“My first GQ was the June 1981 issue—featuring one of Bruce Weber’s first covers. It’s hard to imagine magazines without celebrities on the cover, but this was from the days of models on covers and this one was a particularly good one—a tan, fit beautiful guy in a tiny bathing suit, being hugged from behind by an equally beautiful girl in a bathrobe. I’ve been staring at that image since I was 15, it’s burned into my brain. It’s always been a dream, a moment I was certainly too young and skinny to live out myself at the time, but one I’d always wanted to recreate somehow. So this was where the collection took flight: we wanted to recreate the most beautiful summer, at least my idea of one. Maybe it really was the summer of 1981.”
The paintings of Norman Rockwell inspired Michael Bastian’s Fall 2013 Gant collection which is a fitting source, considering one might argue that Bastian, like Rockwell, has turned elements of the American everyman into something iconic. Named after the New England town the artist called home, the “Stockbridge” collection feels like a back to basics move for the Gant by Michael Bastian brand, stocked with classic American pieces, updated in fit and fabric and refined via Bastian’s keen eye, that can (and will) populate any number of guys’ closets. Bastian even went as far as recreating key garments found in some Rockwell pieces, turning illustrations into three-dimensional items up for sale.
We caught up with the designer at the brand’s latest preview, held at the The Art Students League of New York where Rockwell used to be a student and roam the halls, to talk about why the artist represented American style, how the Gant by MB line keeps expanding, and what we can expect of his main line show come NYFW (hint: it’s gonna be dark).