Steven Alan's Curatorial Presence

Martin Marks

For some reason, I've always been glad to start the men's portion of New York Mercedes Benz Fashion Week with the Steven Alan presentation. His work seems to be a study in unfussiness, a virtue that so often gets lost in hems and threads of other designers. But such is perhaps a testament to Alan's fashion background, which began in 1994 with the opening of the Steven Alan Showroom. Soon, he came to be seen as a curator of casual American fashion, and when he started his own collections several years later, it was through this curatorial prowess -- and presence -- that he carved his niche in the menswear market, by revisiting the vocabulary of American casual in an eminently easy-to-wear way. And this morning's presentation proved no exception.
The opening of several Steven Alan boutiques on the west coast perhaps wound its way into the Montauk-to-Waikiki appeal of the spring 2012 collection. Suits-and-shorts seemed out of an east coast prep manual, while a single-needle grey shirt with seashell-prints had a distinct Bar Harbor feel to it. There was a certain moodiness to his color palette -- the somber blue cardigan worn with a dark grey shirt, the southwestern off-turquoises, mustard yellows, and teal greens contrasting against the khakis and the whites. The tailored jackets paired with skinny ties, and worn with straw hats, lent themselves to a certain 1950s Teddy Boy feel. Among the highlights were cut-off surf shorts with pâté orange lining, and a khaki coat accented by turquoise knotted toggles -- all studies in the simplicity of American casual, in the hands of an American curator.   

PAPERMAG's Complete Spring 2012 Fashion Coverage

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