It was pure luck, when Gitman Brothers Vintage Director Chris Olberding, still a young associate with the Gitman company, happened upon a pile of old line books from Gitman’s late 70’s and early 80’s collections, inspiring him to create the brand’s now iconic Vintage line. By diving deep into their archives every season, Olberding has created a genuinely new product through the reproduction of heritage materials and designs. The brand’s iconic craftsmanship lives on through Olberding’s vision, who lets for his own background and passions influence each collection.
Since our opening and the launch of our Gitman shop-in-shop, we’ve been eagerly awaiting the new spring collection and now the wait is over with our first deliveries already in store. If you’re a fan and follower of our stores than you are familiar with our intimate relationship with this classic American-made brand and we’re already falling in love with the spring collection! To compliment the arrival of these exciting new styles we asked Chris some questions to walk us through all the great new colors, patterns, and fabrics that this season has to offer.
We noticed you have a background in literature, how does that affect your vision with each new season?
Good question; itt’s not so much English literature that informs it, but rather the theory we learn alongside the lit that allows me to have a different take on material history, notions of “retro”, the slipperiness of “heritage” and as you’ll see with AW12, “Camp”.
For spring, we will have one of the most extensive collections of Gitman Brothers Vintage out there. Outside of the archival styles and fabrics, what are some of your favorite fabrics to incorporate into the Vintage collection?
I love mixing the basics, the archive, and a couple capsule collections, whether Indian Madras, Japanese prints, or one of my passions, such as tennis. It keeps people interested beyond variations on oxford, chambray, et cetera.
You clearly chose some bold colors and prints for spring. The Zebra print and the Japanese Cotton YD Jacquard Sailboats especially, are amazing. Where did you find these prints and what made you incorporate them?
Glad you like them. They’re from some of my favorite mills in Japan. I needed a follow up to our Jungle Brothers camo and animal prints, so the Zebra camo seemed fitting; while the Sailboats were perfect for Spring/Summer.
You were asked to be apart of the New York Pop Up Flea, can you tell us a little about that experience?
It was amazing. My favorite aspect of participating was meeting the customers. Such fun! ACL [A Continuous Lean] knows how to put on a good Pop Up.
What are some goals for yourself and Gitman Brothers Vintage in 2012? Will we see more pieces becoming a part of the Gitman collection?
Launch our “Sisters” collection at Capsule in New York and Paris for AW12, as well as a new line…details to follow. We’ll continue to be joco-serious with the collection, hopefully offering something to all. Also, I would really like to improve my second serve.
For spring 2012 we invite our customers to experience one of the best shipments of Gitman Brothers Vintage to date. Bold colors and prints, linen chambray, white chambray, blue polka dot chambray, Japanese cotton, Zebra print, sailboats—the list goes on. But don’t be afraid, these prints whisper good taste, rather than screaming it. Just let the fabrics, textures, and patterns speak for themselves. We guarantee that everyone who sees you will be doing the talking.
Shop our collection online HERE or visit our stores to see these great new styles in person.
Too many things I need to order from Rick (hint, one of them is a blistered leather cap); Vibskov socks named “Dong” will make you laugh, not matter how old or business-like you are; why the fuck is Starbucks the only place to get free wi-fi?; keeping up with my New Year’s resolution to wear more color is easier when it comes in the form of leopard-printed merino; Colette can suck my dick; Stealthprojekt/StyleZeitgeist parties attract the hottest freaking boys; Jenny has a really hard time playing “Gay or European”; I almost broke someone’s door trying to get into a showroom; pony hair is parfait for an iPad case; it’s weird to be the dude with the most basic shoes in the room; camel leather is completely bananas; Rue Saint-Honoré and Place Vendôme are boring as fuck unless you’re from Beijing and don’t mind spending $2k on tacky jackets; Damir is becoming more wearable, which is really weird to say out loud; everything underground smells like pee.
Why is there only one person who speaks English at the Rick store in the Palais Royale?; I think my hotel room is actually falling apart, but they’ve kept everything together with plaster; French people should be grateful for North African and Middle Eastern immigrants because some of them are really hot; I am going to spend WAY too much money placing personal orders for fall 2012; Tranoï hosts too many designers that all look the same; Patrik Ervell is going to be a great collection when it hits the runway; when every fucking bistrot looks cute as shit, you have no idea which ones are actually good; don’t call yourself a creperie if you reheat your crepes rather than making them to order; Japanese buyers dress baller as fuck no matter where they are and what the weather is; what do they put in the water that enables French women to walk cobblestone streets in heels in the rain without falling or looking like their feet are killing them?; blogging on an iPad without access to italics, bold, and other formatting is hard, but I don’t give a shit whether or not this is easy to read.
