NEW YORK Feb 11 Designers livened up fall and winter 2013 menswear at New York Fashion Week with a few experimental touches in the otherwise staid world of men's clothing.
A bold show came from Duckie Brown, one of the hundreds of designers showing at the official Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Manhattan's Lincoln Center and venues elsewhere in the city.
Fashion Week in New York, which ends on Thursday, is followed by similar events in London, Paris and Milan.
Reversing the conventions of men's' layering, the Duckie Brown line by New York-based designers Steven Cox and Daniel Silver showed short jackets worn over longer coats or over-sized knee-length sweatshirts, giving the illusion the models were wearing skirts.
Coupled with dark wool trousers with deep inverted ankle cuffs in burgundy or turquoise, the effect evoked the traditional robe-like costume of a Himalayan kingdom.
In another challenge to convention, Duckie Brown showed backward coats -- at the front, a blank facade of wool and at the back, a fastening down to the ankles.
The designers also showed a bright indigo suit cut from thick wool, so bulky and seemingly inflexible it brought to mind a figure made of plastic Lego toy bricks.
Wool in its stoutest forms made its mark at the menswear show by Joseph Abboud, whose creative director Bernada Rojo said he was inspired by "the energy of the determined daredevils and enterprising leaders who put a man on the moon."
Abboud offered a metallic, chainmail-like sweater and bulky wool trousers in rich green, with ribbed patches at the knees, utility pockets and thick elastic ankle cuffs looking like refined versions of what an astronaut might wear as an insulating layer underneath a spacesuit.
At DKNY's menswear, there were slim-fitting, single-breasted two-button suits in gray, black and navy that might make a decent impression on Wall Street.
"The palette is all New York," said notes accompanying the show.
DKNY's casual wear items were safe variations on a familiar slouchy, urban theme -- sweaters, anoraks and bomber jackets in muted greens, blues and grays, accessorized with black beanie caps and no-nonsense black shoes.
Timo Weiland, a label by New York-based designers Weiland and Alan Eckstein, took a similar mood and color scheme in a cuter, more idiosyncratic direction.
Blazers were tweedy, in speckled wool. One outfit, surprisingly successful, resembled a jacket thrown over a pair of pajamas in a natty brown circle-patterned print. A blue sweater bore a folksy image of a dachshund -- Eckstein owns one -- across the chest.
Things were a little more rugged in the Nautica men's collection, where accompanying notes for the show said the season's clothes were inspired by the nautical expeditions of Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.
The collection added flourishes to Nautica's trademark naval jackets and fisherman cable-knit sweaters. One parka featured glowing colored lights woven into the edge of the hood.
Puffer jackets were cut in unusually exaggerated silhouettes, bulky at the shoulders, tightly scooped in at the waist and flaring back out at the thigh.
Nylon and wool utility-style pants fiercely hugged the models' thighs and calves. Turtlenecks, as at Joseph Abboud, were about as high as was practicable. (Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and David Gregorio)