Fall 2009 Menswear “Inspirations”

So, WWD posted menswear designer’s “inspiration” behind the fashion that’s being/been presented for Fall 2009.  I have to say- yes, some of it is really inspired, some of it is derivative dribble about rock ‘n’ roll, rebels & authentic workwear yada, yada– and some of it is pretty telling in other ways if you read between the lines– something I probably do too much of.  Some of my initial thoughts on the inspirations alone–

Fantasy Fashion League

gilded-ageThe avatar has come to fashion illustration and Gilded Age does it best.  To me, it conjures thoughts of Yahoo’s fantasy sports leagues (not a bad association for us guys), I’ve got a pretty wickedly intense avatar myself, I must say.  Maybe we should start  the FFL– Fashion Fantasy League?  The innuendos here are endless in terms of what designer would fill various team positions–  who’s your favorite pitcher, catcher, or tight end?  Seriously though, Gilded age takes anime, a Japanese art form and makes it American– kind of a welcome role reversal for once.   

6119-ilana-shnderland“Traditional suiting with a twist — both single- and double-breasted silhouettes — draw upon the heritage of Savile Row, while signature pleating details offer up a modern edge.” — Ilana Sunderland

We found our tight end…  I’m kidding, this is little haberdasher avatar is very refined and well done.  It’s just hard for me to imagine Savile Row fine tailoring in cartoon form.  I would have taken a cue from the classic works of Laurence Fellows or Leslie Saalburg and infused their masculinity, proportion and grace in an updated way.  They are and will always be the masters of fashion illustration.


Shape, Geometry & “Materiality”


“The collection is comprised of innovative pieces in an exploration of form and materiality.” — Italo Zucchelli

What this says to me–  

So, I ate a generous piece of phormaldihyde-laden foam, and then proceeded to take a rather large ____ .  Very esoteric and useless, thanks for sharing.  The geometry and scale thing in general always bores me too tears and never fails to take fashion to strange and unwearable places.


general-idea“Geometric shapes and puzzles.” — General Idea design team


shipley-halmos“Deliberate simplicity, basic geometrics, raw material — a study of the self-empowered individual.” — Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos

Disturbia– in a Good Way

For some reason I can’t stop staring at these freaks–


Monarchy design team

The “I heart Life” pin makes it.  Looks like Bela Lugosi + Adam Ant + Juicy Couture.


nice-collective“From ‘The Time Machine,’ Chapter 10: ‘Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no change and no need of change.’ ” Nice Collective

Kind of creepy and sexy with an old school Jane’s Addiction / Perry Farrell vibe going on.

Nice Try

telfar1“My inspiration is always a simple one….Using gabardine and Lycra, I create wrinkle-proof designs that mimic formalwear gone active.” — Telfar design team

Sounds right up my alley, guys.  You nailed it.


tommy-hilfiger“The charm of the coolest guy in the room.” — Tommy Hilfiger

Sounds to me like a veiled admission to knocking off whoever or whatever’s cool at the moment rather than taking a risk on a personal point of view–  the Hilfiger legend.  First Ralph Lauren, then urban, then Hackett… now what?

Most Original Cool

rag-bone“Samurai, Japanese, storm troopers, armor.” — David Neville and Marcus Wainwright


Hard to translate without the kick-ass helmets and armor garb, but they pulled it off in a cool, refined, and modern interpretation– and without going overboard.  The heart of the Samurai is in the details.



“Loosely inspired by the 1968 Stanley Kubrick film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ Spurr creates refined and realistic men’s wear for the modern man.” — Simon Spurr


“Loosely” is being honest– but I definitely do see the space-suit influence in the channel-quilted outerwear.

Best Failed Attempt to Impress Verbally


“I wanted to take aim at concepts of structure and conformity as requirements for modern design, with a nod to the Werkstätte ideal of the gesamtkunstwerk, or total work of art.” — Tim Hamilton

Thanks Tim– I hope you’re not taking yourself too seriously.



“Handsome women.” — Patrick Ervell

This is wrong on many levels.  First, if you think it’s any guys aspiration to emulate this, then you are seriously out of touch.  I would rather look like a pretty man than a handsome woman any day of the week.  At least I’d have all the right parts.  Can I get an AMEN?  I have a feeling this may be shock value propaganda– at least I hope so.  I hesitated even showing this.  I’m off to find something sharp to gouge-out my mind’s eye.  Blurring the lines is not always a good thing.  Time to move onto something good.  Now.

Personal Favorite

libertine1“We love flowers and rep ties and Rasputin the most.” — Johnson Hartig and Cindy Greene

Random, honest and fun.  Not stuffy, pretentious or weird.  You win, Libertine.  Can’t wait to see the line.

6 thoughts on “Fall 2009 Menswear “Inspirations”

  1. Great write-up of a subject that always baffles me. Inspiration is a personal thing, but I think sometimes, with their (designers) quotes, they seem to be trying to impress the critics and not the guys who want to actually buy the stuff. Great blog, keep up the good work.

    As for handsome women, I’m with ya’ there, bizzare inspiration. I’m going to buy me some Billy Reid this fall….for men.

  2. it doesn’t matter what the designers say. what can they say? the clothes themselves will reveal their words as either pretentious or spot-on. the clothes are either wearable or unbearable. i keep thinking about hilfiger’s quote–yes, it’s sycophantic. BUT…it’s an emotional appeal that is so lacking in, say, hamilton’s perspective. getting dressed is NOT a cerebral exercise, nor is the the purchasing/shopping of clothing, nor is good design. it’s an appeal to the emotions. love your blog, by-the-by.

  3. I love this post.

    Thank God WWD didn’t call me and ask me for a sound bite about my inspiration while designing the collection I’m designing right now. “Uhh, parachutes, I guess.” I don’t think anyone would get all that emotional about that. But as a designer, I do.

    Inspiration IS personal. I agree with that whole-heartedly. It’s when you try to put your inspiration into words that it can sound a little mundane and yes, pretentious. But it all comes out in the end, as Sarno said. Either the clothes are good or bad.

    p.s. Libertine’s is my favorite too.

  4. I am de-lurking just to tell you that this post is awesome. We are a visual bunch us designers. Verbalizing how we feel is not always our strong point. The longer our career, the better we get at it. Which is why Tommy’s is so simple , a tad generic, but great for business.

  5. Thanks for the feedback and insight. No one likes to have their work knocked, but sometimes it’s just begging for a little ribbing.

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