Hawaii, not Manhattan, is officially the island of New York fashion week. All right, perhaps not officially, but it's above and beyond the preferred destination this collection season. Add Michael Bastian to the luau-loving bunch, even though he has never actually visited the state. "What I know of Hawaii is from watching the Brady Bunch shows from the seventies," the designer said at his Gant presentation. "But sometimes your idea of something can be even better than the real thing." Bastian's dream combination of Hawaiian fever and seventies love translated into a hippie-dippie version of all-American classics. Even the models were cast with Marcia and Greg in mind. "This collection is about being happy and fun," Bastian said, grinning ear to ear. "It's about what you can throw into your bag for a summer weekend and just go."
For women, there were sweet sundress renditions. One saccharine frock had embroidered watermelons, smocking on the bodice, and straps that tied into floppy bows. Another floral-printed version was more attractive, if not for its roomy tunic fit, then for its nickname: the "Drunk Mommy dress," Bastian called it. But it wasn't only girly girls who were catered to. Tomboys also had options, in a rainbow-striped vest and cargo pants.
Predictably, the men's designs were stronger. Denim, in candy colors, was nicely tapered and rolled just above the ankle. Camo, amped up in red, was layered in with the requisite Hawaiian flower and tiki motifs. Bastian also showed a knack for tweaking rugby shirts with agreeable details such as an exaggerated contrast placket, or lacing instead of buttons. Swimwear, though, was where things really got fun. A pair of pink swim trunks with a hippo print was merry enough for both Maui and East Hampton. Meanwhile, one beefy male model seemed to be wearing nothing but a mint green Gant logo cotton tank top (if you looked closely, you could see tiny swim briefs underneath). If anything, it brought plenty of smiles all around.