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23 posts tagged "Michael Bastian"

Michael Bastian Has Seen the Future of Retail, and It Includes Hay


Michael Bastian's New Store

Is hay underused in retail contexts? Michael Bastian—who opened his first-ever retail store, a pop-up in conjunction with Boffo’s Building Fashion program, this week—is making the argument. Bastian partnered with the New York- and Guadalajara-based architecture firm Bittertang to realize a space out of which to sell his Fall ’13 range, inspired by the same creepy New England-gothic vibe that seeped into the collection. For Fall, Bastian had looked at the paintings of Andrew Wyeth, like the famous Christina’s World; Bittertang’s Michael Loverich and Antonio Torres did, too.

The lithograph that inspired the opening room of Michael Bastian's pop-up storeThe result is at least equal parts installation art and shop. From the outside, at the new SuperPier on 15th Street and the West Side Highway, it’s not even clear that the Bastian store is a store; it looks like an enormous mountain of hay. Once you enter, via a small passageway, the opening room doesn’t even have clothes: Its wax walls, which give off an evocative smell of beeswax when the weather is warm, enclose two tiny, twisted twin beds and not much more. A lithograph of two unseemly brothers—who look ready for a playdate with the twin sisters from The Shining—is suspended in the wall.

“You can go anywhere, to any shop, and you’re bombarded with merchandise,” said Loverich. “People don’t really give you an experience at all. Michael was really specific about wanting people to step in and be transformed.”

“All the commerce is kept in the back,” Bastian confirmed, gesturing past the hand-knit curtains of black feathers. “I think this is the future of retail—you have to give people a reason to come in, other than ‘This is just a bunch of merch, pull out your credit card.’ You can buy anything online. You don’t have to get out of your bed [for that].”

Michael Bastian's New Store

In the sinister back room, there is plenty of merchandise from the Fall collection, including, most tantalizingly for Bastian fans, runway-only pieces such as hand-knit Ouija-board sweaters and the Stubbs & Wootton slippers Bastian commissions for his shows. It also includes a few Bastian touches that will be exportable when he does open his own permanent store, like the rail dividers inspired by the backs of Windsor chairs. A permanent store is in the future, Bastian said, though no timetable has been set. That should give a new generation of bees plenty of time to get to work on the next four hundred pounds of wax.

Michael Bastian is open, through November 24, at the SuperPier at Hudson River Park, 15th Street and the West Side Highway.

With Ambition To Dress 100 Million, Is Uniqlo The Retailer Of The Future?


Uniqlo recruits from fashion, but its aims are larger than fashion. That was the overriding message at this week’s presentation of its new self-designated category: LifeWear. “Yanai-san always says Uniqlo is not sportswear or casualwear,” said the company’s design director, Naoki Takizawa. “We have a function. This is clothing for a new category.” Yanai-san is Mr. Tadashi Yanai, founder of Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing, and his ambitions are global. No surprise that Uniqlo’s push into the U.S. and globally in the last few years will keep going strong. The label will open more stores here in the next year, as many as 20 in 2014 alone. “It’s a very interesting approach for me,” said Takizawa, who prior to joining Uniqlo was creative director at Issey Miyake. “Fashion is a segment. But Uniqlo is design for 100 million pieces, 100 million people.”

In observance of the fact that 100 million global customers won’t follow the same trends, Uniqlo is reorganizing itself to put function at the forefront. The U.S. may go in for a different look than Japan or elsewhere, but an American customer, like a Japanese one, wants to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. She’ll appreciate the new breathable AIRism fabric (developed, according to the package, with “Toray Industries Inc.”) for the former, and Uniqlo’s successful Heattech, the product of eight years of development, for the latter. The company sees itself less as a design studio than a laboratory: developing new fibers and fabrics, competing not with other fashion companies so much as with its own past performance. “Uniqlo doesn’t need to change a lot every season,” Takizawa said. He likened its product development more to the incremental upgrades of the iPhone: first the 4, then the 5.

So for the present, Uniqlo will focus on nine categories, both established success stories (stretch denim, affordable cashmere, fleece) and new areas of interest and innovation (silk being key among them). You can expect to see and feel that change in Uniqlo stores come August. But all of this is not to say fashion is being discounted. Nicola Formichetti, who will continue in his role as the company’s creative fashion director even now that he’s been named Diesel’s creative director, styled the presentation of Fall looks to the editorial hilt. (Strong support was provided by Katsuya Kamo, the Japanese hairstylist and milliner who created the headpieces for the presentation; label brass made sure to note that he’s previously worked with Comme des Garçons and Chanel.) And Yuki Katsuta—the head of research and design, who arrived at Uniqlo via Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, and Ralph Lauren—continues to search for designers with whom to collaborate, and new ways in which to do so. He’s just coming off a partnership with his old Bergdorf’s colleague Michael Bastian for a new kind of capsule collection: one limited entirely to one category, the polo shirt. It’s been going gangbusters in Japan, and arrives at U.S. Uniqlo stores later this month.

