I've faced it. The designers make it hard to want to live simply. Case in point is Nicholas K's Fall 2014 Men's collection. Like most Nicholas K collections of course you desire most of what you see and just when I had decided to turn from the "black" hole that many NYers are thrown into, here comes a collection whose inkiness was as sumptuous as it was modern.
Classic in the Nicholas K model of interchangeability and fluidity was this collection of dark clothing inspired by the Kunz brothers reinterpretation of a photo series called 'Men At Sea' by French photographer and filmmaker Jean Gaumy. The series captures the struggles of deepsea fisherman between 1984 and 1998. The result was a collection of dark introspective clothing that were beautiful and masculine which went together beautifully with the languid shapes and lustrous textures reminiscent of eel, nautical rope and wet surfaces.
The draped shapes on items like functional and inter-seasonal layered outerwear were the perfect toppings for the masculine forms beneath them. There was a strong silence in the subtle navies, Atlantic blues, midnights, charcoals and black varieties that created a sense of steely isolation and weathered strength in their humble but definite beauty. The shapes were creative as always but also had the familiar presence of comfortable menswear. Knit balaclavas and scarves were cozy and functional but in the draped knit had an everyday feel that when paired over trim dark button-downs seemed a great modern layered option to chunky sweaters for Fall.
There was a strong work shirt vibe with the collection that seemed to say 'consider the option of lightweight warm layers for protection and isolation'. Added elements like buckled closures and convertible collars added to that welcomed protective aesthetic. Then the pants seemed to anchor that aesthetic further. There were trim leggings in good knits paired under cuffed and looser arc-shaped crotch pants that seemed a practical way to reinforce layering, protection and isolation. The arc shapes of those easy trousers were inviting and great modern staples for the newer menswear trends of joggers and sweats as everyday wear. The wellies on the feet anchored the Kunz' inspiration of the fisherman from the photo series but could easily be swapped out for great combat boots, chukkas or high-tops.
As always, the interchangeability, integrating and styling options of a Nicholas K collection are refreshing to see. The Kunz' have a knack for capturing the spirit and integrity of menswear outside of traditional tailoring by understanding that masculinity can have a softness and ease without sacrificing the strength. Their designs look good for the journey and make looking cool while at the destination great. Unfortunately, what they have not done is made it any easier to narrow down what to pack so I'll just have to pack more cleverly.