Male models lined up on blocks to face a firing squad of scrutiny Thursday, at GQ's third annual Best New Menswear Designers in America party. The fall lines of six up-and-coming menswear labels from across the country were showcased, and the next day GQ announced the winner: Billy Reid, a Louisiana-born, Alabama-based designer who blends Southern gentility with an indie, bluesy rock and roll vibe.
His Manhattan shop on Bond Street is popular with a hip downtown crew drawn to the tweed and trucker hats, the wingtips and vintage tees. And his collection for next fall is like a glossary of menswear trends. His prize from GQ includes $50,000, mentoring and a limited-edition collection for Levi's at Bloomingdale's come fall.
"Well, they're all winners," said GQ creative director Jim Moore. "But Billy Reid - we just felt this was his moment." Meanwhile, what's hot for guys come fall? Plaids, chunky knits, slim fits, Americana and lots and lots of gray, notes Tom Julian, author of the "Nordstrom Guide to Men's Style."
Here are some of the best looks from the men's side of Fashion Week.
Chunky knits Look to Yigal Azrouel for big, slouchy pullovers and Alpine appeal.
Gray Calvin Klein was almost entirely gray - suits, trenches, leather and more in charcoal, slate and chalk dust, with iridescent holograms and pixilated prints.
Slim fits Thom Browne fans go ultra shrunk, but average guys can find stuff that won't strangle. "I design for the American body," says John Bartlett. "I want things to fit, with no excess fabric, but there should still be enough room to move."
Americana Heritage brands (think Gant and Pendleton, says trend watcher Tom Julian) remain strong, as do labels like Gilded Age that nod to history.