Photo: Leandro Justen/

The 2013 CFDA Award Nominees and Honorees


The CFDA and Swarovski partnered to reveal the 2013 CFDA Award nominations tonight at an event hosted by CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg and Nadja Swarovski. The nominees for the June 3 event are below, and like last year, the awards will be broadcast on the day following the event. Congratulations to all the nominees and honorees—with an especial nod to our very own Tim Blanks, winner of this year’s Eugenia Sheppard Media Award. If we do say so ourselves, well deserved.

Alexander Wang
Marc Jacobs
Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernadez for Proenza Schouler

Steven Cox and Daniel Silver for Duckie Brown
Michael Bastian
Thom Browne

Phillip Lim for 3.1 Phillip Lim
Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez for Proenza Schouler
Alexander Wang

Shane Gabier and Chris Peters for Creatures of the Wind
Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs for Cushnie et Ochs
Erin Beatty and Max Osterweis for Suno

Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne for Public School
Tim Coppens
Todd Snyder

Irene Neuwirth
Jennifer Meyer
Pamela Love

Vera Wang

Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy

Tim Blanks of

Oscar de la Renta

Colleen Atwood

All-American—With A Quick Detour To Sweden


Gant, the heritage American sportswear label known for its preppy threads, was founded in New Haven, Connecticut, over 60 years ago. Bought by a Swedish company in 1999, Gant has wended into and out of the spotlight, but the progress of the last few years—and the surging of interest in heritage Americana, especially in menswear—has seen the label make strides. The line now comprises three distinct entities, the namesake label, a special collection designed by CFDA Award-winner Michael Bastian, and the sportier Gant Rugger.

The world—not just America—is taking notice. Three new stores opened in the U.S. last year (in Boston, L.A., and Georgetown), following a year of investment in New York, where the longtime Fifth Avenue flagship was fully renovated and a new Bleecker Street boutique added. This, plus a subtle update to the label’s design vision has, according to reps, resulted in a doubling of U.S. sales figures. In 2013, plans are in order for locations in London, Stockholm, and Paris’ Le Marais.

2012 proved to be a year of firsts and new starts. Christopher Bastin, the Swedish creative director of Gant Rugger, took the reins at Gant as well. A new, super-charged campaign for Spring ’13 (above) will debut in the new year, with a lineup of talent more often associated with major European fashion houses: art direction by Baron & Baron, photography by Mikael Jansson, and styling by Joe McKenna. “We felt that Baron + Baron could give us a fresh perspective,” Bastin said, “But we know who we are and where we come from. I knew it would be foolish to rush things. American sportswear is about style, not fashion, so there are gentle shifts.”

And what of his Swedish background—has being immersed in Gant’s all-American archive given the creative director, well, a touch of Stockholm Syndrome? “I’m not a big fan of typical Scandinavian minimalistic aesthetics,” Bastin said. “I can appreciate the simplicity, but it’s not me. In my next life, I want to graduate from Yale and live in Vinegar Hill.”

Photo:Courtesy of Gant

Designers Get Behind The Lens For Project Paz


Since its inception three years ago, Project Paz’s annual Project Art charity event has roped in a strong legion of designers to contribute to its cause. This year is no different—the likes of Tory Burch, Joseph Altuzarra, Narciso Rodriguez, Proenza Schouler, Michael Bastian, Rag & Bone, and Carolina Herrera have all shot one-of-a-kind photos to be auctioned at the gala in New York next month, with the proceeds going to help raise money for children who are victims of violence in Juarez, Mexico. The only guideline given to the designers for the image: Take a picture that reflects what you think of Mexico. Here, has an exclusive first look at some of the shots by Rodriguez (pictured, below), Prabal Gurung (pictured, left), and Derek Lam (pictured, below). “I love carnation flowers,” Lam tells, in reference to his piece. “They are ornate, over-the-top beautiful, optimistic flowers. They are full of life, like Mexico and her people.”

Tickets to the November 5 Project Paz benefit can be purchased at .

Photos: Prabal Gurung; Narciso Rodriguez; Derek Lam; Courtesy of Project Paz