If you had told me a few years ago that I would be sitting in the inside ring at a fashion show, watching models strut down the runway wearing plumed hats like I’ve only seen in “Cyrano” or “The Three Musketeers”, I would have said you were nuts. But that is exactly what my AE colleague Jim Kass and I did last Tuesday, thanks to an invitation from Joseph Abboud, whose tasteful men’s designs I’ve admired for decades. The first patterned sport coat I ever bought for myself long ago was designed by Mr. Abboud, and I have followed his illustrious career ever since and come to know him in recent years. He’s down to earth and a really good guy, which is why I think his apparel looks so fashionable yet wearable for the AE Man.
This was Joseph’s first runway show in 15 years and it paid homage to the few remaining American fashion manufacturers, including his eponymous tailored clothing line and, for the shoes, Allen Edmonds (Jim worked with Joseph directly and we did all the shoes for the show). Since “Joseph Abboud” and classy American men’s fashion have been closely linked for so long, he seemed the perfect designer to stage a revival show called “American Saville Row.” Many of the shoes that Jim and our shoemakers produced for him were made of the clothing fabrics the models would be wearing. Joe rose to the occasion terrifically and the outfits looked really impressive, including the shoes of course!
The show itself was also learning experience for us. First of all, we arrived naively on time, which in the fashion world turns out to be at least half hour early, so we were in the front of the waiting line with some of the other “suits” invited (and I thought I was going rogue by ditching my necktie at the last minute in my hotel). The outfits on the fashionably late stragglers became more and more “out there”, including one guy in a 20 gallon black flannel hat – two feet high and with a 12” brim. He reminded me of the Coroner in Munchkinland and I kept hoping he’d break out in the solo from “Ding, Dong the Witch is Dead.” (No such luck, but I bet he’d have nailed the part.)
All in all, it was a surprisingly fun experience, extremely well done by Joseph and his team, and we were proud to have been a part of it. I don’t know if I’ll ever attend another show like this one, but if I do, I now know a few things — scrap the suit as well as the tie, don’t shave for a week, come late and wear a really big hat.
Screen grabs from mobile videos. Sorry for the poor resolution but I hope you get the idea: