Michael Bastian has quite the luxurious pedigree. Before launching his namesake line in 2007, he held positions at Tiffany & Co., Sotheby’s, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Bergdorf Goodman — where he was men’s fashion director for five years — which lead him to a simple conclusion: there was a gap in the men’s market that he knew exactly how to fill. He did just that, with a look that’s as high end as it is broken-in, think: your WASPy Uncle’s hand-me-downs — rugby polos that have been washed to killer softness, Italian-tailored sportcoats with the sleeves pushed up, and premium denim that’s been scuffed-up just so.
In 2010, Gant came calling. Although he’d steered clear of designer collaborations, this was one that immediately appealed — Bastian’s father wore Gant shirts, and it was a brand firmly implanted in the collective subconscious. Even better, the company’s leadership wanted him to reinterpret the label from his own specific vantage point. Bastian’s first collection for Gant was inspired by lacrosse, and it featured fitted polos with embroidered crosse sticks, jackets with net-patterned linings reminiscent of the goals, and traditional cloths like donegal tweed and shetland wool that have been hallmarks of Ivy style since day one. (After the show, GQ named him the King of American Sporty Swagger.)
Each season shares the core ideals of a Michael Bastian collection, with a strong, sporty vibe, and a good rummage through the Gant archives. The secret is Bastian’s commitment to the past but dedication to what’s new — in his words, “It’s always 50% my memory of Gant from when I was growing up, and 50% what I want to wear right now.” Can’t argue with the results.