Nijinsky dances ! One of the biggest influences on Tim Hamilton’s new collection spoke volumes about the way that New York’s menswear designers have upped their game this season. Okay, so the star of Les Ballets Russes isn’t exactly the timeliest reference point for 21st-century Schizoid Man, but his shadowy presence in Hamilton’s presentation did underscore the designer’s entirely personal take on menswear for Fall 2008. He was looking to incorporate a lounge-y wearability into his sportswear, hence leggings and sweatpants that suggested ballet. And the Vaslav Nijinksy subtext gave Hamilton the opportunity to inject some louche glamour : fur trim on a cardigan, a robe that wrapped with a fringed scarf, Mongolian lamb lining for a leather coat, and roll-necked tunics straight off the steppes.
“I added tailoring”, Hamilton enthused as he pointed to a plinth laden with boys in suits that ran a gamut of proportions : the shawl-collared jacket with the elasticated-ankle pant; the single-buttoned gray flannel suit coat with the high notch, again with an elasticated lower half; the thigh-length jacket with bellows pockets. Hamilton is experimenting, so things aren’t always going to work. But he’s so darn exuberant it’s hard not to go along for the ride.