As Fashion Week winds down, Bernhard dissects the strange, the tasteless, and the wearable menswear shown at Lincoln Center.

Mercedes-Benz NYC Fashion Week Spring 2011

Men who prefer timeless classics to quickly outdated trends are usually not interested in fashion shows. They think that the trends shown on the catwalks don’t relate in any way to their life and the way they dress…and I agree.

A step up from an Orange Jumpsuits
Daisuke Obana's line is a step up from the typical jailbirds Orange Jumpsuit

Take the collection that Daisuke Obana showed this year in New York, titled “Police Picture” and inspired by freshly arrested criminals from the 1920s & ’30s. My first reaction was how very tasteless, to draw inspiration from individuals seen as villainous men or victims of society (depending on one’s view of the world).

But it is just one side of fashion, derived from a period considered to be stylish.

The collection is less than that to me. One leather jacket, a check shirt, and maybe a pair of denim pants are about the only items  any sensible grown up could wear without making a complete fool of himself.

Duckie Brown Spring 2011
Duckie Brown 2011

This years fashion week seems to have completely thrown the fundamentals of gentlemen’s dressing out the window. It is almost impossible to wear is Duckie Brown’s collection for Spring 2011. Who can turn up in a semi transparent voile shirt with camouflage print paired with check trousers? With the exception of the odd chino in a fun color and one sports coat with a rather tasteful windowpane check Duckie Brown suggests outfits that may work on a catwalk but nowhere else. I don’t know a single woman who would like to see her companion to turn up like this.

The strange thing about modern fashion is that there is always one aspect that makes it impossible to wear it. At least in the way it’s displayed at the shows. I’m aware of the fact that the collections are not exactly ready to wear, but look at Scott Sternberg’s design for Band of Outsiders. The colors are great and the garments would be an excellent choice for a man of taste…except that the way these tastefully colored clothes fit is a disgrace. No serious salesperson would allow his customers to walk out of the shop dressed like this.

The worst example of stupid style this year is Patrik Ervell’s collection. Can you imagine a professional man, even if he is young, turning up in short raglan coat that is belted with a piece of string? At least it looks like a piece of string. Maybe it’s a belt. Who knows?

I’ve always considered it strange that the nerd has become a 21st century fashion hero. Men used to dream of looking like Steve McQueen in “The Thomas Crown Affair”. Today they seem to identify more with Jerry Lewis as “The Nutty Professor”.

Maybe next year we’ll see less mismatched ‘chic geek’ and more classic heroes on the catwalk. Until then…