August 31 2014

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MAN Day Does Its Homework


Carolyn Massey is making good use of her Rolodex. The menswear designer’s Fall 2010 collection (pictured, left) kicked off LFW’s MAN day yesterday, with help from some high-profile friends (Little Boots, who created the soundtrack, and Hannah Martin, who created the jewelry). But she also got a boost from one very low-profile one—namely, an anonymous man on the inside who arranged what she described as “unprecedented” access to an archive of military apparel patterns. “It was a way of legitimating the reference,” Massey explained of her studies of the old patterns, which shaped the construction of the collection’s smock tops and flight suits. Not that she didn’t put her own stamp on the clothes. Massey injected petal pinks and beiges into her otherwise neutral palette and moved into prints, inspired by Ray Johnson’s postal art.

J. W. Anderson, who shared the morning runway with Massey, was also inspired by the old—old friends, old lovers, and old iterations of himself, he said, and offered a collection steeped in nostalgia for salad days (pictured, right). Fringed and patchworked coats and bags referenced items made, of necessity, from blankets, while stitched-up Frankenjeans conjured a poor man’s mending. The look was punk-inflected, with lots of plaids and studs, but the attitude was more dreamy than hard. Anderson said after the show that he was in a Joycean frame of mind. Was that a reference to wandering Leopold Bloom? The collection did have a peripatetic quality, and you could almost imagine his men rambling around town in their studded Swedish military boots. Would-be wanderers could get instant gratification: Anderson was offering a selection of items from the collection for immediate sale via, those stamped and numbered boots among them. (The journey’s already begun, apparently—by press time, the boots, were already sold out.)

The literary also made an appearance later in the day, at Tim Soar. In Soar’s case, the idol was Proust, and the idea was the remembrance of things past. (Ah, that old chestnut.) Soar took that notion literally: He explained that he saw his new collection as a remix of the “greatest hits” of menswear over the past 150 years. The argyle sweater, for instance, was updated with leather diamond inserts, and the dress shirt turned up as a sheer blouse. Soar tightened up his proportions for Fall and said after his show that he had based his tailoring on studies of old patterns, which emphasized a front-to-back construction rather than the contemporary side-to-side. Rather less technically, Soar went on to note that his focus this season wasn’t so much on creating “looks” than on creating luxe garments. “I think that’s how people dress, really,” he noted. “They find something they love, and they find a way to work it into the wardrobe.”

Photos: Ray Tang / Rex / Rex USA

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