Fun and fashion at the Menswear Shows


Another world

Tommy Hilfiger walked visiting fashion editors through his new Manhattan corporate mansion. Tommyworld is something else -- 16 floors of light marble and white woodwork with acres of showrooms, a sound studio and auditorium, luxe executive offices and an employee gym under construction.

The occasion of the walk-through was men's fall collection week and Hilfiger accessorized architectural vignettes in the vintage Engineers Society building with fabu models and hipsters.

"World Tour" was the theme and included a look at Britishy tailored wear. "I combined the serious side of Savile Row with the fun of Carnaby Street," said Hilfiger. Would you believe horizontal pinstripe suits?

"I've taken a more grown-up approach, but I haven't abandoned my streetwear," said Hilfiger as he talked through tableaus of country-gent tweeds, body-hugging ski wear, bun-hugging underwear, body-hiding streetwear and a new venture. He's doing custom '70s rock glam for U2, Metallica, David Bowie and other entertainers. These velvet, chiffon and taffeta extravaganzas will also be available to the public. Practice your air guitar riffs.

Gather together Miss Iceland, Hrafnhildur Hafsteinsdottir, retro muscle man Jack LaLanne (above, right) and a bunch of hunk models. Set out breakfast and they will come. Nick Graham (above, left) underwear entrepreneur and big kahuna of the Joe Boxer label, threw a do to unveil his new line of active wear. It is bright, cool and logo-driven, as are many other sport collections. The hit at Graham's event was LaLanne still getting physical at age 82. Could it be the jumpsuit holds him together?

You know which male models are approaching star status when a single name is enough to evoke a face. All except the gorgeous Jasons -- of which there are enough to necessitate sorting them out with a last initial. A poll conducted by the Ruffino wineries asked editors at the fall collections to vote on their favorites, with particular attributes. The winners were:

Alex Lundqvist, best face; Jason Fedele, best walk; Mike Campbell, attitude; Enrique Palacios, best body; Mark Vanderloo, best hair.

Running through a show program is a study in boy names. Here's a sampling for anyone looking to name a baby: Gabriel, Patrick, Christian, Alex, Kees, Joel, Andrea, Sebastien, Wyatt, Gregory, Stefan, Ethan, Gavin.

The menswear manufacturing cycle works way ahead. Here are the designer directions for next fall:

Lean lines, with a narrower shoulder and the skinny illusion of a high-button stance. Flat-front trousers prevail in the edgy collections.

Longer jackets and shorter coats. Edwardian frock coats, some with velvet collar trims, are seen as suit tops. Three-quarter-length topcoats, like your father's old London Fog, are the new alternative to the greatcoat.

Flexible fabrics, such as stretch corduroy.

The V-neck sweater returns in fine light silk and wool knits layered over a mock turtleneck.

Old-man geek plaids are now for young hunks.

Tweed is back, at its best in rugged shirt jackets.

The no-button jacket with a fly front closure looks newest.

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