NEW YORK — Congrats, New York fashion world, you made it through your third stand-alone fashion week for menswear.
With men's weeks far more established in Milan and Paris, it wasn't clear exactly how that would work in New York when the Council of Fashion Designers of America decided to try it.
Though some designers decamped to other fashion capitols, and the feel of men's week remained more relaxed with fewer formal runway shows and more showroom appointments and staid presentations, there was still plenty to see with about 80 designers on hand.
For spring 2017, the focus was on the old guard and the new. Some highlights:
Varvatos was groovy, as always, but his sexy calm of Provence reimagined for urban romantics was rocked by the real-life news of many dead in Nice after a truck plowed through crowds of Bastille Day revelers.
"Oh that's awful," the seasoned designer said. "It just doesn't stop around the world right now, does it? It's incomprehensible."
For his 17th spring, Varvatos played with the hard and soft of men's fashion, using ultra-light linen fabric for breezy jackets and coats but providing his young romantic with rough-and-tumble ankle zip boots that can handle the grit of the big city.
Some of his jackets had collars fitted with wires for personalized shaping. And he put out a few great man bags in leather and linen.
Varvatos, 60, has been in the business since 1985, when he worked for Ralph Lauren. His own company is 16 years old.
"The world has gotten very small in terms of fashion. Everybody knows everything that's going on everywhere instantaneously. I love that we're all so connected in that regard."
He called this collection less rock 'n' roll, softer.
"It's a cool evolution for us," Varvatos said.
Among the old-world touches he embraced was a lush calfskin leather done in an asymmetric jacket, its surface embossed with a crocodile skin motif. Another in supple, buff suede was the color of almonds. One wheat-color linen vest was flecked with metallic fibers for added sheen and hand dyed for a vintage feel.
The idea, he said, was to honor "heritage" and lend a nod to "old-world craftsmanship."
Can you be an outlier and a fashion darling at the same time?
Rio Uribe of Gypsy Sport isn't worried. He admits he was a bit after winning with two others the lucrative 2015 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, but so far, so good.
"It used to make me nervous, actually, when I first won," he said. "I was, like, what are people going to expect now?"
Then the 31-year-old, $300,000 richer from the competition, spent a few weeks in Paris, trying to figure it all out.
"I wanted to see what I could do and how I can carry my voice forward without feeling the pressure to always outdo myself," Uribe said as a continuous loop of models hit his latest gender-fluid runway during men's week.
"I think what it is to always go back to my roots and my roots are with DIY clothing, so I made a lot of the clothing by hand. There's also a fun element, and if we're not having fun it's not Gypsy Sport."
Andy Hilfiger is a star brander, rock dude and the brother of Tommy. Greg Polisseni is a painter, Rochester, N.Y.-dude and doesn't play the guitar.
So how'd these two come together over fashion?
After making a splash in high school by painting his clothes, then accidentally splattering some paint on his jeans and sneakers a few years ago and earning compliments, Polisseni founded a fashion company in 2013. Last year, Hilfiger attended his men's show and the two hit it off as Polisseni continues to grow Artistix.
This time around, paint splatters were everywhere on the coveralls, canvas vests, white leather jackets and some pretty hot boxer briefs Polisseni showed, because what dude doesn't need some high-end undies.
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