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Fear and Loathing in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

September 10th, 2008

As a “fashion writer”, I often task myself with trying to keep up with normal style. This is never a good idea. I don’t fit well in the culture of Fashion Week, nor am I ever invited, so I typically do what everyone else does and sit twiddling my thumbs at my nice little desk waiting for New York Magazine to show me runway styles. Again, this is never a good idea.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is a lot like E3 back in the “good old days” where the only people who show up are industry professionals and everyone tries to make a bigger deal of it than it really is. Of course, one could also say that just like E3, you never really see what you see there anywhere else- it’s a vast masturbatory session where the world tries to see who can come up with the most ridiculous fashion to make tiny little anorexic men walk around with.

So, with no further adieu, I present to you my thoughts regarding Fashion Week. As you can probably guess by now, the name of this article is the perfect tl;dr: I have very little idea what’s going on and I’m quite lost but watch how much I can write about it.

Part One: The Designers

The first thing coming off the runway of any importance is Perry Ellis, AKA that guy who makes clothes for the “working man” in his late 20s on. I think I have some Perry Ellis shirts, I’m not sure, but I get the resounding feel that this is my field- like I’m supposed to write about somthing here. That being said, everything from the Perry Ellis line is bright freaking baby blue- like, the color of a baby blanket. Nothing is necessarily bad, but I can’t shake the feeling that this is one big eloquent joke on my part. Nonetheless, as I have expected, everything is excellently tailored- I actually like this stuff (which is a rarity for runway shows). Somehow, I feel as if despite the bright Skype-logo color (which might mean something, I’m not sure), Perry Ellis has done something good, and I like it.

Next, Duckie Brown. Most of it is very 80s or something, everyone looks like Rick Astley, and I’m not even kidding. Wayfarers, strange haircuts, and slouchy sweaters(?) abound. Of course, the tailoring is not bad, I just can’t shake the Rick Astley songs from my head.

B. Michael. Something feels very southern, like a bunch of women and men who want to go on some sort of yachting expedition in the middle of Louisiana where they sip Mint Chulips and bitch about their tans. One guy looks like he came from a very gay Castlevania.

Academy of Art. VERY SERIOUS MODELS.

Lacoste. Proving again that you can get away with anything if your label is preppy enough. Everything feels like a really bad acid trip in an incredibly preppy country club filled with hyper-skinny people who do nothing but look cool and pretend to swing golf clubs.

Rock & Republic. You can tell they are trying hard, but somehow I just don’t see the “rock” anymore. Sure, they have the tight jeans, prominent belts and leather jackets down, but somehow the overuse of glossy satin fabric really looks strange. That is to say, there’s something that I don’t hate about this collection- it’s overdone, but hell, it’s Fashion Week.

DKNY. Putting what I used to wear when I was 12 on an overpaid model is not fashion, it’s creepy, if anything. Some random things stand out as being more tailored and of better quality, but overall, I feel slightly confused. Some of this reminds me of American Apparel, just add a little bit better pants.

Sergio Davila. Finally, another designer doing something for men. Unfortunately, I can’t shake the feeling that the dressing room got messed up in the process of dressing the models. Virtually everything Davila makes is good per se, but suffers horribly from a lack of a coherent theme or feel. His work is certainly interesting and breaks a lot of “rules”, but breaking the rules is not inherently fashionable. Long story short, I’d like to see more of his work, but he’s lacking coherence in a lot of his ensembles.

Z Zegna. There is something ridiculously interesting about Z Zegna’s work, and I say that fully well knowing it’s nothing that I could ever recommend. Other than a few strange outfit choices (shorts with a suit coat?), I like his experimentation, and a lot of stuff is so bold yet so interesting it really does define itself as “cutting edge”. Hopefully this is the only proverbial handjob I give a designer in this article.

Custo. Custo must be drunk.

YIGAL AZROUËL. Again, a person who I think is trying to screw with the collective fashion world- but at least in a more subtle way. His collection is a lot of what I would consider “American Apparel” redux, meaning a lot of skinny pants, big shirts, and strange textile/pattern choices. I don’t mind it by any means, and some of his work is interesting, but jeez. Also, he’s subtly trolling the entire fashion world by making one fine gentlemen wear what appear to be panties on his head.

Part Two: Impressions

Observation One: I am not cut out for fashion week. Either I just don’t understand what’s going on here or this is a big joke. A lot of “men’s fashion” nowadays is certainly arcane or bland, but jesus talk about going overboard to try to be original. I’ve always been of the opinion that good men’s fashion is a blend of the traditional and the radically new, not the equivelant of a bad acid trip.

Observation Two: I think some designers know they aren’t cut out for fashion week too. Notice how many designers who were at fashion week aren’t listed here (like you’d give a shit)? It’s because fashion week is evidently for women’s wear, for obvious reasons. Menswear is like that annoying half brother that you let follow you around but your patronize every chance you get to make up for the fact that you have to deal with his crap.

Observation Three: This won’t really change your wardrobe. Go figure. “Wearable fashion” and “Stuff they have out at fashion week” are two different things, so this really doesn’t matter to you in any way but in a “ha ha look what they make the skinny models wear today” sort of way.

Long story short? Designers scare me.

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