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Dries Van Noten comes correct with another extremely strong season. As one of the few designers who constantly threads new territory with each men’s collection while still maintaining the DNA of his aesthetic  his collections are ones I always look forward to seeing. While brands have started an arms race of sorts, ODing on bigger, brighter, and more elaborate prints, Dries shows his mastery here , succeeding where many have failed. Models wore an array of florals taken from different periods throughout history.

The details are carefully thought out and the fit of the tailored pieces impeccable as to be expected from one of the Antwerp six. Everything from the size of the collars on the shirts, to the eyewear choices, to the gold-foiled background of the runway match the tone of the show perfectly. While his aesthetic may not be my own, Dries is an aspirational brand for me. I can always imagine myself in it and I hope I can acquire some pieces from this collection. I applaud Dries for avoiding the noise in the fashion industry and humbly steadfastly containing to deliver quality collection after quality collection at an incredibly fair price-point for the men’s fashion market.

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Rick Owens latest Paris showing is possibly his most minimist collection yet. Having played with glam rock elements and more ornate displays in the past few collections, he returns here with a ‘less is more’ philosophy. His trademark leather jackets return stripped down to all but their most simple shapes. Tank tops and t-shirts have few accents except for a few zipper and touches of mesh and leather. The footwear is a mix of the divise Adidas collaboration (which is growing on me, day by day, though still something I wouldn’t buy for myself) and a new equally strange-looking boot.

Adding to the show’s proceedings was a much buzzed about performance from a former Eurovision contestant band as Winny Puhh that Rick says he discovered on the internet. Despite a collection that didn’t stray too far from his foundations, leave it to Rick’s to find a way to keep finding new ways to tell his strange stories.

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Raf Simons has had a long storied career in fashion. Now at the helm of womenswear for Dior, many in fashion felt that own namesake label was placed on backburner for the past few seasons. This strong Spring/Summer 2014 collection should dispel that notion. Taking place 30 minutes outside Paris at the Gagosian Gallery surrounded by the work of artists Alexander Calder and Jean Prouvé, this show was Raf’s attempt at creating a memorable fashion moment.

Now that his label has survived through 20 years in the business, Raf had a chance to breathe and re-collect his thoughts. Bits and pieces of his past designs show up here, the bright optimistic flashes of color, the modernist graphics, and a certain youthful nonchalance expressed by each model who walked by. Something Raf himself commented on in his interview with Dazed :

“All the boys were natural tonight. There was nobody who did the hair for them. We showed them as they come so it was very much about the way of dressing, the way of choosing the clothes as a way to express yourself. It was not a camouflage in terms of how you can create yourself with hair or product or styling. You think about the collection and that is what is interesting right now. You can just take it or leave it but hopefully take it. “

With the length of the shirting and jackets being purposefully long and paired with shorts that were inches from the knee, there was a androgynous edge in the collection but the pieces themselves are versatile enough to be worn many manner of ways.  I particuarly liked the black perforated tech-jacket and the bright sneakers/boots which looked like Jetsons pop-art versions of Art Maxes and hiking boots. Suffice to say, this will be a collection that will appeal to fans of Raf Simons.

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Korean designer MUNSON KWON has been designing for several seasons now but his Fall/Winter 2013 is by far the strongest I’ve seen from him. Based around the ‘Lost Boys-eque’ idea of being a kidult, the collection merges popular culture from the 80s-90s (through which many of us grew up) and tailored menswear. An assortment of duffle coats, varsity jackets, beanies and cardigans are given a playful edge through the use of pattern (polka-dots) and colorful details (such as the toggles on the duffle coat).

MUNSOO KWON FW13 from Daniel Jon on Vimeo.

South Korea is emerging as a powerful force in men’s fashion and I’m excited to see if brands like Munsoo will be able to break into western markets.

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mastermind Japan is one of those brands that has a look that is decidedly Tokyo. Mastermind has always ridden the line between high fashion and Tokyo street for the fifteen years of it’s existence. The brand has continued to put a fob-centric and slightly gaudy signiture on it’s clothes; a signiture that channeled  rebellious rock n roll attitude through a luxury lens usually reserved for men’s brands like Dior Homme. The craftsmanship and quality has always been there and it’s for that reason that the brand has collaborated on product with the likes of Undercover, BAPE, Stussy and Visvim.

While the brand is not known for doing runway shows, Mastermind went all out with a huge spring/summer collection this Tokyo Fashion Week entitled ‘Dreams’.  The thing that stood out to me this collection were cuts of the pieces shown. I really love that both the outerwear and jeans/trousers strike a good balance between slim and slightly oversized. There’s some amazing detailing on many of the pieces and the line offers it’s own takes from everything from streetwear and technical outerwear to suiting to even some prep looks. For me the wallet chains paird with black trousers and styled with t-shirts really nail the look that mastermind has done over the years. Look for collaborations with Stussy, COMMES des GARCONS Black, MEDICOM TOY and Lowe

I believe that the popular men’s aesthetic is slowly moving away from the ultra-slim cuts of Hedi Slimane or Band of Outsiders. The fashionable guys out there will  embrace a more volumous fit in coming seasons but that’s a matter for another post. Right now I just want to commend Honma Masaaki for staying true to one vision for this long and deciding to end the line while it is still relevant. I think it’s important for fashion creators to always adapt , change and at the end of the day sometimes that even mean’s letting go, and for Masaaki, what a way to go out. I’ll leave you with this quote about mastermind Japan’s logo.

