have began to enter into menswear, with the globalization of fashion and street style on the internet; this season’s picks are among my strongest point of views since the establishment of this space in 2008. as an adult and real consumer of fashion, one who understands style beyond price point- style is that of an enjoyment. from london to paris, off to milan and settling here in new york, these are my top menswear collections for the fall 2015 season. in alphabetical order, my most personal seasonal selections yet, based on personal taste.

COACH while the brand has long been the punchline for its mass produced, logo frenzied designs; coach is one of the strongest american brands to date. with a new creative director in place, and the refinement of design growing more visible, this collection is strong. shot as a look book as oppose to runway, the collection hosts a number of accessories, a staple for the brand, and an army of outerwear, appropriately for fall. while it may feel a bit too early to forecast any increases in sales; there is a noticeable effort in the menswear collections, which i appreciate. most big luxury houses focus widely on their women divisions with no particular interest in creating a balance of effort for their men’s collections. in america, in particular, the style conscious male is alive and well. call it a new generation reformation; but the internet with it’s pockets of influence have street wear and real person celebrity dripping from every pixel. there was a subtle use of animal print, which i also appreciated; and think necessary for an exemplary choice for men’s design. creative director, stuart ververs cites inspiration of his teenage years. in looking to appeal to a younger, more style conscious demographic, this approach is much needed for a brand like coach. for men, in particular, i am excited for what is to further develop for the brand as a whole. with the brands heritage being heavily based, if not entirely based, on leather goods, there is a gang of leather, and i would like to see the ways that is expanded upon and done so in much more innovative ways. a strong menswear collection for coach, who otherwise remains a bit more quiet on the men’s design scene. my attention was focused on the pants and footwear, particularly, and i loved the development in those areas.

DRIES VAN NOTEN often cited as psychological design, dries van noten is a label that serves experiences beyond simple style, or what one would consider clothing. stories through cut, scenarios through each seam; the collection was described as muted. but to me, spoke very loudly and ever clearly. i really love dries, in that, represented are some real style nods. it’s style in this everyday way, but it has this air of luxury that drips from it’s simplicity. it’s difficult to put into words, as i believe that luxury is a feel. it’s an energy. it’s about things feeling expensive, feeling luxe- above average and exclusive. rather inarticulately but no less poignant, it makes the designs special. there is a very unique and intelligent way that dries does print. the botanical prints reminded me of a new, fresh interpretation of camouflage. not a fan of print, the use of it in his collections is a regularity that is almost expected. but the expectation of such use is super subtle. that’s how genius it is. there’s heavy textures, and the clothes feel moody. it’s effortless, it’s masculine while incorporating these feminine elements. layered to perfection for the fall, the collection in motion is among the most inspiring of the season. when it comes to fashion, i often get my own feel for what i see; i look at the sourced inspiration, but all in all- it’s about what looks great, from what feels great. and clothes, as our armor should make us feel protected. protected in ways that represent polish, and who we are, internally. that’s what i love about dries; the runway show really transported you. look after look, you wondered; who is this guy? this guy that lives in these collections, what is his story. among my most favorite of the season, and ideally who i’d like to become, in representing a new dimension of self, through maturation of style. beyond what i can tell you, beyond what can be captured in images. this is the collection you need to see, for it’s elegance, effortlessness and ease. style is easy, and should be. it’s thoughtful.

DSQUARED² among the fashion labels that serve casual style, in many cases, i’ve bitched that the collections were too one dimensional. but in looking at the ways that i relate to designer collections, in a real way, as an actual consumer- there is an undeniable energy to the clothes. what did bother me about the casting for the show was the inclusion of womenswear pieces. i think it’s already tough enough as it is for men to find their own space in high fashion, and the women only distracted with dominance during the runway show. there was also a visible lack of diversity in the collection, which is surprising because dean and dan canten have showed collections with a full cast of males of color. while the use of denim, fur and western or american design concepts was great. the casting, i found, to be distracting. there should be a streamlined process of diversity, in every show. instead of parading models of color around as a fad, or passing trend. the color of our skin is not in for a season, it’s permanent. much like the use of denim in a DSQUARED² collection. malgosia bela opened the show, which gave the collection a distracted feel from menswear. mary j. blige also performed at the shows close. a fan of blige myself, this still felt out of place, or just extra. expectations fulfilled by what was presented, in design; the usual formula was well represented. lack of diversity, and unnecessary involvement of female models. but, you know- i liked a lot of the looks, and came away with ideas for use of fur, and layering concepts.

