NEW YORK -- Band of Outsiders creative director Scott Sternberg showed the label's fall 2013 women’s collection Saturday during New York Fashion Week.
Inspiration: "I was listening to early '40s Billie Holiday and sort of researching that era," Sternberg explained backstage after the show. "I was working on [a] men’s Atari [collaboration] for the forthcoming holiday collection, and I didn’t have any prints for my '40s collection, and somehow it seemed very logical to go to Atari for that."
The Look: The '40s vibe was most obvious in the silhouettes of strong-shouldered dresses, wool flannel capes, worsted wool pantsuits and a boiled wool topcoat with patchwork fox fur collar, an effect heightened – literally and figuratively – by tall knit hats that resembled slightly mussed beehive hairdos.
The Atari references were for the most part subtle and might have been missed altogether if not for the distinctive audio clues on the show soundtrack. (Who knew the pew-pew-pew sound of the Asteroids gun firing was so distinctive?). There were cotton poplin shirts with an allover print plucked from the Asteroids game and crepe de chine dresses printed with a key shape.
"That's the key from Adventure that you need to get to win the game,” Sternberg said. "There’s a black-and-white version [in the collection] and a yellow version that's more true to the game."
There were mohair sweaters with intarsia designs culled from Mortal Combat and a range of sartorial shout-outs to games like Air Sea Battle, Warlords, and Asteroids 7800 – the latter evoked by adding a constellation of Swarovski crystals to crepe de chine jumpsuits, wool coats and dresses.
Notable: The Band of Outsiders menswear fall 2013 collection also riffed on game-play of a different kind -- thanks to Sternberg's decision to present it in the unorthodox format: a Manhattan-wide scavenger hunt between two models wearing looks from the collection.The scene: The pre-show vibe was that of an intimate '40s-era music club – thanks to subdued blue lights, swirling smoke and a jazz soundtrack – which was augmented, during the run-of-show, with sound effects plucked from classic Atari video games.
The verdict: It's hard to imagine that the mashed-up inspirations of '40s-era Billie Holiday and '70s-era Atari video games would result in anything remotely wearable, but Sternberg and company created a wearable and classy-looking collection. Their efforts here earn them the right to joystick the BOO initials into the high-scorers screen of this season’s fashion arcade game.