February 10, 2013 New York
There was actually something intensely ominous about the whole presentation, as though Ervell's forest was a place of refuge in a time of catastrophe. The survivalist subtext was established by a catwalk blanketed in thermal foil. It carried over into the distinctly utilitarian feel of jean jackets, track pants, a nylon duffel, and a quilted fleece sweatshirt. It's become something of an Ervell signature to take the most prosaic elements of a man's wardrobe and glamour them, most memorably with parachute silk or a shudder of latex way back when. Here, he used prints of a spookily sepulchral wood-scape: ivy twined across tree bark, flower buds at night, closed as tight as moth wings. He said they were a kind of camouflage, like the "real tree" camo that hunters wear.
Of course, that signature Ervell tightrope walk between prosaic and glamorous is a calculated risk. There have been times when his collections collapse into the hopelessly mundane. But this particular outing suggested he has mastered the art of the elevating flourish. It was as subtle as the shawl collar on an overcoat, as overt as the shimmering deep green nylon jacquard of the raincoat at show's end. And maybe the music—always a dead giveaway in an Ervell show—was the most accurate indication of the collection's essence. It progressed from the abstract fuzz of a Slowdive remix to the classical bombast of Prokofiev. Confidence incarnate.