February 01, 2007
"It's classic JB," said John Bartlett after his show. "My two obsessionsIvy League and military." Though the presentation itself was slightly inert (and this is a designer who, in the past, has mounted some of New York's most memorable menswear spectacles), Bartlett clearly benefited from the discipline of playing favorites. The shearling-collared flight jacket was the kind of unambiguously male item the designer does best; likewise, a leather jacket that belted at the side. And trompe l'oeil military detailslike the tone-on-tone embroidery on the sleeve of a loden coat, or the knit epaulettes woven into the shoulder of a blousonadded striking textures.
Bartlett also opted for sandy tones that brought a saveur of General Montgomery's desert rats to the catwalk. At the same time, he ticked off the mythical totems of the Harvard man (cable-knitted V-necked sweaters, chinos, gab slacks, gingham shirts, corduroy patchworking). The fact that College Boy was sharing runway space with Army Man (desert frats, anyone?) underscored the idiosyncrasy of Bartlett's fashion ethos. Somewhere, Sigmund Freud is smiling.