New York Fashion Week: Billy Reid goes hawkish on texture

Billy Reid loosens his silhouettes

Before his runway show here Saturday night, Billy Reid told us there were two things that influenced the look and feel of his fall and winter 2015 menswear collection. The first was a continued loosening up and relaxing of the silhouette that started with last season’s collection.

“We really continued to play with that,” Reid said, “so the coats [wear] like sweaters and the tailored clothing is undarted and the guts of it are really minimized. We’re also really playing with the weight of things,” he said, pointing out a gray, basket-weave coat nearby. “Like that braided wool that has an almost rug-like effect to it but wears like a cardigan and has lots of movement because it’s got cashmere in it.”

A hawk motif manifested itself on various pieces throughout the collection, including on cotton/silk shirts, overcoats and in a jacquard design on trousers, sweat tops and sweaters that looked like something you’d find at the business end of a kaleidoscope but was actually a super-close-up view of a hawk’s eyeball. (Reid said it was inspired by a multitude of hawks that filled the sky near his home one morning.)

The resulting collection was super-relaxed, rustic luxe at its finest; wide wale corduroy trousers and trench coats, diamond-quilted track pants and dinner jackets, shearling panel vests and basket-weave cardigans. Reid’s focus on fabrication has resulted in an extraordinary range of pieces that looked ready for the whipping winter wind but came down the catwalk like a midsummer’s breeze.

It’s worth sharing a sweet and synergistic side note about the soulful music that accompanied the runway presentation, which was performed by a mother-and-son duo called Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear from Kansas City. Reid tapped them to play his annual Shindig party back in Alabama last August, an event that put them on the radar of Rolling Stone magazine, which in turn helped land them a deal with Glassnote Records. Their debut album is due out this summer.

--Tim Coppens' fall and winter 2015 men’s and women’s runway collection was a fashion week breath of fresh air, a straightforward collection of unpretentious pieces that just got it all right. The defining silhouette on the women’s side was the knee-length skirt paired with a roomy bomber jackets or sweater, some pieces accessorized with rectangular reflector necklaces made with Swarovski crystals. The men’s offerings were heavy on the military references and included utilitarian-looking jackets, grid-quilted puffer jackets and vests and trousers sporting a multiplicity of decorative zippers. The words “acid in my heart” appeared embroidered on several menswear pieces as did the silhouette of a race car -- both of which also appeared, with no explanation, in the show notes. (We didn’t get a chance to ask Coppens about his inspiration directly, though he told fashion industry trade paper WWD it was Derek Ridgers’ book “Skinheads.”)  

--Hood by Air presented its fall and winter 2015 men’s and women’s collection in an under-renovation bank building on Wall Street Sunday afternoon, a fitting location since the pieces that came down the runway were the most bankable we can recall from the last several seasons of Shayne Oliver’s over-the-top and out-of-the-curve label. HBA’s familiar black-and-white palette was joined by beige and a rust orange, and there were pleats galore – pleated A-line button-front shirts, voluminous pleated trousers and pleated khaki thigh-length kilts. There were also asymmetrical hem dresses, quilted puffer jackets, track pants, hooded zip-front vests and the label’s version of the blazer (skinny lapels, zipper-front closures and the HBA logo panel across the abdomen), and even a few chunky fur pieces that seemed to signal the street-influenced out-of-the-mainstream brand had, in some way, started to come in from the cold.

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