Michael Bastian Shows S/S 2017 Collection

Michael Bastian has had a lot on his mind this year: consider the importance of Miles Davis, Hamilton actor Sydney Harcourt, and MB’s new Gray Label alone.  S/S 2017 features a brilliant collection of highly-desirable, always-classic clothes.  Yes, the Bastian touch remains the same.

The Lurex Bastian used–here in the form of a Lurex intarsia trumpet on a navy cashmere sweater–was subtle but unmistakably part of MB’s mission to make Lurex acceptable to men.  Gentlemen, take note.

Some favorites:

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Michael Bastian Lauded For Modern Spin

From Barrons:

A Modern Spin to Classic American Menswear
Michael Bastian’s witty twists appeal to conservative guyson-bs412_fashio_m_20160607124143

In the past decade, Michael Bastian has become one of the leading American menswear designers of his generation, revered for applying a modern spin to classic American apparel. Remember that Champion sweatshirt you couldn’t part with in college? In Bastian’s hands, it becomes a masculine gray cashmere crew neck, albeit with a $950 price tag that few college students can afford.

Bastian’s “new American” motif has won fans around the world because his clothes are deftly styled, gimmick-free, and easy to wear, with an emphasis on fit and feel. “Men want to look like themselves, only a little bit better,” says the 50-year-old designer. “You should always see the guy before the clothes.”

In many ways, Bastian’s clothes personify the designer. Trim, tall, and silver-haired, with preppy good looks, Bastian finds inspiration in his own closet, among clothes old and new, and he serves as his own model during the design process. “I often think, ‘What would I want myself that I don’t have?’ ”

His spring line, now in stores, includes a striking reinterpretation of that fall staple, the glen-plaid suit. Bastian’s version ($2,290) is made of cotton and linen, and the jacket is graced with unusual dark horn buttons and light-brown suede elbow patches, which stand out against the blue-and-cream fabric. Bastian seamlessly mixes fabrics and patterns in his latest collection. A navy-blue and red windowpane double-breasted suit ($2,645) pairs beautifully, for example, with a short-sleeved denim shirt ($365) and a red paisley cotton tie ($145). The unstructured, featherweight flax jacket breathes perfectly on a hot summer day.

Bastian’s pairing of a black-green jacquard-leaf dinner jacket ($1,695), black bow tie, and pleated evening shirt in light-blue chambray cotton ($485) also makes a powerful statement. His sophisticated reinterpretation of a camouflage print, inspired by the banana-leaf wallpaper at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, shows up in everything from safari jackets to chinos.

But Bastian’s button-downs are in a class of their own. He favors a high collar stance, double-barrel cuffs, and mother-of-pearl buttons. Check out the hand-gathered shoulder vents, rear shoulder pleats, and waist darts, all of which make for a slimming V-line silhouette, no matter your body type.

“There is a void in the market when it comes to fit,” says Jim Moore, creative director at GQ. “When you put on a suit or shirt of Michael’s, the fit and workmanship are perfect.”

Bastian was born in Lyons, N.Y., an upstate farming hamlet near Lake Ontario. He says he’s cut from the same sartorial cloth as his father, a former high school history teacher and basketball coach who favored blue jeans, a flannel shirt, tie, and down vest. “I can’t believe I’m even sitting here having this conversation,” he says, reflecting on his upbringing. “What random series of events got me here? I never thought I’d be a designer.”

After graduating from Babson College in 1987, he bypassed Wall Street and instead took a series of jobs in New York at Abraham & Strauss, Sotheby’s, Tiffany, and Ralph Lauren. He was later recruited by Robert Burke, then Bergdorf Goodman’s VP fashion director, to become the store’s new director of men’s fashions.

“Michael has an incredible eye,” says Burke, who now heads his own consulting firm, Robert Burke Associates. “I saw that even before we worked together.” After five years at Bergdorf, Bastian got the itch to design a perfect pair of khakis, and struck out on his own. His collections were a huge hit; his “golden shorts”—a tongue-in-cheek reference to their $600 price tag—created a publicity furor.

Six years ago, the designer ended his licensing agreement with the Italian luxury-menswear company Brunello Cucinelli, which allowed him to lower his retail prices by at least 20%, after his operations became more efficient and cut production costs. Similarly, Bastian believes that men should buy less, but buy better.

Steven Kolb, president and CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, rightly observes that Bastian is for “a conservative guy” who is “comfortable in his clothes” and yet still wants to feel “some personality, too.”

That’s Bastian, a designer who works with just five employees in a 1,000-square-foot studio in New York’s Chelsea district, while his coveted brand sells in high-end specialty shops and department stores across North America and overseas.

Expansion is in the cards. In January, Bluestar Alliance, a privately owned brand-management company, acquired a majority interest in Bastian’s firm and plans to develop a more-affordable department-store line. “The 25- to 50-year-old man is constantly looking for newness,” says Ralph Gindi, Bluestar’s president and chief operating officer. “There is a void for a young contemporary designer. Michael is exactly that designer.”

Tim Flannery, a creative director in the fashion industry who regularly wears Bastian, appreciates the label’s wit, like the tiny owls woven into the silk lining of herringbone trousers, and yet notes that “there’s a connective thing that makes all his clothing work together.”

Bastian, in short, taps an American essence, and then makes it distinctly his own.

Michael Bastian Named Designer All-Star

From here:

It took a decade to bring you this much awesomeness. Every year since 2007, GQ has anointed the Best New Menswear Designers in America. But for our tenth anniversary, we did even more: invited our four favorites back to create special capsule collections that’ll be sold (for a hot second, at least) at Gap stores this fall. And the best of the best are…

The King of Suave > Michael Bastian

Established: 2006
GQ class of: 2007, 2011
Hometown: New York City

• 2005: Bastian peaces out as men’s fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman to follow a dream: launching his own Italian-made brand of “menswear building blocks at a luxury level.” Good idea: He soon wins his first GQ Best New Menswear Designer award.

• 2010: Starts a four-year run designing a Gant line infused with Wes Anderson whimsy. He then wins a second BNMDA nod, the only man to ever repeat.

• 2013: For Uniqlo, designs polo shirts with pocket flaps and quirky prints—the first (and only) time we’ve wanted to wear the waving Japanese “lucky cat.”

• 2016: His hundred-piece namesake line includes everything from gym clothes to formalwear—so the Gap collection, at maybe a dozen pieces, ought to be easy…right? “It’s a great challenge,” Bastian tells us. “It’s the difference between a novel and a good short story. They’re equally powerful.”

Much credit to the other All-Stars (Saturdays NYC, John Elliott, and Steven Alan) as My Affair helps celebrate MB’s versatility in design; commitment to quality; and overall ingenuity.

hugmb
#Winning

Michael Bastian Sells Majority Stake In Label

Several outlets are reporting that MB has sold a majority stake in his label to one Bluestar Alliance LLC. Indeed:

The first fashion industry M&A of the year is here! Bluestar Alliance LLC has announced that is will acquire a “significant interest” in the Michael Bastian brand for an undisclosed amount. . .

Bluestar, which was founded in 2007 by Joseph Gabbay and Ralph Gindi, owns, manages and markets a growing portfolio of consumer brands including Catherine Malandrino, Kensie, and Harve Bernard, purchased the “majority of the intellectual property” of the label. . .

The designer will retain a key portion of the business and will remain in complete control of the luxury portion of the label. WWD notes [that the] new joint venture–MB Brand Holdings LLC–will expand the Michael Bastian footprint into mid-level retailers with a line of licensed tailored clothing and sportswear before the end of this year” . . . .

Congratulations!