NYC’s New Destination For Men’s Gems

Whatever your true feelings about man jewelry, Derek Cruz, the bespectacled face behind Black Sheep and Prodigal Sons, is a name worth knowing. The accessories designer has been building his presence in the fashion industry for years, offering unique, somewhat mischievous stickpins, necklaces, and bracelets (among other items) for men. (Not that many a female hasn’t borrowed or bought a Black Sheep and Prodigal Sons piece for herself.) As of tonight, Cruz officially brings his inimitable accessories to a wider audience thanks to his softly-opened new standalone store in the Lower East Side. Called Occulter, the tiny but decidedly sleek and dark space will stock “new and used books (mainly esoteric titles on mysticism and alchemy from Ouroboros Press), limited-edition vinyl, picks from past collections, and exclusive one-offs,” says The Cut.

“Though many of the rare, handcrafted pieces are necessarily pricey, Cruz and his assistant, Christine Samar, have introduced several rose-gold and sterling-silver necklaces and earrings that fall comfortably in the $70 to $200 range,” adds The Cut. Come celebrate the store’s opening tonight with Vietnamese ‘chips and dips’ provided by next door neighbor, An Choi (whose co-owner, Huy Bui, also moonlighted as architect for the new shop), from 6-8p.m. and/or follow the after-math at the Jane.

Expect To See A Lot More (Man) Leg Seaside This Summer

Women’s hemlines have been on the rise for seasons. From minis to no pants whatsoever, women’s gams have been front and center when it comes to the latest in the height of fashion. And now the tide seems to be sweeping men’s wear as well. Not, the underwear as outerwear phenomenon hasn’t exactly taken off when it comes to dudes, but what have gotten a whole lot shorter are bathing suits. “Men’s swim lengths are heading north as vendors trade more conservative boardshorts for the leggier volley shorts length,” says Women’s Wear Daily.

“Everyone has talked about shorts getting shorter but swim has really led the charge,” Saks’ men’s fashion director Eric Jennings adds. Men have been scooping up an increased number of Speedo’s shorter volley styles so far this year, while Nautica has introduced its shortest swim short ever. Generally speaking, the trend seems to mirror men’s increasingly slim silhouettes in recent seasons. Read: expect to see quite a few never before sun-kissed thighs to be parading around poolside in the world’s various fashion capitals. As for middle America, board shorts are likely to remain the swimsuit of choice for some time.

Men Get the Shoulder Memo

If there was one ubiquitous style last year, it was the padded shoulder. Balmain brought the ’80s style back, while everyone from Zara to H&M subsequently knocked off the Dynasty-appropriate silhouette. Everywhere one looked women were two inches taller in the case of their shoulders. But, it’s not until this season that men’s wear has truly taken note. According to Women’s Wear Daily, male shoppers can expect “sharp lines, bold construction and strong shoulders with hard angles” come fall.

Although, that’s not to say men should be following the Balmain model. Read: avoid shoulder pads at all costs. Think more along the lines of Wall Street circa the late 80s and early 90s. Welcome the year that will see the resurrection of the power suit (for that you can, at least in part, thank Oliver Stone). And, that goes for ladies–just look to FW10 collections from Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors or Alexander Wang–too.

Big Hair & Ankle Baring

Thom Browne, for one, would be happy with the new Barney’s Spring 2010 catalog. On half-a-dozen spreads, cropped trouser– of the variety with which Browne is synonymous– surfaced. Call them high-waters or petal pushers, but men’s fashion come springtime is definitely defined by shortened hemlines below the knee. (For reference see here, here and here.) The transition isn’t wildly surprising given that cuffed trousers have become a requirement for being featured on the Sartorialist, and mid-calf lengths merely accent more of the ankle (apparently fashion’s new favorite erogenous zone).

Also on the rise: men’s hairstyles. Like women, coifs flirting with increasingly more severe altitudes are all the rage. In the aforementioned Barney’s catalog, pompadours of which Elvis would approve were everywhere one looked. Not to mention one of the defining features of Patrik Ervell’s SS10 show, for one, were male mannequins with overgrown, curly manes. It’s a trend of which designer Henry Holland, whose ‘do has seemingly reached never before seen heights (and is pictured here), may be the perfect poster child.

Photo courtesy of Style.com

First Look at Rodarte for Men (Not Without Controversy)

As I’ve said before, Rodarte has had a very busy year. There was Target and a mini-doc with Tavi for Style.com, not to mention the newly released tees and sweatshirts done in collaboration with artists David Sherry and Autumn de Wilde for Opening Ceremony. Also fresh to hit the retailer’s racks are looks from Rodarte’s premiere men’s collection. But, according to a post on Fashion Indie, the launch may spawn a fair share of controversy thanks to one commenter’s potentially flammable comment on Opening Ceremony’s blog.

Specifically, the controversy is surrounding what may be Rodarte’s uncouth copycatting of Comme des Garçons circa FW06:

“I’m gagging at these prices!!! I do love how Rodarte has been able to take the same knit Junya Watanabe did for *Fall 2006, repackage it and sell it for thousands of dollars(a semester’s tuition btw). I’ll be looking on etsy for a knockoff of the knockoff. ps: making the same dress every season can only get you so far.”

Images of the two looks are above so you can judge for yourself.