September 26, 2006
Five years as men's fashion director for Bergdorf Goodman would be enough to give anyone invaluable insight into the mind of the male shopper, but Michael Bastian also relies heavily on what he fancies for himself. For Spring, his second collection, that meant a look back at what he called "the perfect American sportswear" of Perry Ellis in the early 1980s, as well as his father's sporty style in the 1960s. (An old black-and-white photo of Bastian Senior playing basketball inspired the collection's neutral tones.) Ellis's effortless combination of casual and formal has also become a Bastian signature, as evidenced by a tailored jacket with beat-up shorts, or a formal shirt with short sleeves. Bastian's faith in a skinnier fit, meanwhile, was evident in items as varied as slimmed-down cargo pants, a tennis sweater, a suede fisherman's vest, and a big-zipped windbreaker (the designer called it the "Spielberg" after the director's on-set attire when he was making Jaws), unified by a sportiness that also looked good in a knit polo in the same mesh as a basketball jersey and a short-sleeved cashmere sweatshirt. Bastian's experience served him well with the tailoring (he's definitely feeling the suit for spring), but equally appealing were the funkier pieces in this big collection: frayed cutoff chinos with the boxer shorts built right in, cord low-riders, and a button-free rugby shirt.