NEW YORK -- Menswear designer David Hart showed his spring and summer 2014 menswear collection at the Dimenna Center for Classical Music here Thursday night during New York Fashion Week.
The inspiration: For his sophomore outing at New York Fashion Week, Hart was inspired by the Golden Age of travel -- the Hawaiian tourism boom of the late 1950s and early '60s -- as well as the work of photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt from the same era.
The look: It's a sure bet that any collection that claims inspiration from the Hawaiian Islands will have its fair share of bold florals, palm trees and hula girls, and Hart's was no exception, with Hawaiian print silk shirts and pocket squares, floral-print short suits in linen and even a silk, shawl collar dinner jacket festooned with cobalt blue hibiscus blossoms.
But the designer skillfully tempered the tropics with unadorned linen trousers and shorts as well as a range of bold but solid colored mohair suits in shades like electric blue, teal green and aubergine. At least they seemed like solid colors until the models moving down the runway made the fabrics shimmer several shades up and down the color spectrum like sharkskin reflected off a lava pool.
Perhaps a result of Hart's design background (he started out making neckties before expanding into a full menswear line last season) there was a lot of silk in the collection, including blazers and plaid trousers in raw silk, Hawaiian print shirts in silk, short suits and dress shirts in the fabric and lots of horizontally striped neckties in silk shantung.
The scene: The front row lineup at the postage-stamp sized venue included -- sitting cheek-by-jowl -- T-shirted and heavily tattooed Nick Wooster, nattily attired Decade co-owner Cameron Silver, a plaid-suited Alan Cumming and yellow-jacketed power dandy Patrick McDonald. As the magazine editor next to me remarked: "There's a whole lot of look going on there" -- easily the understatement of the evening.
Notable news: Leis aside, the show's most noteworthy accessory were the Rod Keenan for David Hart hats that many of the models were sporting. It was our first exposure to the work of Harlem-based hatter Rod Keenan and we found a lot to like in his assortment of woven straw hats that managed to be appropriate to the era but with a modern twist.
The verdict: A tasteful and tailored take on tiki chic, and a collection that establishes David Hart as an up-and-coming menswear designer worth keeping an eye down the road.