Idris Balogun looked to the jazz poet, trumpeter and painter Ted Joans and his Beat Generation friends for this collection, which had a downtown New York mood, circa 1955. But there wasn’t a black turtleneck or cigarette in sight — just a great mix of tailoring and jazzy sportswear.
Balogun showed at the American Library because Joans, an Illinois native, had lived in Paris for a period and knew the place well.
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“Also, I hadn’t been in a library for years. I wanted to give people a reason to go back. And this place in particular has a huge fashion archive with magazines from the ’50s and ’60s,” said Balogun, who pored over those glossy pages in preparation for the show.
Models wound their way around the bookcases, moving to a soundtrack of spoken poetry and jazz created by Pauli Lovejoy. They wore boxy double-breasted suits, some of which had double lapels. Made from wool — Balogun’s favorite fabric — they also had hand-stitched buttonholes, a legacy of Balogun’s training at Hardy Amies on Savile Row.
Balogun gave those suits a bohemian twist, layering colorful striped knits or Breton tops under them, or pairing them with big furry hats or exaggerated hairstyles — including ducktails, shags, or long dreadlocks.
When his men weren’t grooving around in suits, they were wearing leather trousers or cargo pants, velvet hoodies in bright colors, or short shearling jackets. This collection certainly had swagger, and despite all of the retro references, it felt fresh — and lighthearted.
It was a celebration of counterculture, and had some of the best hairdos of the week.
Launch Gallery: Winnie Men's Fall 2024
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