NEW YORK — Last February, when Esquire magazine sponsored its first showing of American menswear designs for fall, the Gulf War was raging.
For this week's spring, 1992, show at the Plaza Hotel, the short-lived Soviet coup was in the headlines. With the world in upheaval, the message on the runway seemed to be, "Wear soft clothes to face hard realities."
This time, several European designers--Italy's Giorgio Armani, Gianni Versace and Dolce e Gabbana and Paris' Claude Montana and Yohji Yamamoto--were added to the roster of American menswear creators. The majority offered perfectly comfortable clothes.
The newest item may be the big, big sweater--sometimes in mesh and oversized for cool comfort. Joseph Abboud and Andrew Fezza did great ones to go over linen pants so lightweight they flowed like pajama bottoms. Really going soft was Bill Robinson, who showed a hooded sweat shirt and sweat pants with his elegant double-breasted, pin-striped blazer.