Alexander McQueen: The omnipresence of the suit in Milan’s runways and presentations have been impossible to miss, but few designers are as convincing in their call for civility and refinement as Sarah Burton. It’s a testament to how strong the brand’s DNA is when Burton manages to capture both the refinement and rebellion that have always been a hallmark of the house’s menswear. After an opening salvo of very proper suiting, the ombre coloring of a Glen plaid suit gives you the first indication that not all is as it seems. Soon enough breeches appear (some finished with elastic bottoms that recall the soccer pitch), then sport coats begin taking on some elements from varsity jackets, before all hell breaks loose in an array of unmistakably McQueen printed tailoring. Florals, lavish embroideries, and rich burgundies soften the navies, charcoals, and icy whites that run throughout, offering a Romatic vision of menswear that’s sure to leave some misty-eyed.
Diesel Black Gold: Credit where credit is due: Sophia Kokosolaki has done wonders in turning Diesel’s high-end line from a rag-tag assortment of would-be designer pieces—sharper eyes will have noticed their versions (a less gentle word would be “copies”) of pieces from bigger names before her arrival—into a real collection. There are still a few too many pieces “inspired” by other work (that leather raglan-sleeved pullover skirts a little too close to Marc Jacobs’ own iteration for fall 2011), but Kokosolaki has made huge strides towards creating a defined Black Gold customer: a man who buys into the rock and roll vibe of Diesel but wants something smarter, more luxurious. In that vein, it makes sense that denim and leather have become integral parts of her line-up. These remain the strongest points, sure to please retailers and customers alike, but awkward lengths on some knits and less-than-perfect fits on some suits struck a harsh note in what could have been a serious power chord.
giulianoFujiwara: There’s been no shortage of bloggers raving about the shoes and accessories that Masataka Matsumura makes, but his smart blend of Italian tailoring and Japanese streetwear has been one of the most consistent collections shown during Milan for seasons now. So when he says he’s tapping into the outdoorsy vibe that has ruled the runways for what seems like forever, you wouldn’t expect skirts and double-breasted jackets. But when paired with chunky shoes (another runway staple that Matsumura somehow manages to keep from feeling staid and done), unconventional details, and a subdued palette of grays and navies, it just works.
Jonathan Saunders: Jonathan Saunders has flirted with menswear for a while now, shuffling an odd brightly colored boy into his womenswear shows here and there. For his first full menswear collection, Saunders still plays on the safe side, riffing off the palette he developed for his last women’s range for pre-fall 2012, even using the same backdrop for the photos. In fact, many of the Charlotte Perriand-inspired textiles, weaves, and patterns are exactly recycled, though what seemed slightly prim and flirty for women has a distinctly Mod-ish feel when cut into almost unforgivably slim silhouettes. There’s a good idea here, but Saunders needs to realize that men don’t want to be companion pieces to their girlfriends and wives. If anything, he was at his best when he broke from the visual language of his women’s collection to find a smart, modern middle ground with high-buttoned suits in pale pinks and blues and when his signature prints were toned down into restrained accents.
Umit Benan: Does it say more about us or about him when Umit Benan’s regular use of non-model models is a genuinely refreshing change of pace? Too often, we talk more about clothes rather than people, but Benan refuses to work for some imaginary ideal customer and his casting only proves how strong his tailoring and sense of taste really are. Breaking from the soft, louche tailoring that’s defined the start of his career, these sharply regimental clothes were equal parts luxurious, forward-thinking, and supremely wearable; a hat trick few designers so young and new can even dream of accomplishing. But there is no luxury for the sake of luxury here; with men of all ages, shapes, and sizes looking so chicly ennobled, Benan makes war (and the uniforms that men wear in combat) a true equalizer. It’s a theme that permeates the storyline of the new season of Downton Abbey now airing in America and yet it’s an idea that always seems out of reach on the runway. Somehow, though, Benan’s clothes make such a far-fetched notion seem fait accompli.
Bottega Veneta: Tomas Maier overindulges in his ideas—colorblocking, printing, hybrid garments, and bonded treatments—to various degrees of success, but the quieter designs are actually the most provocative and interesting. Reinterpreting “luxury” has always been his strong suit, so it stands to reason that the least heavy-handed iterations are also the most covetable and wearable.
Burberry Prorsum: By no means does anybody expect a Burberry Prorsum show to be innovative, but it’s still a little disappointing when Christopher Bailey latches on to a slightly older idea (i.e. looser fits, pseudo-couture inflected silhouettes), even when he does execute everything so wonderfully. The mix of high and low, sport and suit are surefire editorial successes, but all the man of the street wants to know is when can he get his hands on some of those jackets.
Calvin Klein Collection: For the last few seasons, Italo Zuchinelli has been quietly trying to remind us that Calvin Klein built his empire not on sharp suits and glamorous gowns, but on smart, sleek, perfectly executed sportswear. Leather has been a key component of the Milan shows, but where most designers dress it up, Zuchinelli takes it in a distinctly downtown vibe with croc-embossing executed as in-your-face panel work. It’s a refreshing, if slightly unwieldy, refresher course on what real, luxury sportswear is supposed to look and feel like. Of course, Zuchinell is no fool when it comes to the bottom line, so get at the mesh-covered puffers, luxe zip-up jackets, and perfectly simple knitwear before they disappear off the racks.
