March 3, 2011 | by Javier Sanchez
D.C. Fashion Week disappoints

Last Saturday’s D.C. Fashion Week was held at the Washington Post Conference Center suffered from production missteps. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The presentation of the men’s collections at last weekend’s D.C. Fashion Week suffered from a late start and insufficient direction.

It was disappointing to observe the lack of direction, which ran far too long for a men’s fashion show. Yet, despite the show starting late (name a fashion show that has started on time except for Tom Ford’s), and an awkward introduction of vendors who set up tables near the entrance, all was not lost.

Two designers — Top Rank and Ray Vincente — celebrated masculine allure with confident doses of color and texture at the show, which was held at the Washington Post Conference Center in downtown D.C.

Top Rank focused on an elite military look that conveyed the idea of uniform as an important aspect to menswear and coincides with the theme that designers in Milan presented a few weeks ago for Fall/Winter 2011. The highlight pieces were the four pocket coats and ankle-sweeping greatcoats: clean-lined, autumnal colors such as classic camel and earthy olives with military-styled gold buttons to mimic a minimal silhouette.

But in a season otherwise noted for tailoring, you didn’t find it here. The designers could have expanded their collections to include aviator jackets and parkas and should have added more hardware trim on the coats to finish on a solid note.

A more urban look came into play with box-plaids, autumnal browns with shades of pine green and cool grey in Ray Vincente’s collections that incorporated velvet, wool and cotton jersey long sleeves into this classic casual sportswear look. A low draped cowl hood added a decorative and functional signature, and on one garment a funnel neck enhanced the urban, contemporary approach that the designer was attempting to craft.

These two designers had in mind a young, but very real and insightful man and thoughtfully translated color and fabric choices into silhouettes that were not ridiculously un-wearable. Mesmerizing it wasn’t but at least it was accessible compared to the other five designers that night.

The rest of the show was a more of a plea to other emerging designers in the city (or anywhere for that matter) to provide a sartorial direction that Washington desperately lacks.

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