Kenneth Cole has the formula down pat now. He introduced his fall collection for men and women with a few celluloid spoofs that mildly nibbled at the fashion-industry hand that feeds him. But he was taking no such risks with his menswear, which this season walked a rigorously classic line. A thin gray line, in fact (though he labeled it charcoal, cement, or zinc).
For Cole, it was the season of the coat. "Indoors, outdoors, day, eveningcoat-dressing is important in sportswear," he said after his show, as he fielded congratulations from Carrie Underwood and Carson Kressley. Said item meant business as a dark wool topcoat. Other variations: rabbit-collared in oiled cotton, military-styled in black alpaca, and knee-length in shearling. Underneath was a collection of sober tailoring in charcoal worsted or cement flannel, a distinct move away from the fashionably shrunken proportions Cole explored for spring. Wearability, he's clearly decided, is the name of his game. As for the footwear on which he built his business, Cole was endorsing the boot to go with the coat.