3 posts tagged "Woolrich Woolen Mills"
“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?”
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.
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]