Spring 2018 Menswear
July 12, 2017
Patrik Ervell is an interesting egg, one of a number that present collections in New York season after season, but that in the big wide world beyond, you just don’t really hear about. The brand is sold at Barneys and Opening Ceremony. When people flip through racks at those establishments, I imagine the customer is familiar with Ervell, but it sits in a slightly “other” space.
The vibe backstage was strange too—very somber, strictly business. There was a quiet about the space, and an order. The clothes can be a little like that too. There is color, and sometimes pattern, but it is measured. It’s considered.
This season, Ervell was inspired by his childhood. “It’s kind of nostalgic for me,” he said post-show. “I was just thinking about San Francisco in the ’90s, where I grew up. And I think about it as the birthplace of the Internet and this new age-y thing, but also with an echo of ’60s counterculture and all these things that were crashing together at that time.”
I was once discussing the different style of eras with Sylvie Picquet-Damesme, one of the most powerful publicists in America, who told me, in her fabulous French accent, that she hated the ’90s. “It’s so boring!” she said. As a child of the ’90s, I argued a little. It was the first time we’d met, and I believe I emailed a makeshift ’90s moodboard to her the next day—lots of ripped denim and mesh jersey and boy bands and rap groups. But Sylvie is chic, and true, the ’90s were not.
Here, Ervell’s ’90s are more tracksuit-inspired, with the tracksuit’s close cousin, the windbreaker, also heavily represented. I must admit, those weren’t trends that featured on my moodboard, but I was a teenage skateboarder who listened to hip hop (and secretly, on my Walkman, when no one was around, boybands), but the tracksuit trend is valid, and with activewear back in the limelight, well, makes sense.
Resort-collared shirts cut in that same wet-look nylon were presented in colorblocked shades of bright blue, with windbreaker vent details in the front. These were paired with straight-cut denim jeans in that mid-blue stonewash. Straight-cut, mid-blue may well be the blandest of all jeans, but it was big in the ’90s, and I guess Ervell is embracing that “so bad it’s good” attitude. In addition, they were also rolled up at the ends, not cuffed. I think people mostly did that in the ’90s because you didn’t have the kind of size options available now. You’d just find a pair of jeans with the right waist, and roll them up.
I liked the Spirograph graphics on sweaters, and the long, wide legged leather shorts were an effective streetwear shoutout. I was a little confused about the nylon bags. “They are deli bags, but they are made from rip-stop nylon,” Ervell explained, without much explanation. I’m not sure what small item was carried in each to give them the little weight as they walked the runway, but they reminded me of the small, lightly weighted plastic bags dogwalkers carry for a short time while they find a trash can—dog-shit chic?
It’s funny because, for me, the trends most heavily referenced in this collection were more incidental in the ’90s than they were actual fashion. Accidental trends, perhaps, that weren’t particularly popular at the time, they were just cheap and disposable so everyone wore them. And they did. When you look back at cringe-worthy Kodak moments, everyone’s in a tracksuit and bad jeans. That nostalgia, coupled with Ervell’s skill and studied perspective, is enough though to turn these fashion faux pas into ironic trends, at least for ’90s kids like me.
Spring 2018 Menswear