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August 1 2014

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4 posts tagged "Engineered Garments"

Let Needles Expand Your Menswear Purview

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It’s no secret that we—menswear nerds, I mean—look to Japan as a beacon for enhancing and broadening our spheres of style. It’s practically a cliché at this point that Japanese brands perfect a style or trend and eventually some diluted version of the original reaches the States. A cliché, maybe, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Needles, a brand distributed by Nepenthes, is the proof.

Based in Tokyo, designer and Nepenthes founder Keizo Shimizu has been at work on Needles for 20 years. The Needles collection consists of sportswear, denim, and tailoring, in addition to a range of brilliantly Frankensteined vintage known as Rebuild by Needles. The collection puts an emphasis on unusual detail, as with the intricately re-engineered military and hunting outerwear and collaged shirting. For Spring 2015, Shimizu’s inspiration was 1970s American sportswear—denim overalls, wide-leg tracksuits—with particular focus on Southern California and Mexico. Shimizu cites James Taylor’s album Gorilla as an especially powerful influence.

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You won’t be alone if your first impression is that Needles’ approach to menswear is a bit too far left for most guys. These are clothes that require an adventurous and highly discerning taste level, but that’s what makes it great. And if you don’t get on board now, you likely will in a few seasons.

At Woolrich Woolen Mills, The Rough With The Smooth

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The torch has been passed at Woolrich Woolen Mills, not with a flame but with a parka. The old designer (Daiki Suzuki of Engineered Garments) and the new (Mark McNairy, formerly of J.Press and founder of the blogger-worshipped line Mark McNairy New Amsterdam) joined forces for an overcoat they called the Four Hands Parka, modeled on a vintage Woolrich model from the thirties originally designed for an Arctic expedition.

That’s as good a guide as any to the hardiness that’s characterized the WWM brand since its founding—whether or not the soft-handed fashion types who buy it at stores like Barneys and Ron Herman will ever get near an ice cap. McNairy’s been building a reputation for himself as a premier reinterpreter of classic Americana, and his ace in the hole is the poppy irreverence he brings to the often worshipful, slightly humorless world of workwear wonkdom. So a found fabric with a geometric square motif—originally intended for blankets, most likely—becomes a hooded duffel coat; McNairy likened it to a digital camo pattern. Another duffel comes (sacré bleu!) striped. Bowties in tartan, camp pockets on a herringbone blazer, blocks of contrasting print on a button-down: McNairy mentioned mashing traditions, and it showed. He drew on Woolrich’s historic military wear, and also on its lesser-known Ivy League tradition. They found their joint avatar in John F. Kennedy, collegian turned navy man.

With Woolen Mills, Woolrich continues to do vintage smart: the rough stuff remade for the finer tastes. And speaking of those, check out the giant military tent (above) erected in one room of the presentation. It may look like the M*A*S*H mess hall, but it came stocked with local Milanese and Tuscan fare, carbon-footprint info included.

Photo: Tim Barber / Courtesy of Woolrich Woolen Mills

More Changeups In Fashion Land, Au Revoir To Louise, And More…

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The designer merry-go-round keeps on spinning. Much-missed Olivier Theyskens will design a capsule collection for Theory, and Christophe Lemaire, formerly of Lacoste, will take over for the departing Jean Paul Gaultier (pictured) at Hermès. [WWD; NYT]

Changes are brewing in the world of menswear, too. Daiki Suzuki, the Japanese-born designer of Engineered Garments, will step down as creative director of the Americana label Woolrich Woolen Mills; the blogger-adored Mark McNairy will take over there. [WWD]

Louise, we hardly knew ye. Louise J. Esterhazy, the alter ego of John Fairchild, will retire her society column in W under Stefano Tonchi’s new editorship. “Louise,” over the years, brought us such salty musings as “You could reply that’s frivolous in this troubled world, but do you really think dressing like an existential nun with suicidal thoughts is going to solve Bosnia?” [Page Six]

Helmut Lang alum and knitwear designer Tobias Wong of Wong Wong is teaming up with Happy Socks for a series of World Cup styles. Just another reason to get in the mood for the World Cup. [Racked]

And you’ve already seen Louis Vuitton’s London opening bacchanal through the eyes of Derek Blasberg; now see it through the eyes—er, eye—of monocular cartoon correspondent Darcel, of the great blog Darcel Disappoints. Keep your eye peeled for a cartoonified Peter Marino, too. [Nowness]

Photo: Kim Weston Arnold

Love at First Sight: Engineered Garments’ Seersucker Jacket

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What: Prep cool

Why: Now that the warm weather is finally upon us, the hunt is on for pieces that work in a transitional way—unfussy, lightweight layering items that can pull together an outfit and serve as a cover-up on a cool spring night. This jacket from Engineered Garments fits the bill perfectly. Its summery seersucker and just-tailored-enough cut put a preppy polish on the season’s go-to cutoffs and bare, baggy tanks, and I can’t help but think that a little bottom-of-the-tote-bag rumpling will only add to the jacket’s can-do Yankee charm.

Where: $345, at Pas de Deux, 328 E. 11th St., (212) 475-0075.

Photo: Courtesy of Engineered Garments