Andrew Harmon | Band of Outsiders | Fashion Men | Gilded Age | John Bartlett | Loden Dager | Marc Jacobs | Michael Kors | Models | New York | News | Robert Geller | Spurr | Thom Browne



Guestblogger ANDREW HARMON

Andrew Harmon has been roving among the shows at New York's Mercedes Benz Fashion Week for Towleroad. Harmon is the former West Coast Editor for DNR/Menswear and a contributor to Los Angeles, The Advocate and Women’s Wear Daily. Earlier this week, Harmon filed a preliminary report, which you can read here.

John-Bartlett In between shows this week, my friend Kurt and I stepped into John Bartlett’s West Village boutique under the pretext of Just looking, thanks. It was a few days after Bartlett had been hogtied in reviews by a few men’s editors, who among other things complained that the models in his dressed-up-for-the-Depression-bread-line show looked more like David Barton Gym slaves than malnourished workers subsisting on gruel and Chesterfields. (What did they expect, Bartlett goes twink? Right.)

The store was empty, less the sales clerk and Bartlett’s three-legged dog, Tiny Tim, who encouraged me to try on a down vest with wool check plaid shoulders that gave the illusion, however slight, of Bartlett beefiness. Sold. No thanks to Kurt.

But spending money one doesn’t have is clearly the ultimate vulgarity in this epoch, and if Carrie Bradshaw were still around, I imagine she’d be about as popular as Elena Ceausescu during the Romanian Revolution. So like many, my further shopping habits this year will be drib-drab at best. Thankfully, we won’t all have to go too Banana Republicky, because there are a few tight pieces to be had this week in New York, and I imagine more than one will be on the clearance rack come fall.

Stand-outs in my book:

Gilded-Age  Michael-Bastian

Gilded Age and Michael Bastian both evoked that one red-flag guy in every fraternity who can actually dress: collegiate and masculine, but you know he’s got copies of VMan  and i-D stuffed somewhere in his study carrel. I’d lose the blazer on this Gilded look and show off the fair isle cardigan sweater underneath. Perfect for parents’ weekend. Ditto the varsity jacket at Bastian.

Thom-Browne  Loden

If adequately trust-funded, he may be adding this exquisite piece from Thom Browne, who presented at his showroom Thursday in lieu of the usual runway theatrics that were shipped to Pitti Uomo last month. Even if a true Browne devotee is the sort of bristly Sartorialist addict who would never accompany you on a 1 a.m. trip to McDonald’s, the designer is living proof of Richard Martin’s axiom that fashion, however pervasive, remains an underappreciated visual art form.  

But back to knits: Despite Loden Dager’s soporific show at the General Society’s Library, the collective offered up a series of accessible, rugged cardigans, some with leather buttons that bridged the divide between bohemian and longshoreman. Earthy lavender is definitely a pop-color this season, finding its way into the label’s roomy trousers pegged at the ankle (must everyone roll their cuffs these days?).

Band-of-outsiders  Marc-by-marc

Earlier this week I left the Band of Outsiders show aglow, then wondered if it was just the sublime presentation that tricked me into submission. After a second look, I stand firm: This double-breasted blazer is about as boy chic as it gets.

I’ve only seen Marc Jacobs in person once in my life. Last March he was slouched in a high-backed leather booth at The Abbey in West Hollywood, texting and ignoring the insouciant 22-year-olds flanking him. Since then his clothes have taken on a bit of a bratty sheen for me. So it was refreshing to see pieces like this jacket at Marc by Marc Jacobs. Punched up with a colorful woven shirt, it channeled my favorite deadpan soundbyte from Kelly Cutrone: “Fashion is fun, just remember. Fashion. Is. Fun.” 

Michael-Kors  Spurr

If you’re not blinded by the orange in Michael Kors’ collection that approximates the designer’s permatan, you’ll see a fantastic wool coat in an asphalt palette that begs closer inspection. Spurr, which I mentioned in a post earlier this week, has this sublime down jacket in amber. It doesn’t appear to be very technical in its fabrication, though I could still see a fashionisto sporting it for spring skiing in Aspen.  

What to avoid? Hate to say it, but Phillip Lim 3.1’s small collection was disappointing. My neighbor Carol can work the hell out of his fantastic cropped jackets, but the men’s line is still largely inscrutable. There were a lot of interesting plaid suits this week, but Lim’s was not among them.

