Classic American sportswear is characterized by its minimalism: Easeful form follows function. Given today's relaxed dress codes, it's no surprise that this proven formula is influencing a new generation of menswear designers. Helmut Lang led the way, of course, injecting a little Eurochic and sex appeal into the basic equation; now that Helmut's on hiatus, others are stepping into the breach. Adam Kimmel's second collection borrowed Lang's palettewhite, ivory, navy, gray (plus a hit of red)but the 26-year-old former architecture student also showed that he is his own man.
Kimmel has talked about "elevating the industrial by infusing it with a relaxed elegance," and here that meant a conceit as unexpectedly winning as a tuxedo in navy sweatshirt jersey. He favored prosaic terrycloth not just for sweatshirt and pants, but even for a trench, a three-button blazer, and a utilitarian jumpsuit. The latter, his signature item, also appeared in a short-sleeved version that looked positively chic in pale gray linen. Its rounded stand-up collar was just the kind of "infusing" detail the designer says he's aiming for.
The new kid on the block proved he was capable of "classic" with a brass-buttoned navy blazer and then a white cotton suit shown with a dress shirt (a relaxed variant on evening dressing for summer). But his key pieces tended to be more idiosyncratic: There was a smart lab coat, refined in navy linen, and a snap-closing jacket he called an "artist work coat," inspired by the functional yet elegant way Willem de Kooning used to dress in his studio.