From Memes to Menswear: The Fat Jewish to Debut Dadbod Collection at #NYFW

The Fat Jewish with his White Girl Rosé photographed by Alexander Ferzan for Superette

Famous for his Instagram memes mocking celebrities, notably Kim Kardashian West’s cry face, The Fat Jewish, born Josh Ostrovsky, has a new business venture to add to his growing lifestyle brand. In addition to a memoir release this Fall, a modeling contract with One Management, and his line of White Girl Rosé, he is launching  his first collection at New York Fashion Week. Aptly titled the “Dad Fashion Show”, Ostrovsky will pay homage to the dadbod trend made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio.

According to The Cut, the collection, debuting at MADE Studios at the Standard Hotel, will be “an eclectic collection of apparel” honoring dads in all shapes, sizes and moods. We’re not sure what to expect, since The Fat Jewish wears so little clothing we can’t take many cues from his personal style. We expect stylish sweatpants and flannel shirts, perhaps, or something more daring like crop tops and shorts that accommodate dadbods.

While Ostrovsky is not a father himself, thus dubiously a possessor of a “dadbod”, he does have some intentions of social good with this collection. He recently told Style.com, “I just want to inspire people of my size and my gender to be comfortable in their own skin, because it’s OK to have a mediocre body and very, very high cholesterol, as long as you look great doing it.”

Brave Gentlemen Wear 100% Vegan Menswear

This fashion week, it’s safe to say I wasn’t expecting to find myself sitting in a PowerPoint lecture. But that’s exactly what guests saw first at the Brave Gentleman presentation. Designer Joshua Katcher, whose line is 100% vegan and ethically made, introduced his new collection by first giving a short presentation about the history of fashion and animals. To be perfectly honest–it was fascinating.

Before Katcher started his fashion line and his lecture series, he was first preoccupied with a trend he saw frequently in fashion magazines: models pictured with live animals while also wearing items made from other animals. From there, an exploration into this trend had begun–what do these contradictory pairings reveal?

Katcher later combined his interests in environmentally friendly fashion and classic menswear with his line Brave Gentleman.

“I saw a void in the market, there weren’t many beautiful suits and shoes that met my standards. I found that other people had those standards, too,” said Katcher. The result is beautiful, classic menswear made with fabrics sourced from recycled materials. Upon viewing the collection, I couldn’t help but do a touch-test of the materials, and not only did they feel exactly like leather, suede, and their substitutes, they also looked amazing.

I caught up with the designer for a quick q&a:

What was the inspiration for this collection?

Taking traditional menswear cuts, giving them an edge, and having fun with innovative textiles. Very much about the feel and also how you feel wearing them. There’s a real revolution in menswear and suiting. With Brave we want men to feel confident with the brand, about both aesthetics and having pride in the production.

How much more difficult is it to source 100% vegan materials than to go the normal, largely unsustainable route?

It’s a fun challenge, but it’s becoming easier and easier. It’s not a limitation–instead I’ve been able to focus on sustainability. It’s difficult in a challenging, fun way that any good designer would take on.

What’s one piece of style advice you would give to the general male public?

Read the label, in the same way you read your food label. Abandon the idea of being a consumer, embrace being a citizen investor.

What person, real or fictional, would you most like to dress?

I would go back in time and dress Don Draper. He’s an ideas guy, he’d be excited about our approach. We’d do a trade; he’d do an ad, and I’d dress him.

If there was one song or album to capture the collection, what would it be?

“Yahoo or the Highway” album by Lockah.

Eight Stand Outs from Milan’s Menswear Shows

1: Brioni’s East-meets-West vibe

You have to go back a long way to uncover the roots of Brioni’s Fall/Winter 2014/15 collection—all the way back to Caravaggio, in fact. Take, for example, Giusquiamo green—yes, I had never heard of it either, but a chief pleasure of fashion is how it expands your appreciation of color. Giusquiamo green—dark and mossy—is named after a leaf (henbane in English), that was said to help witches fly, and the dead forget their loved ones, as well as more practical purposes in treating colic, irritable bladder, and gastric ulcers. And now it is a shade of beautiful knits and jackets by Brioni, taking the color palette from the shades of Carvaggio’s compositional chiaroscuros. There’s also midnight smoke, cherry brandy, dry bougainvillea, and geisha red. Talk about a (cashmere) coat of many colors. And that geisha red is no anomaly: a 1963 travel journal by Brioni co-founder Gaetano Savini, in which he recorded his impressions of Tokyo, serves as the anchor to this sublime collection in which silk shirts and a varsity jacket are embroidered with traditional Japanese scenes that you don’t need to be an extrovert to wear. Current creative director, London-born Brendan Mullane, let me look through Savini’s yellowed notebook, full of scribbles and doodles, and practically humming with inspiration and passion. Mullane and his team have taken that inspiration and expanded it for a collection that genuinely merits that overused trope “east meets west,” by synthesizing the best of both worlds.

