Here in Vermont, we're aesthetically as far removed from the fashion capitals of the world as you can get. You're about as likely to see grease-stained Carhartts and duct-tape-covered puff coats cruising down the runways of Paris or Milan as you are to spot an albino moose (which will be never, since a hunter shot the only one in the state last year). Sure, we can boast a fashionable few in our ranks. For the most part, though, our sartorial selections lean more toward carpentry than couture.
But at a recent show during New York's Fashion Week (currently in progress), the Green Mountains made a stand. No more will our functional fashions be relegated to dairy trade publications and logging calendars. After Saturday's Gant by Michael Bastian show, our style is poised to be the toast of the town. Or at least not lampooned for silly things such as mismatched buttons, homemade patches or our liberal mixing of different plaids.
That's because the Gant by Michael Bastian Fall/Winter 2011 collection was completely inspired by Vermont. Or the mythical Vermont that exists in the fashion designer's head. Bastian told the L.A.Times' Adam Tschorn (himself a Vermonter) that the collection sprang from the idea of a cross-country-ski gang called the Green Mountain Avengers. (What makes them a gang? Do they double-pole people to death?)
The collection features snug wool trousers, alpine sweaters, puff vests and corduroys embroidered with Nordic skiers. There's also a bag emblazoned with a fictional Green Mountain Avenger logo. But really, if you were in a gang, would you broadcast it with merch? Just curious.
The collection's rugged, mountain-man-gone-metro feel can be attributed, at least in part, to the label's deputy creative director, 26-year-old Antonio Ciongoli, who grew up in Burlington. Apparently, in Ciongoli's Vermont, everyone is color-coordinated, butch and unwilling to ski in anything but alpaca sweaters and union suit dresses.
For the full report on the collection written by a professional fashion writer, not some schlub who wears off-price jeans and pilling hoodies every day, click here.
To see photos of the collection, click here.