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Michael Bastian Fall 2006 Preview


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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.

Comments on "Michael Bastian Fall 2006 Preview"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:22 PM) : 

What the hell do Neapolitan sleavecaps have to do with American fashion or style?

If you're gonna do PR you have to tell us where to buy it........



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:02 AM) : 

Wow, the wrong model can make good clothes look like shit!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:07 AM) : 

I think that statement sums up true "Americana".


Blogger The Sartorialist said ... (7:04 AM) : 

The design is American and the spirit is American but the production is Italian. Why not have the best of both worlds?

I mentioned I will be posting more photos during the next week, don't you think I might talk about distribution then? I don't want to blow it all in the first post.

Finally about "doing PR".
The beauty of doing my own blog is I can talk about whatever I want, whenever I want and for as long as I want. I "don't waste time on people I hate, thats why this (Sartorialist) is a tramp" oops, sorry to break out in song during a response.

Anyway I am working hard to find something bad to say about Michael's collection, (I think the paper he uses for his linesheets is from Staples! gasps, the horror!!)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:13 AM) : 

hm...the top suit looks a bit short. intentional? coughcoughthombrownehack...excuse me. the image of pleated pants was quite a shock. i thought it was mandate that ALL pants had to be flat front or else they just weren't "cool." i think tweeds and texture can pull it off but lets keep them away from corduroys, please. it would be nice to see some non-skinny sanderlangdiorpradaesque silhouettes again.


Blogger Swagger said ... (9:22 AM) : 

Hey if Cuccinelli is doing the production....i'm there!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:51 PM) : 

Considering what Bastian did at Bergdorf's, it's hard to imagine that he'll do anything less than terrific. Is there a reason the Milan preview was not covered by DNR?


Blogger The Sartorialist said ... (1:59 PM) : 

I don't know why they didn't write it up in Milan unless they are waiting to cover it during New York fashion week.

DNR did have a profile on Michael in the new redone format that came out on Jan. 23rd.

I will post at least one new image tonight.


Blogger MrWynn said ... (8:43 AM) : 

You know, I am personally very interested in seeing this product and how it develops. In terms of a "dream team" assembled to launch a men's line I don't know how much better you could get.

However, let's not underestimate the difficulty of launching such an endeavor in the US. While the work Bastian & Burke accomplished at BG -- in particular the first floor on the 5th Ave side which seems to highlight their point of view most succinctly -- is fantastic and a great source of inspiration it is important to remember how specific and rarefied it truly is.

Let's look at Cucinelli in particular, their product works in perhaps four markets in the US, maybe 10 doors? It will be interesting to see how they do at Saks, personally I can't imagine it will last more than three seasons. The bulk of American men seem unwilling to part with the required amount of money or are unaware of the subtle details of such a collection. And let's not even get into delivery delays!

Consequently, I can see Michael Bastian's collection doing quite well at BG, Louis Boston, Mario's, but then what? The cashmere sweater you photographed in is funny but how many men are willing to pony up the $800-$1200 it will command? More importantly, how many will do so at full price (pre-markdown)?

The truth of the matter is that is is nearly impossible to launch a fashion brand (in the US at least) without a significant amount of product for women and accessories.

I will be watching this project with interest and I wish him the best!


Blogger The Sartorialist said ... (9:06 AM) : 

Wow, so well put MrWynn!

I love when people that really get it contribute to the blog.

You're right that it will be difficult, all designer have that same challenge. Hopefully his background will make him more sensitive to the potential problems all new collections will fall into.

Remember Matt Nye? All the Rolling Stone Magazine money, American classic design and model good looks but he didn't do enough design detail.

I agree this will be fun to watch.


Blogger MrWynn said ... (10:49 AM) : 

Thank for the opportunity! And the access you seem to have to some of my favorite brands.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:18 AM) : 

What an interesting blog...and I just so happened to just "stumble" into it by googling "Michael Bastian" since I have two of his sweaters (I purchased on double markdown...still at $500 each). And I wondered the same thing, as to how many would purchase the same sweater at $1500. And I am the Bastian "Man" they are probably marketing towards.

One thing that has saddened me greatly are there are no true "Designers" out there...the ones who started out wanting to be a designer when they were eight and struggled to become great designers. I am assuming to get into BG, is quite the challenge. Mr. Bastian didn't have a hard time at all...probably a commitment from them even before he started.

Where are the young "gentlemen" designers out there, like a George Zaharoff - who is a true young menswear designer, without starting out with the "right" contacts, or millions in backing? (Zaharoff sells in Nordstrom and Neimans I think).


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