In his fifth full season, Adam Kimmel juiced up his American tailoring with a shot of Italian refinement. "More constructed, more complicated, more modernized" was how he described it, and it was obvious in the sharpness of a two-button almost Air Force blue blazer or the cleverness of a waxed cotton trench with a snap-out wool cashmere lining that functioned as a second coat. Otherwise, his design signatures remained unchanged. First, his repurposing of functional fabrics: This season, Kimmel cut shirts, trousers, and a bomber jacket out of chamois, and he turned the kind of industrial cotton flannel you might find in sheets into a tuxedo. Second, the face-off between the prosaic and the posh: a navy suit in wool canvas vs. a gray suit in 100 percent cashmere. And finally, the method of presentation: the collection shot on a posse of artist friendsRyan McGinley, Dan Colen, the Neistat brothers, among othersrather than paraded on a catwalk.
The (relative) discretion of this approach was reflected in the construction. For instance, Kimmel felt that Sea Island cotton is too sheer for most men, so he doubled the chest panels on a shirt. And the short double vent that is something of a trademark comes from his conviction that it makes his jackets more flattering for men with a little meat on their bones. The art-world connection is also an ongoing source of inspiration for Kimmel. Chamois cloth litters the studios of his friends (last season, it was the cotton of drop cloths that turned him on). What's more, "artists don't shop," he said, which made him more determined to come up with a suit they'd want to buy. This collection's "fantasy" piece was something he called a holster cape, ideal for an eccentric creative type. If there was something incongruously romantic about such an item in the context of the designer's work, it was perhaps best to see it as a hard-boiled romance, the kind that would suit a real man like Robert Mitchum, in his Kimmel coat with the generous all-American-sized armholes.