Not one to follow trends, but rather create timeless menswear pieces, Ralph Lauren’s collections are always birthed from the mindset of a classic movie. And rightfully so, since it was in 1973 when he outfitted the cast of The Great Gatsby, in which turn influenced the way millions dressed. So it comes as no surprise that this collection was a nod to his roots, but in true Ralph Lauren style, he didn’t exactly play it safe. For his Polo Ralph Lauren line this season, his inspiration laid somewhere in between the quintessential American country mansion (entitled Bedford Estate and Foxfields), and the thirties/collegiate-influenced American man (entitled Rivalry Field). There was a navy blazer paired with gray flannels, a yellow cabled cashmere cardie, and a banker-striped shirt that evoked the iconic Ralph Lauren country gentleman. But then you had Lauren’s innately cinematic panache for vintage Americana, particularly with a red leather varsity jacket in the Rivalry Field grouping.
Within his Black Label, Ralph Lauren’s deep love of sports-cars was his muse this season. Mixing tailored suits with leather jackets, metallic pewter tones were laced in the looks. As were the sleeves that were based on a car interior in the Monza group. But it was his exclusive Purple Label that Lauren began to experiment. The legendary trim Savile Row silhouettes were still present (along with the pop of colour in the shirts), but it was in the small detailing that Lauren began to have some fun. A silk tie with a motif of topper-sporting skulls, a shirt with horizontal stripes and a twinset of cabled sweater and cardigan gave Purple Label a more youthful injection.
Available at Holt Renfrew, 50 Bloor Street West, (416) 922-2333; The Bay, 176 Yonge Street, (416) 861-9111; Sporting Life, 2665 Yonge Street, (416) 485-1611.
In the show notes, Trovata’s John Whitledge invoked “this challenging time” and stated his goal of making the audience smile through his collection. The mood of this season’s collection was Paris in the 1960’s, when the city was oozing of sex and politics at the time. It was a time when men still looked macho, but there was change in the air. So, Whitledge ran a gamut from the gentleman’s three-piece suit to the student’s duffel coat, with side trips into a hint of military and vintage-y knitwear. It was a more somber and grown up affair this season. The focus shifted from witty gimmicks to clean tailoring, but slightly quirky collars and fasteners, and jewel tones that added some flair into the otherwise non-flashy pieces.
Available at TNT Man, 368 Eglinton Avenue West, (416) 544-0002.
diesel black gold
Creative director Wilbert Das took intriguing elements of the heyday of jazz and gave them the Diesel treatment in a collection shown to the soundtrack of Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue.” The collection evoked an impoverished robber baron facing down the Great Depression in his worked-over Gilded Age wardrobe. Suits patterned with variants of Prince of Wales checks came pre-rumpled, stained and mended. And true to their heritage of distressed pieces, there were side-striped conductor’s pants worn with suspenders and thirties-era work shirts with oversized buttons that were worn, weathered, and stained. It was in a sense, a prelude to what men would wear if the recession continues.
Available at Diesel, 92 Yorkville Avenue, (416) 968-3335.
F/W 2009 New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week: Buckler, Tim Hamilton, Band of Outsiders & William Rast