Michael Bastian’s preppy guy took a trip to the Lower East Side this season, with a burst of Goth and grunge influences opening his show. Coated denim, flannel shirts, frayed-edge shorts over thermal long johns and even raccoon tails were layered on the models, who sauntered out with kohl-rimmed eyes and heavy boots. The effect was heightened by milliner Eugenia Kim’s brooding, wide-brimmed fedoras, not to mention the show’s locale, a darkened and dilapidated ballroom in the Hotel Pennsylvania. True, the punk effects were mostly styling tricks, and Bastian’s classic signatures like patterned suits, Fair Isle knits and toggle coats were still there, but it was an engaging evolution of the designer’s look.
Yet the flirtation with the darker side was short-lived and the show shifted back to familiar territory with updated takes on dinner jackets, gingham shirts and velvet slippers. You can take the Bastian guy downtown, but you can’t take the uptown out of him.