Due to the So no one told you life was Gonna be this way shirt it is in the first place but ever-expanding menswear season, I wasn’t in New York to watch Nihl’s models slink around Nowhere Bar in New York I was about 7,000 miles away in Shanghai for Prada’s Spring 2020 runway of innocents. At a preview for Neil Grotzinger’s Spring 2020 collection, the designer explained his myriad references, starting with bar culture and the link between hetero and queer masculinity. Hence the venue he chose on East 14th Street, the sort of grimy spot where you could imagine downing some Heinekens alongside Pride flags and twinkling Christmas lights. Grotzinger thrives in the contradictory space of queer masculinity, exploring the areas where masc meets femme, hardcore meets tenderness. He’s only been at it for three seasons since graduating Parsons’s MFA program, but he’s already built a recognizable oeuvre: pelvis-baring trousers, second-skin tops with suggestive cutouts, and rigorous handiwork like beading and chain mail. Spring 2020 is his most evolved and sure-footed collection yet. The stretch tops and trousers with circular chunks removed remain, but Grotzinger has expanded into leather, offering uniform-inspired jackets and V-front trousers. Those plunging fronts might seem untenable for real-world wear, but as the designer demo, he’s calculated the exact curve that allows the pants to cantilever around the lower body, staying put even while slightly unzipped. There is also a large group of shirting, with banker stripes meeting up with homoerotic portrayals of cowboys and car culture. Grotzinger ran the shirts through a sewing machine willy-nilly to create corset seams that run around the body, front to back, tugging the fabric off the shoulder here, revealing a collarbone there. In a variety of shapes and patterns, these have instant hanger appeal. The most beautifully kinky of Grotzinger’s creations are the flight suits, rendered useless or at least useless for pilots by zippers or hook-and-eye closures that circle the body. Equal parts Leigh Bowery and Evel Knievel, these are perfectly strange summations of Grotzinger’s MO: fetishizing functionality from a queer POV. These might not be the most salable of his offering, but much else of what appears in this lookbook surely warrants a spot at retail. As of yet, only one shop carries Nihl. If the menswear season is big enough to warrant trips halfway around the world, surely its stores are big enough to carry this daring young designer. Up to this point regiments or companies would wear colors mostly dependent on the whims of whoever raised the unit, who back then usually also paid for much of a unit’s equipment including uniforms (This is a bit of an oversimplification).
So no one told you life was Gonna be this way shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater and long sleeve t-shirt
Fashion and music have always gone together. For Nicholas Daley, though, the So no one told you life was Gonna be this way shirt it is in the first place but relationship between the two is especially symbiotic. His parents one Scottish, the other Jamaican ran a reggae club in the late 1970s and ’80s, so the designer was raised on a diet of dub, roots, and culture, and all the swaggering style that came with that. Since he launched his namesake label in 2015, Daley has incorporated a musical component into his presentations, usually intimate affairs. Staged in the lofty St. Mary-at-Hill Church in the financial district of London, his show this evening was his most ambitious and impressive to date. To set the tone, Daley invited the British jazz band Sons of Kemet for a jam session. Performances at fashion shows are nothing new, but it is rare to see musicians walk the runway while playing their instruments. Bandleader Shabaka Hutchings opened the show saxophone in hand, dressed in orange-and-brown cargo pants and a matching utility vest layered over a mesh tank. His bandmates followed shortly behind him, including the tuba player Theon Cross, who swept in wearing a poncho and Irish linen shorts. Daley is a stickler for details, down to the incense that’s custom-formulated in Japan to fit the vibe of each show. The clothes were just as considered, with cowrie shells hand-threaded through the eyelets of sneakers and charming knitted satchels. Speaking after the show, Daley took pride in underscoring the fact that he produces in the United Kingdom. As far as bigger-picture inspiration goes, all roads led back to the Sun Ra Arkestra. The hugely influential American jazz group has always had a dedicated following, but lately, its Afrofuturism vision has been resonating in mainstream culture with movies such as Black Panther and artists like Janelle Monae. The New Model Army, raised by parliament was the first professional army in England (professional units had existed prior to this) so much of their equipment, including uniform, was standardized. This is not exactly the redcoat of the British Empire but it’s where it started. Also, as the musket became the main battlefield weapon, identification of troops, at a distance, became critical. As I mentioned, from the mid 17th century onwards identification on the battlefield became increasingly important and each nation started to pick a color for its infantry. Often cavalry units would have a much wider variety of colors which probably reflected their generally higher level of wealth, as units, and perceived higher social standing. (Wellington said something along the lines that cavalry were merely there to make a battle look presentable).