"It was seamless!" said Cindy Greene, half of the design duo Libertine, shortly after the label’s debut runway showa somewhat ironic statement coming from someone with a penchant for exposed seams and other deconstructive details. Established in 2001, Libertine is a collaboration with a twist: The New York-based Greene is separated by 3,000 miles from her partner, Johnson Hartig, who lives in Los Angeles. That hasn’t stopped them from developing a cult following for their one-of-a-kind, reconstructed vintage pieces, which work a feeling that Greene describes as about "nature, the macabre, and early Americana."
The presentation, in the café attached to St. Bartholomew’s Church, attracted an audiencemany members decked out in Libertine gearthat included Michael Stipe, Jimmy Fallon, Helena Christensen, Patti Hansen, and Monet Mazur. They gave an enthusiastic reception to the label’s quirky reworkings, like tweed pants printed with falling autumn leaves or a fifties beaded sweater embellished with ribbons, brooches, and a screen-printed skull. Kilts, trenches, capes, and dresses were equally transfigured via prints of eyes, dancing bears, bird heads, and even a portrait of Lincoln. At a time when polished prettiness is ruling the runways, Libertine's strikingly individual pieces stand as a kind of fashion-world call to live free or dieand to look good either way.