Men’s fashion week kicked off Monday with an entry in the outlandish inspiration department: A collection from Boyswear inspired by both Charles Manson's murderous cult and “The Sound of Music.”
“The idea for the collection started after I read about that woman who wanted to marry Charles Manson and then put his body in a museum after he died,” said the label’s founder, Jackson McKeehan, “and it just went from there.”
Boyswear, whose Spring/Summer 2016 collection was titled “The Manson Family Singers,” melds elements of ‘60s-era hippie chic – billowy pajama-like shirts and drawstring trousers (some of which bordered on the androgynous) paired with chunky Doc Martens sandals – with elements of traditional Tyrolean costume including lederhosen-like pieces, wooden buttons and embroidered floral details.
The most overt reference to Manson comes in a cacophonous pattern that, from afar, looked like an aloha print but upon closer examination turned out to be a busy Los Angeles hillside complete with the Hollywood sign in the background, goats feasting on discarded tires in the foreground and a Jesus-like Charles Manson wandering the canyonscape. “Manson kind of morphs into a nun and the [Hollywood] Hills turn into the Alps,” McKeehan told us by way of explanation.
The designer also explained that the whiskered, daisy-eyed critter front and center on a screened tee was a rat. “It changes with the theme every season but the rat is my logo – I grew up on a rat farm in Missouri,” he said.
McKeehan only has two other Boyswear collections under his belt, both of which have the same subversive sense of humor as the one on display Monday. “The first one was all breakfast foods – I called it ‘Good Morning Mr. Breakfast’ after 'Pee-wee’s Playhouse,'” he said, “and the second one was a mix of robotics and beatniks called ‘Robeatniks’.”
Asked where his wares could be purchased, McKeehan smiled a wide smile. “I’m just starting out. I’m nowhere yet.”
The inaugural New York Fashion Week: Men's kicked off Monday by showcasing 11 smaller and emerging brands at Industria Superstudio in the city’s Meatpacking District.
Known as New York Men's Day (a holdover from past seasons when the showcase was held during the traditional February and September New York fashion weeks), the slate of presentations came far too early in the week to triangulate any overarching spring/summer 2016 trends – though it’s already apparent that the love affair with all things athleisure is holding strong into the spring and summer 2016 collections.
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