Can clothing have a complex? This season's J.Crew
menswear collection didn't come off as neurotic—much the opposite, in fact—but in certain ways it did seem to be enacting the central anxiety of the modern urban male. To put it plainly, what is the nattily dressed, desk-jockeying, city-living guy supposed to do with his vestigial ache for rusticity? What was man created for if not to head for the country and achieve a meditative oneness with the great outdoors? Well, thank goodness for the national parks. Frank Muytjens seized on America's national parkland for inspiration this season, and though he refrained from literalizing the reference, a certain engagement with the elements came through, in domesticated ways. There was a really nice sense of tactility and tonality here, whether in the nubby hand of a suede bomber or the mixing and matching of denims. Muytjens also engaged his team to make some truly special, nature-inspired, limited-edition pieces, such as a pair of shorts in a leaf print created via a laborious cyanotype development process. Elsewhere, meanwhile, the emphasis was on category scrambling—denim windbreakers, short suits, chambray sweats, etc. The J.Crew team does this kind of thing so well, so convincingly, you hardly even notice that they've done anything unusual. Surely dudes have been wearing chambray sweats for ages? No? Well, they'll be wearing them soon.