David Hart Spring 2018 – New York Fashion Week Men’s

David Hart’s modern take on classic men’s style, borrowing heavily from the era when men still wore hats, gets a tropical infusion next year. With a tag line that reads “Tourism in Cuba”, menswear aficionados can expect an abundant number of outfits replete with guayabera tops, shark-skin lounge singer inspired suits, and an eye-popping color palette. Yet, don’t make the mistake that Hart is merely transposing the past for the present, cutting and pasting familiar outfits from bygone menswear catalogs into an haute couture aesthetic. Of course, the influence of Cuba can be felt in each cut of the fabric, color choice, or accessory, but as Hart states, “This collection is a celebration of the world’s view of Cuba and not a literal one. I personally have never been to Cuba, so this collection is based on an idea of Cuba I’ve been exposed to through books, media, and cinema as an American.”

From this unique angle, Hart walks a fine line between appropriation, parody and originality. His take on the guayabera, a staple of Latin American menswear since the age of Spanish colonialism, respects the fashion traditions of that specific garment by following the design elements of the shirt to a tee, and holding to a vision that never strays too far from his imagined Cuba, a country of glitz, glamour and boyish adventure. This strict adherence to the verisimilitude of an “authentic” Cuban look is so strong that the one or two outfits featuring a more modern design, utilizing a polo tee and shorts combo, is quite jarring. Luckily, the cuts on polo and shorts reject the baggy-boxy look of contemporary men’s summer wear.

Looking at each of the 19 outfits, it’s no great leap to imagine each look appearing in countless tropical-set films. Hart’s Spring/Summer collection embraces the visual aesthetics of these tired archetypes – the lounge-singer, the tourist, the gangster and his moll, or the native Cuban male striding across – but provides enough room for the wearer to bring his own modern narrative and leave his own imprint.

The Cuba of Hart’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection may have only existed in the creative firmament of a chosen few culture curators during the Fulgencio Batista era.  However, his collection marries history with design so successfully that it might welcome a new wave of tropicana-esque looks – saving us from the folly of the banal juxtaposition of t-shirt and shorts as being the only outfit men can don during summer climes.

Photos: David Hart Spring 2018
all photos courtesy of agentry pr