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From the Court to the Runway: Ballers and Fashion

By Ibrahim Malik

Front rows aren’t just reserved for Fashionistas and Editors, but Ballers are front and center at the all the Hottest Shows. Athletes are trading their cleats and jerseys for designer labels. No longer are the days when athletes splurge, million dollar contract just on Fast Cars and even Faster Women (on some Boys too) but invest in Tailored suits and custom kicks. Michael Jordan is a household name not just because of his sick jump shot but his Iconic Shoes. Nowadays athletes like Amare Stoudemire, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and DeWayne Wade are exceeding way beyond just a shoe endorsement. This past New York Fashion week, they towered over in the front rows at shows such as Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Bastian, and others. These fashion houses and designers look at it as a true win-win situation giving an easy mainstream appeal.  Joe Zee, Creative Director of Elle even contributed “In the last few years, fashion shows have become as much a spectator sport as about the fashion, with blinding paparazzi snapping celebs in every front row.”

Lockouts in the NFL and now the NBA, allow ballers more time to divert their attention from the court to fashion. It is been a true emergence of athletes showing of the impeccable physiques in amazing editorials and eye-catching ads. We still won’t forget Kobe Bryant Amish-Inspired 2010 photo shoot in LA Times Magazine. More recently Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade have spreads in Vogue Italia and VMan respectively. So if this current lockout doesn’t turn out so hot, they can fall back on Modeling (so LaLa and Gabrielle Union don’t fret). Amare Stoudemire turned his hustle up a notch with his current collaboration with Rachel Roy. “I was never a designer or anything like that, but as far as putting together what I was going to wear, I was a fashion rebel, always mixing it up,” said Stoudemire. The collection itself is meant to be the best of both worlds: Fashion & Sports. Rachel Roy had this to say about their line “What does Gisele wear when she goes to see her man [New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady] play? What would Kate Moss wear? Those images are the inspiration as we’re designing.” It’s a toss-up when the next NBA season will start but the players just might be changing in the locker rooms from shorts to tailored shirts by designers from around the globe.

 

 

 

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S/S 2011 Menswear Collection Report: Yves Saint Laurent

By Michael Kowalinski

Collection: Yves Saint Laurent
Designer: Stefani Pilati
Season: Spring/Summer 2011 

 

Stefano Pilati’s spring collection for Yves Saint Laurent had a feminine spirit to it that will fulfill the desires of the chicest young men, if they can afford it. Pilati seemed to have an obsession with the waist, but this was a healthy obsession you won’t read about in trash mags. Collared shirts, one with a printed panel in the front, had large bands similar to cummerbunds around the midriff, at times in a leopard print. In one instance, a leopard band emerged from underneath a collared shirt that cropped. These bands made their way onto long single-breasted jackets when they weren’t belted. A sleeveless jacket was belted and had a ruthlessly masculine feeling, which flowed seamlessly with the femininity throughout. Dotted prints and high waisted pleated shorts were memorable and helped to cement this collection as one of the strongest of the season. It takes a certain level of know-how to design these clothes, which Pilati has in spades, but also an equally clever attitude to wear them. That Stefano Pilati, he’s one clever guy.

 

S/S 2011 Menswear Collection Report: Givenchy

By: Michael Kowalinski

Collection: Givenchy
Designer: Riccardo Tisci
Season: Spring/Summer 2011

We would love to see Riccardo Tisci’s dental bills, as his fascination with vampire and goth-like looks have garnered him a following that is unparalleled.  This time, it was a fascination with another fanged creature – the leopard – that propelled his spring collection for Givenchy. It began with black suits with a leopard – like print and moved, at times, towards something soft and demure, as in a white lace collared shirt. Shorts with panels in the front that gave them the look of skirts were paired with waistcoats, jackets and oversized shirts in white, black and leopard. When black leather pants with a creamy beige shirt that had leopard sleeves emerging from underneath, we knew we were in the right place. It had the quintessential Riccardo Tisci vibe; new with a sense of history and, oh, some serious sex appeal. Shorts, pants and jackets in leopard print led the way towards a full suit in the print. These were wearable clothes that any chic, progressive man could incorporate into their wardrobes, and that factor is important, now more than ever.

S/S 2011 Menswear Collection Report: Louis Vuitton

By: Michael Kowalinski

Collection: Louis Vuitton
Designer: Paul Helber
Season: Spring 2011

In one episode of ‘Absolutely Fabulous’, Patsy Stone said her new year’s resolution was to be more relaxed, funny because her demeanor must be one of the most relaxed in television lore.

Louis Vuitton’s spring collection, similarly, felt as relaxed as can be. While Louis Vuitton’s story of a well-heeled traveler isn’t a new one, the collection excited in that way that only spontaneous travel can. Slouchy pants and baggy shorts paired with belted safari-like shirts suggested an outing in the wilderness (albeit a chic one, but would the Louis Vuitton man settle for anything less?) but when paired with a leather blazer was ready for the streets. Boxy coats and jackets mingled with easy, relaxed collared shirts or tees. Sheer sweaters preceded the sheer blue shirts that were as obsessed with the company’s iconic monogram as the bags, which accompanied many of the looks. These matched neck tattoos the models sported, by artist Scott Campbell. Cool green jackets and shorts made a quick appearance, before an army of black, navy and printed suiting that would feel right anywhere. This man is the man we’d like to travel with.

S/S 2011 Menswear Collection Report: DSquared

By Michael Kowalinski

Collection: Dsquared2
Designer: Dean Caten, Dan Caten
Season: Spring 2011

 
 

Do you recall that joke which said that if you found the definition of something or other in the dictionary, you would find your picture? Well, look up “classic menswear” and you may just find pictures of Dean and Dan Caten’s spring show. Reworked trenches and double and single breasted blazers in navy, pink, cream, yellows and blues were paired with shirts open down to there. The casual sports jackets and tees had the same obsession with color. It was clean, classic sportswear, ideal clothes for looking through a dictionary.

S/S 2011 Menswear Collection Report: Burberry Prorsum

By Michael Kowalinski

Collection: Burberry Prorsum
Designer: Christopher Bailey
Season: Spring Summer 2011 

 
Christopher Bailey must have been in a bit of a subversive mood when he showed his menswear collection for Burberry in Milan. The studded vests, jackets and belts resembled what the young men who stand outside after the shows in Paris might wear. On second thought, it may have been a collection for a British soldier who plays with his bands in the evenings. What would they be called?
 
 Later on, white mesh sweaters were effortlessly worn with a structured jacket or trench and paired with Bailey’s gladiator-like sandals. Collared shirts with, once again, epaulettes, were sheer and suggestive. The second-skin motorcycle jackets or sweaters felt chic and strong, but still felt incredibly optimistic.

But what about the clothes? It was about mixing a recipe of fabrics and textures, like pairing leather with jersey, for example, or one long trench whose sleeves were a sort of hide. Incarnations of army inspired jackets and braided sweaters worn with tight black pants tucked into knee high boots that had the look of Wellingtons. Leather made an appearance on studded belts, jackets and the trench coats, which were longer than usual, or the jackets that were quite short.

 

It was a mix of hard and soft, which is perhaps the real masculinity of today. Hard elements were paired with soft ones, but make no mistake; this was a man’s man collection. Perhaps he is wearing these clothes in our dreams.