Liam and Sam Fayed, the boys behind Bespoken, took their inspiration from photographer Ray Petri’s Buffalo Boy 1980s looks, which I too had to Google, so you shouldn’t feel weird if you’re about to do so. The collection is schoolboy charm meets nightlife impresario, with blocked color patterns on their blazer and oxfords shirts, formal trousers (“off to the dining hall…or Annabel’s”), not-too-cute-but-still-cute derby shoes and their knit sweatpants, fit for a lord (or his naughty nephew). The winning look was a sunglassed model in a dark, satin bomber with leather sleeves on top of black knit sweats and black hightop sneakers. This kid was the dark prince of Piccadilly, the eery Earl of the East End, the haunted baron of Bayswater…You get the picture.
Downstairs from Bespoken, at 99 Hudson Street (note to menswear designers: great idea sharing space like this; everyone appreciated the convenience, and the Peroni beer—thank you for that), was Ernest Alexander, who employed floral prints from the legendary Liberty brand in their oxfords, blazers, ties and trim. The designer, Ernest Sabine, looked to the canals and laid back air of Venice for his dreamily light suits, linen shorts and double-breasted jackets. But the looks were still sturdy, made more stronger still by the camouflage-printed bags and briefcases that were more Milanese Merchant than Venetian loafer, as well as an incisive twill trench. A brand to watch.
I’d love to say that everyone got lei-d at David Hart’s presentation on Thursday, but some of Hart’s models were kelped, and others styled with cameras (which we’ve seen at more than one menswear show this season), while still others had to walk only with Hart’s heavily checkered clothes on their back (except in two instances, where models walked shirtless, one carrying a briefcase, on his way, one assumes, to the world’s strangest meetings, or a drug deal in the tropics). One of Hart’s looks involved a pant in “drab mohair,” which helped explain the outré styling–perhaps he didn’t think the clothes could speak loudly enough for themselves. But with the brash checks and florals on his blazers, Hawaiian printed silk shortsleave shirts, Hollywood-blood-red and mauve suits, I’m not sure such a worry could be validated. The problem with speaking too loudly is that it distracts listeners from what you are trying to say, and eventually, all people hear is the din. Sometimes it’s better, and more effective, to use our inside voices.