The late sixties and early seventies saw a craze for the outdoors in America. "It was kind of a crunchy time," Steven Alan said of the era at his coed presentation today. He and his designers dove into Yosemite in the sixties, photographer Glen Denny's shots from his days as a tune-in, turn-on, drop-out climber in the Yosemite Valley. Cue the new Steven Alan man: a little natty, a little folksy, a Dylan in the desert. "It felt like a West Coast sensibility was right," Alan shrugged. So there were hiking socks and boots, turtlenecks layered under sweaters, but also high-closing, four-button wool suits like Bob used to wear. The women—"Berkeley students," Alan decided, with "an intellectual, outdoorsy look"—got floral-printed maxi dresses, knit pinafores, and a flared suit shown with a burnout-velvet blouse.
It felt like a decided step forward from Spring, when the Alan collection looked retail-ready but occasionally a little bland. That's the hazard of showing looks that are more wearable than directional—or, you might say, clothes rather than fashion. This is only Alan's second presentation, and he's starting to get a feel for the dramatics of the form.