Dispatches from Spring '12

5 Questions For… Bruce Pask of The New York Times

The blogger behind IsaacLikes.com documents the vibe at the shows, one Q&A at a time.

Bruce Pask, men’s fashion director at T Magazine and The New York Times.

Was there anything that particularly excited you in Milan?
I thought that the Prada show was one of my favorites of hers almost ever. First of all it’s one of these things where she’s so thoughtful about setting and the mood that it creates for the reception of the clothing and I thought that she more than anyone really understands that having that giant astroturf and having individual foam seats put everybody in that summer mood – which kept playing on the soundtrack. She had all this amazing fluorescent florals and the Lily Pulitzer on acid but then also modulating that with beautiful tonalities and mixing a double breasted jacket in navy with black pants – so there’s a nice really considered tailored moment with a louder golf-y, leisure time moment. I just thought it was really one of my favorite shows almost of all time. It was really special.

So in terms of clothing on the runway, what have you really liked in Paris?
Dries is always a favorite for me, I loved it. And I thought that this season was really beautiful, taking all those neutrals, and then hitting it with a little orange but then doing all these Cabana stripes and then putting them on their side. Then again he balanced it with this really elegant suiting. And then the converse, something like Givenchy which I think can be quite polarizing, I thought that was his best show ever.

What’s your take on the current state of menswear?
I think in general it’s such an exciting time for men. Over the last ten years the progress we’ve made with men being so much more comfortable shopping, men caring more about how they look without it feeling like this emasculation, I think the expression we’re seeing in clothing designers and their explorations have been quite exciting, and then also in the realm of that uniform of quote, unquote, tailored clothing, and how that’s progressed because post-crisis it was a tough moment for suiting, the work place changed dramatically, we’ve got a new creative class and a new freelance class that has really risen to fill a lot of employment gaps so what a suit needs to do during the day has really changed a lot and it’s been amazing to see these real Neapolitan tailors and Italian tailors adapting to this necessary, multi-functioning wardrobe and jackets are getting really deconstructed and unlined and emphasizing that it can have more of a life than just 9 – 5 and it needs to have more of a life because men want this added value. I think that’s been really exciting and also with the attention that the business is getting, I know that with retailers, men’s is becoming a rapidly developing element, and in department stores and online, so it’s been thrilling to be a part of for me.

So what are you wearing right now?
These are really old Prada khakis. The shoes, which I’m obsessed with, they’re espadrilles and I love that they’re a lace up with a leather sole. They’re from this Belgian company called NDC. The sport jacket is +J and the shirt I got in Japan at the giant Muji store there. I love the collection there, I wish we could get more of it in the Muji in New York.

Do you have a go-to drink here in Paris?
I’d have to say I’ve had enough of the champagne, I’m happy for the generosity but when I went to dinner last night I was with some friends and we couldn’t wait to have a pint of beer – it was very refreshing after a hot day.

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