A little of this, a little of that. A good cook has the confidence to improvise. And this season, Band of Outsiders
honcho Scott Sternberg threw a myriad of flavors into his pot. Athletic apparel, the 1990s, Nina van Pallandt in Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye
—all that went into the mix, plus a soupçon of that Band-trademark prep school vibe and, of course, more than a few tips of the old hat to menswear. The mashing up was all in service of conjuring, as Sternberg put it, "the ghosts of Malibu," those girls sauntering down the beach into the Pacific sunset. It was easy to picture them in one of the collection's wafting long T-shirt dresses, or a sheer floral-printed poncho. Sternberg's way of using sport elements to get at a diaphanous, bohemian vibe was genuinely intriguing. And the looks worked. So, for that matter, did the patchwork shirting dresses; and the piped soccer shorts made from a crinkly material that looked like Tyvek; and the sleeveless, raw-hemmed, extra-long blazers; and the oh-so-nineties halter tops and bias-cut slipdresses. This wasn't a perfect show, but it was a very good one, and for all the variety of its influences, it felt cogent. Apparently, Malibu breeds friendly ghosts.