Despite the precarious state of retail (and the precarious state of the world), the menswear market looked fabulous at the fall ‘17 shows, with lots of great items and collections designed to accommodate changing lifestyles, changing dress codes and changing weather patterns. Buzzwords include athleisure, smart casual, technical, artisanal, comfortable, easy-care, lightweight and layered. Knits have never looked better; multi-functional outerwear is a key category, and vests of all types could prove a sleeper item. (Also, why aren’t retailers pushing harder for all those beautiful DBs?) Here, a few of the great collections we loved at the Vegas shows.
Our Top Ten Picks:
- New to the USA, L’Egoiste is an exceptional collection out of France that uses Italian fabrics and Portugese production. Our favorite items include Harris tweed reversible vests ($210-$250 cost), artisanal flannel sportcoats ($450-$550) and fabulous accessories to complete the eclectic mix-and-match sensibility of these modern classics.
- Derek Rose has been around for decades, but with today’s emphasis on performance fabrics and luxury leisurewear, the collection is more relevant than ever. Of course we loved the Loro Piana cashmere lounge pant and hoodie, but you should consider a few more affordable options like the brushed cotton lounge pant with tapered leg (try the monkey print) and a matching hoodie that accommodates earphones.
- Crash Baggage: Tastefully banged up, this whimsical luggage collection ranges from $120 cost ($299 suggested retail) to $140 ($349 retail). Definite window dressing!
- Pop Shoes: Add some sparkle! Don’t let your kids be the only ones having fun with flashy footwear.
- Cesarani / Loft604: These classic sweaters in a mid-weight cotton/cashmere blend make perfect holiday gifts for the golfer, skier or any lucky guy on your list. Well-priced at $65 wholesale and right in tune with the retro sweater trend.
- Fly3: This upscale knitwear collection out of Italy is worth checking out. Very innovative knitting techniques lead to gorgeous reversible styles with front and back patterns that relate but don’t exactly match, as well as luxury knits that are cashmere on one side, cotton on the other. Prices are surprisingly moderate with wholesales from $99 to $200.
- Paolo Albizzati: Established in 1975, this Italian company with a workshop near Milan does exquisite scarves and pocket squares. Already discovered by a few top-shelf U.S. retailers (Barneys, Boyd’s, Marios, Mitchells), these fine wool squares are printed on both sides and have hand-rolled edges. Landed prices are $27-$37.
- Edward Armah: His gorgeous wool pocket squares, hand rolled and printed on both sides, are true works of art as are the squares printed on silk sharp, resulting in a matte rather than shiny finish. Pocket squares in both fabrics are $32 wholesale, making them the perfect impulse-buy item. Try putting them in a basket by the register.
- Everyone knows Bugatchi for its fabulous printed woven shirts but the brand deserves accolades for turning itself into a complete, well thought-out collection. Our favorite items include the knit blazers ($495 suggested retail), printed sport shirts ($150-$189), five-pocket lightweight wool drawstring pants ($225), fashion socks out of Italy at $19.95, and slim-fit printed wool blend chinos ($189 suggested retail). Also strong: beautiful sweaters out of Italy, double-face raw edge blazers and gorgeous Italian footwear (with printed belts in matching leather). According to Richard Abitbol, the company lowered its prices to accommodate the competitive state of the industry. If you haven’t shopped them lately, you should.
- Reinforcing conventional wisdom in the denim market, Ardie Ulukaya of Mavi confirms that fall denim is moving in two opposite directions: rips, tears and abrasions for some, clean denim for others. Rather than create confusion, this dichotomy is best positioned as offering multiple options for retailers to maximize fall denim sales. Key pricepoints at Mavi fall in the desirable $90-$148 retail range. We love the fall neutrals (blue, black, soft charcoal, gray) and some cool new sherpa-lined denim jackets ($118-$128 retail). Also strong and on-trend: great denim shirts!