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NYFW: Libertine's 'Shining' moment

February 23, 2009 |  4:00 pm

Rage_libertine_2 We’re not sure if it was the bitter cold of Manhattan or the idea of a writer going off the deep end with cabin fever, but for some reason it barely surprised us at all that the 1980 horror movie “The Shining" was referenced more than once during New York Fashion Week.

First, at Diesel Black Gold, snippets of movie dialogue were included (along with plaintive cat noises and bits from "Casablanca") that looped as the audience took their seats.
"What will you be drinking, sir?" asks the bartender in one such clip. "Hair of the dog that bit me, Lloyd," replies Jack Nicholson's character.

Then, in a lower Manhattan loft, past the palace guards in red jackets and towering bearskin hats at the elevators, perched on bales of hay were Libertine dresses screen printed with lions and crowd scenes inspired by scenes in the film of the same name.

"I'd never seen the movie before, and I ended up seeing it on a plane," Johnson Hartig told us. "And there was just something about it that inspired me." (Hartig is half of the duo behind the collection of mostly one-off pieces, Cindy Greene is the other.)Rage_libertine2

The macabre "Shining" references and T-shirt bearing the visage of Rasputin that Hartig was wearing notwithstanding, the collection was a brightly colored Anglo-inspired affair, with men's suits and women's blazers in rep stripe tie fabrics, chunky wool flowers and sweaters with intarsia duck hunting scenes.

The face of Queen Elizabeth II, dour lips pursed, adorned several pieces. Others had a "handsome man" print of a nondescript fellow with side-parted hair.

Overall, the artwork that adorned the Libertine collection were a bit softer, rounder and friendlier than the encyclopedic/maritime/cartographic imagery that's been a signature look for the line in past seasons, and been copied all the way down the retail food chain to Forever 21.

It was smart of the designers to switch things up by tapping Eric Ernest Johnson, an L.A. artist and long-time friend of Hartig’s (whose Hancock Park home is full of his artwork).

And there was something just optimistic enough about the overcoats and tweed dresses sprouting colorful hand-painted wool flowers, and the bright rep stripe suits to make us stop typing "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" on the manual typewriter of our mind, and realize a warm and sunny Los Angeles is only a few days away.

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos of Libertine's Fall/Winter 2009 collection collection. Photos by Robert Christensen

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