17 February 2011

Fashion Week: Gant by Michael Bastian F/W 2011


Navy & Red Shaggy wool Shetland ($198), Prince of Wales Sport Coat ($895) and Moleskin DB overcoat with Shawl collar ($895)


Women's turtleneck ($125), Gingham gathered blouse ($178) and headband ($65)


Red quilted coat ($445)


Women's silk shirt dress ($469) with Boucle Blazer ($645)


Olive cargo pant ($275) & blue corduroy jean jacket ($395)


Women's shearling bomber jacket ($1,695)


Headband ($65) and Avenger's winter hat ($85)



Women's turtleneck ($125) and Men's Alpaca sweater ($598)


Price of sunglasses T.B.D.

Sport Jacket ($995), Button Down Popover ($185) and PPO stripe oxford ($175)


(Photos by Alice Olive for The Trad)

I've respected Michael Bastian's aesthetic since I first wrote about his LL Bean camp mocs and tortoise shell here back in November of 2008. That his stuff was so outrageously priced--he admitted he couldn't afford it -- Well, that was pretty damned honest. Even if I were rich, I'd be hard pressed to part with $850 for a pair of Italian (Brunello Cuccinelli) made fatigue pants. They were beautifully made but those fur-sink days are over. And so is the partnership with Bastian and Cuccinelli.

Gant and Michael Bastian teamed up and this is what you'll see come Fall. Make no mistake... it's expensive but it isn't fur-sink expensive. I'm reminded of what a very smart woman told me years ago. People buy two things. Solutions to problems and good feelings. Car tires are solutions. Clothes are about feelings and I've been known to spend a lot on clothes. A whole lot more than on tires.

When Alex Carleton came out with LL Bean Signature last year I was underwhelmed. It seemed all he did was root through old Bean catalogs, narrow the silhouette and crank it out of China. I wanted to ask him about it but requests for an interview were ignored. I was able to join a conference call where my question was ignored but I remember Carleton's strange reference (more than once) to, "LL Bean-like." I didn't understand. If you're not LL Bean then who is?

For me, Signature's lack of authenticity is a good bench mark for what doesn't ring true. Not because 99% of it is made in China but because it was so poorly designed and made. J. Press hopped on that same bandwagon with Urban Outfitters and appears to be duplicating that train wreck with another bizarre joint effort. This time with Dillard's, Cremieux . That's another story.

What do I know about fashion? Bupkis. But I know quality and while I'm not a fan of everything up there...I'd say there's humor, wit, color, unique fabric and that twist on traditional that LL Bean Signature was shooting for but missed. I know what it's like to miss. That's why I asked Alice Olive to shoot the presentation for me. She's one helluva good shot.

27 comments:

Silk Regimental said...

The clothes and style are wonderful - but the price! -- whoa!!

It seems to me that the people who model these fine threads are the same target market - young, hip, stylish and energetic - but I don't think that target can afford it. But then again, no one ever knows where their money might come from.

tintin said...

Silk- Trust me. NYC is loaded with young people who are loaded. And they're like drunken sailors in Norfolk on pay day.

Anonymous said...

I'll second that: one hellava good shot, that Alice Olive. It's always difficult to photograph a moving target indoors, let alone shifting gears to recompose and get details of said target.

Interesting observation that the LL Bean Signature line may have been aiming for this kind of look. On closer observation though, I think that Bean's scattershot approach of appealing to ALL OF AMERICA limits the taking of chances, and therefore variety. It'll always be the smaller shops with less infrastructure and less at risk that go out on a limb.

-DB

tintin said...

DB- The models were fairly static but it was a mob scene around 'em.

I'm not sure it's fair to compare Signature to Gant by M Bastian but I was trying to make the point that Bastian had better success with tweaking the tradition while staying true and being creative. That DB moleskin shawl collar overcoat is a good expample.

Oyster Guy said...

I am getting old. Polo Ralph Lauren did that Navy & Red Shaggy wool Shetland back in 1985. Cables to boot. I still have it but with a few moth bites. It was also available in yellow and blue. I young fellow has to get it from somewhere...

I like what going on here well enough but I don't want to like it, still feels to stagey and contrived. The turned up lapel action offends me as cliche. I don't like the feeling of "look at what I just bought. It's special. I must be special too if I am wearing it" I presume the rule of never wearing more than two items from the same source at the same time is in full force.

If I saw one of these gents approaching me in a dark alley I might attempt to defuse the situation by asking if he read ACL....

Fergus said...

Agree that LL Bean Signature missed the mark, I've a few pieces and they are distinctly underwhelming.

I think Gant Rugger (as against MB for Gant) nails what LL Bean Signature was aiming for and at a similar price point.

tintin said...

Oyster-
Back in the early '90s and for reasons too complicated to go into -- I was fortunate enough to attend a number of runway fashion shows for women. Loud thumping music, wild lights, beautiful girls...I was a fan. But I always asked my date who would wear any of it? And she would explain it's fashion. Which I've admitted to knowing zero about.

I don't expect any man, gay or straight, to copy these looks. It's overboard 'cause it's a fashion show. But to wear a piece. The POW sport coat. The overcoat, the headband...Worn alone these speak to a style I like.

I'm sure there was some major inspiration going on design wise. But it was done with good taste and restraint as opposed to the J Press - Cremieux Rugger that is loaded down with patches and crap. There's even a Blue Angels patch for pete's sake.

Giuseppe said...

