Monday Muse: Bel Air Inspires 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.
Celebrities, the beach and Coachella, thats what everyone thinks about when they think of Los Angeles, Bastian explained in a post-show interview with the L.A. Times. Then you see these people living in Bel-Air and Beverly Hills and theyre so chic and have so much style. I love that idea that in L.A. that you cant 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.
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.