Tuesday, February 16, 2010

God Is In The Details

Howdy Everyone!

So fashion week is upon us here in NYC and I am happy that my own show is behind me!  As usual I am a bit post-show pooped, but thrilled with the experience and what I was able to convey in just a few minutes  (shows these days last about 7 minutes or so…).  The show took place during the biggest snowstorm of the year (wouldn’t you know) in a gorgeous warehouse space in Tribeca.  It was an amazing night and the snow added to the mood of the collection, which had an outdoorsy, wintry theme.

I entitled this entry “God is in the Details” because I wanted to highlight the details of my collection and how these ideas and design features often go unnoticed when a show is in full flight.  Designing a collection is an incredible challenge. Not only do you have to figure out what fabrics you are going to use and in what colors and patterns, but you also have to decide on what details are going to make or break a garment, and how these small ideas are going to add up in the long run.  I opened my show with a gorgeous sweeping double-breasted coat cut to the calf.  The model was actually over 6’3” and was the perfect guy to sport the look.  I finished the back of the coat with a few pleats to gather at the waist and a back belt. With such volume (4 yards of fabric altogether), this coat needed to have some expression at the waist in order to balance the longer coat length.

This is going to be my most expensive piece in the collection (by far) but one of the favorites of the editors and buyers who braved the elements to attend the show.

Also, when designing I tend to be drawn to the play of textures and how fabrics will work together.  For my first girl’s look (I re-introduced women’s after a ten year absence!),  I wanted to make a chocolate brown statement but in varying shades and textures.  The effect is one of my fav’s!  I love the plaid on tweed on tartan on a redhead feeling.

While many are familiar with my design aesthetic for men (i.e.: Butch/Masculine/Rugged and “total guy”),  I wanted to establish a strong identity for the JB woman right out of the gate.  For me, nothing is sexier than a woman in men’s clothing.  She can exude the confidence and power that is historically associated with men while feeling every bit a woman.  I love this next image of a tweed shrunken vest, paired with a plaid tartan shirt, a beaten up old belt and an elbow length driving glove.  Sexy huh?  To me, it is the details that make this outfit ultra-femme, although all of the components are borrowed from the guy in her life.

I love working in leather and this season has been a big one for black leather, in particular.  Black leather connotes a harder edge, which is why I also offered a softer loden green that reminded me of traditional lederhosen and other “Sound Of Music-y” references.  For years I have designed and sold leather jeans, but I wanted to do something a bit more military in feel.  I added button-up belt loops to these leather “chinos” and paired it with a groovy striped merino turtleneck, perfect for an après ski alpine moment.

And speaking of alpine influence, I had the wonderful opportunity to work with the historic shoe and boot company Frye.  Besides their incredibly iconic boots that are a hipster mainstay, they also produce super sexy hiking boots, which went perfectly with my khaki cropped jodhpurs.  You can also see the subtle seaming of the pant leg that helps contour the shape of the pant and accentuate the calf, which is one of most guy’s sexiest features (at least to me).

From the images, it may appear that the collection is quite neutral in palette.  But hits of color go a long way, and I wanted to introduce accents of imperial purple and electric blue.  Cashmere takes color exceptionally well and so I did this wonderful tri-color v-neck in Scottish cashmere (the back is another color altogether!)  I love how the astrakhan grey band at the waist joins the grey check of the pant to the purple body of the sweater.

And while most “hard pieces” (what peeps in the industry call tailored jackets and coats) are made up in charcoals and browns, I also wanted to inject color by way of the accessories.  For example, I accessorized a dark grey check tailored blazer with an electric blue “Sam Brown” belt.  Normally these belts, that cross the shoulder, come only in black and are traditionally part of a military or police uniform.  But here in electric blue leather, I think the whole outfit goes to another level altogether.  I love how the blue leather plays against the purple shirt and tie combo and how all of these hues work nicely with the grey check in the jacket.

I wanted to point out these smaller details, as they are critical to the ultimate customer’s decision making when buying a garment.  Fashion shows are wonderful (albeit expensive) opportunities for a designer to showcase his or her vision.  But rarely are the tiny details that go into making a garment seen while an Amazon model is strutting past you on the catwalk.  God is indeed in the details and “she” creates those little extras that the wearer will treasure for years to come (one hopes at least)


  1. Loved the details. I certainly "felt" them in the speed of the show. But getting the chance to focus on them, with your enthusiasm for them, is a real treat. Thanks, JB! By the way, that coat at the beginning is a geometric wow!

  2. Again, I must say that your Collection was by far one of the best of the season. Looking at these images brings it all back. I'm loving/wanting the loden chinos. They are so very MOI! Bravo John. God was in the details, alright. He was also in the snow and ice, because it brought everyone to your door to find refuge and a very exciting and satisfying experience.
    Eric and Fluff