NEW YORK -- It seems almost silly to think about what you'll be wearing next fall when winter is in full effect now and spring and summer styles are still suggestions on the preview pages of fashion magazines.
But such is the cycle of the fashion industry, where what will be -- sartorially speaking -- is foretold a half-year in advance, and what is happening in the here and now is already old news.
The annual 10-day General Motors Fashion Week got under way recently with the men's collections dominating the first days in Manhattan's Bryant Park, the unofficial fashion district, where large white tents are pitched for the shows each season.
Men who like to stay on top of their fashion game will be pleased with what America's best-known designers presented. The hip and stylish look will be colorful, masculine and luxurious, with plenty of hidden zippers, bottom-vented pants and the mixing and matching of man-made and natural textures.
Here's a look at who's doing what:
Chereskin presented a soft and relaxed look, yet exciting, thanks to contrasts in fabric textures and silhouettes. Luxurious knits and detailed tailoring are hallmarks of this collection, with denim dressed up in many ways, such as a blue melange melton coat and a three-button suit with hidden zipper pockets.
Among his runway standouts were a military green zip-front turtleneck with denim pants and dark denim duster with a shearling hood; a taupe double-faced hooded pull-over with an applique pocket and matching drawstring pant; an aqua suede drawstring pant with a matching crew-neck and zip-front jacket and an olive wool houndstooth pant and a handsome burgundy stretch knit turtleneck.
``I want to make casual really dressed up,'' a beaming Chereskin explained in an interview after the show. ``Men are getting better at it, but they still need help.''
His aim is to create a style that is neither lounge wear nor active wear and an ``unsuit suit'' look that allows guys to look dressed up while feeling comfortably understated.
Bryant Gumble and actor Danny Aiello were part of the throng at Abboud's showing of a rich, sleek collection that incorporated new-age metallic colors, rich textures and simple silhouettes. Abboud said he hoped the looks -- characterized by equestrianesque earth tones, molten oranges and reds and cool, metallic blues and grays -- would ``guide men into a new direction without shocking their closets or their own sense of themselves.''
A dashing cinnamon cable-knit turtleneck with a matching soft-structure jacket over paprika moleskin plain front pants led off the strong collection. Other great looks were a chestnut deerskin fly-front jacket; gray and charcoal flannel chalk-striped suits in double-breasted, peak lapel and soft-structured variations; and a head-turning copper alpaca metallic evening jacket over a bronze metallic turtleneck with charcoal flannel pants.
There were hints of futurism in Paul LaFontaine's Claiborne and C2.0 line, but the designer's cautious side prevailed.
Pops of red and orange added some spark to a collection that contained lots of black and several shades of gray.
Hits were a black stripe cotton-rayon shirt under a black stretch twill jacket and matching concealed zipper pants; a black boat-neck sweater with a side, asymmetrical close at the neck and shoulder; a knitted quilt vest and heather funnel-neck reversed jersey, both in evergreen; a black mechanical stretch-wool sateen three-button suit and a debonair bias cut, ribbed hand-knit sweater in tangerine.
Handsome outerwear was the collection's greatest strength, including a red lacquer-glazed, calf leather racer jacket, a black antique leather sport coat, and a black wool double-cloth long, A-line frock coat.
Chic coats were also top-rung in the collection of Comstock, who served up Mongolian vodka and Russian caviar along with eight looks informally introduced in the Cornell Club.
Comstock's collection was inspired by a trip to Mongolia, and the designer's adaptation was magnificent. His designs in leather, wool and denim were masculine and luxurious. Highlights were an ox-blood colored French bull-belly leather vest with silver studs and matching jeans, buttery soft Austrian deer jackets with horn buttons and suave shirt jackets in olive or tan New Zealand baby lamb and black calf nubuck.
BCBG Max Azria
Powerful plaids and warm, earthy hues characterized this collection of Azria, who used 38 models (including two women) to show 49 contemporary ensembles.
This was BCBG's first men's fall collection to debut Fashion Week, and it was dominated by tweeds, denim blends and grays. Among the knockout looks were a three-quarter length wool, herringbone car coat and fur suit jacket, both gray and three-button style; an antique bronze, three-button leather jacket; a cognac colored zip-front suede cape; flat-front wide legged houndstooth and plaid trousers; a crimson zip-front nylon shirt jacket; a lead colored silk and cashmere v-neck sweater with matching wide-legged, drawstring trousers.
His fall winter line for men is daring, sexy and urbane, from a moss-pebble tweed color-blocked trouser to a cranberry waxed cotton shirt teamed with a brown twill, three-button suit and split-bottom, vented pants.
Malone also scored with a chocolate full-length cashmere coat, a burnt orange featherweight cord shirt, a ``Shaft'' caramelized leather coat in ox-blood and black, a very masculine looking pale blue iridescent nylon taffeta shirt, paired with creamed waxed denim jeans (that also sported a snazzy rhinestone side stripe) and a wet-looking red button-down stretch shirt paired with black sequined jean-styled pants.
In other shows
Tommy Hilfiger's collection, viewed by more than 700 in a cramped theater across town, was predictable with simple, lean silhouettes. He focused on black and white ensembles and plaid treatments on pants, with some flared-leg bottoms on trousers.
A dismally weak men's collection was Rene Lezard's. Despite some creative uses of color, her retro-60s, early-70s looks were rumpled, under-sized and overstuffed. Her women's collection, shown simultaneously, was much better.