British, With An American Accent
The paeans and tributes to David Bowie continue from the fashion world. Bowie’s 1982 song Putting Out Fire With Gasoline from the “Cat People” soundtrack opened the Joseph Abboud Fall/Winter 2016 show – Abboud’s first in 15 years under his own name. A master of commercially stylish menswear, Abboud, who has most recently been creative director at Men’s Wearhouse, has returned – older, wiser and seriously inspired with a truly exceptional new collection.
Showing what he called “American Savile Row” looks, it is, in fact, Abboud’s “ode to great men’s tailoring and the art of styling.” Infused with a sense of “rugged dandyism,” we were treated to sport coats made of washed velvets and cashmeres, distressed wool prints dyed in true ancient madder shades from Como, herringbones, paisley, and Harris tweeds that helped capture the 60s fit-and-flare Savile Row feel that ushered in the Peacock Revolution.
Opening with a sea of gray, the collection was a smash hit from beginning to end. What sounds excessive in print was beautiful onstage. Abboud deftly combined patterns prints and textures – a tricky undertaking for someone less skilled – and produced sartorial magic. His strikingly modern looks paid homage to the past while fervently remaining in the 21st Century. Trousers with a small repeated print were worn with a slouchy waistcoat in a different print, topped with a striped shirt and a high-contrast tweed jacket featuring revere-print lapels. Sounds over-the-top, right? Wrong. It is sharp, clean and very sexy.
As the grays melded into the browns and tans, more details became prominent. Ruffled pocket squares, feathered boutonnieres, and all kinds of hats, gloves and satchels made their appearances. The scarves were often tied like cravats, or had the waistcoats buttoned over them; while the monotone gray American Flag print scarves were simply draped over one shoulder.
The Boston-born Mr. Abboud is about as American as you get, and his company employs over 800 artisans at its headquarters. Each piece featured on the runway too was born in the U.S.A., at the Joseph Abboud Manufacturing Corp. in New Bedford, MA. The accessories, created in collaboration with six outstanding U.S.-based artisans, included bags by Rawlings, hats by CFDA member Albertus Swanepoel, ties by Barbara Blank, watches by Kobold, shearling outerwear by Aston Leathers, and footwear by Allen Edmonds.