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Monday Muse: Bel Air Inspires Michael Bastian Spring 2016

Michael Bastian Spring 2016

Michael Bastian’s r©sum© reads like a list of East Coast titans: Ralph Lauren, Tiffany and Co., Bergdorf Goodman and Sotheby’s. So while he’s steeped in New England tradition €“ and has dipped into that heritage on more than one occasion €” it came as a surprise that his latest show drew entirely on the West Coast. At the debut New York Fashion Week: Men’s, the designer took inspiration from our fair city, but whereas other labels play on festival dressing, Chola culture and yes, celebs, Bastian chose to emphasize a few of the city’s most exclusive enclaves: Bel Air and the storied Beverly Hills Hotel.

Michael Bastian Spring 2016

€œCelebrities, the beach and Coachella, that€™s what everyone thinks about when they think of Los Angeles,€ Bastian explained in a post-show interview with the L.A. Times. €œThen you see these people living in Bel-Air and Beverly Hills and they€™re so chic and have so much style. I love that idea that in L.A. that you can€™t really leave your door without expecting to be shot [by a photographer] €” which is why we had that surveillance [camera] element €“ you have to kind of dress up a little. So the idea was another version of L.A. style other than beach, grunge and the celebrity thing.€

So without festival fringe, Lauren Canyon ladies and the usual references, what did Bastian show? The collection focused on dressing up in a city that celebrates dressing down.

That meant that Bastian’s signature tailoring was rendered in a few new shades. Black, which was a new color for the designer, made an appearance, as well as pastel linens (we’re living in a desert, remember?) and preppy stripes and checks. L.A. glam isn’t just about celebs, however, and it was refreshing to see a different take on elegance by way of refinement and subtlety. Evening slippers made in collaboration with Stubbs & Wootton featured a reimagined banana leaf camo print that took inspiration from the Beverly Hills Hotel. Towel striped polos looked perfect for a round at the club and guys were decked out in polo mallet cuffs from southern designer Meredith Sutton (available here in L.A. at Carlton Drew).

Michael Bastian Spring 2016

But it wasn’t all dressy. Guys also walked the runway in henleys, swimwear and cutoffs. Naturally, denim made an appearance, too. But another first for Bastian came in the way of womenswear. The show might have been during the very first NYFW: Men’s, but the designer showed a few looks for the ladies, too. They came down in luxe cashmere sweaters, tanks emblazoned with the state motto, Eureka, and a tank dress in that same banana leaf camo.

The West Coast sojourn was a big move for the designer, who also created this entire collection in Italy, using only the best materials and most luxe fabrications. And if Bel Air and Beverly Hills were the inspiration, there was no better way to pay homage to the 1% than by offering up the best that money can buy. The wink and whimsy come free of charge.

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Junya Watanabe and Loewe Partner for a Punk Collaboration

Junya Watanabe for Loewe

A storied Spanish house and a Japanese master of avant garde fashion seem like the most unlikely of bedfellows, but in the world of fashion collaborations, the only rule is that there are no rules. For every collab that we think makes sense (Missoni and Target, for example) we get a slew of head-scratchers, such as Cynthia Rowley for Pampers or Betsey Johnson for Tweezerman. But sometimes the most disparate of fashion brands come together for something so spectacular that the only thing to do is sit back and admire the creative chutzpah, which is exactly the result of pairing Junya Wantanabe and Loewe.

Junya Watanabe for Loewe

The idea of a bad girl or bad boy carrying a Loewe bag was what this was based on,€ said Stuart Vevers, the creative director of Loewe. €œJunya did the wigs, I did the red lips. We deliberately wanted it to be surprising. The biggest part of my mission at Loewe has been to rejuvenate the brand and raise its profile. I very much saw this collaboration as a big step in that direction.€

The two brands couldn’t be further apart on the sartorial spectrum. Loewe is an LVMH-owned luxury leather goods company based in Spain and known for outfitting the Spanish crown, including production of the Her Majesty Isabel II of Bourbon and Princess Maria Luisa Fernanda’s wedding gowns and then providing the Spanish royal family with leather goods. Junya Wantanabe is Comme des Gar§ons’ very own wild child, producing voluminous puffer coats paired with Chanel-inspired chains one season and Tim Burton-style black lace beekeeper’s hats the next. But together, the two labels are making sartorial magic with their punk-inspired collection of men’s and women’s wear to be sold at Loewe stores worldwide.

Junya Watanabe for Loewe

“To tie together Loewe and Junya Watanabe, I came up with the idea of combining the essence of each of their icons: leather and denim,” said Watanabe to The Japan Times.

“A combination of the luxurious and the casual.”

While the Loewe label is still under-the-radar here in the United States, it’s a stalwart in Europe, where the brand has been going strong since 1846. Not surprisingly, Japan — a nation known for obsessing over European and American heritage labels — is one of Loewe’s biggest markets, with the label is carried in 40 eponymous boutiques. (Of note: There are more Loewe stores in Japan than anywhere else in the world.) The collection also celebrates the 40th anniversary of the first Loewe store opening in Japan as well as the 400th anniversary of Japanese samurai Hasekura Tsunenaga’s historic trip to Europe, which marked the beginning of trade between Japan and many European nations.

Junya Watanabe for Loewe

The Junya Watanabe for Loewe collection debuted at the Spanish embassy in Tokyo, showing a mashup of punk staples such as ripped leggings, inky black leather and plaid in every color you can imagine. But staying true to the Loewe MO, there were also meticulously crafted bags. Patchwork leather satchels — while hard and angular to the eye — were crafted from soft leather. Before the debut of this collaboration, Vevers worked with Watanabe on his namesake collection, crafting handbags for the designer’s runway show last spring.

The capsule collection includes house signatures from both brands. Leather from Loewe in used on jackets and pants as well as the label’s iconic Amazona bags and Watanabe’s polka dots and tartan also feature heavily. The Amazona is the the star, however, with a front panel crafted in Japan at the Watanabe atelier and the rest of the bag pieced together in Madrid using Spanish craftsmanship and fine Loewe leather. With a pedigree that spans continents, it might just be the It bag that punks, preps and passionate collectors will all be clamoring for this summer. The collection, including the special edition Amazona bag, will go on sale worldwide in August.

Photos courtesy Loewe