Michael Bastian Featured In Conservative Herald

From the Boston Herald:

Bastian of good taste
Boston inspires designer’s new collection

Boston, meet your biggest fan. Designer Michael Bastian hasn’t lived here since graduating Babson College nearly 25 years ago, but his heart still beats for Beantown — just check out his fall collection for Gant. “If you mention Boston at a dinner party, you see eyes misting over. You can’t help being a little emotional about it. It’s a lot of people’s second home,” said Bastian, in a telephone interview from his New York studio.

The 46-year-old will be in town next month to host the opening of Gant’s first Hub store (324 Newbury St.), and to celebrate the Boston-inspired collection of army parkas, shrunken tweed blazers and skinny black jeans.

“I wanted to go back and explore that really cool time deep in the Reagan 80s. It was such a preppy time, and a music revival, the second wave of mod,” he said.

Bastian has fond memories of youthful nights spent finding a way to get downtown from the ’burbs to hit nightclubs like Spit and Buddies.

“That’s why Boston never lost its magic for us. We were never in the middle of it all the time. It was kind of a big deal to get in,” he said.

Dressing for his weekly dance party (English Beat, the Style Council and the Specials), Bastian loved mixing his Polar fleece and L.L. Bean with black loafers and white socks, an idea he mashed up to create Gant’s fall line. The ad campaign was shot, in part, at Union Oyster House on Boston’s Freedom Trail.

“I’ve got this theory about Boston. It has a split personality in a way. People think about it as a classically conservative, historical city. Then the population turns itself over every six months with new ideas and people from all over the world,” he said.

Every piece in the collection comes with a lucky coin, inspired by Bastian’s affection for the city’s Irish-Catholic community.

“Every other friend I had had a shamrock tattoo hidden on their body,” he said, of the four-leaf clover coin attached to the Gant hangtag. “You get a little bit of Boston luck to carry with you.”

And Bastian, who was awarded the menswear designer of the year award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America last year, has had enough good fortune to charm even the most cynical Bostonian.

“I grew up always going to the North Shore, Wingaersheek Beach with my family. Boston is my second city. It’s not where I’m from or where I live,” he said. “(But) it’s in my heart.”