An Early Spring Fling



Diesel Black Gold: Now in its second season, Diesel Black Gold (pictured above) felt a bit more comfortable in taking the same liberties that the Diesel label usually does. While the debut Fall collection went for a cohesive and slightly older feel, the Spring collection felt younger and far more eclectic. We knew we were in for something special when the show's soundtrack featured a few choice Quentin Crisp quotes and we quickly realized the collection seemed to have been created by pulling inspiration from several different time periods. From one look to the next anything seemed possible, from a '70s spread collar button down to a '50s era band leader jacket. There were even gently-worn cardigans stolen straight out of a 19th century poet's wardrobe, which Creative Director Wilbert Das cited as a direct inspiration. As far as the garments covered in feathers? Though eye-catching, the jury is still out on them. And, if the clothes alone didn't hammer home the collection's anachronistic nature, the models' hats certainly added to the feel. There were sailor and conductors hats, riding caps and even Civil War cadet Kepis, each seemingly arbitrarily tossed atop a model's head before he hit the runway. No matter which era Das was channeling, he garnished the entire collection with the signature metal detailing of chains and zippers. Diesel Black Gold also debuted their new accessories, which for men meant leather and burlap shoulder bags and will no doubt be paraded up and down Eighth Avenue as soon as they hit the stores.

Duckie Brown: As everyone gathered for the Duckie Brown show this year, you could tell there was a hint of intrigue in the air, as there always is with this label's smart and irreverent collections. Last year the models walked without music -- a brilliant staging device that deftly focused the attention solely on the clothes. But this year heavy beats provided the show's soundtrack as the always-gaunt models strutted their lanky selves down the runway in squarish, cropped suits layered over knee-length sweaters and those thick knitted hoodies that DB is always so fond of. At the same time there was a more athletic and synthetic feel to Duckie Brown. Nylons and polyesters were prevalent, and in much darker shades (mostly black). What's more, there were accessorized collars that looked like they had been ripped straight off a North Face jacket and wrapped around the models necks just before they hit the runway. It's those little jolts of contrast and the antithetical detailing that always make Duckie Brown so much fun.

Perry Ellis: The midwesterner's answer to high-fashion? Or the regular guy's dream answered? The label shows at Fashion Week so it comes with a certain degree of stylish clout, yet you'll find it at department stores all over the country. That being the case, PE plays it relatively safe on the runways, and this season, though there were a few risks, it was a tame, yet classic collection. The color palette is normally dominated by neutrals and a lot of browns and tans, but this season there was a big shift towards color, largely of the pastel variety. Suits were cut fuller for Spring, almost boxy; knits were prevalent, though more so in interesting cuts like the Henley and sweater vests, and in baggy, pajama-like drawstring pants. This collection, while still quintessential Perry Ellis, hinted at great things to come, and we can only hope such a prediction is able to be fulfilled. Interestingly, in a bold move of self-assertion, creative director John Crocco sent models down the runway one after another in polo shirts, each with a single letter on the breast of the shirt that when ordered spelled "Perry Ellis." It was a cute nod to a crowd-favorite label -- even the models had little smirks on their faces as they walked. On a final note, the casting was spot on, with many of our office favorites including Chad White, Brad Kronig and Noah Mills among those walking the runway.

Obedient Sons: On the muggiest day that New York has had to bear with in quite a while, it was a relief to step into the pleasantly air conditioned confines of Industria studios, but even then, you could still feel the humidity in the air -- sort of like being on the ocean. It was an appropriate atmosphere given the nautical extravaganza Obedient Sons offered along with season favorites like pajama pants, cardigans, Breton stripes on tanks and tees, pleated pants, and heavy-knit, though sheer, Henleys and sweaters. They're the kind of items you'd love to throw on just before heading out for a lobster bake or off to the beach for a picnic. As with most collections, there was some straying from the mainly mariner theme, most notably in the suiting, which was cut very slim and in fashioned from eye-catching fabrics. The final men's look was a suit of gleaming white gold fabric covered in a small diamond pattern which dazzled under the lights. Other notable suiting was in gray flannel and covered in multi-colored stitched writing, and all together Obedient Sons designed a solid, classic collection with some original moments.