Perhaps it’s not surprising that military influences suffused Oak’s fall collection. Founders and designers Jeff Madalena and Louis Terline have recently emerged from what Terline calls “a huge legal battle” — namely, regaining control of their label and specialty stores from American Apparel, which after purchasing it in 2013, wanted to liquidate the inventory. “This season has a lot to do of what we were going through last year,” Terline said. “We just bought the company back.”
Indeed, the near-identical styles for men and women — Oak is big on the unisex concept — seemed ready for war, albeit an elegant one. They included oversize army coats in wool-cashmere blends, cutout and tied-on sweatpants, exaggerated peacoats and aviator bomber jackets in “slightly off proportions.” All passed muster, though we’re not sure a bifurcated black leather skirt of disparate length was exactly regulation garb. Blacks, navy and olive drab tones predominated, with white and other light hues provided by the plethora of “perfect Ts and basics.”
Clearly, though, it’s the covering garb that the designers consider most important in a wardrobe. “New Yorkers are all about the outerwear,” maintained Terline. “You can have a couple of Ts, the same jeans, but the coat is what changes.”
Could be the key to a winning campaign.