With their mishmash of prints, textures, appliqués and colors, Johnson Hartig's Fall 2013 men's and women's clothes for Libertine were a trip. Or they were inspired by one, anyway. Backstage after his show the designer explained that his travels to India—specifically the methods of adornment he found there—influenced the hues and embellishments in his Fall collection. In fact, his finale dress, an inherently simple black knee-length frock, was covered in gold, sapphire, and emerald beads, as well as metallic streamers and fabric that he had picked up during his travels.
But Hartig didn't stop with India. He took us to sixties Morocco via fluid tunics and velvet silk pants, both of which were printed with collaged photographs of Moroccan rugs. Seventies punk influence reared its head (mainly in the form of skulls, which appeared beaded on the back of men's blazers and the front of women's tops and dresses) as did Stevie Nicks' vampy, sheer black dresses. An oversize-houndstooth coat in cream and caramel was layered over a tweed skirt and beaded forest green cardigan, evoking warm hints of nostalgia, and a shrunken printed jacket made with so many colors it looked like it had been finger-painted complimented a striped skirt and sweater underneath. That's Hartig's forte: combining the most unlikely, clashing patterns and concepts and making them somehow match.
Men's cashmere sweaters (each of which was made in L.A.—the designer is trying to expand his knit range) were playful with their eyeball and "Neat Neat Neat" prints (that's actually the name of Hartig's favorite The Damned song, which he used to close the show). Tartan dresses covered with beads, as well as a metallic blue frock whose floral fabric recalled wallpaper, aged the collection; Hartig could have skipped those journeys. The most wearable pieces came in screen-printed tie-dye, which appeared on jeans, sweatpants, tailored jackets, and cardigans for him, as well as fur-collared swing coats and jeans for her. He used the print on a quilted silk shift and matching jacket, which, finished with black crystals and hand-painted details, were kind of mesmerizing. "That one's a little sixties. It looks like it was handmade in China," said the designer of the coat. There you have it: around the world, and back in time, in 51 looks.