The definition may vary depending on who you ask, but true luxury is having the ability to live life without a care in the world. It's that own ostentatious aspiration that drives a brand like Palmiers du Mal and the clothing that it produces. With that lazy luxury in mind, the brand's Fall-Winter 2017 collection—Palmiers du Mal's third at NYFW: Men's—surely makes a mark.
The story of the collection centers around a "fictional syndicate of international jewel thieves," taking cues from the internationally infamous Pink Panthers gang. Embedded with the brand's signature relaxed opulence and adding in the runway's general ambience—including large, leafy palms and breezy vintage jazz—the vibe was somewhere between Frank Sinatra in Ocean's 11 and Jude Law in The Talented Mr. Ripley (with plenty of concessions to the modern man, naturally.)
According to co-founder Brandon Capps, a focus was to tell an expanded narrative with the collection, something that might have been downplayed as Palmiers du Mal was building its following at previous Men's Weeks. "Collection one and two both surrounded around the jet-set; they’re pieces of clothing you wear from different corners of the world and still feel comfortable no matter where you are, no matter what climate you’re in," Capps noted backstage after the show. "I think those first two collections both took that idea and sat on it, but I think this is the first time we put a theme on top of that same idea and really expanded on it."
In this endeavor, Palmiers du Mal really delivered. The collection fused the retro with the contemporary, from the styling to the garments themselves. Equal parts sensual and scrappy, models with wide-open silk shirts clashed with models shrouded by teardrop embroidered balaclavas. Taken individually, it might have been difficult to comprehend the theme. But, when viewed as a whole, you could imagine this crew collectively celebrating their latest heist on a private island secretly nestled somewhere in the Mediterranean.
With menswear's recent infatuation with Los Angeles in mind, there's little doubt the City of Angels left its mark on the design process on this collection too. Instead of looping in the rapidly cliché-ing skateboard and streetwear references, however, the brand tapped LA's gaudier aspects. The man on display was more Rodeo Drive than Fairfax Avenue.
While garments are sure to appeal to someone who's spending more time at Barneys than Supreme, we can respect the varied extravagance of several different items. Robe coats, textured wool trousers and jewel-toned Japanese silk blend "sleep shirts" all catch the eye without being alienating. Unfortunately, the success of the more opulent pieces cause the more casual items—the graphic T-shirts and hooded parka specifically—to seem a little out of place.
"From season one, [the clothing] has had influences from sportswear, to military, French work jackets and Japanese noragis. I think this collection has tied all of that together with a bit more of a sportswear vibe," Capps admitted. "That’s how we dress, so I think we’re being more honest, not only to the people that we want to sell to, but also to the clothes we want to wear."
This mentality all builds up to the clear standout: the velvet track jackets. While the entire collection centered production in the brand's native New York, the jet-set-inspired jackets—featuring silk piping done entirely by hand—embody both Palmiers du Mal's Fall/Winter 2017 collection notes and its evergreen brand ethos.
“It takes a unique, self-assured, and rather intellectual consumer to wear the luxurious silk and velvet warm-ups, but it looks dangerously marvelous and markedly subversive,” noted Palmiers du Mal co-founder and creative director Shane Fonner in a post-show press release.
We couldn't agree more.
For more coverage of FW17 Fashion Week be sure to read our other reports on today’s hottest brands.