By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Ah, those warm, effulgent nights and hot, sultry days may seem to promise that summer is here to stay, at least for what’s left of July, the entire month of August and, hopefully, well into September.
But for fashion aficionados, summer 2019 is already très passé and so are the I-don’t-care garments that you could get away with wearing when the weather was scorching.
Most big designers are already rolling out their new fall/winter collections, and those who have not done so yet, will be stocking stores with their autumn offerings by the middle of August.
Whether it’s for back-to-school or just to spruce up your office image, now is the perfect time to ditch those ragged, worn-out jeans and over-bleached T-shirt that served as your summer uniform, trade out that denim jacket for a more-tailored preppy blazer, and start transitioning from a relaxed, anything-goes, beat-the-heat attire to a more chic, sophisticated and professional image that will be the hallmark of this year’s fall/winter trends.
Last week, Pulse News Mexico attended a daylong Sportmex media preview of five leading international sportswear designers at Plaza Carso’s Inspark virtual reality park in Mexico City to get a feel for what the well-dressed athlete/casual dresser will be wearing this season.
If there was one enduring theme for all the new collections we witnessed for fall/winter 2019, it was that of comfort infused with tailored finishes.
And that theme rang true for everything from relaxed formalwear to sports clothes.
Psycho Bunny (a U.S.-British brand created in 2005 by Robert Godley and Robert Goldman that just found its way to Mexico last year) will be releasing its collection in late August and is betting heavy on its trademark polo shirts – made from 100 percent super-soft Peruvian Pima cotton – to impart the comfort of light clothing with the timeless elegance of this classic dress shirt alternative.
Pima cotton is Psycho Bunny’s trademark element, known for its incredible ability to keep its shape and color, wash-after-wash.
Catering to men and boys only, Psycho Bunny is also offering up a new selection knitted, mixed-fabric golf shirts that lets skin breathe and stay fresh even during heavy sports activity.
Bright mosaic prints and cutesy T-shirts with oversized, spaced-out rabbit heads strategically positioned like skulls over crossbones have a youthful flair and show a yearning to draw out those last days of summer with a whimsically adventurous spirit that is the embodiment of the brand’s DNA.
But despite is bold, irreverent motifs, the new collection boasts standout details such as multihued embroidered cuffs and signature Psycho Bunny mother of pearl buttons that give it a distinctively polished edge.
Meanwhile, Harmont & Blaine – an Italian design house that took its inspiration from a 17th century British duke and his faithful dachshund Blaine – has created a transitional climatic storyline for its fall and winter collections.
The three-stage couture adventure, titled the Rainbow Project, begins in August with a rush of mostly men’s garments (only about 12 percent of the brand’s output is targeted to women) in drab, darkish, earthy tones and various shades of dusky blue, intended to convey an ominous, cloudy sky.
By September, the next stage of the wardrobe chronical will be flooding stores with solids and boxy prints in murky azure blues and rich cobalt navies, representing the rains of autumn.
There are also plenty of grays and dark browns to connote the overcast mood of fall.
But don’t despair, because come October, Harmont & Blaine will wrap up its weather-oriented saga with a burst of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, proving that no matter how dark things may get, there is always a rainbow at the end of the storm.
Okay, so maybe the wardrobe rendition of the Noah story may be a bit farfetched, but the new Harmont & Blaine garments have the finished proportions of Italian detailing and the refreshing vibrancy of relaxed Mediterranean sophistication, making them great summer-to-fall-to-winter transition pieces, no matter what weather might befall you.
And if the rainy-day adventure story doesn’t win you over, you can always buy one of the brand’s adorable little dachshund mascots to add to your plushy collection.
From Casual to Formal
Armani’s EA7 sports line offshoot (named after Emporio Armani and Giorgio Armani’s seven favorite winter sports) left the story-telling out of its new fall/winter collection, but certainly included the brand’s iconic refinement.
From beautifully bespoke, long-sleeved polos with faux crocodile ribbing on the sleeves to meticulously crafted sports shoes with iridescent leather tops that change color in the light and that can be switched out from one sole to another with a universal zipper, these are items that will become stalwarts of any wardrobe.
The urban-focused collection is geared to understated elegance, with assuming designs that easily go from casual sport to dinner-ready formalwear.
There are fluffy, keep-warm vests and go-anywhere windbreakers.
The entire collection is eco- and animal-friendly, but that doesn’t mean it’s not got the snuggly warmth of pseudo-fur and animal prints, all of which are sure to keep you warm during cold winter nights.
But what most stands out about this collection is that it is classic Armani, with the distinctive good taste of the master of men’s couture, yet also very suitable to standing up under the pressures of winter sports.
As for the women’s selection, the pieces are far more show than sporty, despite still bearing the EA7 label, but, hey, unless you are Megan Rapinoe or looking great in sports clothes is as important as carrying off the sport itself, right?
Vive la France
Le Coq Sportif has always marketed its label on being French — minimalistically, restrainedly, unpretentiously French – and this season’s offerings are no exception.
No bright prints or glaring patterns here, the Le Coq Sportif fall/winter collection is centered around the tricolor French flag – red, white and blue, with an occasional stripe of bright primary yellow to add contrast.
The brand’s classic tennis shoes – made from Portuguese leather with Italian soles — are equally understated, with simple, clean lines and sleek fits with a subtle emblemic tricolore on the back heel.
If the Le Coq collection is not that original, at least it is enduring, which means that any item you buy today will still be stylish five or even 10 years down the road, and the oh-so-French stitching of the brand means that these pieces will still stand up to the wear-and-tear of years of use.
The Sportmex exhibit wrapped up with a presentation of the most iconoclastic collection in the group, the fall/winter designs of Scotch & Soda, an unabashed Amsterdam-based couture house that seemed hellbent on keeping the bright colors and wacky texture combinations of summer going way into the winter months.
Glaring unisex mustard knitted pants topped with pink satiny tops and silky mustard rolled-sleeve jackets provided for anything-but-subtle ensembles.
A twist on the Popeye cartoons — this time with the thug Brutus as the protagonist — makes for eye-popping pants and shirts.
For men, there were bright red bomber jackets with Brutus images over loose navy denims with oversized sailor crosses, and for women, super-short mini dresses paired with motorcycle boots and colorful banderas.
There was an intentional mismatched feel to the collection, which is definitely geared to the younger set and has a quirky Mellow Yellow aura about it.
The brand’s inebriating label should be a clue to the fact that this is not the wardrobe you want to wear to your grandparents’ 50th anniversary party, but if you are out to project a carefree ganja vibe and still look relatively couture, Scotch & Soda may be your wardrobe highball.