Blackjack and shades of burgundy at Macy’s men’s fashion event

Moanalani Jeffrey Photography/Courtesy

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Crystal beaded curtains, psychedelic lights and thrumming electronic music filled the third floor of the Macy’s men’s store Thursday night in San Francisco. Between sips of green apple sangria and nibbles of sushi hors d’oeuvres, guests played blackjack and browsed through the racks of the latest collections of fall and winter designer menswear.

Labels such as Armani, Hugo Boss, Theory, Tallia Orange and Calvin Klein fluttered across a stage in a miniature runway show situated at one end of the bustling dance floor, where SF-based Bootie Mashup DJs threw down energetic tracks fresh from the SoMa district. A select but diverse array of male models posed in everything from outerwear to underwear, all styled by Carlton Spence, who has been perfecting his creative talent in the industry for the past 12 years.

Spence explained that his job as Macy’s stylist is to put together looks that are creative but also wearable. According to Spence, men’s top fashion trends for fall are camouflage prints and anything burgundy or berry-colored. Pops of jewel tones, structured jackets and military-inspired looks were consistent themes throughout the show. In his position in the fashion industry, Spence sees all sides of the design and sales processes. Not only does he have a great deal of freedom in the creative process, but he also keeps note of the trends that male customers actually end up buying into.

“My niche is in menswear,” Spence said. “I am always people-watching … the average man is afraid to wear color.” Consequently, looks are formulated with his customer in mind. According to Spence, customers often buy entire looks he compiles for events because the typical male is often unsure of how to pull everything together without seeming overdone.

The night’s event was orchestrated to support a number of causes and groups, such as the Human Rights Campaign, which supports LGBT equality, and Project Inform, which seeks to advocate for a cure to and educate individuals about HIV, AIDS and hepatitis C. Additionally, donations made at the event sponsored The Trevor Project, a toll-free 24-hour hotline dedicated to helping gay and questioning youth, and the San Francisco LGBT Community Center. Between jiving it up on the dance floor and taking note of fall’s trends for menswear, guests attending Macy’s Men’s Designer Fashion Event found a fashionable and charitable way to spend a Thursday evening in the city.