Brioni JournalBrioniSilk ShirtBrioni close up

2: Bottega Veneta’s everything.

There were many shades of green on show at the Bottega Veneta presentation early on Sunday morning—at an hour that Tomas Meier, the brand’s reserved, somewhat cerebral creative director, tends to favor, presumably because he thinks that afternoons are for slackers. Meier has helmed the luxe Italian brand, Bottega Veneta for over 12 years—and for good reason. His collections are never less than impeccable, and consistency is his hallmark. There is almost nothing that materializes on his runway that I wouldn’t want to wear, and almost nothing I could ever afford. This season’s signature was a dip-dyed sweater, as well as cashmere sweat pants that will never be worn to the gym.

Bottega

 

DipDyesweater

3: Canali’s Grand Piano

The music for the Canali presentation was a live performance by pianist Ludovico Einaudi, playing his own pastoral compositions on a grand piano. Yes, it was exhilarating to hear Beyonce’s Superpower at Bottega Veneta, and the blast of Pulp’s Hardcore at Feragamo was a delightful mindfuck, but after all the pop and rock that propels the svelte young boys down the catwalks, how nice to have the grown-up sound of Einaudi at the piano. I’d never heard of him before, but when I fly back to New York, this is the song I shall be playing to calm my nerves.

CanaiRunway

Ludovico Einaudi

 

CD for ludovico-einaudi-in-a-time-lapse-album

4: Bebel’s Puntarelle salad

Man cannot live on style alone. Sometimes he needs bread, too—preferably dipped in a little olive oil, and served with a heaping bowl of puntarelle salad. Let me come clean: I had no idea what puntarelle was when I first encountered it at Bebels, one of those typical Milanese restaurants that are over-lit, and basic, but which serve fresh, simple dishes that you crave after a day of sitting endlessly on hard, narrow benches waiting for shows to start 30 minutes after their scheduled time. Puntarelle is a winter chicory that grows in southern Italy, and which is transformed by a little chopped anchovy, garlic, vinegar, and olive oil. Reader, I could eat this every day, and when I am here I do.

Puntarelle Salad_Bebels

5: Pink? No, Flamingo.

I overheard Deborah Needleman, now making waves as editrix of T Magazine, marveling one morning at the rise of the men’s clutch. Men’s fashion had become a little more feminine, she noted, while women’s wear was a little more masculine, and so much the better. It’s a good and true observation, but Valextra, a cult Italian bag company, suggests the wheel has simply been dialed back to the 1960s when European men thought nothing of running around with a slim, elegant purse under their arm. Velextra’s fall collection of leather goods come in three colors—petroleum, dark brown, and what they refer to as Flamingo, a bright poppy pink that would add just the right amount of dash to a man’s wardrobe. It surfaces in attaché cases, document wallets, even a cool little case for your computer cables, but I liked the wallet best of all. Is it too early to draw up a Christmas list?

Valextra-Wallet

6: This model

Watching Pier-Gabrile LaJoie stroll down the runway for the Fall/Winter 2014/15 Calvin Klein’s menswear collection was my Death in Venice moment of this season’s shows (you’ll have to read the novel/watch the movie to understand). In Gerontophilia, the most recent movie by director Bruce LaBruce, the young French Canadian plays an 18-year old attracted to an 82-year old man, and it’s easily LaBruce’s most touching and mainstream movie to date. There was something cinematic, too, about Italo Zuccheli’s latest collection with its masculine suiting and the slick-haired models strutting confidently down the catwalk. Leading the charge, LaJoie wore a green trench and pleated, roomy pants that brought to mind a Raymond Chandler crime noir. Later that night, at an extravagant cocktail party festooned with tureens of caviar, LaJoie reflected the same lovely ease and grace he shows on camera, and yes—I was charmed. And no, I did not ask his age. That would be too depressing.

