California men's fashion continues to loosen up. That was the message as the best of California designers' collections took a spin down the runway at the California Mart recently.
Suits, jackets and trousers were cut on the wide and casual side, most often in rich, earth-tone linen or heavy cotton fabrics.
Jackets were longer and frequently double-breasted. For an even newer suit look, there were cropped, Eisenhower-inspired styles over pants in coordinated fabrics.
While suits tended to be of subdued colors and patterns, designers accented them with shirts in unexpected shades--deep aqua for loden green, violet for tobacco color.
Often, dress shirts were worn buttoned at the collar, but without a necktie. More than one designer pinned fresh, floppy daisies to jacket lapels.
The show was part of the International Menswear Market for spring and summer, and the grand finale was the presentation of the sixth annual Marty Award. The design team of John Leitch and Martin Weening, for Axis, took the prize.
The most dramatic outfit in their collection consisted of a pale pink jacket worn over an all-black outfit--pleated pants and a tailored silk shirt. This was one of the few touches of pastel color in dress wear seen in the Mart show.
The sportiest look in the Axis collection was a city-shorts suit of chocolate-brown washed silk, worn with a white sweat shirt and a paisley scarf tucked in at the neckline.
Shang-Hai designers David Timsit and Sandy Mills updated classic styles with their navy-blue-and-white combinations. They showed an easy-cut, navy blazer over wide, white pants they accessorized with a wide-stripe, cotton dress shirt and a perky, gerber daisy pinned to the jacket.
For the ultimate in casual wear, Gotcha Co. surf-wear designer Michael Tomson showed patchwork quilted jackets, denims silk-screened with giant credit cards and jungle-camouflage jeans for a "post-nuclear surf wear" collection. Baseball-style caps worn backwards, and sometimes on top of bandannas, made the Gotcha headgear something to behold.
For other super-sporty weekend wear, Pazzo! designers Michael Lee and Gail Reisman showed clam diggers. Their 3-year-old company was the youngest included in the Mart show. And they highlighted their youthful spirit when they sent models down the runway wearing skintight bicycle shorts and sleeveless T-shirts for a pin-up-boy effect.
Another casual collection, by Steve Miska for Generra Sportswear Co., featured offbeat colors such as butterscotch for a pair of wide, roll-cuff pants. Miska showed them with oversize T-shirts.
International News designer Michael Alesko used neutral and buff tones for his weekend suits. Soft-structured, cotton jackets went with cotton-knit shirts and pleated pants in the same shade as the jacket. He accessorized his clothes with black canvas slip-on shoes and natural straw hats.
Several designers featured ankle-length dusters or top coats with their office-to-evening suits. For his dark and dramatic version of the look, Glenn Williams of G. W. Designs worked with stone and mineral colors, such as slate blue and granite.
Zylos, by George Machado, seemed to be the favorite collection of the audience.
Among Machado's best was a shawl-collar jacket in baby-houndstooth check worn with pleated trousers, unbelted, in a slightly larger houndstooth. The jacket and pants were taupe-colored, and Machado teamed them with a black dress shirt for a casual but sophisticated combination.