The skull is part of me and means “Hold on to your dream until you die”. To that end, I will continue to do just that.

-Honma Masaaki

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This was the first Y-3 show I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in person. The location was an abandoned factory space in the lower east side which provided a historical contrast from this futurist sportswear by Yohji Yamamoto. In the collection there’s pretty straight on takes on sportswear staples such as track jackets and sneakers but my favorite pieces were the ones that blended signature Yohji shapes with synthetic materials and minimal Y-3 branding.

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Willy Cartier and Virgil Abloh

Shayne

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Do you remember smoking weed, drinking beer, eating Doritos and playing N64 in your high school friend’s basement? Highland presented guests of their FW13 collection with an experience that was quite similar to those carefree days of youth. The set was littered with bongs, snacks, a PBR beer pyramid and shag carpeting and admist the chaos were models donning the collection of jackets, sweaters, branded t-shirts and jeans. The interactive presentation was a reflection of the brand’s approach, smartly and subversively using the wasteland of American suburbia as a platform for refined streetwear. While Highland make not be a household name in the US menswear market yet, this presentation exemplified how the brand is quickly building  steady buzz in New York.

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At their core, runway shows are about creating a spectacle and Hood by Air certainly achieved that with their Fall/Winer 2013 Runway show ‘Boychild’ at Milk Studios. The brand has existed since 2007 but really blew up in 2012 with a little help from celebrity trendsetters such as Rihanna. An array of looks came marching down  the lazer-lit runway, set to a pulsing dystopian soundtrack.  They ranged from simple screen printed t-shirts to more elaborate pieces such as a zippered neoprene jacket. What I appreciate most about Hood by Air is that the brand is an honest and natural extension of the lifestyle that designer Shane Oliver  and his cohorts have been leading for years. Don’t be suprised to even see the wildest HBA pieces at the next GHE20G0THIK party or in basement clubs and warehouse raves throughout New York. Self proclaimed fashion killa A$AP Rocky made an appearance closing out the show to the applause and cheering of many in the audience. 2013 promises to be an even bigger and better year for Hood by Air.

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Boris Bidjan Saberi 

Boris compliments this well-cut suit with a boots, a t-shirt and a rain-shell, adding a casual feel to an otherwise tailored look. The entire show revealed maturity and growth from the German designer and it ranks as one of his best to date.

Juun J

Juun was one of the designers championing a fuller cut this season and he executed it in style. The highlight of the show were pieces which were variants on the MA-1 design.  Presented here with creative layer, an oversized turteneck and Duke Nukem army cut Juun shows he’s in strong form in 2013.

Damir Doma

A slightly slouchy silhouette mixed with a all grey tonal fit make this outfit worth considering for Fall. Damir is able to pull off a series of romantic AND wearable looks this collection. For FW13 he has refined his aeshetic and make it a little bit more accessible to men this season without losing the essence of his design style.

Rick Owens

Rick Owens has been a major influence in men’s fashion over the past 10 year and in that time created his own fashion universe.  Here Rick presents a cleaned up minimal take on the goth-glam look that’s become his trademark. The belted samurai jacket returns with cleaner lines underneath his signiture leather pattern. Th personal highlight for me on this fit is the paneled leather pants but the whole thing just looks incredibly badass. It’s always a pleasure to see how Rick continues to evolve as a designer without every straying too far from his roots.

Dries Van Noten

Dries brings a more somber presentation for this fall/winter collection with a palette of earth tones and paisley prints. The quilted bomber here is something Dries executes so well. The minimal collar, slim but still puffy shape and patterned trousers put this look on my list.

Saint Laurent Paris Men’s

One of the most anticipated shows in Paris, Hedi sets out to prove that rock isn’t quite dead. I gave Hedi a hard time with his debut womenswear collection but I’m pretty pleased with his debut men’s showing. This look from the show is deceptively simple but it’s execution is spot-on for what Hedi wants to achieve. While many designers try to incorporate rock influences, this just looks the part effortlessly. The way it should always be in rock’n’roll.

Miharayasuhiro

The title of this collection is ‘Chinpira’ meaning ‘Punk’ celebrates a movement largely characterized by a concern for individual freedom and anti-establishment views. This stood out as one of my favorite collections all week as it struck a delicate balance between intricately crafted luxurious garments and subcultural styling. The above look has a yakuza feel and the glasses definitely Chow Yun Fat from John Woo’s The Killer in the best way possible.

Yohji Yamamoto

Yohji Yamamoto is a master and he has once again put together a collection that any man would be lucky to have in their wardrobes. What I loved about this particular look was the cut of the camel overcoat and the little details fro the shape of the boots to  the look of the pull over-hat. The leopard print hat and glued on mustaches of the models add a welcome dose of quirkiness and humor to an otherwise serious affair.

Junya Watanabe

Since his moto collection Junya hasn’t put a ton of black in his collections but this mostly-black look is Junya at his best. The washed out denim chore coat hung on the shoulders with the patchwork blazer underneath and the not too baggy/not too slim cropped trousers add up to a brilliant outfit.

Louis Vuitton

Kim Jones has really revitalized Louis Vuitton menswear and made the brand relevant again to fashionable guys worldwide. With looks like this, it’s easy to see why. The tonal plaid suit layered underneath the show-stopping shearling parka just looks incredible. The styling with the toque and t-shirt add just enough chav to keep these luxurious clothes from being only the domain of rich white men. I imagine this is how Eastern Promises would have looked with a larger wardrobe budget.

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