Band of Outsiders
September 07, 2012 New York
Before the show, the designer explained that, in a roundabout way, he was inspired this season by the film The Hunger Games. "It's not a good movie," he pointed out, "but I was interested in the way movies like that make war into this light, beautiful thing." There was certainly a warlike aspect to this collection—tribal in its macramé tops, cinched trouser cuffs, and bright patchwork bandeaus, and martial in its jumpsuits, khakis, and braid. The collection was also very Japanese, a reflection of Sternberg's reference hopscotch from Hunger Games to Battle Royale, the Japanese film that may or may not have inspired it, and from there to kimono-wrapping and shibori dyeing techniques.
And Japan got Sternberg somewhere really interesting. There has always been more than a touch of the Tokyo school in his design philosophy—he's a true perfectionist, with a stereotypically Japanese fetish for the imperceptibly finessed detail. But Sternberg's latest explorations seem to have moved him to think about his clothes in broader, more tactile and expressive terms, and the strongest looks at today's show possessed an almost unfinished looseness. ("Almost unfinished," because it's frankly unthinkable that Sternberg hadn't attended very, very closely to the unfinishedness.) Take, for instance, the shibori-dyed seersucker suit, with drawstrings dangling off the baggy trousers, or the half-tucked, oversize indigo button-down worn with a low-slung shibori-dyed wrap skirt. There was a genuinely new mood here. And nowhere was that better exemplified than in the terrific strapless jumpsuits: Sculpturally draped, they came in an indigo cotton or a white georgette with a brush of "war paint," and they were without a doubt the most chillaxed thing ever seen on a Band of Outsiders runway. The tribes of Brooklyn and Silver Lake have got their Spring 2013 uniform.