Pier-bigger

7: Donatella Versace

When her brother was shot and killed by Andrew Cunanan on July 15, 1997 few fashion world observers expected Donatella Versace to have the combination of talent and business acumen to keep the fashion house relevant. And yet, here she is in 2014 with a collection that had the audience at the Versace mansion cheering at the weekend. It was, perhaps, the most purely entertaining and joyous occasion that this year’s shows had to offer. There were men in assless chaps that might have been ripped from the pages of gay illustrator Tom of Finland; and men in elaborate jewel-encrusted cod-pieces; and men in ferociously-patterned biker helmets. I had the pleasure of interviewing Donatella some years ago, and still remember thrilling to her deep-throated purr as she discussed fashion and sex. Was there such a thing as being too sexy or seductive, I asked? “Never, never!” she responded, “You can be too boring, but you can never be too seductive.” Nothing about Donatella has ever been boring. And when she came out at the end—a gush of silky blonde hair and a buoyant smile—seductive was precisely the word that sprang to mind.

Versace

8: The enigma that is Prada

Trays of whiskey were waiting as the fashion press poured into the large cage-like arena for Prada’s always-hot ticket show. A stickler for detail, even the refreshment is often a hint of what’s to come, but as usual with Miucca Prada the show was playfully abstract with a somber undertone. Were we in wartime Europe, or maybe in the immediate aftermath? The fox furs hanging around mens necks, and used, harness-like, to reinforce vests, conjured escaping prisoners, but no — afterwards, backstage, Miucca smiled appreciatively at the guessing games, but quickly clarified: we are in the world of the German avant-garde, of which the late Pina Bausch was such a great exemplar. And Bausch, like Prada, commanded a devoted following, not simply because she knew how to dance, but because she knew to think.
PRADA

Aaron Hicklin is the editor in chief of Out magazine and editor of BlackBook.

Simon Spurr is Making a Comeback

British designer Simon Spurr had been laying low since leaving his brand in 2012. Unwilling to continue working with his previous partner, Spurr decided to reconsider his career options and resigned just two days after receiving a nomination for best menswear designer from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. In the meantime, he ventured into the world of interior design and sculpture, and contributed to Tommy Hilfiger’s runway collection last year.

Most recently, the designer joined the English brand Kent and Curwen as creative director, where his elegant silhouettes and versatility came back to life during London Fashion Week a few days ago. Taking time to reevaluate his career led to a shift in thought and perspective, and to the pleasant surprise of many, Spurr took a leap into younger, cricket inspired, military colored designs – never failing to impress.

I sat down with Simon Spurr to ask him a few questions about fashion and what is happening in his life.

What was the turning point for you as a designer, where you shifted your concept, and how did that happen? 

I’ve had a few points in my career that have lead to a complete shift in thought, aesthetic or approach to the market.

First was meeting and working with Hedi Slimane in 1998. His rebuttal of stereotypical fashion trends, along with his unorthodox approach to how men should dress, opened my eyes to the industry I worked in. This was a period of time where new names were breaking significant ground on or for major fashion houses. Whether Hedi for YSL or Raf Simons for his namesake brand, this was a moment that changed menswear forever and I was right there being influenced by one of the influencers of the day. Secondly, and most recently, was after I left my own brand in March 2012.

Any regrets on that? What have you learned since?

Whilst this was a heart wrenching decision that I took, it was also one of the most liberating decisions I have ever made. This subsequent time [outside of my old brand] has allowed me the opportunity to explore other media (interiors and architecture, having created my first interior for Playland Motel in far Rockaway), sculpture/engineering projects that I’ve always wanted to start, and has also allowed me to look back into the fashion industry with a new perspective.

Is there anything missing in the fashion industry, in terms of sources of inspiration or a connectivity to more concrete, more cultural subjects?

Yes completely. I always find it fascinating how cyclical our industry is. And more importantly how very few people chose to break the mold and change their approach to years of procedures that went before them. An example of this being the constant craving for using vintage product as a source of inspiration. For too long now people have seemed to draw reference too literally. (We unfortunately live in a day where literal interpretation often outweighs designing a new garment).

What inspires you?

In the search of inspiration outside of my normal constraints, I have been paying more attention to worlds of art and architecture, methods of construction, negative space, and the act of simply having time to think.

And it is the latter (having time) that connects you to the aforementioned. By having time to step outside of the daily process, and exposing oneself to unfamiliar territories (culturally or aesthetically), it challenges our preconceptions about everything we already know. This in turn expands the mind, resulting in an opportunity to be more creative; which is why we are here, yes!

Spring/Summer 2013 Menswear: Print Play, Short Shorts, More

In honor of Band of Outsiders’ 60-hour menswear show, which is livestreaming now here, we bring to you the latest and greatest of men’s ready-to-wear for spring/summer 2013. The boys brought their best to Paris this season, presenting an array of statement pieces that encourage straying from the fool-proof penguin suit and exploring new patterns, thanks to busy numbers by Alexander McQueenrepeat printspiration purveyor Marc Jacobs and Bottega Veneta. We’re also seeing slacks in new sheens (Fendi’s luxe teal bottoms), suits in moody hues (Prada’s playing with oxblood) and ahem-worthy hemlines (Carven’s shorts are getting shorter). See it all after the jump.

