New York Fashion Week unspools through September 16 in the big, gray cube planted temporarily next to Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera House.
With over 100 designers strutting their Spring/Summer 2011 collections – and with more than a dozen new style-conscious hotels opening in New York this year – you’d think the two realms might overlap. And you’d be right.
Which is why I found myself elbowing my way into the Box, a midnight black runway room, for Andrew Buckler’s menswear show.
Buckler, a British designer known for eccentrically urbane designs aimed at cool, creative types, devised the cheeky uniforms – urban hipster meets Gangs of New York – sported by the staff at the new James Hotel, which opened September 1.
A 180-degree jump from classic livery and braided epaulettes, the outfits also leapfrog past boutique hotel all-black. The women’s double-belted steel-blue pencil skirt comes with a matching leather-edged coat embellished with zippers. Flick the zipper and – voila – the coat turns into a blazer.
Doormen sport white shirts and steel-blue shorts in summer (there’s a funky fur-collared
overcoat, and long pants, for winter). Everyone wears lace-up Frye boots.
Since I hang around hotels more than haute couture houses, Buckler’s show proved fascinating, as much for the choreography as the clothes. After lining up in a long glass-walled hall, we entered the Box and discovered – no seats! Basically, you score a spot as near as possible to the runway, whip out your camera and wait as mood music rips — Louis Prima’s “Sing, Sing, Sing” in this instance.
At precisely 1:30 pm, the first model strolled out in persimmon pants and a smart adjustable tan trench (now a coat – zip — now an Eisenhower jacket). Cameras flashed. Two dozen men, two dozen outfits inspired by the 1924 Chariots of Fire Olympics and the Bauhaus (go figure). Click, click. Our group – fashion bloggers, editors, buyers and design students from the look of things – filed out as a new audience lined up at the gate. Buckler, who appeared for a quick bow, owned the Box for an hour.
The forecast for creative-type guys? Expect navy over-the-knee shorts, white pants casually rolled, short, tight-cut jackets, long, loose waistcoats over white Ts and polished hoodies with a between-the-wars vibe, more Brideshead than Radiohead. As for hair, I loved the Bob’s Big Boy pompadours. Look for them on the porters at the James.