A First Look at BLK DNM Fall ’15-------
Johan Lindeberg is perhaps his own best advertisement. Since launching BLK DNM scarcely three years ago, the former Diesel CEO has taken a denim line and turned out a lifestyle. “Lifestyle” not in the traditional sense of a brand hawking home goods, but in the sense that Lindeberg thinks big. “We want BLK DNM to be part of a cultural shift.” Where others might see a downtown Manhattan culture that’s devolved into pleasures for an elite few, he sees a playground ripe for inspiration and, yes, even ideology. It’s earned the brand an impossibly lissome fan base of women like Caroline de Maigret, Karlie Kloss, and Anja Rubik, who appear regularly on BLK DNM Close-Up, the label’s lush photo blog. Despite this catwalking constituency, Lindeberg easily dismisses the need for a traditional show: “I don’t design for the runway; I design for the streets.” For Fall he opted to forgo the brand’s usual lookbook, instead taking to downtown alleyways to shoot with his fiancée and muse, Kenza Fourati. (Since picking up a camera for the first time in 2011, Lindeberg has lensed a campaign for Absolut Elyx, and estimates he’s taken more than 50,000 shots.)
Lindeberg proves himself a compelling curator of the coolest elements of any given decade, particularly the sixties and seventies. For Fall, BLK DNM proposed Perfecto-style leather jackets, with snap-off colored fur collars for mixing and matching, an investment-worthy piece if ever there was one. Outerwear is one of Lindeberg’s strong suits, and reversible shearlings and a buttery black leather trench were standouts. One wickedly louche silk smoking robe fairly begs to be paired with a bare clavicle, à la Fourati. There’s a new eye to pattern, as seen in a digital white rose print, a favorite motif of Lindeberg’s (vases of them dot his Lafayette Street showroom). Increasingly, he says, it’s not just the willowy south-of-14th-Street set who are slipping into his brand’s skinny jeans, thanks in part to an immaculate eye for translating menswear elements to women’s wardrobes. Razor-sharp tux jackets, spruce tweed minis, and long peacoats à la Sorbonne ’68 (Paris’ student revolutions are a favorite Lindeberg touchstone) should appeal to uptown customers—if not to ladies who lunch, then certainly their daughters.
BLK DNM continues to bottle (more literally with a unisex scent launched in 2011) an ineffable brand of capital-C, classic Cool. With a keen eye for detail—the slimness of a lapel, the just-right rise of a jean—Lindeberg produces staple pieces to rival anything else in the market, at a price point that makes them all the more appealing; an e-commerce site launching later this year should only up their audience. But perhaps BLK DNM’s success is more than just aesthetic alchemy: As Lindeberg notes, “When you do denim, you have to live it.”