HAIDER ACKERMANN much of standardization in menswear is tied to tailoring standards, creases in certain spots and a age-old expectation of formality. a proper windsor for your tie, certain do’s and don’ts for matching of patterns, depending, and certain textiles depending on the season. but in this day in age, much of personal style can be seen in style defiance. going against the rules, while displaying an understanding while directly looking to break those rules. in the vein of dries van noten, while being mindful of men’s formal standards exists haider ackermann. pronounced, high-derr ack-ur-men; the designer elevates sensuality of formal wear in the world of high fashion. his use of satins and calculated moments of ‘lax appeal are unrivaled in the world of high fashion. leather and velvet were among the highlights of this collection, and while i’m guessing that the collection is much better in person, the dark images give it that haider feel. it’s romantic, and rebellious, and almost seasonally defiant as well. there are loose ascots, silk scarves and beautiful use of knitwear. ackermann has this ability to create strong looks that almost go beyond the thought of masculine and feminine. masculinity being that of strength, and femininity being that of softness, in most cases described in a fashion dialogue; the collection remains true to the ackermann aesthetic and was presented off runway. the womenswear collection was baited as well, as one womenswear look managed to surface in the set. overall, a usually and expectedly strong showing. but nothing else to be expected from haider. as great as he is, there shows lack of mindfulness in model casting, as it related to diversity; a major blow to any designer, truly looking to defend their ability to translate a vision, in my opinion.

LOUIS VUITTON in asia, the number one brand for visibility is louis vuitton. the largest percentage of that visibility is seen in the brands own accessories and leather goods market. for the world of menswear, we’ve seen many developments in the last five years. amongst those developments has been greater use of creative concepts, and feminization of styling approach. using feminization as form of flexibility, and lending to it an air of greater freedom to evoke style; the louis vuitton collections are known for their strength in accessories. in fact, the appointment of nicholas ghesquiere, following his departure from the house of balenciaga was brought to life with the hopes that a greater set of balance would be achieved, in refining the houses fashion design credibility with actual clothes. with areas of china and india showing an accelerated interest in luxury goods, spiking something like 86 percent between 2008 and 2013. with a profit margin of 40%, vuitton defends their use of strength in accessories, but more interestingly for men this season. gucci and vuitton are among the leaders for logo-frenzy design, and while the name of the style game these days is minimalism, you still have those new-money-moments of bougie on every marble flooring section at the luxury department stores. the cross body bags adorned in the classic monogram were a standout, and visibly so, creative director kim jones layered models with these bags- you couldn’t help but notice them. not a fan of print, and in this collection, i was reminded of my dislike. but who gives a fuck, when you have all these accessories options for men at vuitton. the monogram design and warm browns are completely timeless, and was well paired and styled with the strong collection looks. whats unusually impressive about the vuitton menswear division is it’s strong sets of looks. kim jones is definitely a G in this game, and the menswear collections he puts out are evidence of that. it’s the right move with the accessories, especially since the pricing on vuitton bags went up a reported 12%. at least gas prices are down.

PUBLIC SCHOOL public school has created a niche market in high end, luxury – adding to the already rapidly developing world of high streetwear. but this season; it seems that their usually powerful punch was off. while there were a few strong, dark looks- which are a part of the brand’s own normal flavoring, the inclusion of more mass, commercially acceptable pieces, from what it seems, broke continuity in a way that was confusing. unnecessarily so, the collection included shots of pale pinks and pastels; which was like drinking unsweetened iced team when you were expecting sweetened. staying true to the theme of lacking taste, I’m wondering if the downtown feel is all that the label has to their credit. the collection did present a range of layering ideas, and there seemed to be a focus on lengthening of garments, which i really loved and understood being in the midst of my first winter here on the east coast. i feel as though the use of color, could have been influenced by anna wintour. she is known for her distaste for all black, and as the winners of the CFDA fashion fund award, i could easily see her lending such feedback at a pre-fashion show review of the collection. that said, with regard to wintour; public school needs to retain that depth in palette. there is this washed out, inauthentic feel about the design duo doing anything else. while not as strong as past seasons they’ve had, still much stronger than other labels. i found it odd that there were missed steps in their fall collections, because they’ve exemplified strength in their outerwear designs. i loved the use of red, and of course- I’m all for the grey and navy.

