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c.2013 New York Times News Service
NEW YORK — Men, look how far you have come.
Take a moment and pat yourselves on the back, especially those of you who were at the Duckie Brown show last week. Not one of you scoffed at the guys wearing their outerwear backward or the model whose boxy camel coat was edged with hints of cotton-candy pink in the armpits.
Your tolerance for unconventional fashion has risen at such an astonishing pace in recent years that it is now curious to watch a Duckie Brown show and think that the designers, Steven Cox and Daniel Silver, are the ones who are normal. These are the same men who gave you billowing pants with an 80-inch waist and sweaters with sleeves that dragged to the ground, ahead of their time, at least until now.
With the arrival of a generation of young men who are taking more risks with their style, at least within the orbit of Fashion Week, Cox and Silver are now able to express themselves forcefully, as they did in their fall collection. This was primarily a show of coats, with boxier versions of a bomber, a leather varsity jacket, a duster and the classic camel topper, each with something slightly off, like a nylon track jacket topped with a blue shrug.
In another clever idea, the designers showed pants with trompe l'oeil cuffs that appeared to reveal another pair in a more vibrant color, like brick red or fuchsia, beneath.
There has been talk this week of bringing back a separate Fashion Week in New York for menswear, as if there were not already enough shows. But the timing may be right, at least with a critical mass of anchors here for such an event. Tommy Hilfiger had a strong collection in tune with the season's mood for Anglomania (vivid glen plaid and houndstooth suits and shearling jackets, in his case), while many of the younger designers proposed a heritage style that was heavily influenced by the 1920s. It's interesting that they are on the same page this season as their women's counterparts, the F. Scotts to their Zeldas.
Just look at those masculine coats in the Billy Reid collection, with their fur collars held stiff against the wind. Not even Friday night's storm could stop Reid. Not without a bottle of scotch.
And there was a similar sense of rugged adventure in the engineered jumpsuits and fatigues printed with airplanes in Daisuke Obana's collection for N.Hoolywood. His theme was aviation, inspired by Amelia Earhart, and while you cannot say that every man will be tempted by his deeply pleated and tapered trousers, it is heartening to see a vision of fashion for guys that is not, for once, emasculating.
Robert Geller plumbed the look of Berlin of the same era and found a manageable balance between the fanciful and the wearable. He layered a cozy burgundy sweater over a stone-gray quilted coat that was slightly longer than a barn jacket, and a navy puffer vest over a charcoal wool double-breast blazer. He also included a few men in slouchy shorts worn over tights to keep things slightly provocative.
At the very least, men will have a lot of options for coats next winter. Patrik Ervell's were stylish, but grounded in functionality, including a quilted bomber and a zip-front jacket patterned on a popular athletic fleece style, only designer-looking. He also showed an overlapping vine print on a pajama shirt and a parka. It was like camouflage for the Ivy League.