Those menswear runway shows everyone likes to look at each season sure are pretty, but sometimes represent only a fraction of the goods that end up on store shelves. The rest is comprised of pre-collections that are meant to keep racks stocked with new product and fill in any design holes, so to speak, the flashier stuff doesn’t cover. We’re happy to report that GANT by Michael Bastian is joining this cycle, issuing the line’s first pre-fall collection. That means more new GANT and Basty goodness the whole year-round. The small capsule collection, separate from the Fall 2012 line, is inspired by Napa Valley and features early autumn essentials like flannel check shirts and a killer yoke-detailed down vest. We caught up with Bastian, one of the busiest guys in the game, to get his take on taking on yet another season.
The line is inspired by Napa Valley. Is there a recent trip you took to the region that inspired you? Or have you looked to the area for inspiration before?
I always like to have a specific guy in mind when I design a collection, or a version of my type of guy, and for this pre-fall collection the idea was a cool guy who works on a vineyard in Napa. I’ve been wanting to do something based on San Francisco for a long time, and I was telling my team how one of my favorite things is to rent a convertible when I’m there and drive out to Napa for a day. Somehow as you’re going over the Golden Gate Bridge everything changes– the fog lifts, you smell the eucalyptus and the sun seems to come out. Napa can feel like the most special place in the world and we wanted to capture a bit of that.
The GANT by Michael Bastian line has evolved so much in just a few seasons. Do you feel as though you’ve hit your stride with it?
Yeah. I think I’m relaxing into the job a bit more with these last few collections and they’re getting stronger because of it. In the beginning I always thought of my GANT stuff as the little brother to our designer line, but the more I get into it, the more I feel I may be talking to the same guy with both collections– their attitudes are getting closer. I know I personally wear both lines all mixed together, so they seem to me at least to be complementing each other.
What was behind the decision to launch a pre-fall collection for GANT by Michael Bastian? Was it in response to customer demand?
It was both a business decision (you’ve gotta keep the selling floors full these days with new stuff) and a personal one; I’ve always wanted to try my hand at these smaller in-between collections.
Does designing a pre-fall collection differ in any way from how you might approach one for Spring or Fall?
It’s different in that it’s more concentrated. We’re telling a nice, concise story with maybe forty pieces instead of 200. With the big seasonal collections we really try to take you on a trip, but these smaller in-between ones are the equivalent of a great weekend getaway.
What’s your favorite piece from the pre-fall collection?
There’s a pale gray washed corduroy blazer lined in a wine-colored bandana print that has my name all over it.