New York Fashion Week Spring ’12. Libertine’s Artful Spirit

February 9, 2012 • Fashion Blog, Fashion Shows, New York Fashion Week Fall '12

Summary: New York is a global fashion capital, but the land of clean lines, basics, and classic American sportswear is not usually renowned for its artful extravagance. In that regard, Johnson Hartig’s Libertine, which has only been back at New York Fashion Week for three seasons, is always one of my very favorite shows of the season.

Hartig’s conceit is resonant and vivid: he always experiments with outrageous bursts of color and pattern, and sometimes even a social message (like the “Tax The Rich” slogans which were emblazoned across tees and jackets last season.) But with each collection, Hartig’s variance in technique, form and shape imbue his designs with excitement, delight and passion — it’s difficult not to be blown away.

This season was no exception. Following a primarily black and white palette from SS12, Libertine’s fall collection explored all new approaches to embellishment. Hand-beaded branches crawled across sheer blouses and creeped down the sleeves and fronts of gorgeous, luscious A-line jackets. Hand-sewn metallic paillettes glittered in a rainbow of hues amidst nearly every look. More than artful, this meticulous attention to detail also communicated Hartig’s signature wit: skulls and crossbones quickly became a theme, alongside various patterns of geometric shapes and the word “Lib.”

Some say Hartig doesn’t take fashion, or his designs, seriously enough. I say, in a world filled with the same jersey draping, politely slouchy trousers, and a parade of trends that rarely differ from season to season, Hartig is serious about fashion in a way that resonates much differently than many of his fellow designers. The models took their final “walk” down the runway as a laughing group of friends, holding hands and dancing to the music — you couldn’t help but delight in it all. Fashion should inspire you, it should rejuvenate and reflect the current moment. With Libertine, this is done masterfully and with the utmost sense of emotion and vitality. Keep it up, Hartig. Fashion needs your revival of spirit.

Colors: Black, fuchsia, neon yellow, red, cream, royal blue, chocolate brown, forest green, orange, rose pink, golden yellow, cornflower blue, burgundy, blue-grey, forest green, gold, metallic, mustard, eggplant.

Fabrics and Textures: Lace, stripes, puff sleeves, metallic paillettes, hand beading, sheer, velvet, brocade, plaid, tweed, slate, knit, wool, leather, fur, metallic, houndstooth, asymmetry.

Key Looks: Cream knit eyelet knee-length skirt, sheer, see-through black button-up shirt with hand-beaded embroidered branches and metallic blue paillettes; Patchwork ankle-length brown and cream skirt with metallic pailletes, deep green embellished crop top, with a black waist-length cape and embroidered skull and crossbones; Black, high-necked, A-line coat with 3/4-length sleeves and hand-beaded white branch embroidery.

— Amanda Aldinger


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