The outside temperature soared at Nautica’s presentation on the sun-soaked rooftop of the Empire Hotel, but the creativity level of the collection was tepid. The array of tailored clothing, sportswear and swim was nicely styled on a phalanx of recognizable male models, but the overall impact was on par with a showroom lineup. There were items to like here and there: linen and cotton blend chambray blazers pepped up with patch pockets, garment-dyed jeans in pale yellow that looked suitably skinny and cheery and tailored shorts in “sea floral” prints that will likely pop on retailers’ racks next spring. But the color-blocking, trimmer silhouettes and nautical references from creative director Chris Cox were more an exercise in merchandising than a compelling proposal to move the brand forward into a new season.

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