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The Sartorialist


Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Luciano Barbera Preview Fall 2006

So I go to Barbera today for a preview and see Michal Sestak (above) who heads up the showroom in New York. In my day I was pretty good in the showroom but I have nothing on Michal. You don't feel like Michal is ever "selling" you, his secret is how he involves you in the sale. I'm not really sample size but when he hands me a doubleface cashmere sportcoat he says in his Italianish accent "try on the jacket, enjoy the moment". When he talks about the most expensive item in the collection, a cashmere overcoat, he says you buy it "no shame, no regrets". Damn, why couldn't I think of those things to say during an appointment. The best I could ever come up with was,,,"it goes nice with jeans".

On The Street......Hudson Street, New York

On The Street......Broadway, New York

At The Designer Collective -The Italian Gentleman

Monday, January 30, 2006

Michael Bastian Fall 2006 Preview - The Modern Tuxedo

Does anyone really notice what the guys are wearing at the Golden Globes or Oscars? I love this tuxedo because I'm mad for DB suits right now and the contrast of the skinny black lapels against the charcoal wool is really outstanding. More than anything though this tux is all about fit: tight in the ribcage, slim in the sleeves and high in the button stance.

Just don't wear this if Scarlett Johansson is your date because no one will ever notice it.

Ralph Lauren To The Runway For The First Time In 30 Years

As if to reinforce ,or more like anchor, the New York Menswear Revival that I have been focusing on lately, WWD reports that for the first time in 30 years Ralph Lauren will stage a menswear runway in New York on Feb 6th at 4pm.

On The Street......Little West 12th St.

Dries Van Noten, Fall 2006

I love to see a designer stretch, try something new. Dries Van Noten has become a master at ethnic references, and colorful cultural mixes in his collections. This season he showed a very subdued and tonal collection but with the same brilliant results. I know this seems contradictory from my usual call for menswear designers to be more daring with color, print and pattern but since Dries Van Noten has done just about everything possible in those areas somber was one of the only directions left to go.

The shoes are great, the band collar shirt seems new when mixed with the tiny suit, the outerwear is particularly strong, I think this is the first time I've seen denim on his runway, and again more great double-breasted suits.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Michael Bastian Fall 2006 Preview - Sportswear

Designer Collective

I don't know why these guys felt like posing by a giant pair of pants would make a great picture but who am I to judge? Maybe it is an Italian thing.

Albanese Meats & Poultry, Nolita, New York

Albanese Meats & Poultry has been in Nolita since it was called the Lower East Side. The butcher in the photo grew up in the neighborhood and his mom ran Albanese until she was 97. This is the real old-school neighborhood butcher not like todays gleaming white medical meat morgues of huge supermarkets. He was telling me how the whole street on Elizabeth use to be little food shops. Across the street was a Greek food shop that customers brought their own jugs to get filled up with olive oil and the same for milk. These leftovers from another era are hard to still find in Manhattan but they are so rewarding when I do.


Saturday, January 28, 2006

Michael Bastian Fall 2006 Preview

Michael Bastian Fall 2006 Preview- The Detail Shots

-I love the Neapolitan sleevecap detail in the top photo.

-Mixing oldschool tailoring details like a turned under top-collar on a denim sportcoat is just crazy enough to work. The knit scarf around the second jacket has a Walt Whitman poem written across the length of it. While Michael was doing previews in Europe a reporter ask him if he had Walt Whitman's phone number because she would like to call him for a comment on the scarf. Truth is stranger than fiction.

-In the bottom photo Michael pointed out that he took great care to fit the knits and vests to hit right at the waist.

On The Street......At The End Of My Block

Sign Outside The Yale Club

On The Street......Wooster Street, Soho, NY

I wouldn't usually mix a pinstripe jacket with khakis but here it is done with such a "who F*** cares" attitude that it works for me.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Michael Bastian Fall 2006 Preview- Part 2

Above (top) is a peacoat cut lean and a little longer than the original, and (below) a cashmere knit v-neck with the silhouette of Frank O'Hara embroidered on the chest.

Of the three main guys at the center of this New York menswear revival, Thom Browne, Michael Bastian, and Derrick Miller of Barker Black, one of the things I find most interesting is that none of them have formal design training. Thom was an actor, Michael worked at Sotheby's, and Derrick worked for a photographer and at a magazine; all were in creative fields but they were not slaving away in the sequin mines of FIT or Parsons. The closest to fashion schooling was R.L.U. (Ralph Lauren University); both Derrick and Michael worked there, and Thom was at Club Monaco, a division of Ralph's empire.

