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Friday, September 21, 2007

MAN Power

Daryoush Haj-Najafi goes where the boys are...

For the MAN group show (the brother event of Fashion East), Aitor Throup showed a video and presentation of sculptural pieces based on Jazz instruments linking with hurricane Katrina, the death of New Orleans and a protection theme. In the vein of Hussein Chalayan, Aitor is a highly conceptual designer and a stupendously good tailor—his suits are actually desirable, think sober McQueen— and show great promise. The success of Aitor’s collaborations with CP Company and Umbro bode well; for now however as a standalone designer he lacks purpose. An Aitor deodorant would never make sense.

A Kim Jones deodorant would make sense—surely megabrand style expansion into underwear, jeans and sunglasses can't be far off. For MAN, Jones managed to bring high-fashion to this new diffusion KJ line, a cut above the less daring likes of Armani Jeans and Polo, yet classic enough for the pub. A great success.

Designer Carri Munden decided to build the psychedelic-meets-rough message of her Cassette Playa label (pictured above left) with Brit rappers Man Like Me and JME on the runway—no they haven’t hurt their legs, that limping is just how ghetto Brits walk. No one is better at British street tuff casting than Munden and her stylist, Thom Murphy, who share an optimism in youth culture. Munden has said many times Cassette Playa is a tribal thing; which concerns less the symbolism she raids from the past and more the idea of defining a gang.

Topman Design (above right) closed MAN with its slick and aspirational line, which is now producing the kind of must-have hits Topshop have been offering the fairer sex for years, mostly the suiting and coats. I want one. A few more sparks would have been nice, but overall the aesthetic w