After watching Simon Spurr prepare for his Spring 2012 show, we already knew what to expect: expertly tailored menswear mixed with subtle hints of country charm (think English riding boots and denim). Of course, the recent CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year nom offered many classic, slim cut, three piece suits, but there were plenty of striped patterns as well.
“The graphic prints were inspired by a guy named Norman Wilkinson who came out with the first version of camouflage for the British navy, called Dazzle Ships in 1920,” Spurr told us backstage. He incorporated the striped, zig-zag patterns into many pieces, including suits, knits, and a blazer or two.
While most men may find the unconventional patterns difficult to pull off, the outerwear, classic cut denim, and sportswear really shined. We loved the smart trench coats and blazers with leather sleeves and quilted leather motorcycle jackets. “I loved that whole lavender segment,” said Brad Goreski—who sat front row with the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Ed Westwick—post show. “I was so excited about that three piece suit with the slight purple pin stripe and the purple shirt.” So were we.
But while you wouldn't necessarily know it from the effortlessly cool looks that made their way down the runway, the show was the culmination of many hours of work, frantic phone calls and painstakingly precise decision-making. Here, we spend an hour with the designer right before his show, to see all the
Click through for our exclusive minute-by-minute diary of what happened before Spurr's show, and a gallery of looks.
5:00: About 60 minutes before Simon Spurr’s show is scheduled to start, the designer chats with his technical team about lighting and music cues. “We use music and lighting to create a dramatic entrance, so timing is very important,” he says. The lights flash on and off to music tracks until the team perfects each cue.
5:10: 40 male models gather on Milk Studio’s runway and the show’s producer, Lynne O'Neill, introduces herself. “Everyone breathe,” she says, calming pre-show jitters. Spurr stands by as O’Neill tells models where to pose and turn on the runway. “Come out strong, not fast, chin up, and don’t slouch,” she reminds the men. In the meantime, Spurr’s naturally beautiful wife, Dr. Justine Kahn—who dons a black mini dress—snaps photos of the rehearsal and her husband. Her mother/professional photographer, Alice Attie, is also on hand with a camera.
5:15: O’Neill wraps up the rehearsal. “We like precision, right Simon?” she asks. “Yes, and just make sure you don’t walk too fast,” he says.
5:20: Spurr heads backstage to hair and makeup for an interview with Forbes. He talks about the collection, and his handpicked music selection which features two unreleased tracks.
5:25: Spurr heads over to the dressing area and talks to a camera crew in front of racks of clothing. Again, he explains his inspiration and points out some of the intricate details on one of his buttery, leather bomber jackets.
5:30: The designer poses backstage for about seven photographers from the likes of WWD and Esquire.
5:32: Spurr does another interview, this time with Esquire, and again patiently explains his inspiration, talking about the collection as if for the first time. As he chats with the reporter, his mother-in-law proudly snaps more photos.
5:35: Tommy Fazio, SPURR’s President/former Fashion Director of Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus asks Spurr to pose for some more pictures for Billboard Magazine.
5:37: Spurr greets a reporter from Gotham magazine. “Every six months, like clockwork,” he says while the two shake hands. At this point, I can recite the gist of the collection myself: country elegance mixed with the modernism that the brand’s known for.
5:40: “We’re in good shape,” Fazio reports as Spurr heads to the adjacent Amex lounge to greet A-listers including HBO’s How to Make it America star Bryan Greenberg and Gossip Girl actor Ed Westwick. Photographers start snapping photos of Westwick and Spurr chatting while Greenberg stands to the side. Full disclosure: I had to hold back laughter as Westwick strikes GQ-esque poses for the cameras while Spurr chats. Westwick literally leans against a wall with a hand to his chin while pretending to be deep in conversation. Spurr, on the other hand, was naturally charming as per usual.
5:45: A publicist from the Starworks PR announces that Carmelo Anthony has just arrived. We move outside of the Amex lounge to the main lounge upstairs at Milk. Spurr greets the NBA star, along with designer Erin Fetherston, Bravo-lebrity Brad Goreski.
5:50: “Are you ready for the show?” Anthony asks. The two chat and Spurr invites the NBA star to come in for a custom suit “when everything slows down a little bit.”
5:55: Spurr catches up with Goreski, they haven’t seen each other since the CFDA’s.
6:10: Spurr meets up with stylist Deborah Watson who is holding a lint brush. “This is the point where I just want it to be over,” he admits before posing for a shot with the models. “I like when the second person walks out. It’s like I’m done, there’s nothing else you can do about it.” But until the music starts, Spurr inspects and straightens out models shirts and lapels to make sure the show goes off without a hitch. I quickly grab my seat just a few spots down from Tinsley Mortimer (kind of random, I know, but more on that later) just in time to see the perfectly planned first walk.
**All photos: Courtesy