Here's one of New York menswear's enduring mysteries: Why isn't Duckie Brown the toast of the town? Is it the name, so redolent of the camp associations of Steven Cox's London background? Is it that Cox and partner Daniel Silver don't travel around the city in a love-me kind of way? Or is it, perhapsand this is, of course, the scariest notionthat they're so far ahead of the local game, they're doomed to the thankless role of prophets without honor in their own land? Whatever the case, it's a crying shame, because there is a probing, frontier-challenging joy in what Duckie does.
Cox and Silver called their new collection Classical Duckie in a probably doomed bid to communicate what they think of as accessibility. Among the ways the idea translated on the catwalk were their habitual play with proportion (as in a cropped trench over a white shirt that was almost floor-length, worn over white trousers) and a color sense so absolutely un-American (at least as American menswear designers see color) that it made one smile. Hence, pleated pants in a rich raspberry paired with a white shirt in handkerchief linen, and prints of peonies and roses adorning both shirts and pants, again voluminous. Cox is responsible for those volumes, and he has no peers in New York. It was not simply the full pleats and dropped crotches (a tricky Duckie signature that here looked reassuring rather than repulsive), it was also the hoodie stretched to cowl-like proportions. As in the past, the emphasis on tailoring broadcast the duo's seriousness of purpose, even though a three-piece pinstripe suit had a hint of that dropped crotch. But Cox and Silver couldn't help themselves. They broke the bank with an evening group of antique-sequined tops. Classical Duckie? More like classical Barbra.