Robert-Geller  Robert-Geller-2

The love affair with Robert Geller hasn’t hit me yet. Clearly he has talent. No one wins GQ’s Best New Menswear Designers in America award by accident. But the show’s aesthetic  — Oscar and Bosie meet the goth kids on South Park — didn’t leave me terribly inspired. Except for this leather jacket, one of the best I’ve seen. I’m all for avant-garde, but please explain to me this subsequent model, who wore a fringed, burgundy afghan belted at the waist, like a five-year-old’s first attempt at drag in the family living room.

Earlier this week...
New York Men's Fashion Week Report: Fall 2009 Collections [tr]

(Top B&W image: Backstage at Robert Geller. Kevin Tachman for Towleroad)

(look images marcio madeira,

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  1. Yikes, the short-cut double breasted jacket with the really ill-fitting pant is really, really icky!

    Posted by: David B. | Feb 20, 2009 1:21:46 PM

  2. You call that writing? Did the dog get you to try on that down vest? Your syntax is miserable. With such a publishing pedigree, I would expect a bit more. Blogs are no excuse for bad grammar.

    Posted by: Kelly | Feb 20, 2009 1:38:57 PM

  3. Ill fitting ugly "fashion" for the Rainbow Bright TV genration. Childrens clothes are made for Children. Adults need clothing that serves many funtions.

    Posted by: ggreen | Feb 20, 2009 1:40:03 PM

  4. Seriously, who wears these clothes? Only a fashion-victim would, operative word... victim.

    Posted by: bading | Feb 20, 2009 1:40:29 PM

  5. I am so tired of the preppy look. Hated it in the 80's, 90's and today. Why grown men want to look like a school boy I'll never know? Drab! The fashion here is so predictable and unoriginal. Plus the skinny guy look is really growing old fast. It would have been great if designers grabbed on to Obama's positiveness and did something uplifting, exciting and new.

    Posted by: Pugzz | Feb 20, 2009 1:40:47 PM

  6. *Sigh* Fashion killed Rock 'N Roll. And music in general.

    Posted by: jeffreychrist | Feb 20, 2009 1:55:13 PM

  7. The last picture looks like a Jedi on Tattooine or something...

    Posted by: Sam | Feb 20, 2009 3:51:27 PM

  8. Yeah, Mr. Guilded Age is showing a bit of a basket, there. THAT must be why the made the "Stand-outs in my book" list. First one, no less!

    Posted by: FixItAgainTony | Feb 20, 2009 4:08:02 PM

  9. Despite the writing, which is about as fluffy as the mostly absurd clothing showcased here, I don't want to attack Mr. Harmon. He's just doing his bizarre job. He gives a nod to the recession, admitting that for most of us, today's column is like a visit to a museum (of absurd clothes.) He can't afford the clothes, and neither can we; even if we wanted too.

    Seems to me that most of the men leaving comments here are not all that interested in the world of haute fashion, except for the magnetic bulge or two.

    If I saw that Marc Jacobs guy walking towards me, I'd have to look the other way.

    Posted by: Dave | Feb 20, 2009 8:28:37 PM

  10. I enjoyed the writing...and yes it was the dog that got him to try on the vest...hello!

    Marc by Marc Jacobs is the look Marc used to feature when he looked schlumpy. No?

    I like the shrunken stuff but talk about poor investment buying.

    My taste, if I were rich, is more along the new Thierry Mugler Fall 09 go check it out on my site GentsCanineSociety. My dog made me write that.

    Posted by: David | Feb 20, 2009 8:31:02 PM

  11. Wow. How relevant. I feel like a total stereotype now.

    Give me a minute to wash off the Gayface.

    Posted by: Mark | Feb 21, 2009 11:21:32 AM

  12. the only non-white i see has half of his face and body cut off. blah. where are the black and asian men at?

    Posted by: nikki | Feb 21, 2009 12:26:32 PM

  13. Obviously most of the posters do *not* know anything about fashion, or fashion writing. I personally find Mr Harmon's style refreshing and witty, and more importantly, perceptive. So back off, haters.

    Posted by: max | Feb 21, 2009 6:45:22 PM

  14. That last Photo seems to show what might be a "knights of the Templar inspirations. In my humble opinion, it doesn't work-back to the drawing board for Robert. The work in the SPURR shot is innovative-shades of the colors he used work nicely together.

    Posted by: 2201East | Feb 21, 2009 9:20:43 PM

  15. ahahaahaha

    Posted by: Awais | Sep 27, 2010 7:18:59 AM

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