BRYANT PARK, THE SALON, 1:15 P.M.—Moments before the Duckie Brown autumn/winter 2008 show began, a few stragglers found their seats, bass-heavy trance blared.
Seat F-25 (male, effeminate, floor-length alpaca sweater, glasses): “Oh, my god! I didn’t see you there!”
Seat F-28 (male, euro-butch, fur-trimmed puff-parka, gleaming ponytail): “Ja?”
Seat F-25: “I said! I didn’t! See you there!”
Seat F-28: “Ja … I was here.”
Seat F-25: “Oh … Cool!”
Believe it or not, the awkwardness of this Last Year at Marienbad routine was snuffed the moment the first model square-turned his way into view. Following the earsplitting thump-thump-thumps, Duckie Brown’s music-free show left us with the uncomfortable whir of sudden silence.
Then, the clothes.
Black windbreakers covering billowing silk scarves-cum-blouses, in midnight blue, brought to mind the unfinished ensemble that got Carmen kicked off the third episode of Project Runway. Instead of leaving the runway, though, the combo heralded the arrival of a manic-depressive stream of high-collared Shearling pea coats, dark-green cardigan hoodies, rasta-style black beanies, tight purple pants and the odd “super stiff four pocket” shirt with more buttons than Sears. Featured accessories included black wool jersey gloves and a “rubberized” backpack that brought an air of Prada-circa-1998 wafting through the tent.
Even erstwhile Polo model Tyson Beckford, who was sitting a few seats down from Patrick McDonald and his plaid beret, avoided talking about the, as Mr. Beckford put it, “futuristic but realistic” collection. “I was proud to see so many men [models] of color in it,” he said matter-of-factly.