RAG & BONE another defender of downtown style, as a true reflection of american style, as it relates to new york city. rag & bone held the best menswear presentation in new york this season. each look was posted on  headless, wooden mannequins, which gave the presentational aspects much more edge than what was to be normally expected. the collection look book images feature dancer lil buck and ballet icon, mikhail baryshnikov. the creative duo behind the label, marcus wainwright and david neville explained that their choices always reflect range in opposition. while lil buck is more from the era and grade of street dancing, baryshnikov is of classical training. both are fitting representers of their respective sectors of dance, and for the label- this season; they represent opposites. the duo of rag & bone are a combined force themselves, being a british-american duo. while i loved the collection and the presentation presented here in new york, the look book images for me fell flat. that is, until i seen the study of movement short film that was shot for the collection. featuring again, both dancers buck and baryshnikov; the short could not have been more well balanced and the collection, though secondary to the movements reminds you that the persona of each man featured is about the full scope. with a twist of each ankle or a jolt of a torso, you find yourself looking at the wool coats, or remixed dress pants. there is a marriage of athleticism and luxury that menswear is doing expertly well. in an interesting twist, this collection felt more like public school to me, than public school. strong collection, but feels as though concepts and aesthetics are being traded. either that or shaded. bloop.

VALENTINO the collections i select each season often drift throughout the spectrum, i’ve developed my favorites but from season to season you find yourself dissapointed, you find yourself surprised other seasons. it’s fashion, it’s ever changing. but with the house of valentino, their menswear collections are always among my favorite picks and are often a source of aspiration though inspiration. from the tailoring, to the concept, it’s all very well done. this season there was color blocked patchwork that made it’s way into the usually streamlined use of color. there was a tribal and bird-likeness in the patterns, and placement of pockets and zippers in a fresh way. interesting range of palette used throughout and while the same silhouettes were shown, they were given a facelift for the new season. appropriately, there was a focus on accessories; a division within the brand that has been amped since the retirement of valentino himself. the valentino brand brings this high end appeal to otherwise urban elements. they are to credit for the resurgence of camo- which was included in these collections again, and pairing of sneakers with formal wear, which was also continued here. this season, they expand upon that focus with a range of leather backpacks. leather coats were also seen in the collection, and while i didn’t enjoy the use of baby blue, i appreciate the renewed approach as oppose to just continuity of what has worked before. there were butterfly, constellation and hybrid use of print, blending birds/camo. i loved the use of navy, as i do for any fall collection. near the close of the collection brought a use of valentino red- a staple for the label since it’s creation in rome in 1959. the final looks brought about a new, fresh take on green print, which i loved- surprisingly, as i am not often impressed or interested in the use of print. the collection overall, was very strong and presented a bold approach to men’s style that challenges personality and choice for all the male consumers out there. a really great evolution from last season to now, mindful of what works while always leaning to new concepts.

VERSACE the house of versace is to credit for many style movements that have lasted since the 90’s. some of those elements were presented in the collection, like the classic gold versace hardware, and just the sleek appeal, which is very handsome. since donatella took over following gainnni’s passing in 1996, the house was refined in a sophisticated way. there was less shock value, and more polish. you can feel the energy of a woman, as oppose to a man, but the reason that versace is so successful and has been, is that there is a common thread of taste. it’s handsome, it’s classic and it’s italian. whether it’s sleek hair, or sleek tailoring, there’s a versace energy. this collection encapsulated that in a powerful way. i didn’t enjoy the wide legged looks, and am very partial to where menswear has evolved, with tailoring. i love the strict use of palette. it was black, navy and brown the entire way through. which makes for beautiful variation in styling, when the clothes are pulled for the editorial circuit. there wasn’t much feedback to give to this collection because the normal, standard versace expectation was fulfilled. the palette in the collection wasn’t the only one my focus shifted to, there was a noticeable absence of men of color for the collection, which is very dissapointing. while there have been escalated efforts last season, with the womenswear side of things, it’s important for those bouts of diversity to be equally represented. the versace man is widely focused upon the hip-hop community, and the house of versace should recognize that and mirror or acknowledge such influence on the runway. after all, it’s those in rap that have allowed for the name of versace to live and thrive. from silk shirts to gold jewelry- it’s all versace, but it’s all rap culture. can’t have one without the other, if you ask me.

