Michael Bastian Matures -- And Brings Out His Dog for a Cameo!

Martin Marks

Judging from yesterday's show at Exit Art, it looks like Michael Bastian has certainly matured. This was, of course, when the fog lifted from the runway of his F/W 2012 collection--a very literal fog, generated by a very real fog machine, that had me wiping my eyeglasses in case I'd forgotten to clean the lenses, a constant #nyfw between-show battle for the bespectacled set.

When the fog did lift (eventually, there would be snow flurries via a snow dispensing device), you could see where Bastian was headed. Coming from his springtime homage to James Dean, he's embraced this sense of maturity, by way of the "extra man." This idea came from a 1974 New York Times article--handily included at the back of his collection notes--about the men who were called upon by New York hostesses to attend parties as their extras.

With a giant mirror flanked by two large trees serving as a backdrop, and chandeliers hanging from high above, the runway seemed as though it was an extended entranceway into an expansive country home or uptown apartment--an appropriate setting for the fine array of suits, coats, blazers, and jackets. The clothes themselves had all the hallmarks of a Bastian man--rugged, sophisticated, immaculate. Among my favorite pieces were a black nylon jacket that played off the conventions of a blazer, and a shawl-collared dinner jacket that was simultaneously formal and playful. Indeed, there were elements of this Royal Tenenbaumian playfulness throughout--bright resin boutonnieres, silk robes, and cartoon dogs on the front of sweaters. Bastian's own dog made a brief runway appearance, wearing an outfit that was strikingly similar to his master's navy quilted coat. In light of the extra man theme, perhaps we should be wondering which one of them is on the end of Bastian's very stylish leash.


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