Summertime has reached its zenith, and here at Style.com, we’re trying to soak up as much sun as possible—with weekend getaways, backyard barbecues, and maybe even a Six Flags excursion—before the Spring ’15 shows kick off in September. Naturally, we’ll be protecting our skin from UV exposure with SPF, but when sunblock alone doesn’t cut it, we’ll be reaching for cool straw hats. As we learned during the recent menswear and couture shows, when it comes to statement-making accessories, nothing gets street-style photographers snapping quite like a shady fedora or flat-topped boater. Ulyana Sergeenko was spotted in a woven lamp-shade style on the haute circuit, while back in NYC Lindsey Wixson wore a classic wide-brimmed look to cheer on the teams at Adidas’ Fanatic soccer tournament. Celebrities from Lupita Nyong’o to Dakota Johnson have been breaking out the woven headgear this season, too, and Michael Kors and Rosie Assoulin’s recent Resort collections featured matching raffia caps and totes.
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—he also happens to be the founder of Engineered Garments, which is designed by Daiki Suzuki. 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.
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.
Growing up, there were fashion codes my friends and I religiously followed, and even my sartorially challenged younger self knew there were certain things you just shouldn’t do. However, designers have taught us that some fashion rules are meant to be broken. So throw out the guides you’ve always known and try out three lessons the runway taught us this year:
Mixing patterns is a fantastic idea.
Some of the most striking looks on the Fall ’14 runways boasted bold, seemingly clashing patterns. From stripes and plaids to florals and animal spots, nothing was off-limits. Have a look at collections from mix masters Dries Van Noten and Peter Pilotto to see how it’s done.
Black and blue make a hell of a pair.
The black-and-blue combo has long been considered a no-no, but it just happened to be the most popular color scheme on the Fall runways. Need proof? Check out the Oscar de la Renta and Marc by Marc Jacobs‘ Fall lineups.
When it comes to footwear, socks and sandals are the bee’s knees.
Formerly associated with clueless, fanny-pack-toting tourists, the socks-and-sandals trend tore through the Resort ’15 collections (Rag & Bone and M.Patmos included) and popped up on the streets during the Fall ’14 shows. (Fanny packs are back, too, by the way.) We can thank normcore for this one.
Despite their hefty price tags, which range anywhere from $2,490 to $68,000, Saint Laurent dresses are in seriously high demand. According to Bloomberg, Hedi Slimane’s frocks have been selling so well that they’ve compensated for Gucci’s declining handbag sales and helped to raise parent company Kering’s profits by a whopping 4 percent. Looks like there are more moneyed scenesters out there than we had originally thought.
Last night in the seventh-floor Living Room at its Times Square location, W Hotels partnered with cultural organization Liberatum to present a “Living New York” panel discussion. Yahoo’s Joe Zee moderated the intimate chat, which included the likes of Karen Elson, Prabal Gurung, architect Karim Rashid, and filmmaker Paul Haggis. The topic of the evening was the impact coming to New York had had on all of their lives.
Although Rashid had a cynical attitude—”New York has changed! There’s a Citibank and a Starbucks on every corner!”—Karen Elson’s comments proved that the model-turned-musician still has rosy eyes for the Big Apple. “Of course New York has changed,” said Elson. “It’s no longer the drug-addled punk days of Giuliani. But that’s what is so amazing. It’s reinventing constantly. In New York, you can be whoever you want to be. In New York, you can dream. That’s the thing for me.”
The conversation took an interesting turn when the digitization of our world—and the impact of none other than Style.com—came into the mix. Said Gurung of media’s effect on the creative class, “It’s a digital age, and I love it. I am so excited where things are going. I even love the narcissism of Instagram. But there’s a group of people who look at Style.com and say, ‘I want to do what everyone else is doing.’ Then there is someone like me who looks at Style.com and says, ‘I want to do something different.’”