American preppiness is an exportable commodity, and designers are fond of sending the basic strictures caroming around the globe and bringing them back with baggage. So you didn't raise an eyebrow when Todd Snyder
labeled his Spring presentation "Saharan prep." He'd been thinking of The English Patient,
he explained, with its desert tones and military inflections. Mix in a bit of the good old American sportswear and suiting he makes (and the good old American factory, Southwick, at which he makes it), and you've got an apt description rather than a contradiction in terms. The spirit of the Sahara was in the sandy shades and lightweight linen, cotton-linen, and, for rumpled effect, cotton-metal blends. "Classic American style mixed with the military" was Snyder's marching order. Since the temperatures have been positively Saharan this New York fashion week, it didn't require a great quantity of empathy to appreciate those soft-shouldered Southwick jackets in lighter fabrications, or the un-classic sagacity of wearing them with slubby knit shorts. As for the rest, it was selvage denim and linen knitwear, army/navy surplus jackets and double-breasted coats. The desert brought Snyder a palette and a purpose, but scratch the surface, and you've just got more of what he's been making (and making well) for a few seasons now, picking up CFDA nominations along the way. Just one more stamp on the passport, then.