Last night, as part of Men’s Fashion Week Chicago, designer Jeffery Hawkins debuted his new line in a runway show entitled “Moroccan Twilight” A Llewellyn Fashion Voyage.”
The show was staged at the Society Art Gallery, a harbinger of the artful story to come. The presentation began with boldly printed silk track pants and eye-catching swimwear. The Hawkins’ runway was unapologetically replete with color. The dynamic visuals coupled with texture and pattern gave way only to the full panoply of Llewellyn’s swim and resortwear collection.
According to Hawkins, “the inspiration for Moroccan Twilight was all about nomadic lifestyle, integrating very western silhouettes with very luxurious middle eastern, traditional trends. Morocco is a great melting pot of jewish, of christian, of muslim, as well as various races of people; so you get a beautiful texture story just from looking at the people in Morocco, then you add in those religious and cultural factors and then it all becomes a kind of interweaving of things. So we started to look at a lot of the print there -- there’s a lot of weaving designs in the print. [We used this] to kind of push that story of cultural melding and blending of things. Fabric-wise, I really tried to 'up' the level of fabric that you see in menswear. There is a heavy amount of silk organzas and silk jerseys, even in the polyester fabrics that are used in the swimwear, I played around with qualities of weights and color and ways to really make them richer.”
Moving away from poolside, Hawkins was on trend with his collection of lightweight shorts suits, men’s shirts, tanks and knitwear. His textile choices were very deliberate and purposeful. According to Hawkins, “knitwear-wise, it was really about introducing more of the silk in durable and attractive lustered cottons vs. very standard boring manly weaves. A lot of the looks borrow from womenswear fabrics -- something that men aren’t used to feeling -- so even the models themselves were like ‘oh, this feels different’ which is what I wanted. I am making menswear more luxurious but also still making it approachable, so most of my garments are still washable.”
This Llewellyn Collection embraces the European luxury traveler’s sensibilities and desires for comfort, and marries them with the riches of ethnic life in North Africa. Hawkins explains that, “there is a sensual luxurious and simplistic nature to Moroccan life. Its fusion of African, middle eastern and European cultures yields complex patterns upon universal silhouettes. My exploration of nomadic life is ever constant as I'm a traveler searching for home. In the nocturnal light of Twilight, great colorful sources of beauty emerge.”