5 posts tagged "Mark McNairy New Amsterdam"
Things are changing for this year’s International Woolmark Prize competition. For the first time ever, two designers will be receiving the overall award—one for menswear, one for womenswear—and we’re already placing our bets on the USA nominees, which were announced today. Jonathan Simkhai, M.Patmos, Nonoo, Rosie Assoulin, and Whit will duke it out for womenswear, while A.A. Antonio Azzuolo, Mark McNairy New Amsterdam, Ovadia & Sons, Public School, Timo Weiland, and Todd Snyder will compete for the menswear title. “The addition of a menswear award this year signifies the strength and following of the International Woolmark Prize and its impact over the past two years across the globe,” said Stuart McCullough, The Woolmark Company managing director. “Previous winners Christian Wijnants from Belgium and Rahul Mishra from India have both experienced exponential increase in the turnover of their businesses, becoming international names overnight after their respective wins in London in 2013 and Milan in 2014.”
Regional competitions are also taking place in Asia, Europe, Australia, and India/Middle East to select ten finalists, who will each receive AU $50,000 ($47,000 USD) toward their next collection, as well as an invitation to the international final. (As you may recall, Joseph Altuzarra represented the USA last year.) The two overall winners will receive AU $100,000 ($94,000 USD) to go toward the fabric sourcing and marketing of their collections, and will also have the opportunity to sell their collection at Harvey Nichols, Colette, Saks Fifth Avenue, and other key retailers around the world.
“Hunting in Space.”
That’s what Mark McNairy says he had in mind when designing his Fall 2014 Woolrich Woolen Mills collection. After a one-season hiatus from helming the heritage brand’s designer collection, McNairy is back to updating Americana, and he says it’s like he never left. “We only missed one season, so I guess I had plenty of other things to keep me busy,” he says.
For McNairy, whose ongoing Mark McNairy New Amsterdam collection deftly mashes Ivy League prep with irreverent streetwear, WWM is a somewhat easier proposition because of the guidelines that come with the brand’s 184-year legacy.
“Doing my collection is a free-for-all,” he says. “When I do my line, I really don’t start with anything in mind, I just make a bunch of seemingly unrelated things, and then at the end I put them all together. When I shoot the lookbook, that’s when it becomes a collection. I really don’t have any theme or idea that I’m working on. For Woolrich, I have to start with something.”
With WWM, that means drawing from the brand’s strong history making outerwear for hunting and fishing. It’s there that McNairy’s skills as a remixer of Americana really shine. A rain slicker is reimagined in stark white ballistic nylon, a classic American varsity jacket gets vibrant red sleeves, and a tailored wool coat in tonal shades of gray really does look appropriate for outer space.
McNairy’s much-hyped New York fashion week shows often feature celebrity runway cameos, rappers Danny Brown, Pusha T, and Cam’ron among them. Who then would he like to have sporting his new WWM outing? “Eddie Vedder. He seems to me to fit with the modern image of Woolrich and what I want to do with it.”
What’s the modern image of Woolrich? I ask.
“Oh, boy, don’t make me fucking explain this.”
OK, I say, I’ll take a stab at it. It’s like the hunting-on-the-moon thing. Every menswear concept from the last two hundred years has been rediscovered and reappropriated in so many different ways, it wouldn’t be out of place to see Woolrich’s signature buffalo check plaid and wilderness-ready outerwear anywhere, not in the city, the suburbs, or, even, on the moon. How Eddie Vedder fits into that is anyone’s guess, but McNairy seems satisfied with my answer.
“Exactly,” he says. “Would you like a position as my publicist?”
Gingham typically stirs up feelings of nostalgia, but lately designers are doing their part to modernize the classic checks. Derek Lam opened his Spring show with eight crisply tailored, crosshatched looks; Delpozo creative director Josep Font paired the graphic pattern with cheerful sunflowers; and Olivier Rousteing put his signature glam spin on the trend at Balmain with plaid bomber jackets and kicky skirts accompanied by chunky chain jewelry. As seen on the 3.1 Phillip Lim and Mark McNairy New Amsterdam menswear runways, buffalo-plaid pieces have been earning style points with the guys, too. Meanwhile, model off duty Marine Deleeuw looked like Lolita incarnate in her sweet pink-and-white shirtdress, and we spotted plenty of gingham items from Prada’s cinematic Fall ’13 collection in the streets. As Isaac Mizrahi told Style.com a few years ago at a Resort presentation, “Gingham is like a solid with a lot of personality.” Agreed.
“I grew up on Gap; it’s like the thing you always think about when you think of classic American brands,” says menswear designer Todd Snyder. And now Snyder, along with five other menswear labels (including BLK DNM, Ian Velardi, Mark McNairy New Amsterdam, Ovadia & Sons, and Saturdays Surf), will be stocked in the iconic retailer’s shops. “These designers are shaping the future of menswear, and it’s an honor to bring their distinct visions to life in a way that complements Gap’s casual American point of view,” says Gap North America head of merchandising Mark Breitbard. Before the limited-edition collection (with prices starting at $20 for basics and going up to $340 for leather jackets) launches in stores September 27, Style.com has an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at GQ‘s Best New Menswear Designers and the journey through the collaboration.
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.