Michael Bastian's Mercenary Style

Martin Marks

A militaristic thread seems to be running through all the clothes that menswear designer Michael Bastian so expertly makes. At yesterday's show, Bastian left the relative safety of last spring's gaucho mountaintops for the warmer, more aquatic feel of this season's collection.

In this way, Bastian's clothes tell a specific tale; he creates the perfect outfit for, say, jumping off a speedboat, performing a hit on the jefe of a drug cartel, then swimming to shore (the runway's backdrop seemed to evoke a shore on South Beach) and stepping into a hotel for a martini -- shaken, not stirred, and none the worse for the wear. This isn't to say that the collection didn't have its softer moments, such as the gray cotton pullover matched with frayed corduroy short, or the distressed denim jacket layered over a yellow nylon windbreaker. A blue and white zippered cardigan with scuba diver silhouettes on the front had something very Team Zissou about it, and left me wondering whether the collection's leopard camo prints would be better described as jaguar shark spots.

Though some may have difficulty placing black neoprene scuba gear in their wardrobe (to put it delicately, the swimwear left little up to the imagination), Bastian is a man's menswear designer, through and through. The linen Prince of Wales suit - a subtle balance of brown, beige, and blue - the navy v-neck sweaters, and the washed cotton/nylon blend trench coat were all impeccably tailored for day to evening - or dive-boat to the Delano, as the case may be.

Photos via Patrick McMullan.com

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