Steven Alan's hardly a new name in fashion. For the better part of two decades -- at first, as a retailer renowned for his curatorial abilities, and then, as the designer of his eponymous line of men's shirts -- Alan has crafted a very comfortable niche for himself.
This morning's presentation of Steven Alan's fall collection at Chelsea Piers showed the designer venturing forth into uncharted territory. The clothes had an easy, agrarian feel to them, as though a group of exceedingly dapper hippies had ditched school and headed to the central plains of Montana, just in time for the fall, seen in his reversible vests and gusset pants paired with knit ankle gaiters. Though this academic-meets-agrarian feel might, in less experienced hands, border a bit too close to yokel territory, Alan aptly balances everything with a sense of Mennonite modesty -- the four-buttoned blazers, the shawl cardigan sweaters, the crushable fedoras. Added to this were the touches of color, found in a lavender bow-tie, or a red down jacket, that hit the right sartorial notes.
His seamless evolution as a designer of both men's and women's clothing attest to the ever expanding breadth of his career, and depth of his collections. And though he's an experienced hand, it's still hard to make clothes seem this easy, or look this good.