Jerry Kaye, the new creative director of Perry Ellis, is keen to honor the company founder's legacy of twisted classics. Kaye described the spirit of his latest menswear collection as a contradictory melding of Old World and modern man, and there was certainly something of a decadent mitteleuropa feeling to a color scheme that ranged freely round loden, absinthe, russet, burnt orange, and midnight blue.
It was harder to match Kaye's silhouettes to the modern men that he cited as influencesRedford, Connery, McQueenbut the collection still hit a handful of the season's home runs. The monochrome layers, the two-buttoned, peak-lapeled jacket, the velvet suit. All our old friends from Milan and Paris were present and accounted for. But Kaye had fun with things, too. That velvet suit was entirely deconstructed and deliberately wrinkled; sweaters were crocheted; a leather jacket was embossed. These artisanal touches had more impact than the pretense of a cravat, or the prom-night indulgence of a turtleneck under a shirt, or the black tone-on-tone zebra and dalmatian prints for evening. Still, as Kaye said, the outfits were made for mixing up: "They're very proper, but I don't want people to feel uncomfortable."