I'll give Bastian this: he managed to keep things youthful without being childish, which is kind of how I always saw Gant as a brand in the first place. The oldsters may twist and turn about the details, but I'm glad to see this kind of thing encouraging a youger group of guys to dress a little better. THis stuff is cool and hip, but it's got plenty enough in common with it's ancestors to serve as a "gateway drug" to the more tried and true stuff.

Bean signature would have done better to just release a catalog containing only Maine hunting boots, ragg wool sweaters, boat 'n totes, fishing rods and tents, along with home spun stories of the Maine wilderness...you know, their signature.

The J.Press collabs are are nearly surreal, as in I can't believe them. But I must admit, the gingham check DB jacket in Cremieux collection is pretty cool.

p.s. nicely done, Alice.

Brummagem Joe said...

Some nice "looks." Anything that raises standards it to be applauded. And I agree that clothes are about about feelings. A magnificent silk/wool Mughal print scarf I'd ordered from Drake arrived yesterday. Sensuous.

Brummagem Joe said...

Btw stop beating up on JP. I agree some of their Cremieux creations are bit iffy but then so were some of their ultra trad items. You just have to pick and choose. Some things are tasteful and work, some things are not tasteful and still work (and vice versa)...it's all a moveable feast isn't it?

tintin said...

Fergus- Bean's PR firm in NY showed me the line which taught me to never praise before I was able to actually see it and feel the goods.

Giu- See? You're exactly what I'm talking about. You're basing your impression on a picture and a pretty lousy one at that. It could be made from wax paper and toad shit. You should see it up close. I'll ask Press if I can look at some if it but at this point I'm not sure how that'll be received.

Bru- I love Press. But they've been down some odd roads recently and I'm clueless as to why.

Oyster Guy said...

Tintin, I agree with your points and you stated the case well. I am just starting to feel my age these days and Its making me grumpy.

Unclelooney said...

I just saw someone walk past my desk who was wearing a V neck sweater with no shirt underneath; yes really. For the huge majority of the population Gap might as well be J Press. I'm not sure if there is viable market for some of these collections.

Unclelooney said...

I think the J Press-UO collaboration looks much better than the afore mentioned collection but opinions are like bosses, everyone has bad ones.
I have not seen the Urbo press collection first hand though. I live three blocks away from an UO but I know if I went in there I'd come out rockin a sweet pair of jeggings and it would not be fair to all the other 49 year old guys. Seriously though I do not understand this fad for wearing your clothes too small. I did not like the slim fit look in the 70's and I was slim. It reminds me of Oui magazine, but not the good parts of Oui magazine. It reminds me of the 70's era ads for Camel cigarettes and their advertisement character, "The Turk", he of the rakish unironic mustache and unbuttoned silk shirt.twent years from nowthe skinny fashions will draw smirks and cringes just like the clothes worn by the formerly iconic :) Turk do today.

Joy C. said...

I love the womenswear (esp. when it's so lacking in the Trad sector). I wish I could offer a more eloquent response but I can't help but only gush about how beautiful everything looks. I have to agree on your commentary on L.L. Bean Signature though.

Kate said...

Love the glasses, amazing shapes.
www.styleisalwaysfashionable. blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

The Made in China thing is starting to get very tiresome. Bean embraced this flawed strategy years ago and their Signature line is completely handicapped by this. But it is frustrating to find crappy Made in China stuff in Brooks Brothers, Barbour, and other places where one expects better...

BJ said...

Bastian put a giant lacrosse player on a polo shirt so I think it's safe to ignore him.

The Gant Rugger stuff is nicer -- better patterns -- and considerably cheaper.

Giuseppe said...

Tin,

Ouch, buddy. A little credit, please, just a little.

I only said a gingham double breasted gingham jacket with patch pockets was cool, which it is, in theory. And it's not only the picture I'm going on. It's described as 100% cotton and it costs $550. The Urban Oufitters stuff was cheap in quality as well as price. I doubt press would take five bills for a piece of garbage, no matter how weird things have been getting over there.

I agree with Brummagem Joe about choosing what's tasteful and what's not. That piece just might be tasteful. The pacth covered rugby most certainly is not, and I'm willing to rely on the picture for that, no matter what it's made of or what it costs.

p.s. my word verification for this comment was "tizies", which is exactly what we tend to get inot over this stuff. Funny.

Patsy said...

I love (1) Alice Olive's photographs and (2) the women's striped turtleneck.

I might even pay $125, if no one was looking.....but then again, maybe I'd wait for the sale.

Unashamedly Crap said...

Splendidly modish.

Anonymous said...

Total pretentious crapola. The clothes and not you Tintin.

Brummagem Joe said...

"Bru- I love Press. But they've been down some odd roads recently and I'm clueless as to why."

Tintin: to me they are a venerable business feeling their way towards strategies that will ensure their survival in today's fluid retailing environment. Last year I bought a couple of their what I call Picasso knit shirts and happened to bump into some Frenchman from Brittany who told me how wonderful they were. So I cut them some slack. Same with BB.

Anonymous said...

Calling clothing that looks like this pretentious us pretentious.

My Affair with Michael Bastian said...

SWOON!

The Sluice Box said...

Refreshing to hear someone tell it as he sees it, without being concerned about ad revenue, partnership, payola, and so on.

Tony (College Trad) said...

Glad to see Michael got rid of the fake lacrosse imagery from last year's line (screamed Abercrombie to me). Also agreed with the LL Bean Signature line, was not very impressed and it was a squandered opportunity. Hope they can shape it up. Nice writeup.