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New York Fashion Week: Men's touts androgyny, diversity

TOMMY HILFIGER: You'll find pants at all lengths

TOMMY HILFIGER: You'll find pants at all lengths and widths, but the slim-cut suit with slightly ankle-baring pant is still popular-whether you flash socks or skin is up to you. Credit: AP/ Kathy Willens

Fashion isn't just for women anymore.

That was the message from New York Fashion Week: Men's.The four-day menswear celebration that concluded Thursday featured runway shows by 50-plus labels, from the majors (Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors) to new upstarts (Grungy Gentleman, Cadet).

"There's a lot of good clothing out there, so the timing for a men's fashion week feels right," says designer Billy Reid.

Timing, actually, was a key factor motivating organizers of this event. Retailers buy menswear for the coming year midsummer, so the standard practice of showing collections during the larger, womenswear-dominated fashion week in September felt lame. (Plus, women get most of that media coverage.)

So this fashion event was all about the guys, which is ironic given the big new trend in menswear: androgyny. That idea -- silks, florals, drapey silhouettes -- was big at recent European shows and popped up here.

"It's the feminine side of menswear," says Perry Ellis creative director (and Massapequa Park native) Michael Maccari.

Not that all men will be drawn to overtly feminine designs. The look wasn't adopted here with the same fervor and when it was, it was generally subtle, like the silk-blend fabrics with sateen weaves and sheer panels at Perry Ellis. Or pajama-like suits and soft scarves at Michael Kors. Or the "softer hand" from Reid, who for several seasons has offered "slightly fuller pants, jackets without darts -- almost a sack suit type of shape," he says.

No, the word for New York Fashion Week: Men's wasn't so much "androgyny" as "diversity." Take pants: They were cropped, lean, flat-front (Tommy Hilfiger); pleated (Reid); superwide (Opening Ceremony); loooong (Duckie Brown); and sporty (Rag & Bone). Something for everyone.

Guys' style awareness "is bigger than ever," Maccari says. "There's no reason for men to hide their interest in fashion anymore."

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