The Asos men’s wear presentation Monday night at Hotel Hugo was a legit scene. A surly lobby attendant seemed to derive more pleasure from confiscating guests’ drinks than a TSA agent. “Finish it or get rid of it,” he barked at an editor waiting on line for the cramped elevator. Anyone who failed for whatever reason to get their hand stamped was assumed to be sneaking into the venue by this deputy-in-training. “Nobody gets in without a stamp,” he said. “You gotta go back.”
When the elevator opened onto Bar Hugo, a copper-accented room with a view on the lower level of a bi-floor roof concept, the crowd was pulsing, aided by the freely flowing libations. A narrow staircase led to Azul on the actual rooftop, where tribes of enthusiasts of the brand were engaged in a more raucous dance.
Ten models wearing designs representing Asos’ spring 2019 collection, called “The Future Is Now,” stood or sat on a makeshift platform, the new-age fabrics of their garments shimmering in the sun against the silver towers of the New York skyline, which created a beautiful and serene backdrop for the rooftop event and a counterpoint to the frenetic scene at the bar.
Asos’ second showing in Manhattan, the collection played with layers and textures, harking back to looks from cult-classic films such as “Blade Runner,” “Tron” and “Total Recall.”
“The decades we referenced, the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties, had a sci-fi feel,” said Asos head of men’s wear design James Lawrence. “We’re looking into new [fabric] technology, but we didn’t want it to look too costume-y, so we balanced it with nice wool trousers.”
Acid colors were fused with metallic iridescent finishes and space-age ombrés. A transparent check trenchcoat was worn over a neon pink nylon windbreaker along with navy tailored wide-leg trousers and white tech trainers with neon panels.
The online giant’s interpretation of the future “Pacific Rim” combat-robot-meets-geek-style is due to the fact that “nothing is coordinated,” Lawrence said. “There’s all different fabrications.”
An example is an ensemble consisting of a purple organza boxy revere worn over a multicolored ripple-texture slim knit top and black three-quarter-length tailored shorts with green graphic sport socks poking out from blue iridescent hiking boots and a boxy yellow waist bag.
While Asos is known as the go-to web site for styles for letting your freak flag fly, the Future collection was restrained with classic silhouettes with pops of color, such as an ombré printed DB blazer worn over a white funnel-neck T-shirt and long black shorts and iridescent boots. “There’s a shift from streetwear,” Lawrence said. “It’s smarter tailoring — streetwear kids are wearing blazers.”
Men’s wear is becoming more diverse, Lawrence said. That’s good for Asos — the future collection of 50 pieces is “just a flavor” of the vast offering. “Men used to dress in tribes,” he said. “It’s a demographic thing. It’s exciting because it means anything goes.
“Trends in general are becoming more and more aligned between men and women. Color and fancy fabrics are becoming mainstream. The way things are going, there’s not going to be a men’s or women’s fashion week. You can put that shape and fabric and tailor it for men and women.”
That may not be so good for the e-tailer.