IN THE TENT at Boston Fashion Week: Mark Cordell

By Shaila Parashar

While most were staying in on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I was lucky enough to attend Mark Cordell’s runway show for his new Tru Fiction collection. Prior research asserted that Cordell’s aesthetic was edgy, daring, and a modern twist on Classic American Sportswear, and this collection definitely did not disappoint.

After receiving my editorial press pass upon arrival, I was escorted to the pre-show lounge filled with complimentary cocktails and cupcakes. At 4 PM the guests filled the tent, where I was seated in the second row. The lights dimmed, the music started, and it was time for the collection to be revealed.

Inspired by fashion rebel Thome Brown as well as Givenchy, Mark Cordell seamlessly created a collection that appealed to a more feminine side of men’s clothing. The models were styled in pieces that effectively but tastefully straddled the line of androgyny. Some wore printed flowing tops that were embellished with studs, while others wore bright blazers paired with dark trousers. In all cases, the models wore dark makeup in geographic shapes, subtly mimicking the prints found within the collection.

Although the looks were created for a fashion-forward male demographic, I found myself admiring and wanting to add the colored blazers, printed tops, and well-tailored pants to my own wardrobe! Filled with dark neutrals accompanied by pops of color, innovative silhouettes, and bold prints, Tru Fiction surely pushed the envelope of traditional menswear.

In addition to the looks styled for men, Cordell included two looks created for women. The first was a funky shorts and printed button-down combo, which both reflected and complimented the menswear portion of the collection. The second was a dramatic black gown with delicate draping and an asymmetrical front hem–truly a show stopper!

The triumph in Tru Fiction was that it effortlessly created a sense of unity among many looks while never giving up individuality. Pops of color were effectively used to create a collection that was connected through its neutral black and white tones, but still highlighting a different type of piece in each look. Each model reflected a different voice, but still managed to fit comfortably within the same collection through other motifs such as prints, accessories, and styling.

Furthermore, the show was organized in a manner that engaged the audience; an extremely daring or busy look would be followed by one that was more natural and easy going. The use of one female model also kept the viewers on the edge of their seat, wanting to know what look was about to come next.

At the conclusion of the show, Mark Cordell himself walked the runway, accompanied by two of his models. He was met with applause and standing ovations, and was sure to show his gratification for his friends and supporters in the crowd. Tru Fiction demonstrated a capacity to be edgy yet sophisticated, classic yet unexpected, and masculine yet feminine at the same time. Overall, it was a true success.

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