Michael Bastian's menswear inspiration this season was the husbands of Marilyn Monroe—Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, specifically—and that led to a campaign and film (you can watch it here). That in turn raised the question of what their "Marilyn" was going to wear. What started as a few pieces for this supporting role grew into an entire line, and today Bastian debuted his first collection for women alongside the menswear he designs for Gant.
The man has a deep sense of theater. He showcased the clothes this time around in posed tableaux along fifties-bombshell/slugger lines. Clustered groups of men and women lounged about in movie theater seats and leaning up on stretches of fence, dressed in staples of midcentury prep: chic little trenches, seersucker and madras, navy lace blouses, and—playing to Bastian's fetish for athletics—gym shorts and locker room sweats. (Here and there were atmospheric props: a pile of vintage typewriters, some radio mics, a bunch of inner tubes.) For Fall, tailoring was limited mainly to separates, but Bastian's now making affordable suits, too, in cropped piqué for the ladies, classic khaki for the gents. (He's not, by the way, making them alone. His longtime publicist, Eugenia Gonzalez Ruiz-Olloqui, is assisting on the womenswear designs.)
The danger of going the dramatic route is that productions are costumed, not clothed. But that wasn't a problem here: The looks will break down nicely into affordable, individual items with barely a whisper of Marilyn or Joltin' Joe. For proof, Bastian offered Gonzalez Ruiz-Olloqui herself, whom he calls one of the chicest women in New York. She wore a pretty blouse in broderie anglaise, a Spring piece that was also on display not 20 feet away. She paired hers with tiny denim cutoffs and a high suede combat boot that was very 2010.