•NEW YORK • New York's first men's fashion week wrapped up on Thursday, with designers hailing the new four-day showcase as an effective platform to reach clients in a quickly growing market.
John Varvatos sent rock 'n' roll dandies from the 1970s down the runway in the final show of the week, which saw about 50 labels offer colourful, relaxed and eclectic looks for spring/summer 2016.
Big-name labels Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors and Calvin Klein joined forces with up-and-coming designers Michael Bastian, Tim Coppens and Public School for an exciting week.
Coppens, who was born and raised in Belgium, was thrilled with the new format, explaining: "It's separate, it focuses on men in the first place, because otherwise you always get shown in between all the women brands."
He also noted that the new fashion week was better aligned with the buyers' calendar.
Men's collections are ordered in July, when the European shows are all held. Staging a runway show during women's fashion week in September was too late.
"And it is good that it is in New York, because we are based in New York, there is a vibe in New York, there is a freshness, there is something different than in Paris," Coppens said.
A breath of relaxed, colourful fresh air - with a hint of the 1990s - wafted through Coppens' show on Wednesday in the brilliant whiteness of the Skylight Clarkson studio in trend-setting West Soho.
For Hilfiger, next summer will be very tailored - and colourful, with bright hues of red, yellow and teal.
Nautica focused on what it does best - bathing suits worn with nothing else, or under an open rain jacket. Some of the prints were based on the iconic Chrysler Building. A smattering of stripes were on display.
Theory was minimalist and androgynous, with half of the men's collection worn by female models. Bastian took inspiration from the Bel Air neighbourhood of Los Angeles, and also featured women.
After working for two years to bring men's fashion week to life, the Council of Fashion Designers of America made the big announcement in February.
New York Fashion Week: Men's will now be held twice a year, in July and January, following established events in London, Milan and Paris.
Before, menswear designers could stage runway shows only during the traditional women's fashion weeks in the Big Apple in September and February, their work often lost in the hundreds of womenswear shows.
"American menswear has never been stronger or more creative," said Mr Steven Kolb, chief executive of the council.