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD leave it to dame vivienne westwood to fuck with the psyche of fashion in a smart, stylish and chicly thrased way. that’s exactly what she did here. and it was expertly done. i will say, this collection was a bit more polished than others she had. she went easy on them this season; but the focus and trend that the industry is pushing is print. there were beautiful use of floral and black prints, done- again, so beautifully. the contrast of the florals was done in a clip art way that isolated them on the blazer and jackets in the collection near the close. i loved the styling, and again, as i always say with westwood- you have to look at the collection in pieces, not as full looks in order to digest the message. interesting use of the currency print, though I’m not a big fan of matching sets, i do understand that there is a market for them; and if you’re going to do a full print look, what say ‘i got money’ more than a currency print from head to toe? exactly. represnting london, I’m always amazed when looking at a vivienne westwood collection; her eye remains forever youthful and always fun. seriously fashionable in the real fashion circles- there is a way to fuck it up, and to do that in a way that makes people proud to be a fan, this is honest work, and it’s the intention of great design, to re-evalutate and re-landscape the ways that people see everyday function, and how they represented themselves by what they choose to wear. it’s all about choices, and viv knows that best.

visit style.com for full collection coverage of the FW15 season
click image to view collection gallery

YEEZY SEASON 1 • KANYE WEST

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a post apocalyptic wardrobe showing, without a doubt. in that a symbolization of an end, as well as a beginning. kanye west, as a style icon, has spawned legions of followers across the globe. clamoring for satin bomber jackets or bidding on his limited edition sneaker collaborations with nike; all of those elements combined seem to make up the long awaited collaboration between west and adidas. the brands collaborations with designers like yohji yamamoto and stella mccartney have been amongst the most innovative, and successful as far as design aesthetic. for the brands adidas originals collections, they’ve secured and sold collaborative efforts with designer jeremy scott, while also teaming with musical artist pharrell, and roc nation’s rita ora. of all past collaborations, west is the biggest star.

in speaking to the rise of urban luxury, i dove into the trenches of what athleticism and glamourizing of such would mean coming into the near future. no doubt, my own predictions are now coming to fruition right before our very eyes; but that’s not to say we didn’t see this coming. while the creative work as a designer for kanye west are nothing new, the unlikely partnership between him and adidas is where the real surprise lies. in speaking to the defiance and marketability of bigger brands to push presence, west’s collection collaboration has little to no adidas branding. an  odd, but understandable move for the brand, who enticed west with creative freedom for the collection. proudly, west thanks the athletic super brand for their belief in his creativity as a long hauled publicity campaign has ensued in the social media stratosphere. a powerhouse front row secured such a feat as, alexander wang, rihanna, cassie ventura- girlfriend of p. diddy whom she sat next to; was seated by jay-z, beyoncé alongside kim kardashian-west, north west and editor-in-chief of american vogue, anna wintour. with a front row of power players, the press coverage has been in full swing.

fashion kids in the forums are quickly spewing criticism of the collection citing stolen concepts from brands like helmut lang, and rick owens. and while the influence references thrown about are visible in the collection; the recycled inspiration is nothing new to the world of fashion as we commonly see archived works by the house of balenciaga and givenchy being used by different labels, each season. if you strip away all the bullshit a clear voice was indicated here. a movement in his own right, from album to street style, to the works of his design collaborations, kanye west is among the most visible on the scene for his bravery. misunderstood at moments, and underrated for his abilities, the collection presents the beginning of his creative endeavors with the brand, as his first pair of shoes with the brand, called the “yeezy boost”, the first of many releases is already unavailable for reservation. a successful launch, indeed.

