The stealthy minimal look is still dominating on the runways this New York Fashion Week, but Libertine’s Johnson Hartig never understood the concept, nor did his customer. “I’m really concentrating on what they want,” he said after another eccentric spring show, featuring looks for both men and women. “We have customers that repeat, repeat, repeat every season, so I’m providing it for them.”
It was his first time back on the runway after switching over to the look book format during the pandemic. A lot has changed since then, yet Hartig’s creative process remains the same. “My inspirations are always a jillion different things,” he explained, listing a fabric book he sourced from the ‘30s and a recent trip to Marrakech as part of this season’s colorful collage.
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The former came through clearly as trompe l’oeil lace and patchwork swatch prints, which decorated some rather straightforward separates. Hartig would do well to bring his playful eye for embellishment over to the design side of things.
References to Northern Africa were harder to parse out — one standout look, a little boy’s blazer studded with rosettes and fringe tassels worn over an evening dress with fluttering tiered layers, had a flair more synced to southern Spain. Wherever Hartig was headed, it certainly wasn’t close by. “I try to get out of America as much as I can,” he said.
His flared trouser suits in clashing geometric patterns in red, white and blue could make for some seriously stylish flight attendants uniforms. In fact, most of the models were already prepared for takeoff, carrying matching backpacks and weekenders as part of Hartig’s new collaboration with LeSportsac.
Launch Gallery: Libertine RTW Spring 2024
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