All The Rage

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Bastian gets religion -- and more -- south of the border

September 17, 2009 |  7:35 am

Bastian_group NEW YORK -- After staging presentations for the last few seasons, Michael Bastian staged a full-fledged runway show for Spring/Summer 2010. "We have so many clothes we decided we really wanted to show them all," he told me afterward.

That made the 53 men's looks that came down the catwalk a lot to process -- running the gamut from canvas surf shorts to shawl collar dinner jackets -- and a lot of the detail that makes Bastian's collections so enjoyable in danger of being lost in the shuffle (but I suppose that's what show notes and re-see appointments are all about).

This time out those details included accessories like brass railroad spike cuffs and Guadalupe medallion necklaces (both by Giles & Brother by Philip Crangi for Michael Bastian) and specially made Stubbs & Wootton slippers in camouflage, allover seagull embroidery and an Argentine sunburst embroidery, all three designs also appearing on clothing ion the collection.

There were tones of the season's overarching sense of optimism in the collection, though Bastian's was a more soulful, restrained take.

"I was inspired by Latin America and Latin American men in particular," he said backstage. "The way they sometimes can look super put together and other times they can look Rage_BASTIAN2 super vain."

The designer said it was a fitting theme for a line of classic American menswear manufactured in Italy. "People have been saying my collection looks very European, and I figured Latin America was a blend of American and European."

The result was a wide-ranging casual-yet-elegant wardrobe  flecked with religious motifs -- the virgin of Guadalupe printed on some shirts, the word "milagroso" ("miraculous") appliqued to the front of others, the religious medallion necklaces worn as bracelets.

There were also military references, a perennial menswear motif, with the aforementioned camouflage on slippers and shorts, navy pea coats, military-style caps in denim and military wrap cardigans in cashmere.

Oh, and did I mention there were also suits in seersucker, and gray linen glen plaid, corduroy cutoff shorts, and denim, pink oxford button-front shirts and a yellow "Paddington" raincoat?

When the models stood as a group at the top of the runway for the show finale, Bastian's vision was clear. Like Patricia Barber's bluesy-cool version of the Doors' tune "Light My Fire" that played on the soundtrack, he was serving up the most familiar things we know -- preppy wear -- in a most unexpected way.

It made for one of the most memorable shows of the week.

-- Adam Tschorn

Michael  Bastian Spring/Summer 2010 Photo Gallery

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Photos: (Top) The finale of Michael Bastian's Latin American-inspired first full-fledged runway show, on Sept. 14, 2009, during New York Fashion Week. (Bottom) A model on the runway in a rugby shirt with embroidered Argentine sunburst design and wide-wale corduroy shorts with all-over seagull embroidery. Credit: Peter Stigter and Jonas Gustavsson / For The Times.