 

download the ‘adidas: confirmed’ app for pieces of the collection
click here to view full collection

THE TOP FIVE PRE-FALL 2015 COLLECTIONS

new year, new clothes. fashion sleeps for no one, and the show season gently begins with wheels turning courtesy of the pre-season collections. in structuring collection reviews, i’ve looked to incorporate ways that strengthen content and reduce verbal static. that means, only speaking on the very best. in no particular order, the collections selected all represent my own preferred style direction. minimal, clean, american by influence by international through it’s sharply executed sense of cut. being in new york city re-shapes your thinking of functionality through style, especially in the winter time. suddenly, one coat is not enough. finding the perfect boot becomes more pivotal than ever. with a renewed sense of style, in balancing function and fashion, i select my an intimate count of my five favorite collection for the 2015 pre-season, all american.

BOSS hugo boss as a company moves to further develop their footing in womenswear. last year they installed jason wu at the label for the BOSS womenswear collections. represented in the clean lines and structured silhouettes, wu brings a youthful sophistication to the collection with precision. while the collection does border considerably close to wu’s own namesake collections, the effort is extended and visible in concept. overall, the collection hosts a dope color story of deep greens that are well contrasted with shots of black. it’s classic, in this clean and modern way. true to wu’s own aesthetic. it’s always interesting to see what way differentiation is flexed and this collection has more similarities than differences. i felt it necessary to include this collection for my pre-season picks as wu’s development as an artist of design has become more sophisticated, after each season. i am excited to see how boss will manage wu’s presence at their label, and considering that these are very american design ideals, i will definitely be watching the evolution of this on-going, contracted collaboration.i loved the focus on the magnified houndstooth. and while this is only a pre-season design collection, i have even higher hopes for what is to come for the fall show season in february. an outstanding job for wu and his team at boss. though a valiant effort, i will say that i am expecting greater amounts of differentiation from wu’s own work. and since boss is still under developed as far as design signatures, this should be an interesting focus to draw upon for the next several seasons.

JASON WU having developed his aesthetic through additional collaborative work with other brands; wu is stronger than ever as a designer. quickly becoming one of my absolute favorites to watch on the new york style scene, this pre-fall collection packs about as much punch as a runway debuted set, in design. there is a design clarity that i feel for the wu collections. there’s a uniformity and cleanliness about wu that is distinctively american. very different from minimalism seen in europe, mostly because of it’s ease and function, i feel. streamlined in black and khaki with a few shots of emerald green and cobalt blue, the collection is a strong showing, even for the pre-season. with his work as boss now well underway, wu’s own aesthetic signature is, which had it’s first major break on the back of michelle obama, at the beginning of the obama administration; has developed into a well round fashion house, representing the clean lines of america, as we near the end of that two term administration. among my favorite designers, strong effort with beautiful use in control of palette. I’m always interested in seeing how aspects of pre-fall collections borrow from past collections, while including new concepts found in the following collection, presented at runway. wu has held pretty strictly to a direction, so I’m excited for what he does this fall on the runways of new york fashion week. i am continually taken by surprise at how jason wu raises the bar for sophistication in ways that are fresh and new, this pre-season collection is one of those gentle reminders, while I’m hoping to see more drama and a lasting effort on the catwalk.

PROENZA SCHOULER pattern is the name of the game for the pre-season, and that was clear at proenza. while they’ve created collections that weren’t exactly on my top list of favorites for a few seasons now, i decided to include them in my pre-season rankings this go ’round. matronly lines cooked in a downtown stew is what this collection felt like. with my love for tighter silhouettes and stronger design concepts, there was a true battle of my two loves. while the choice in patterns was interesting, for sure. i can’t say that this is one of my all-time faves from the design duo; but there is a strong sense of concept here, which i can admire. i think, styled in a way that is purposeful can change or alter the feel of the collection even further. as full looks are considered faux pas in today’s world of style; i can see the potential of a few key pieces, though i would go replicating the complete collection. true as it may be, proenza’s downtown edge, combined with thoughtful american cleanliness still has them a cut above the rest. excited for their fall collection, and will admirably take this pre-season set of looks as the appetizer, while i save my appetite for runway. love what was done with cable knit in this collection for those few looks. walking the line of weirdly cool for the past few seasons, i am hoping that this fall will showcase something more undeniably cool. i can appreciate an angle of ‘interesting’ but lean more towards labels who understand the sense of purified prettiness, if that makes any sense at all. I’m talking refined femininity, and strong shapes. in this collection we see almost a resistance to that sense of beauty. do i think it makes for good dialogue, of course, but why shift perception when you can do your part to accentuate. all things considered, it’s interesting to see the ways that labels borrow influences, or the market and consumers alter certain style demands. all in the business of making trends and redefining the selling of beauty and style. [show footage here]

