Every experience has a visual and experiential representation through photography, illustration, product, video, digital, and physical environments. THE FIRST PROOF is another look at the formation of these experiences, focusing equally on creation and creator. It serves as an analysis of the creative inputs and outputs, and its influence.

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Top Men's Spring '18 Collections

The best part of the season was the unusual turns that some of the creatives took in their approaches. A certain lightness - and maybe a dash of humor - separated the best from all the others. There is also a thread of hand-craftmanship and return to basics. These are the collections that will set the trends next season.
The First Proof's picks for the top Men's Spring '18 collections.
J.W. ANDERSON - While more subdued than most of his collections, it was a welcome change for J.W. Anderson. This collection is what he called basics, and true there were those elements. T-shirts, khakis, jeans, Converse. No femininity, appendages, frills. On paper, it sounds like non-news, but maybe after seasons of extremes, this was a palate cleanser. The whimsey did not disappear entirely - the art touch of heart patterns, crochet or macrame bags, patchwork, soda-inspired branding took even the simplest structure to another place.
PORTS 1961 - It feels like he is settling in.  Milan Vukmirovic’s best collection for Ports 1961. There was something that felt more personal. Love was on the brain. So was social consciousness. There were also intricately beaded pieces that brought Ports 1961 from what was previously bordering on elevated streetwear to just elevated. The injection of the artisan and “folksy” elements gave this outing a new personality.
VALENTINO - May we begin and end and just say - Valentino. Pierpaolo Piccioli has an interesting way of taking what people want and transport it to another level. Street? Check. Sneakers? Check. Logos? Check. All of this seemed very fresh in Mr. Piccioli's hands. Just like J.W. Anderson, he made the basic khaki something to be desired with the addition of a pleat at the ankle which changes the silhouette. And that is the genius of a great menswear designer. The ubiquitous track suit was given beading and piping details. And the sneakers.
BERLUTI - In just two seasons, Haider Ackermann has proven that he has a handle of the brand without losing himself. Berluti has been given a much cleaner tailoring focus, and it looks incredibly modern. Adding to the modernity, Stella Tennant and Lisa Kebede in the menswear presentation (a nod to the Hedi Slimane Dior days and the new “gender fluidity” mantra. It is all in the details and proportion here - removing belt loops, tailored track pants, and the paired down styling is what every man (and woman) wants today.
COMME DES GARÇONS - Pharell goes to Studio 54 to attend a rave. A disco party, sequins, patchwork, and dancing. Is this CDG? Yes, it is. It was great to see the collection was having a little fun. Coupled with the brightly colored sneakers, this was the lightest of presentations. In anyone else’s hands, this could have gone to a very different place. While the fabrications may speak of different eras, there was nothing retro about it. Maybe this was Ms. Kawakubo's post-Metropolitan Museum celebration.
RAF SIMONS - He continues to be the biggest news out of Men's New York Fashion Week. Staged in Chinatown, the setting could have hinted at something dark. Oddly it didn’t feel that way. Shapes, specifically with pants were rounder, and there was a lot of outerwear for a rainy day. Music influences, specifically New Order, a very Mr. Simons touch, was present. While seemingly “thrown together,” it was oddly very in control.
LOUIS VUITTON - The traveler has been a theme through some collections for some time. The Hawaii influences have been around as well, but Mr. Kim Jones added a nonchalance that gives it a spark. There were organza overlays, sequins, beading, surf details. Only someone who understands tailoring can raise all of this above the rest. Taken apart each piece of the collection, there was a lot to like. A great follow up to last season Supreme collaboration.

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