New York Fashion Week: Michael Bastian scores with lacrosse-themed sportswear collection for Gant


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For the debut Gant by Michael Bastian collection, aimed at what the designer envisions as the more casual ‘younger brother’ of his existing customer, Bastian chose a lacrosse motif.

What’s that? Not familiar with one of the oldest team sports in the Americas?

Neither was Bastian, who told me at the fall/winter 2010 presentation (appropriately enough staged at St. Anthony’s Memorial Gym in New York’s SoHo district) that he’d never played it -- or even attended a school that fielded a team.


He said the inspiration actually came last year after reading a New Yorker article on the game (I’m guessing it’s this one), which has its roots in the Huron and Iroquois Native American nations.

‘It’s a perfect fit for a brand with Gant’s sporting heritage,’ he said. ‘It’s under-appreciated as a sport, and it’s the real deal.’

And it can’t be denied that it provides an extra tug at the preppy-nostalgic heartstrings of anyone who’s attended one of the mid-Atlantic or New England boarding schools where the sport was a very big deal (including this All The Rager who, despite never personally participating in a high school team sport beyond managing the Vermont Academy girls’ soccer team for three seasons, kept a lacrosse stick with a solid rubber ball in the mesh pocket stowed in the corner of his dorm room).

That long-handled racquet -- technically, it’s called a ‘crosse’-- motif appeared throughout the sportswear collection, on shorts, T-shirts, lace-up rugby shirts and in intarsia sweater designs (there’s even a scarf with a life-size lacrosse stick on it), and is referenced more subtly by way of things like a goal-net pattern printed on a blazer lining.

Heavy on a retro-varsity color palette of faded orange, burgundy and green, the capsule collection includes tailored blazers with soft shoulders and squared-off elbow patches, oxford cloth, poplin and flannel button-front shirts, embroidered corduroys, destroyed denim and chinos. In addition to the aforementioned rugby shirts, the collection features casual pieces like pique polos, thermals and mesh athletic shorts. Outerwear offerings include puffer jackets and peacoats.

The inaugural Gant by Michael Bastian collection is slated to hit retail in August (with prices expected to hammock between Gant’s current wares and Bastian’s designer label), and the collaboration is expected to continue, with both parties already working on the spring/summer 2011 collection. Die-hard fans of prep-school aesthetic can only hope Bastian picks up another similarly inspirational article.


Sailing knots, anyone?

-- Adam Tschorn


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