"I'm still dancing," said John Bartlett at his presentation tonight. That was his own wry acknowledgment of the endless ebb and flow of his career, but this time around, it wasn't so much the cycle of fashion as the re-cycle that defined his collection. Helped by a grant from Lexus, Bartlett was relaunching a full range with a 100 percent commitment to ethics—and synthetics. The "leathers," produced for Bartlett by Schott, were Ultrasuede. The Black Watch tartans were nylon, not wool. Where the fibers were real—as in the Hudson's Bay blanket coats and poncho—they were recycled vintage.
The silhouette was recycled, too. It was kinda disco dude—tight body shirts and high-waisted slacks, matched with a fitted blouson. But the models were incongruously muddied. "It's Lord of the Flies," Bartlett explained. "I wanted them outdoorsy." In which case, it wasn't just the models who were muddied. The message was, too.
But kudos to Bartlett for hanging on in there. He himself was clearly feeling revitalized. "It was a challenge keeping it vegan," he said. "But there's now more meaning in the clothes."