Exhausted from New York Men’s Fashion Week, I decided to squeeze in some personal shopping time. However, there was nothing personal when one was surrounded by the products of one’s own trade. In such setting, the professional part of me always evaluates, assesses and makes judgments, and no matter how hard I try not too pay it any attention, those whispers are always audible.

 

All sounds too familiar to you? Anyone who can put aside his or her professional opinion, all 100%, must be an accomplished diplomat by nature or quite simply, a very good liar to oneself. I thought we would get started in the Upper East Side and get the larger priced ticket items out of the way. It is best to buy the “passion” pieces first before the staples. Let’s be honest, we can always fill those staple gaps in the wardrobe from most places, but how often do you fall in love with something exciting, exquisite and extraordinary.

 

First stop, the big boys of fashion. Bergdorf Goodman leads the pack with a stately glamour, housed by the architectural splendour of the 1920s. Once on this spot, stood the Vanderbilt Mansion, the grandest house in America, with 130 rooms, an impressive list of ballrooms, libraries and parlours

Vanderbilt mansion
The Vanderbilt Mansion before 1928 (left), and the Bergdorf Goodman building today (right).

 

BG did not fail to impress with its stable of top tier high-end designer labels. Exquisite collections of luxurious pieces surround us as a gallery of sumptuous creations. The setting of which made one feel as though they were walking though a gallery rather than a department store.

 

Giorgio Armani in Bergdorf Goodman
 The Giorgio Armani Concept store - 3rd Floor Designer Collections

 

Mens shoes in Bergdorf Goodman
 Left | 1st Floor Mens shoe Library. Right | Womens 2nd Floor designer shoe salon

Bergdorf Goodman window Examples of some amazing and creative Bergdorf Goodman Men's Windows

 

That said, I needed a makeover of an “edgier” kind, I bowed out of all that glam-style and headed towards Barneys. The windows at Barneys had an edgy look, youthful, creative, fun and directional.

 

Barneys New York building

 

FYI, Barneys have consistently produced the most ridiculous windows (in the best possible way)! Whether in-house, collaborations or by guests artists, their windows are works of art. Check out one of my favourite Barneys window from the archives below:

 

Barneys Holiday Window. Love

 

My journey through the top 4 floors (8 floors of menswear in total) revealed just that, designer brands with an edge. I observed some staple names that never cease to surprise over the years and discovered some exciting new ones. Even at a glance, the differences between the collections are instantly noticeable, but they all have one thing in common; they possess elements that separate designer wear from the masses. They all demonstrate creative designs with wit, the prerequisite standards of quality and exquisitely clever make or tailoring.

 

Barneys Menswear Floor

 

If I had to narrow it down to a few standouts, they would be made up by names both renowned and new. Faith Connexion came in as my personal favourite. This Parisian brand is a fashion laboratory of creative young talents with a multitude of inspirations. Experimenting in art, fashion and street culture, this tribe captures and elegantly puts forward an authentic street-glam look. The integration of diverse aesthetic perspectives has given their collection a layered mix of street and glamour. A closer look at each piece revealed that there is much more glamour than what is immediately obvious to the eye.

 

Faith Connexion menswear A/W2018

Their cool rock star / street style edge works amazingly well with the glam essence. Luxurious fabrics and top quality skins travel through the collection under the eye-catching works of graffiti artists. Beautifully finished pieces are pared down in scruff style. It’s undeniable that Faith Connexion does “Scruff” incredibly well, with a signature-look that says every outfit must have a “F^CX OFF!” piece.

Yes sir, and that is how it’s done! There is much wit here, in a creative storm that perfectly blends luxury with street cred. I am sold!

 

Faith Connexion

 

Faith Connexion’s “Goat-skin over shirt” came home with me.

Head over to their website. We are loving Faith Connexion.

 

FAITH CONNEXION WEBSITE

 

I was also very inspired by some of the looks from Fear Of God, another label who does high-end “street” incredibly well.
Denim and sweats (French-terry) rule the collection with strong plaid highlights throughout in shirts and soft slouch-y coats. An overall sportswear theme provides the contrasting canvas for the “bigger” fashion pieces.
It takes both creative ingenuity and expertise to deliver such an authentic “street” collection that sits so comfortably on fashion’s higher end spectrum.

 

Fear of God A/W 2018 menswear

 

FEAR OF GOD WEBSITE

 

The collection that I fell in love with was from Austrian designer Helmut Lang, the “God Of Minimalism “ circa 1990s. Lang is known for his minimalist, de-constructivist, and often austere, intelligent designs.

This collection reimagines sartorial staples through a modernist’s lens, one that borrows from sportswear as much as it does from the world of haute couture. A neutral palette is applied to oversized designs of strong geometric outlines. Architectural planes are detailed with slashed hems, bondage straps and apron panels. I felt like I belong to this collection as much as it SHOULD belong to me.

Although I was on a quest for new talents to inspire me and arrest my need for a new look, I was no doubt sartorially-napped by a master from previous decades; a master with a new compass of creativity.

 

Helmut Lang SS17 mens collection

Helmut Lang SS17 mens wear collection

 

HELMUT LANG WEBSITE

 

Needless to say, I was incredibly ecstatic with my purchases and my overall shopping experience. The big boys do it all very well. Great spaces, presentation and staff. The curation of both designers and seasonal directions were excitingly fresh and had a vast collective appeal. Immaculate presentation within the merchandising rule of “not overstocking the space” allowed the pieces to “shine”.

The guys and gals on the floor were very conversational and impressed me with their well-honed knowledge on fashion, and to my delight, they were allowed by company dress code to look the part.

That’s what differentiates a great department store from the mediocre (take note David Jones and Myer, whose menswear departments are about as fresh as a faded photograph).

Barneys Madison AveBarneys Madison AveGoodies at Barneys.

The new season’s directions are a well-balanced infusion of luxury with sportswear and street wear. No doubt the instant-copycat conglomerates will flood the lower end markets with diluted, poorly made copies of these pieces; never mind the blood, sweat, and tears of the visionaries who created those masterpieces.

Without the elements of luxury, these looks will loose its essence appeal least of all being fashionable. Do yourself a favor, save up and buy the real thing. Nothing looks or feels better than authenticity. You will feel amazing wearing it, and for many, many seasons. Please stop the generous contribution to the landfills with cheap raggedy stuff. Yeah F#$% that!!!

I wish I could shop like this all the time, even if I have to travel 10,353 miles for this kind of experience and products. See you next time boys, perhaps sooner than expected! 

 

What do you think and what is your opinion. Please leave a comment and get the conversation going.

 

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