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

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.


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.” 


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


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,