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Fashion Features

NY Fashion Week: John Bartlett
by PJ Gach
EDGE Style Contributor
Sunday Feb 5, 2006

John Bartlett has this very sexy fantasy involving bears. No, not the woodland kind; the two-legged more civilized, but still rugged variety of bear. His models were elegantly scruffy, some slightly hairier than others. Some had full beards, almost all were mustachioed. His show not only featured shorter male models (a few were a tad pudgy- but in that ’must grab you now’ way) mixed with the usual tall ones; but he also used balding and grey haired ones as well. By choosing these models, Bartlett is celebrating real men. His use of these untypical models shows the world that a real man- not just a model- can wear and live in his clothes. And yes, it was a definite feast for the eyes. These were hot seasoned men, not twiggy boys.

His fall 2006 show took it’s inspiration from a spit of geography somewhere between Provincetown and Walden Pond, Massachusetts. Instead of a naked runway, models gracefully strode a leaf be-decked one. You could almost sniff the burning leaves. They manfully romped through this makeshift wood in exquisitely tailored clothing. The palette ranged from pumpkin, mustard, deep sage, forest green, to black and maritime blue with a droplet of baby blue for surprise.

They strode wearing a marled mustard and black sweater that topped glen plaid pants, or a Prince of Wales jacket and solid pants. Tones married tones; in one outfit a model wore light maritime blue button down shirt and tie, under a darker maritime blue sweater with a deeply rounded neckline with black pants, black gloves and belt.

Another model wore a black blazer that subtly shimmered with lurex threads over a black and white variegated turtleneck sweater and black pants. Yet another model wore a deep sage green three button tweed blazer over a deeper sage hoodie and same toned button down shirt with black pants. The outfit looked more sophisticated than sophomoric.

The fabric of Bartlett’s pants ranged from black leather, wool, and merino to long johns, and a shiny mercerized cotton. Coats bounced from hip length stadium coats to cashmere pea coats, plaid mackinaws and sleek leather jackets cut to the waist.

Since Bartlett has just been made the Creative Director of Ghurka, all the models carried something from that line. They either toted log carriers, duffle bags, backpacks, a really sexy hounds tooth and leather overnighter, leather messenger bags or a leather and tweed portfolio case.

His overall look was polished, sophisticated, finished, and deeply masculine. These are clothes for confident men. Whether it’s a skintight pair of long johns thrust into ankle high lace up boots combined with an unbuttoned Henley, or a four pocket chocolate brown blazer, matching pants and a cocoa colored shirt; these are clothes made to fit a real man’s body. They can take someone from an office to a weekend in the country without breaking a sweat about what to pack. Bartlett’s designs are elegant, subtle, not foppish or overdone. Looking at the tailoring, the way the clothes are finished, the little details like a subtle pale blue stripe at the end of a sweater, or a perfectly matched button on the cuff of a jacket, it’s easy to see that Bartlett’s tailoring has an English bend to it. And this makes sense, as the Ohio native studied in England (not for fashion, mind you, but economics). Being there, he must have absorbed the bespoke style under his skin. His leather pants look more like a wardrobe staple for the average man, than a costume for a rocker. He’s a master cutter. Whatever fabric he utilizes, he creates impeccable clothing tailored for real men. Bartlett understands what real men need and want in their closets and next to their skin.

His fall line is strong, approachable, elegant but not snobby. It would be easy to pair one of his coats (probably your next favorite item) or his thick sumptuous knee length (this is after you’ve wrapped it around your neck) scarves with any thing you own now and create a polished look. Whatever you choose from his line, it will most likely end up being the piece you go to again and again and again.

Fuckability factor: Any man wearing John Bartlett will not have his clothes on for long.

Goodie bag contents: a Ghurka chestnut leather “jotter.” I have no idea what this is used for, but it’s cute. It came in a box, wrapped in tissue with the price tag ($75.00) attached! Clarins for men Active Face Scrub, Active Face Wash, Fatigue Fighter (I soo need this now), and Active Hand Care.

PJ Gach is a Contributing Writer for the Style Section of the EDGE group of publications. She’s a Manhattanite, a proud dog owner, gal about town and freelance writer. Some of the publications her pieces have appeared in are The New York Post, Rolling Stone (web & mag), Ingenue Magazine and Drill magazine. In her spare time, she rescues orphaned shoes.

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