A Ralph Lauren alumnus strikes out on his own, Ghurka retools and a documentarian designs a collection inspired by the society set. Highlights from the upcoming January market.

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Black Sweater is a tailored clothing line launched last spring by Jamie Johnson, the documentary filmmaker known for revealing the philosophies and foibles of his moneyed peers. The upscale collection of suits, blazers, dress shirts and knits is currently sold in Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster and the shop of the Jupiter Island Club in Florida.

That latter retail location is apt, as the label is named for a quaint story from the resort island. Permelia Reed, the founder of the Jupiter Island Club, was known for sending a disapproving black cashmere sweater to anyone who conducted themselves scandalously in her eyes.

“It’s a fun story about this notion of irreverence, and this brand is an extension of that patrician aesthetic of American luxury,” explained Johnson, who directed the films “Born Rich” and “The One Percent” for HBO. He’s currently working on another film about the decline of the Protestant establishment in the U.S.

The fall Black Sweater collection will be shown at Project and includes a midnight blue corduroy tuxedo, a gray suit with a hand-stitched shooting patch on the shoulder and a sport coat inspired by the uniform of the Knickerbocker Greys, the children’s cadet corps of the Park Avenue Armory. Shirts are fashioned from English broadcloth with piqué accents on the plackets.

Of course, there are black sweaters in cashmere — along with cream, navy and tan — in the collection, embroidered with a tennis-player icon, which retail for $685. The suits retail for $2,200 to $2,300, blazers for $1,200 to $1,500 and shirts for $285.

“It’s classic men’s wear with an emphasis on the formal and luxury,” summed up Johnson. “It’s an extension of the world I cover in my films.”


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