Looks from the Gant by Michael Bastian spring-summer 2013 collection shown… (Gant by Michael Bastian )
NEW YORK – The spring-summer 2013 Gant by Michael Bastian collection for men and women may have been shown Wednesday in a Lower Manhattan studio space during New York Fashion Week, but its heart was firmly rooted in a chain of islands more than 3,000 miles away in the Pacific Ocean.
The inspiration: The Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. “The Gant by Michael Bastian man and woman are modern explorers, walking in Darwin’s footsteps,” explained the show notes. “Their equipment: technical workwear and gear softened with organic elements collected on their travels.”
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Bastian hasn’t been to the Galapagos, he told us during the presentation, but credits Netflix – and Tilda Swinton – with introducing him to the remote island chain first made famous by Charles Darwin.
“I found this BBC America documentary on Netflix that was narrated by Tilda Swinton,” Bastian said. “It was fascinating – I encourage everyone to watch it.”
The look: Military-inspired pieces including olive drab mesh tank tops, cargo shorts and pants (and even a cargo skirt for the ladies) and technical zip-front jackets and a signature Gant by Michael Bastian camouflage pattern on men’s jeans and women’s tops. There were accents inspired by Ecuadoran arts and crafts including sweater details, woven belts and handbags and that particular kind of woven hooded pullover that’s been a college wardrobe staple for decades (this collection refers to it as a “dorm hood pullover,” but it’s known to legions of college kids as a “drug rug”). There was also a leaf print that appeared throughout the collection—on women’s pants, a skirt that gathered sarong-like at the hip and some pieces like a men’s over-dyed seersucker blazer and a pair of women’s dip-dyed denim shorts, that call to mind that line on the horizon where the sky fades into the sea.
The scene: The presentation was divided into “islands” – raised platforms with decorated backdrops and neon orange accents – on which the models stood. Well, danced, actually, bopping and swaying to a high-energy soundtrack, stopping occasionally to oblige photographers, while servers circulated the room ladling out a festive (and may we add, quite restorative) punch made with Appleton rum and black tea.
The verdict: If you had to be marooned on a remote island with a fashion designer, wouldn’t you pick somebody with the skill to turn a piece of plain-Jane olive drab fabric into a downright sexy shirt dress? We would.
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