Friday, June 27, 2008

Runway - Yohji Yamamoto: Fall 2008

I have to agree with recent reviews of Yohji Yamamoto in that his designs are getting a tad repetitive and drowsy, but at the end of his fall 2008 show, he surprised us with a short series of fantastic gems. The draping of these pieces is exquisite and expressive yet powerful and masculine. The plaid adds personality and softens the piece (in comparison to if a solid neutral were used, typical to most men’s draped pieces) while enhancing the elaborate drape and adding movement. The visual weight of the fabric is rich and the juxtaposition with structured garments beneath them is perfection. These are extraordinary pieces that would pump some life into a long, bland winter.

The berets? Not needed.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

NYC Street - Chinatown / SoHo Gallery Opening

Photos by Vanguard.

Sometimes I think that with enough attitude (and triceps) you can wear anything and make it look like the next amazing thing.

Although I’m personally an advocate for big statements, occasionally it is just the details that let you say a lot.

In order for true innovation to occure in menswer, draped garments must be the future. I was dreading the reemergence of Doc Martens, but these Yohji Yamamoto boots are definitely the exception.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Reader Recommendation - Jeremy Scott

After reading the previous post discussing the use of nostalgic irony, Gregory recommended I take a look at the work of Jeremy Scott. I knew about Jeremy Scott as a designer, but I had honestly never seen his men’s designs. What I find interesting is that he is combining a very strong nostalgic irony of the current generation’s childhood – complete with happy meals, sugary cereal, and Saturday morning cartoons – while still creating new forms for men. Rather than depending completely on irony as a mechanism to distract from a lack of innovation, he uses it as a tool to comfortably introduce new shapes, pieces, and details to men’s wardrobe. Whereas Number (N)ine - featured a few posts below - used strict monochromaticy to make new shapes acceptable, Jeremy Scott uses humor.

What becomes a bit bothersome, however, is the last image featured. More and more we see menswear becoming inspired from boyhood garments with, at times, the runway looking like a pajama party or boarding school recess. If we imagine seeing women’s runway models dressed like little girls (which I know we have seen) it would signal deep societal concerns. Yet with menswear we view it as ‘cute.’ As we enter a society where issues of gender equality have changed and major wireless commercials can be pulled for depicting men as “dumb” and “inferior to women” does it degrade men to be dressed as children?

Thanks for the recommendation Gregory. Reader recommendations can be sent to

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

NYC Street - East Village / Union Square

The following images were taken specifically for Vanguard.

I was recently thinking about how much I truely love the skinhead aesthetic. Just when I thought I would never see it outside of 1970s London, or rather specific gay porn, there it was! Just outside my building, nonetheless. How else can you wear flood pants yet still look like you're going to kick the shit out of someone?

I believe one thing that today's fashion will be known for is our strong use of ironic nostalgia in our dress. I appreciate irony greatly, and believe that the handsome lad above pulls it off quite well, but part of me believes that we are forced into using it as a way to cope with our desire for something new and brilliant out of a fashion world that is either stagnate or inaccessible.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Runway - Z Zegna: Spring 2008

Coming from a company not known for innovation, in a season that will not be known for innovation, is a line that is surprisingly well done with many lessons for men. Z Zegna shows us some simple, but new ideas in texture, shapes, volume, and even how to wear satin ribbon around our ankles (very important) while staying with easy-to-wear pieces. Don’t expect quite so many instructions from them this fall.

NYC Street - Wandering Williamsburg

The following images were taken specifically for Vanguard.

Much of today's alternative men's fashion tends to take on a more layered, cluttered, or dirty gutter-punk aesthetic. This ensemble stays clean cut but does not hinder expression. The most important element is, obviously, the Raf Simons spring 2007 shirt that adds movement and personality to a rather basic foundation. From there, a neat-and-tidy bag and haircut - both simple but with strong structural elements - keeps it clean while maintaining character. I think this is a perfect option for those of us (myself strongly included) too anal retentive for some of today's looser trends.

I doubt this requires much explanation. Perfect shorts, interesting materials, and amazing shoes.

This outfit is completely about the bag. A generic tote shape but with unique plaid print.

Subtle textures add an important material quality on each piece. This is a good example of a hoodie done correctly: the cut is interesting (specifically note the neck line) while the abundant over-sized closures add a focus.

One of the best tools for men's expression right now is hair. With the "short on the sides, messy on top" aesthetic now being reserved for those strictly under age 9, hair can become a new canvas for men. Each of the men above (even though all located only within a few blocks of each other) has managed to show a dramatically different aspect of the their personality through their hair. The key is to just go all the way with it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Global - Tokyo

The following images are from Tokyo Street Style.

One of the places in the world in which I am most jealous of men’s style is Tokyo (assuming that you manage to not get stuck in their prison-stripes of bland office-suits, of course). Tokyo Street Fashion is probably one of the world’s first street style blogs, even being pre-Facehunter, and it’s by far one of the most inspirational. It seems Tokyo men on the street can get away with wearing just about anything from the serious to the quirky. This also seems to be the land, however, where androgyny rules. This brings up a question: when trying to create new fashions for men, is the key to throw out gender all together? At first I don’t think so, but then when I think more about it, most of my favorite pieces were purchased from the same unisex shop, or seem to fit females just as well as males. As we see an ever continuous flow of menswear brought to the women’s runway and more and more new men’s forms also easily worn by women…are we headed towards a gender-less fashion?

Street Dialogue - Gustav

Gustaf Heden - Sweden - Solo Musician

Spotted: Washington Square Park

What is your style inspiration?

My inspiration comes from ideas rather than actual pieces of clothing. I purchase clothing if it reminds me of something, like a character…such as if something will remind me of Wayne from Wayne’s World or from my own character or humor.

Do you ever feel your expression is stunted by men’s fashions?


Sometimes I’ll see something but then the details are just not right.

What would your ideal piece of clothing be?

I’ve always been looking for the perfect purple suit. It sounds ridiculous. But a dark purple suit.

The closest I’ve gotten to the ideal piece of clothing was a pair of old-school Gucci loafers that I destroyed. They were the kind that were trendy in the 80s with a gold chain across them and rubber soles.

Runway - Number (N)ine: Spring 208

We have to start somewhere.

To begin, I wanted to highlight my favorite looks from my runway image collection: Number (N)ine from Spring 2008.

One way, I believe, to begin creating a new form for men is to reduce to monochromatic neutral colors (maintaining masculinity) while introducing shapes and cuts that are modern, yet with a subtle-historic reference. The “hobo” layering draws a casual air while luxurious materials and a singular color keep a respectability. Take or leave the religious symbols on the necklace depending on how “hardcore” you want to appear, but I think they are done perfectly. If we want to create something more "office-appropriate" simply finish some of the “loose” edges, tailor a few pieces, and throw on a pair of dress shoes.

Also, I love knickers.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Recognizing the importance of fashion and styling as a medium of instant outward communication of the individual, it is my belief that the state of men’s fashion stunts our ability to express the individual within. The intent of this blog is to explore and collect real-life manifestations that allow men to convey an identity outside of the mainstream while still maintaining that one, tricky idea: masculinity.

Vanguard will explore the male guise by collecting and reflecting on:
  • Street fashion shot here in New York

  • Street fashion collected from blogs around the world

  • Personal interviews

  • Runway highlights

  • Featured shopping

If you are expecting to see the latest suit, cuff link, graphic t-shirt, sneaker, or gadget, then there are other places for you to go.

As a true exploration, it is the intent of Vanguard to incorporate ideas and discussion from readers. If you have anything to share, please comment or email for review.