ALEXANDER WANG often residing between luxury and street; wang further develops his aesthetic in a much more adult, contemporary set of design this pre-season. seemingly influenced through his work at balenciaga, there is a re-introduction being made with wang, for me. his global presence, successful collections at both balenciaga, and the wildly popular H&M collaboration of the last year now cemented, wang is unstoppable. the trickle of influence from one project to the next is undeniable. wang’s award winning instincts have proven to be the true arbiter of american cool. so much so, they had to pluck him from here in the states to continue that cool at balenciaga. this pre-season collection preserves that cool even further. from soft nudes to goth-esque tones of ox blood, wang is out to kill. the usual inclusion of leather was seen while interesting use of fishnet mesh and plaid was included as well. military influenced utilitarianism was seen while sleek, street minimalist was flexed upon as well. all in all, the collection hosted a range of looks to properly secure sales at retail. silhouettes across the board, and everything hard and soft that we’ve come to expect from wang. much like the work of his peers, right here in new york city, wang has continued to raise the bar. expanding his own design dominance in ways that extend beyond style, but speak more largely to that of presence. as designers, these minds change the landscape of individual presence for all who choose to put these designs on their bodies and wear.

3.1 PHILLIP LIM all representing a clean set of design and an american sensibility, lim took expected style standards and remixed their facing. whether it was a deconstructed pea coat, a color blocked shift dress, or a fringed baby doll number, lim defnitely extended himself conceptually for the pre-season. while the blouses in the collection fell flat for me, almost being contrived in design; what i loved most were the coats in this collection. the fall/winter season is always about a statement coat, and this collection hosted the strongest outerwear of my pre-season selection. while bringing out the guns for the outerwear fared well for lim for my picks this time; the lacking wardrobe components of the other collections pieces left his collection with an overall dulled impact in comparison. collections, i feel, should host an equal sense of checks and balances. drama on the outwear calls for clean lines on the accent pieces. drama with accessories calls for scaling it back with other elements. there’s a sense of organization, of story and intention that needs to be felt. it should feel like a collection, and this one- even in the pre-season, felt like scattered thoughts in some moments. that being said, this was one of my favorites for pre-season. i am hoping lim will showcase a much more, well-rounded set of design while continuing the strong suit of outerwear seen in this collection for the runways of new york fashion week. my expectations of strength aside, i do review pre-season with a wandering eye. remaining hopeful that the appetizer of style leads only to stronger courses amidst runway. all importance considered; i much rather take a gander of continuity of strength, regardless of the season, pre-post-whatever. pre-season is the warm-up.

visit style.com for full collection coverage of the FW15 pre-season
click image to view collection gallery

A LIFE OF EXERCISED OPTIONS

in my life, i’ve taken every single opportunity to exercise a choice. growing up listening to whitney houston and mariah carey, watching films of female empowerment; and growing up around those types of women taught me about control, restraint and beauty. of being gay, there is a beauty in choice. and let’s not get it twisted for one second! because being gay is not the choice in which i refer to. gay is the circumstance, in some cases it’s the dilemma. there is no choice or ability to escape homosexuality, all other choices become so much more important to existence. you choose what to wear, choose what to divulge, you choose what to hide. life, for all, beyond being gay or hetero or any of that categorical bullshit- choices make and break any experience. even stripping the power of artists away for a second. you do not need to be an artist to exercise strength, resourcefulness or a hunger for success in your life. from choosing your detergent- it’s all about choices. the ways that you make those choices is what creates your lifestyle, it structures your personality and every single element leading to greater successes, in major and minor ways.

