Libertine attracted a like-minded crowd on the wee hours of Saturday morning; the attendees at Exit Art were swollen from the previous night’s excess, gazing blearily into unknown spaces as “Ride of the Valkyries” thundered mercilessly from the sound system. (Wagner: now there was a dude teetering at the lip of the moral abyss.) But the fatigued, clawlike grips on our coffee were not for nothing.
Libertine‘s mastermind Johnson Hartig hasn’t sent his posh-punk aesthetic down the Fashion Week runways in some time, this Fashion Week presentation was a sought-after ticket, and attended by the likes of prominent designers Kate Mulleavy (of Rodarte) and Thom Brown. And Libertine’s collection was absolutely fantastic–we’d go so far as to say “bloody good,” even, although Marquis de Hartig resides in Los Angeles.
It’s been two demure years since Hartig cut ties with label co-founder Cindy Greene, but he delivered a virtuosic blend of concepts: neon cross-hatches of color jumped boldly from ’60s-inspired silhouettes, determined splashes of contrasting hues bleeding boldly into ’90s sorority poppy prints. An overcoat of such bright royal blue hatches segued sharply into red and green plaid, a silver metallic brocade shift dripped in gridded bright fuschia, rhinestone appliqués sparkled with matronly authority on wickedly cut black separates. With the sharp linear effect, even the most acidic of color combinations worked, and items could be parsed separately for more classic, yet still eye-catching, impact.
The menwear followed similar mod impulse with cross-hatched black and white blazers and slouching trousers. Painted loggerhead beanies accentuated the skeletal structures, notable sharp, splattered bichromatic suiting.
The final look: a gown of classic, draped bombshell cut and gold brocade peeking from vicious gridded swipes of white and black. It was stunning. We’ll do terrible things to acquire these garments–and would Libertine have it any other way?