Band of Outsiders
February 11, 2011 New York
Which is to say, Sternberg trod lightly on his references. There were sporty and bohemian motifs throughout the collections, notably French terry sweats and anoraks, blanket wool (tailored into jackets and draped into ponchos) and Native American-inspired graphics knit into sweaters. But the essence of the Band and Boy collections was still preppy. For the men, there was no shortage of punctiliously cut suits and college stripes. And for the ladies, well, Sternberg's floor-length fur peacoat in deep-dyed navy is what girls who graduate from Choate get to wear if they're good and go to heaven when they die. In short, these were identifiably Band collections, with the signature Sternberg fastidiousness at work, but California-ness infected the clothes with a new—and welcome—sense of freedom.
What was really interesting to see, though, was the evolution of Girl, and the runway-show format helped to draw a line from that collection to the others. Where Band and Boy are tailored, Girl is drapey, but the newest line spoke to the others in a way it didn't last season. A foulard print used in all three lines appeared in Girl on a floaty wool twill maxi dress, for instance, and the line's floral dresses and peasant-inspired blouses and bloomers were easy to imagine ringed around a campfire alongside the Band/Boy blanket-wool pieces. Sternberg does seem to struggle with feminine proportions—a long floral shirtdress, for example, looked a little off—but he's gotten the sense of Girl right. The clothes had an appealing softness.
Indeed, there was something appealingly easy about all these clothes, even the ones most studied in their detail. Fittingly, given the source material, Band of Outsiders felt genuinely mellow.