Olympus New York Fashion Week: Friday
I never thought I'd be saying this, but by Friday, I was really starting to drag. I don't know if it was the weather (cold and rainy) or the fact that I'd spent half my week in the tents (in addition to working my usual 40-hour week), but I decided on Friday morning that I'd end my inaugural Fashion Week by attending the one show I had been invited to that day, Manuel. Thankfully I actually had a seat assignment, so I showed up fashionably late and breezed right through to the tent. Fabulous. Now, Manuel is a line that totally does its own thing, and it was exactly what I needed after seeing a week's worth of voluminous dresses, metallics, eyelet, and so forth. And by doing its own thing, I mean Manuel started the show by sending Omayra down the runway in leather pants and Swarovski crystal bandeleros.

How can you not love that? The other great thing about Manuel is that the show was about evenly divided between menswear and womenswear. I don't know if it's because I've been staring at sylphlike gazelles all week or what, but I was pretty damn happy to see some male models.

And did I mention that a lot of these male models happened to be shirtless?

Seriously, though, Manuel pretty much makes clothes for rock stars (he was responsible for Johnny Cash's "Man in Black" look, for example), and he is a genius when it comes to leather and animal skins. This jacket, below, looked like rayon or some slinky fabric but was, in fact, washed leather. Amazing.

Or, if you prefer a more glam rock-and-roll look, there's this pearlized python jacket, tacky in theory but awesome in execution.

My salivating over the male models aside, there were some really cool looks for guys, some more subtle than others. A lot of the jackets had tonal pot-leaf embroidery, and the jeans had cool embellishments. Rock star clothing, yes, but it all looked pretty accessible to me.

Manuel threw some dresses in at the end, and I think the show would've been better without them. I feel like this one might show up on the red carpet at, say, the Country Music Awards.

But, hey, did I mention there were shirtless male models?

Apparently the crowd liked the show--or maybe just the washboard abs all around--because they not only gave the designers (Manuel and his son) a standing ovation, but the duo did a full lap down the runway. And that, my friends, was the way to end Fashion Week: Neil Young's "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World," metallic jackets, and shirtless male models.

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