NEW YORK — Michael Maccari has been a fashion designer for more than 20 years, but Sept. 4 will mark the first time his collection will be shown on the runway.
Seven months ago, Maccari was tapped to be creative director of the Perry Ellis brand, overseeing collection sportswear and licensed product. His first collection, for spring, will mark the brand’s return to the runway after a three-season hiatus from New York Fashion Week.
Before joining Perry Ellis, Maccari was senior vice president and fashion director for Armani Exchange for nine years. His background also includes Polo Ralph Lauren, J. Crew, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan New York, and he’s a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology.
The Perry Ellis brand is the cornerstone of the Miami-based Perry Ellis International, which has paring down its portfolio of noncore brands. In addition to Perry Ellis, the company is also focusing on Original Penguin, Callaway and its other golf brands. This summer, activist investment firm Legion Partners took a 6 percent stake in the firm in tandem with the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and agitated for change. The move was followed by rumors this month that Perry Ellis was considering an outright sale of the company.
Although management has remained mum on the sale speculation, it is taking a higher profile with Maccari, who succeeded John Crocco as creative director of the label in February.
Maccari said he met Oscar Feldenkreis, chief operating officer of PEI, about six or seven years ago and the two started talking about his joining the brand. But it took until February of this year before those talks came to fruition and Maccari took the plunge.
Interestingly, Maccari has been a fan of the Perry Ellis brand since he was a young man.
“Way back when I was in college, my grandmother got a call from a cousin we didn’t know who worked in advertising in the city,” he told WWD during an exclusive preview of the spring collection. “Her best friend was Perry’s head of merchandising. It opened my eyes to the man and the brand.” From that time, he admitted he “got a little obsessed” with the collection and the designer, who he never actually got a chance to meet in person. “I couldn’t put my finger on what it was about the clothes, but they felt a little different,” he said.
With that as the backdrop, Maccari set out to put his mark on the brand, while keeping an eye on the Perry Ellis heritage.
“I looked at how Perry pushed the scale of prints and used color,” Maccari said.
Although he contributed a bit to the fall line, working more on styling than design, spring is his first full collection.
“Perry was inspired by art and nature,” he said. “And nature to me is everything around you. This line is city-based, it’s a wear-to-work collection. It’s linear and color-blocked and very graphic. It’s neat and balanced as opposed to being neat and tropical.”
He was inspired by artist Sean Scully, an American printmaker, and even named the collection “Changes and Horizontals” after one of Scully’s exhibitions. “It seemed the perfect name,” he said.
Among Maccari’s key pieces are sweaters — “Perry was always known for his sweaters,” he said, pointing to the linen models with graphic blocking. Other pieces include black and white color-blocked swimsuits that would look as appropriate on the street as in the water. “The idea of active and functionality is a big play,” he said.
Along those lines, there’s a gray knit suit lined in mesh and a woven linen tracksuit. “We’re taking active fabrics and using them in nonactive silhouettes, and vice-versa,” he said. “I remember Perry doing a lot of that.”
Jacquard shirts with updated plackets, double-cloth dress shirts with active tape detailing, and pin-striped carpenter pants are also in the line. There’s even a nylon tie.
Maccari is excited about his first runway show, which will be held on Sept. 4 at 5 p.m. at the Waterfront. “It’s a great way to get the feel of the collection out there. We want to open awareness again to the brand.”
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)