NEW YORK — Brooks Brothers is getting ready to hit the beach.
The retailer turned to sea, surf and sun as inspiration this season, channeling Ernest Hemingway and other intellectuals of the Twenties through the Fifties for its men’s and women’s spring collections.
“We were inspired by great American authors,” said Lou Amendola, chief merchandising officer, and visualized them “lounging around writing books.”
The prevailing color for the collection was white and variations such as off-white and sand with tropical blues, greens and citron mixed in for contrast.
“One of the big trends in men’s is colored bottoms,” he said, pointing to slim five-pocket styles in coral and fine-wale corduroy in blue. All different scales of plaid were offered in shirts, and lightweight cardigans were layered over corduroys or swim trunks. Seersucker and madras were also prevalent as an overall or in subtle detailing on the inside of the garments. Gingham and patchwork patterns were also offered.
In tailored clothing, the easy feeling of the season was evident in the chambray suits, plaid pants, herringbone jackets and knit ties.
In women’s wear, the season is all about the dress. “The women’s wear is very streamlined and chic with subtle embellishments,” Amendola said. “And there’s a real return of the dress for work, play and evening.” The retailer also believes in tunics or lightweight knits worn over shorts.
In the Black Fleece by Brooks Brothers collection, designer Thom Browne continued to remain true to the Brooks Brothers sensibility, but with updates in shape and proportion. Using classic fabrics such as seersucker, silk shantung, embroideries and textured woven tulle, the women’s collection included heavy embroidery layered over seersucker, a lattice rope embroidery layered over a silk stripe and the layering of silk plaids. Preppy nautical themes such as the use of rope and braided details, gold buttons and a new flag print inspired by a vintage scarf were also offered. Key colors were gray, red, white, blue, coral and black.
The men’s offering included classic seersucker jackets and Bermuda shorts, as well as a mismatched wool suit with light gray jacket and dark gray trousers, shown with a light gray Chesterfield overcoat.
“It’s not about the suit anymore,” Amendola said. “The focus now is on the jacket.”
The formalwear component of the Black Fleece collection included a dress with a sleeveless pleated bodice and A-line skirt for women and an ivory silk herringbone dinner jacket for men.
“These are iconic Brooks Brothers staples, but taken to a new level,” Amendola said.
He revealed that after a slow start, the women’s wear portion of the Black Fleece collection has grown to represent about 45 percent of sales. “It’s the fastest-growing part of the business,” he said.