It’s that time of year again: New York Men’s Fashion Week (NYMFW). Every year, twice a year, New York dedicates an entire week to showcasing men’s fashion. The opportunity for the fashion industry to showcase what they can do – from styling to designing – is competitive, and only the best of the best make the cut.
One of the incredibly talented stylists who made the cut is John Ruidant. This is his third season working with NYMFW, and he earned the privilege of being the lead stylist on a number of fashion presentations this season. Each show has a unique need from the stylist, and from working on a number of them; John was able to showcase his adaptability and versatility.
John, and the designer Garciavelez, teamed up on the 31st of January 2017, and the result was quite spectacular.
I had the amazing opportunity to talk with John backstage before the show, and inquire about his inspiration behind the styling of the show. He explained that in Garciavelez’s show, they wanted to celebrate the individuality and ethnic diversity of each model; so as opposed to giving all of the models one specific hair-do, they decided to tailor each style to fit each unique model. For example, if a model had a natural curly-fro, they would work off of that, instead of trying to transform it. John feels that right now, with the mix of ethnicity, and everybody celebrating their own individual beauty, it was important to enhance what they already have, and not change it. John informed me that this type of celebration of individuality through hair styling, is becoming more and more common in the fashion world. From speaking with the designers this year, he found that there was less rigidity; in the sense they didn’t feel that each hairstyle had to be the same across the board.
Any great stylist will tell you that you cannot produce great results without great products, and in NYMFW, John solely used Axe. Axe is a global company that specializes in producing products that have revolutionized the care regime for men everywhere. In NYMFW, Axe’s hair products played a massive part in making the models look remarkably delectable, and ensuring each look looked picture perfect.
For the models with a natural fro, to start things off, John used Axe’s ‘Salt Spray’. Once the salt spray was diffused in, and had been allowed to try, John went in with the ‘Messy Cream’, which he scrunched in to the ends of the hair, to give more definition on the ends, and tame a little bit of the frizziness.
For the models with shorter hair, John put in a little of the ‘Matte Gel’, and then finger blow-dried that to give the hair a rougher texture. Once the hair was dry, he went in with the ‘Spiky Pomade’ to give more definition to the ends, and a little more separation to it.
I was extremely impressed with the organization backstage. It was clearly a well-oiled machine, as it never once got hectic, and not once was the make-up room over packed. This was likely due to the fact that everyone knew exactly what they were doing.
If you happen to attend a show in NYMFW, there is a really great set-up. If you get hungry, thirsty, or need a rest, there is a lobby area, where you can get tea, coffee, or food, and there is plenty of seating, so hanging out before each show is extremely comfortable. There were numerous wall decorations celebrating the event, providing a perfect backdrop for numerous guest selfies. Rooms were broken up into ‘platforms’, each of which exhibiting a different designer’s show. Garciavelez’s show was presented in Platform 3.
The presentation was entirely standing, and guests were free to amble around, and even approach the models, to get an up-close and personal look of each design. There was subtle music playing in the background, which picked up as the show went on, and enabled the vibe of the room to transform and grow throughout the presentation. Throughout the show, people would get as close to the models as they liked, and the stylists would continue to adjust the models if they saw something off.
It was heartening to see the entire creative team standing at the back of the room throughout the demonstration, gazing out at the models, and seeing the impact of their finished work. Surely it was particularly gratifying for the creative team to admire their handiwork. At one point, a woman came up to me, and asked if I would take a selfie of her with all of the models in the background – with great pride, she informed me that she cast this show. Little interactions like this contributed to the entire presentation feeling like the celebration of hard work.
The design of the room was simple and colorful. The models stood at the front of the room facing the spectators, in front of a colored background of panels linked to the color scheme. Some neon gold lines were on the floor, which matched the zippers on the clothes. There was an interesting floor decoration, which reached out into arrow-like design. Beige, black, white, red, and a touch of light blue seem to be the color palate of this show. The lighting of the show was simple, and all white.
If you were to study the models, you would notice that they were all wearing jackets of some sort. Long hair, and turtlenecks seem to be the trend this year. The shoes were casual, with a white and black theme as a general trend. Squared patterns were also a feature on many of the designs. Largely the clothes were casual, however there was one formalwear suit, which was paired with a turtleneck under the button-up shirt to dress the look down slightly, and ensure the whole collection looked cohesive. Some of the pieces were one off, built for the show, but others were part of Garciavelez’s line.
Models were positioned in clusters, in a triangle formation, which would rotate at regular intervals. This meant that each style was highlighted at different moments, and every model and design got its moment in the spotlight. Often, the models would make eye contact with the audience, drawing them in, and turning their gaze to the lens of any camera when it was directed at them – the male models were true professionals.
There are three words I can use to sum up the entire show: simple, current, and effective. Each member of the creative team did a phenomenal job, and the presentation was wildly successful.