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New York Cool - Fashion

The Salon
February 3rd, 2007

Written by Bob Bland
Photographed by Jose S. Vibar



I imagine that international designers staging their first Bryant Park show must feel as disoriented as Dorothy upon arriving in Oz. Hoping to take their place among fashion's elite, Mainland China debuted their premier designer to a tiny room of New York's most savvy style critics on Saturday. The Salon exemplified the phrase "filled to capacity", but elegant decorations and ornate press kits could not distract from a collection that reflected the notorious shortcomings of provincial Chinese sportswear. Cabbeen's Autumn/Winter menswear collection was predictably strong on top, with embellished woven shirts, jackets and outerwear pieces that looked like a mash-up of G-Star and Lacoste. The designer relied heavily on decoration to give his sportswear a contemporary feel- successful looks included screen-printed crosstitch embroidery, hand-painted folk art and asian embroidery.

Pants, however, suffered from boxy silhouettes that looked great on the designer, but wrong on the models themselves. Denim came up short both in fit and innovation, with stiff washes and forced details that were out of place in a high-end runway presentation. Black paint over white jeans was a stand-out detail, and Cabbeen's screens of original artwork show promise commercially, but overall the collection came up as underwhelming in concept and execution.

Some designs could be highly marketable, however, especially exaggerated bleachout denim and screen-print embellished looks. As with many casual menswear shows, valuable construction details are lost on the catwalk and could be appreciated better in a showroom or store. It is exciting to see the expanding diversity of NYC Fashion Week designers, and if Cabbeen takes the time to re-examine his fit before September, he could be an asset to next season's menswear lineup.


For more information on Cabbeen, go to www.cabbeen.com.

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