Luxe Slacks
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FendiBurberry Prorsum and Jonathan Saunders were all fans of shiny pants in sea-inspired hues this season. Tops in neutrals and dark tones balance these bold bottoms.
 
Shorter Shorts
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Calvin Klein CollectionCarven and Dolce & Gabbana encourage a braver hemline for shorts. Although I’m not sure who else could pull these off besides Brad Goreski or Nick Wooster, after Magic Mike hits theaters, skin will definitely be in.
 
Oxblood
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While some could argue that oxblood is just a fancy word for burgundy, this specific hue is currently trending—hard. GucciJil Sander and Prada all agree.
 
Photos: Style.com

SS13 Menswear: Before Dior, Raf Simons Showcases Artful Androgyny

When Raf Simons left his post at Jil Sander back in February, the fashion world wondered if it was the end of an era or the start of something great. Although the designer’s signature structural aesthetic would be missed at Sander, speculations swirled as to whether he was heading to Dior, which would be a thrilling turn for the iconic French fashion house. The appointment was confirmed in April and since then everyone has been waiting with baited breath for the new artistic director’s debut haute couture collection, which is happening in just a few days. But first, Simons needs to do Simons.

For the designer’s namesake line, Simons crafted a collection of garments that represented his past, present and future. His bold salute to the trio of trends currently infiltrating both men’s and women’s racks—androgyny, sportswear and retro—didn’t go unnoticed, as he cleverly punctuated Sander-esq tailored suits with short shorts, sneakers and hints of grunge.

Art also plays a part in Simons’ spring, thanks to pops of sherbet, wallpaper-friendly florals and artsy tees designed by LA-based artist Brian Calvin. An additional nod to womenswear came in the form of front slits featured on the aforemented short shorts, balanced by masculine blazers and crisp white top-buttoned shirts with oversized collars. 

If this is a taste of what we can expect from Simons at Dior, the future looks bright.

Photos: Style.com

Paul Smith on Money, Purity, and Afghan Hounds

It’s always nice to hear from the ones who have made it all the way to the Order of the British Empire. Sir Paul Smith spoke to a crowd of some of fashion’s best – like Barney’s’ Simon Doonan and Saks’ Eric Jennings –  at Neuehouse in NYC on Tuesday night on the occasion of the release of Hello, My Name is Paul Smith, his new book.

Sir Paul – Smith, not McCartney – spoke on “Inspiration and Other Things”, like the textiles, architecture, photographs, and library books that inspire his collections. Also mentioned: the 12 x 12 foot “shop” in which he first started his business, his afghan hound (the shop’s true proprietor) and the importance of keeping your creative work pure. How? By spending the majority of the week doing whatever it takes to earn money – all to keep the pure stuff afloat.

As a gathering place for cultural programming and events, Neuehouse was the perfect setting to house Smith’s talk and signing. It’s a beautiful, easy-to-get-lost-in-your-work type of space. Inspiration was abound even for Smith, who thought that the horizontal and vertical line placement of bricks in the wall would work wonderfully as a knit.

Feelin’ It: Texture Galore at the John Varvatos Spring Preview

John Varvatos, whose ad campaigns have included Iggy Pop, The Roots, and most recently, the infamous Willie Nelson, kept that rocker spirit alive with the spring collection on preview today. Though some took literal inspiration (more on that later,) it was the plethora of textures, you know, the kind make people want to reach out and touch… you, that kept had this girl wishing for options in her size.

Whether iterated as an über-soft brushed-suede jacket, a resin-coated cardigan (taking all grandpa-ish feelings away from said sweater) or a mixed-media cardigan with hand-painted leather panels, everything was visually and texturally interesting, and right on John Varvatos tone. ‘Til spring.

hand painted

resin

San Francisco Opening: Department 17

Having grown out of its cult status since opening in its Nob Hill location in 2010, revered indie menswear shop Department 17 now has a shiny new (and bigger) home along a more trod path in Hayes Valley. With a philosophy summed up as "stylish and appropriate", D17 proffers a collection for gents with a classic sense of aesthetics but a distinctly modern attitude.

In addition to their eponymous label, the newly expanded offerings will include apparel, shoes and accessories by Kitsune, Industry of All Nations, Norse Projects and Richer Poorer, amongst others. The space has a charmingly unfinished look, further emphasizing the D17’s casual, inclusive vibe. 17…again!