NEW YORK -- Stefan Miljanic, Gilded Age’s principal designer and creative director, presented his fall and winter 2014 menswear collection here Wednesday at the 124 Front St. space that was set to open Friday as the brand’s first standalone boutique.
The inspiration: Miljanic’s “Dark Was the Night” collection was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. Why Poe? “He wasn’t just in a league of his own in poetry and literature,” Miiljanic told us, “but he was also the inspiration for the Symbolist and the Surrealist movements too.”
The look: That translated, as one might expect, into a collection rooted in inky blacks, dark blues and dusky shades of olive with accent colors in dark purples and wine reds (from a cask of amontillado, we imagine). Denim was overdyed to be darker than dark and T-shirts bore snippets of Poe prose in ink-splatter longhand. The Goth-luxe effect was heightened by the black, beaked masks worn by some of the models.
Although Gilded Age is a brand rooted in the retro-menswear niche (the coin-sized metal outwear buttons are handmade to look like vintage coins, for example), many of the prevailing menswear trends could be seen in the fall and winter collection -- including the high-end take on the sweatpant, soft, casual trousers with a drawstring waistband and elasticized at the ankle.
Of note: Starting with fall 2014, Gilded Age is grouping its ultra-high-end denim in a sub-collection called Annuit Coeptis that uses Japanese selvage denim made using Zimbabwean cotton and natural indigo to make handcradfted pairs of jeans. Expect a steep price tag for all that name-dropping -- the “Art of Denim” jeans presented as part of the fall collection, for example, will set a denimhead back a cool $2,000 (in all fairness, they were hand-painted by Miljanic, a project that took him five days to complete.)
The verdict: Yes, if Poe were alive today, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to imagine him stepping out into the dark of night sporting one of the collection’s chunky cashmere blend sweaters, boiled wool hoodies or leather bomber jackets.
But those $2,000 jeans? Quoth the raven, “Not so much.”