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New York Fashion Week: Riviera Club finds fertile ground in Napa Valley

February 13, 2011 |  8:45 pm

Riviera Club
On Friday, a few hours after a trip to the summit of Half Dome with N. Hoolywood, another menswear line took me into the vineyards of the fertile Napa Valley.

The label was year-old Santa Monica-based Riviera Club, designed by Joe Sadler, Derek Buse and Greg Ullery, which was one of the six finalists in GQ's 2011 "Best New Menswear Designer in America" competition (earlier in the day, the magazine announced that Alexander Wang had won that accolade for his T by Alexander Wang line).

 "We took wine-tasting trips to the Napa Valley and the Santa Ynez Valley and there was something about

these men working with their hands in the vineyards that really made an impression on us," Ullery told me. "So we started doing some research and ended up finding a lot of stuff in the archives of the Napa Riviera_club County Historical Society."

The result, presented in a harvest-dinner-themed tableaux of 19 looks, melded the denim, thermals and flannel shirts of the fieldworker with the Fair Isle sweaters, herringbone tweed jackets and corduroy trousers of the gentleman vintner in a color palette heavy on the gray and blue hues with pops of royal blue and mustard yellow. (One particularly eye-catching piece was a tweed jacket with contrasting lapels in oversize herringbone.)

The presentation also included a brushed plaid driver's cap and a fur-lined trapper's hat that are part of a collaboration with storied hat maker Stetson. During the presentation I told Stetson's chief executive, Pamela Fields, that I understood the upside of such a partnership for a young up-and-coming label like Riviera Club but wanted to know what the appeal was for a legacy brand like Stetson.

"I call it flannel pajama syndrome," Fields said. "It's what happens when you marry a beautiful woman and over time you start to take her for granted and you just see her as a woman in comfy flannel pajamas. You need to remind yourself there's a hot body underneath."

Fields gestured toward the harvest dinner table surrounded by models clad in Riviera Club's fall-winter wares. "This is our hot body."

-- Adam Tschorn in New York

Photos: Looks from the Riviera Club fall-winter 2011 menswear presentation on Friday during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Dan Lecca