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Notes From New York

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Left to right: Curated blazer from Fit’s “Ivy Style” exhibit; Cator Sparks (second from left) with Bev Smith, Collette Malouf, and Jonathan Meizler at Bergdorf Goodman party; and metallics will be hot in the spring. Photographs (3) by Giuliano Correia

September 20, 2012

Notes From New York
A post-Fashion Week look at the trends and the glam parties

Written by Cator Sparks

New York Fashion Week is like running a marathon—once it’s over you look back and think, did I really just do all of that? Well if you missed don’t worry, Cator Sparks, freelance fashion and design writer for The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, and, ran the gauntlet—eight days, 55 shows, and a sprinkling of parties for you—and offers a wrap up of the Spring 2013 menswear trends he peeped out and the parties he popped into:

The Trends:
•   The designers are still mad for plaid and taken by tartan from suits to ties to socks and hats. Just buy a piece or dig through your grandfather’s closet.
•   Prints are hot for men, too. I love that the menswear designers are having fun with this trend (it’s been going on for several seasons) showing guys it’s okay to wear florals, tiger stripes, or tribal prints.
•   Pops of color. If you can’t do a floral print (I understand), how about an orange blazer? An electric blue windbreaker? A bright red shoelace? Trust me, it’s fun and chicks dig it.
•   Khaki. It may not sound revolutionary to the Southern man, but I’m not talking about your Dickie’s or Dockers here. Think out of Africa, English country gentleman and the urban explorer with trenches, blazers, suits, and shorts in various hues.
•   Metallic. Ok, I know it’s not going to top everyone’s list, but I love that Marlon Gobel and Mark McNairy went there. 

The Parties:
One of the most glamorous events of the week was the screening at the Paris Theater of Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf, a documentary celebrating 111 years of the beloved department store. The after party was held on the first floor of the store (next door to the theater), and the fashion flock crowded in to fete the movie and themselves (let’s face it, it’s fashion!). The highlight was when iconic ’70s model Pat Cleveland sashayed through the revolving door to so much excitement that she spun through the door four more times, with each entrance more over the top than the last. When we spoke, she was nearly atomically excited, screeching and clapping, “Ooooooh I just loved making my entrance! Did you see all those photographers? Yay!”

Another swellegant night was the opening of an exhibition of Gloria Vanderbilt’s collages, dream boxes, and recent paintings. We all know Ms. Vanderbilt as the poor little rich girl, creator of designer jeans, and mother of Anderson Cooper, but many don’t know her amazing talent as an artist. Held at the 1stdibs Gallery, the opening was a fundraiser for the Huntsville Museum of Art. It was refreshing to be at a non-fashion event once this week and to take time to truly appreciate Ms. Vanderbilt’s work. I had a moment to ask her why the Huntsville Museum. She replied, “Well, I was down there on a book-reading tour and met the director and fell in love with the museum.” And what about a trip to Charleston? “I have never been but would love to go! I have always heard how beautiful it is.” Take note, Gibbes people! 

I ended the wild week at a rather put-together party for the new exhibit at The Museum at FIT, “Ivy Style,” celebrating the most enduring clothing style of the 20th century for us boys. Curator Patricia Mears led us from the first Brooks Brothers suits from Princeton in 1910 to modern takes on the style from Michael Bastian and Thom Browne. If you are in New York between now and January, check this out. Charlestonians should know how the polo coat got its name, where madras is made, and why loafers are called Weejuns (Hint, it has to do with the originals being Norwegian!).

For Cator and pal Stacy Smallwood’s notes on trends for Spring 2013 womenswear, click here.

For Ayoka Lucas’s coverage of New York Fashion Week, click here.

For more of Cator’s NYFW coverage for our sister site,, click here.