The problem with John Bartlett's showand the collection it presentedstems from the three very disparate influences he cited: Matsuda, Armani, Nikos. Between the fussy dressiness of the Japanese Matsuda and the hard-core muscularity of the Nikos brand, there is a chasm of difference that can't be bridged by Italian-influenced tailoring.
Bartlett did offer up a truly perverse selection. First came a trio of office-ready two-button suits, one with the sheen of sharkskin. Shortly afterward, a tasty choc-toned jacket in waxed linen paraded down the runway, in partnership with a crystal-studded cummerbund and washed-satin trousers voluminous enough for Ali Baba. Soon after that, leather jeans appeared on a model so muscled he transported those of sound memory back to the Fire Island fantasia Bartlett mounted for one of his shows in the late nineties.
The Matsuda component was evident in pajama-like touches: a poplin shirt with piped edges paired with double-pleated pants; cropped sharkskin drainpipes with a contrast hem; or even the black Henley shown with judo pants, which was Bartlett's pass at a new kind of elegance for evening. But hot on its heels was another overly sculpted muscle man in a wrestler's all-in-one of black velveteen with a crystal racing stripe. Now that is a new take on dressing for the night!