Wings+Horns by Fok, Photographs by Albert Thomas Brian from Brigade (www.shopbrigade.com) had a posse with him when we arrived at the Ace Hotel, which was apparently Men’s Market central this year. (We’d opted to stay at the much more downtown, and much less amenity ridden Off Soho Suites.) “Try some of the pastries, they are delicious” one of the posse enthused while I was there. They were delicious, and I tried several. However, Rob Lo, who has been representing Wings+Horns, as well as several other Canadian brands, in addition to running his store, Roden Gray, in Vancouver’s Gastown district, had no hand in making them, so apparently fine baking is not in his repertoire. Nor had he brought the entire collection. Wings+Horns rep and Roden Gray owner, Rob Lo, performs Tai Chi Brigade owner Brian O'Neill and Rob Lo consult “I’ve only got 70% of the collection here” was Rob Lo’s introduction for the FW2010 line. Unfortunately, because the samples weren’t all done, we didn’t get to see the FW2010 outerwear. Fortunately, we did get to see a lot of new knitwear. There are some very soft, flat-stitched cashmere jersey sweaters that will retail for under $300, and which I will certainly own. There is also a new material called the “maestro”, which is a textured fleece with subtle color streaking and a dry, nubby hand, which I expect will replace the tiger fleece. As well as hoodies, the maestro fleece and a middleweight wool fleece with a dry hand were both used to make shawl collar cardigans and pullovers. These pieces were also available in a heavy thermal material. In the thermal pieces, two types of heavy thermal material provided textural contrast. The cowichans which have become popular in the past few Fall/Winter seasons are also strongly represented, as cardigans and as vests. As usual, the FW season was composed of navies, heather greys, and charcoals, with “natural” thrown in for FW2010. The cashmere sweater that I must have When I first ran into Wings+Horns in about 2005, the brand was mostly fleece and jersey pieces. Head designer Brian Mendoza, who joined the brand in 2007, has been adding new materials as he continues to flesh out the line. Since the line is Craig Atkinson’s baby, and the parent company, CYC, is primarily a manufacturer, it makes sense that the fabrics and solid construction are the cornerstones of the collections. Pete inspects the shawl collar in the new Maestro fabric A selection from the new FW09 Wings+Horns collection The Brigade boys try on the wool fleece cardigan As has been the case for several Fall-Winter seasons now, the collections have been improving incrementally. The details are more refined, and collection more complete. I wore my Wings+Horns chambray vest to the visit, and was complimented on it. A week or so earlier, my wife had remarked that I “look(ed) very Pac Northwest, but a lot cooler.” Wings+Horns often cites “Canadiana” as its inspiration, but it is definitely a Vancouver based line. For anyone unfamiliar with Vancouver, its style would be the opposite of "fussy", but also without the American predilection for sacrificing all vestiges of style in favor of comfort. For example, Canadians, by and large, do not wear running shoes with pleated khaki shorts while on vacation. Me and my vest Vancouver Canadiana layering on display Before Christmas, I talked to Jenny Chung of Acrimony in San Francisco, and she reported that Wings+Horns was a strong seller for them, that it essentially sold itself. The interesting materials and sturdy construction and collection based around very obviously masculine, very unfussy, separates makes it appealing to even the most fashion adverse man. Essentials on display Wings+Horns is available at Brigade (www.clothingbrigade.com), Roden Gray (www.rodengray.com), Context Clothing (www.contextclothing.com), Detour (www.shopdetour.com), Fourhorsemen (http://www.fourhorsemen.ca/blog/) and Farinelli's (www.shopfarinellis.com), and other specialty boutiques.