Scott Sternberg is breeding a fashion family. First came Band of Outsiders Man, his nostalgic but twisted take on preppy dressing. It was followed a couple of years ago by Boy, a tomboy-worthy collection of menswear-inspired clothes for women. Today, Sternberg celebrated his new arrival, Girl, with a wide-ranging presentation that underscored what a subtle but undeniable force he has become in American fashion.
Girl is unabashed femininity. "Sugar and spice and all things nice," said Sternberg. He claimed that after dressing men and tomboys, he just wanted to drape a dress for a woman. There was a classically Grecian feel to that drape, a little bit Isadora Duncan at the Acropolis. The dropped-waist plissé dress in a sheer floral fabric also had a touch of the Doras. But Girl's eveningwear was sleekly structured: A white shawl-collared cutaway jacket over a sheer white shirt and pleated skirt and a sleeveless tuxedo dress were standouts. They were sophisticated enough to make it seem unlikely that these Girls would ever have much to do with Sternberg's Men, who are, at best, a band of dressed-up college boys. How much happier those guys would be with a girl dressed in Band's Boy: The plaid jacket and shirt with chinos and the shirt in the tiny camo print paired with matching tie-waist shorts had an androgynously sporty verve. The designer insisted he liked the psychosexual tension between his three groupings. Still, he gave his guys a break this season by loosening up the menswear a little. A suede blouson trimmed in navy and red or an olive green military shirt with matching sweatshorts verged on butch for Band. Sternberg also injected a note of the surreal—pajamas under a blazer, for instance—that felt more like film than fashion.
Perhaps that's why guest Baz Luhrmann, who knows from kinetics, noted that, when the line between art, fashion, film, and music is blurred as successfully as it is in Sternberg's presentations, it would be delicious to take it up a notch further and add a little movement. Make the showroom dummies come alive, in other words. The music in question was, by the way, a collection of incidental soundtrack pieces by Thomas Newman, a typically off-kilter but entrancing Sternberg touch.