for me, i’ve always looking for ways of individualization and today, while doing my research for my top new york womenswear collection, anna wintour talked about individuality. speaking, of course to the logic by way of style and luxury design- there is still a choice of perception in digesting such soundbites. it’s all about awareness. and even then, you have the choice to listen. you choose where your focus goes and where your energy is directed. again, it doesn’t take an artist to make conscious decesions that have strong outcomes. it just takes understanding. it’s all minimal and begins to grow. choices can be diseased, or spread like influence. so it’s important to start the selection process of choice early. you have to strip power away from negativity in a way that re-configures your ability to choose. you might not be able to choose family, but you sure as hell can determine which ways you tangle wit ‘em, or how not to. you choose what to think, what to say, or what to eat. it’s your life that you live, not the life of someone else. and your choices affect your world. it’s simple.

if you find your ability to select options it outstripped, you need to make a choice. your choices lead to change, they lead to growth; and with every single aspect of balance, your choices can lead you to disappointment, distrust, and imbalance. it’s all up to you, by choice. you choose to adhere to pressure. you can choose to ignore it. all this. last night i had a dream i was in a lavish apartment, with naomi campbell. the walls were velvet, mirrored everything and my closets had lit trackways. i looked up the meaning once i awoke, as i do with many of my dreams. i believe that our lives are speaking to us, and we have the ability to choose to allow those energies to influence and inspire us, or we can choose depth, and negative mentalities that sink us into depression. and as hard as it can be, you have the choice. if you’ve been subjected to habits that are trapping your ability to choose, think about how that structure was set up and begin to break it down. they say, “dripping water hollows a stone, not through force but persistence”. and that’s the way it works with reconfiguration of circumstance, of mindset and emotional freedom. just a couple thoughts on my mind, i wanted to share them in a way that was open ended, talk about how the thoughts came- gave it a title, and set it here. make it count, or be counted out. one life to live, and every choice counts.

BEYOND BELIEF

the reason i came to new york; my inspiration, a dream realized and a blessing on arrival. there are cosmic forces that push us in directions that we wouldn’t have taken otherwise. there are shifts in energy, and life has this way of uplifting through expectations in a way that is felt through a sense of delay. it’s about timing, it’s about being ready; about balancing surrender and consciousness. through the depths of darkness that have surrounded my life in love, and every other relationship, came this beautiful light. almost like the end, in this heroic montage of memories that blazed through the summer and shot through each of those nights we shared. providing solace in a time of tragedy and abuse. forgotten, unrecognized and unidentified in value.

locked away in my thoughts, in phrases of wishful thinking through the years. wishes for beauty of the heart, clarity of psyche, talent of voice, power through performance, strength in character and poise in potential; all in this refined packaging of confidence that understands one’s own worth and ability to transcend. so undeniable, that, the only fitting label is that of a star. my reason to turn the page, and closing of the now forgotten chapter, in the book of my life. a true blessing from the hands and heart of god, just as i had hoped, after all of those years from my vision and imagination; so much so that it’s real. and standing in front of me.

gratitude can’t even begin to explain, as i write the story of my now new life. with new challenges, new reasons to smile, and hidden strengths to uncover. with all blessings calls the importance to show gratitude in earning the permanence of such, through determination, dedication and belief. beyond that, there are now two hearts that seek to beat as one, while struggling to beat match like a DJ just learning how to spin on dual turntables. there lies a desire, with obstacles of doubt, but a purity and ease so fluid that it’s, in fact, hard to believe as even being real. intentionally abstract for the greater intent to shield privately, what is spoken here in prose so publicly shown, seeks only to document a feeling of love in a way that creates further manifestation of what is possible for two beings. in the vein of we and us, abandoning the challenges of the self identified “i“, which we’ve both leaned to, as default. veins running to the heart that will now beat for us, thriving as a source of unlimited loyalty, undying respect and boundless dedication to the strength that it takes to sustain such a love, that seeks to move beyond the limitations that have restricted us in the past.

for you today, and us tomorrow, leading to the we that awaits for our future; a confession more like a declaration, moving to further clarify whatever doubts may be clouding your heart. and beyond those clouds, is only the sunlight of my love. that burns so bright that it has burned others too weak from the past; but to you, in all your strength it is only a warmth that you lean to in comfort. the most important part of the story; the beginning and middle, that finds no end. these simple words are only a mere reflection of the depths of my love. in the ways that your voice reaches my heart, let these words forever remind you of my willingness and dedication to the fight that will forever protect the world we’ve yet to create.

 

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