"Go West, young man," the bit of Manifest Destiny advice attributed to Horace Greeley, seemed to be resonating with Band of Outsiders creative director Scott Sternberg whose collection headed due West -- and jogged South across the border -- for Fall and Winter 2012.
"Yes, it's the Great Plains and the great West, and a little bit of Mexico City," Sternberg said post-show. "So it's kind of spaghetti western. For the men, especially, it was definitely time to go to that sort of western place."
And go there he did, mixing degradé hickory stripe denim trousers, zip-front hoodies with Cowichan style patterns and cotton and leather duster coats and leather work boots in with the more prep-inspired Oxford shirts, corduroy trousers, double-breasted sweater blazers and peacoats.
The two women's collections, Boy by Band of Outsiders and Girl by Band of Outsiders stayed with that theme albeit a shade more subtly. For Girl that meant filling the runway with prairie-appropriate wool gauze dresses, boiled wool blanket coats and silk chiffon blouses covered in various rosebud prints, with a feather print cropping up several denim pieces and silk blouses as well.
Although the Boy collection seemed more content to stay back in the big city and play dress up, it actually managed to move into new territory by offering a selection of evening wear -- an area the women's side of the brand hasn't explored as much.
Memorable pieces included elegant fox fur scarves and vests, silk crepe de chine and silk satin shawl collared dresses and jumpsuits and the suspender halter-top silk crepe de chine dress (paired with leather work boots) that closed the show.
Both the men's and women's collections included several versions of the one-piece work suit -- versions of which seem to pop up on the runways every once in awhile. Sternberg's take, some in the aforementioned hickory stripe denim, others in feather-print denim managed to actually look wearable. In fact Sternberg himself was wearing one when we caught up with him after the show.
"It's so comfortable I never want to get out of it," he told us, before explaining that the inspiration for the one-piece came from his research. "It's a traditional work suit I saw in photographs by Sebastião Salgado -- a photographer who took pictures of all those workers and who always seemed to come up [in my research]. And I just felt it was part of my cowboy."
We couldn't agree more.
-- Adam Tschorn in New York
Photos: Looks from the Band of Outsiders and Boy by Band of Outsiders runway collection, shown on February 11, 2012, during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Neilson Barnard / Getty Images