"Not seeing the forest for the trees" is a scenario that so many young, formally trained designers fall prey to when they begin their collections. They have grown up wanting so bad to be "the next big thing", that they feel that they can only do it by creating the first three-armed jacket. I guess that by not growing up dreaming of being a "designer", Thom, Michael, and Derrick were more easily able to see the opportunity and reward of reworking already established classics, and adding their own personal twists. Actually, I find what these young Americans are doing is every bit a artistic as a Raf Simons or Slimane because they are working more with color, pattern, texture, and silhouette. Raf's collections, or designers of that ilk (Kris Van Assche), seem to make it more about overall shape and coming up with a new gimmick each season. Not that there is anything wrong with that; fashion needs that, but I don't agree that the Raf Simons of the world are on a much higher creative plane than that of these young Americans.

At The Designer Collective -Southwick Reps

At The Designer Collective - Buyer from Binghams

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Michael Bastian Fall 2006 Preview

In the New York Post today, there was an article about American Idol and the young singer Paris Bennett. In the tryout she had it all; the voice, the look, the background, basically they figure she has already won; all she has to do is not mess it up.

I kept thinking about that when I was previewing Michael Bastian's debut collection for Fall 2006. He has the background (Bergdorf Men's Fashion Director), the support (Robert Burke consulting on business development), the production (Brunello Cucinelli will manufacture the collection in Italy), and the eye to notice the huge void in the mens designer market for a fresh take on classic American design. All he has to do for the next thirty years is not pull a Lapo Elkann and continue to mine the rich heritage of American design, and he is golden.

During his time at Bergdorf's, Michael kept asking himself why no one was capitalizing on American classics. He has a point; Calvin and Donna are American but they don't really reflect traditional American design; they are more international. Ralph is Ralph - he has created his own vocabulary and rarely ventures outside of that. John Varvatos is kinda there, and Thom Browne is a super fashiony version of Americana, but Michael's collection really nailed it. I guess the highest praise I can give it is that it is exactly how I want my closet to look. It is full of clothes that make a real difference in the day-to-day way that most men want to dress.

I remember feeling the same way when I discovered Giorgio Armani in '83ish; he did clothes that, as a young kid in Indiana, I could recognize but were done just differently enough that you didn't feel like everyone else, or even worse, my dad. When Michael tells his version of basically the same story, my Armani is replaced by his fondness for Perry Ellis.

For the next few days I will post photos of what I think are the first images of his collection to be seen anywhere (The Sartorialist's first scoop!!). I will point out some of the finer details like the Neapolitan sleevecaps, the return of the pleated pant, the cashmere onesie, and knitwear with a touch of poetry. Stay posted and tell me what you think.

At The Designer Collective

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Welcome Back? Hickey Freeman

I know Hickey Freeman has been around a long time and they are a great business, and they are someone.

They have never actually meant anything to me, until now.

Hickey Freeman has begun an aggressive introduction of the younger, much younger and far hipper Hickey collection. I had seen Hickey before in Bergdorfs, (honestly I had only noticed the sportcoats) but the collection is now front and center on my radar. I love the ads (above), what a way to shake up the stodgy image I had of the brand. It was just, it was....the best thing I saw at the Designer Collective and ,best of all, the prices are great.

For someone , like me, who doesn't have to wear a suit every day they have a lot of options.
I'm big on color, pattern and texture-they do a great job using all three, and sometimes all three in one jacket. I loved the olive/brown corduroy, camouflage print sportcoat that they had at Bergdoef for Fall 2005 and the quilted camouflage version for Fall 2006.

I have to make it up to the showroom for a more indepth Fall 2006 preview, I'll keep you posted.

At The Designer Collective

Old Man Style....Old Men Know About Color

Hart Schaffner Marx

It is official.

When even Hart Schaffner Marx looks good, American menswear must be back on track.

I've said before Robert Burke's work at Bergdorf Goodman was the most influential in the market and this is a perfect example of his effect. These HSM looks sure look like Bergdorf windows to me.

Just to make it clear, that is a big compliment.

At The Designer Collective - 3pc. Suit

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

On The Street......15th Street, New York

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