Ah, those beings from Mars! Y-es, the fashion radar picks them up, too – not as overwhelmingly as the ones from Venus, mind – to find that: the English celebrate eccentricity, the Italians ooze louche glamour, the Americans keep it clean-cut and the French make turning one’s back on fashion a thing of art. If neat, understated, young but classic is your style, then turn to the kind souls over in New York Fashion Week, who have dished out a few tricks for you to freshen up your look come Spring/Summer 2012. This “preppy look” ‒ somewhat denoting *cough* a certain pampered upbringing – was spiked with a good dose of pop, through bizarre fabric choices, a Crayola palette and unexpected finishes, for S/S’12.
Nowhere was this twisted prepster look more pronounced than at Black Fleece line by Brooks Brothers (designed by the “showman-provocateur-visionary” Thom Browne) where white silk lapel tuxes were paired with black scout shorts, preppy bow-ties replaced ties and were paired with plaid shirts, casual waistcoats and jeans.
While Tommy Hilfiger’s collection titled “Pop Prep” was quite literally that, or rather prep gone hyperactive.
It was somewhat old wine in a new bottle for Ralph Lauren, the reigning king of preppy clothing, for his Purple Label line: classical stuff with a slimmer fit.
All very well, but it was at Simon Spurr, Michael Bastian and Antonio Azzuolo where I spotted interesting bits and pieces – which would add a bit of novelty into the wardrobes of men with a low tolerance for fashion (!).
The lacquered lapels (my favourite from all of S/S’12!) on an immaculately cut grey suit at Simon Spurr was a stylish spin on a classic spring formal-wear staple. He played around with the double-breasted jacket – mixed-contrast sleeves in leather, striped sleeves ‒ with reassuringly masculine results. Colour-blocking, a spill-over from women’s wear, was attempted without trespassing into the effeminate territory in the slightest. It is with mesh fabrics, though, that he pushed the envelope: wearing it as an outer layering or underneath a double-breasted blazer (note: how to pull off double-breasted jacket in spring/summer without sweating like a swine!). And oh, the three-piece suits: purrr-fection!
Antonio Azzuolo made use of his sartorial flair to give an insouciant take on trousers (and shorts) – crotches were dropped and off-center all at once ‒ that came across rather hip and season-appropriate (Plus, they reminded me of dhotis, don’t you agree?). He paired those trousers with head boys’ private school suits, which emanated a classical yet youthful vibe. The white buttons peeking out of the classic black tuxedo made a demonstratively cheeky yet sophisticated picture.
Cuffed trousers (okay, not exactly new; Thom Browne has been championing it for years now) worn with tasselled loafers at Michael Bastian’s are guaranteed to give some sartorial swagger. For a wonderfully quirky spin on the smart there were the window pane blazers, casually worn bow-ties, 1950s eyewear. A white shawl-collar tuxedo jacket with black lapels accessorized with red pocket square looked remarkably du jour and elegant.
Go on guys, you know you want to!