Jil Sander: Subtlety is one of Raf Simons’ strong suits, though that’s not the first word that comes to mind given the leather-clad army that walked down the Jil Sander runway. And yet, for all the toughness of the tailored hides, there’s something more going on. The whimsical knits and slightly soft collars (don’t blink of you’ll miss them), showed off another dimension that can’t be as easily parsed with references to fascism or fetish. Is it a boy pretending to be a man or a man longing for his youth? But like almost all of Simons’ puzzles, it’s probably one that can best settled by actually living in his clothes.
John Varvatos: It’s always a little bit of a chore to slog through a John Varvatos show, since you already know what’s coming: leather and shearling and cashmere, suits and jackets and chunky sweaters, grays and blacks and plaids. Varvatos himself admitted that it was a show of pieces, not of looks, so it was more of a walking catalog than a true runway show. For the devoted, there’s plenty to love, but if you’re expecting any surprised, you’d best try another show.
Les Hommes: Chunky or clunky? It’s a little hard to tell when designers so devoted to black turn to Peru, of all places, for textures and colors. There’s always something a little ridiculous about fashion propositions like “mountain man goes luxe”, but if you’re able to get past the almost theatrical styling, there are pieces here worth owning. No surprise that a collection inspired by a country as famed for knitting as Peru would be full of great sweaters, but with their out-sized proportions and dropped shoulders, you’d need the courage of a mountain climber to pull them off.
Marni: There’s an ocean of difference between an artist and an artisan, but Consuelo Castiglioni’s strength has always lied in her ability to blend the two without the least bit of pretension or artifice. Blacks and navies offered up a smart blank canvas that let rich ochres, deep reds, and flashes of fur really shine. Quilting tapped into the “heritage” influence that pervades so much of menswear without feeling like the Marni man is sipping too hard of the Kool-aid; smart clothes for smart men.
Moncler Gamme Bleu: Salon meets speedway in another typically atypical show from Thom Browne in his latest collaboration with Moncler. After hitting the slopes and crossing sabers, Browne has taken the label to Monaco for the Grand Prix and he has put the pedal to the floor with an unrelenting defilé (replete with numbered cards) that riffs endlessly on both Moncler’s heritage and the visual iconography of racing. Naturally, everything is thoroughly quilted and filled, but for a man as obsessed with details as Browne, this entire show is about shape and proportion. Rarely have Browne’s shoulders been stronger or his layers more deviously difficult to pick apart, but despite his reputation as a showman, he knows what we’re really here to see: clothes. Just don’t let all the testosterone and motor oil fool you. There are jackets and sweaters here for every man: throw one of the vests over your favorite suit or add a quilted pant to any basic tailored outfit and you’ll still look anything but pedestrian.
Neil Barrett: Neil Barrett has a penchant for taking the most daring tropes in contemporary menswear and turning them into really wearable clothes. Sometimes, the magic of the idea—the spark—gets snuffed out in the process, but sometimes he manages to take truly forward ideas and make them seem as normal as t-shirt and jeans. Checks dissolved into chevrons, technical jackets draped over sharp suits; it’s an idea that doesn’t require a stretch of the imagination while simultaneously looking genuinely new. Some of his overtures towards more forward dressing (the A-line coats and ultra-skinny cropped trousers) simply didn’t have the same easy touch, but it’s nice to see Barrett break new ground even as he remains steadfastly within his milieu.
Prada: Despite her constant plumbing of decades past for inspiration, you could never really accuse Miuccia Prada of nostalgia. And yet, what else would you call a collection dominated by the spirit, silhouettes, and proportions of Edwardian dressing? There were reminders of seasons past (cummerbund, effortless layers, prints that were so garish they were somehow chic), yet the collection avoided sentimentalizing history. Equal parts regal and regimental, this was a collection about control, from the belted waists and tailored lines to the subdued palette shot through with occasional hints of red and aubergine. It was a full-throated cry for civility and sophistication and an all-star cast of men’s men (Tim Roth, Adrien Brody, Gary Oldman, and Willem Defoe) answered the call. And yet, it was the clothes, not the superstars, that were the most believable.
Valentino: It took a few collections for Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli to leads their womenswear out from His towering shadow, so after the just-too-precious tailoring that defined their last menswear outing, it’s nice to see the duo starting to feel more comfortable speaking Valentino, even if it’s with a slightly different accent. The old master himself would probably have never thought of borrowing so liberally from the couture traditions, but by tempering it with some uncompromising masculinity, even dropped shoulders and rounded silhouettes seem perfectly palatable options for gentlemen. Of course, these ideas and methods aren’t new (Raf Simons has been plying between the Romantic and the robotic for years), but the restraint and matter-of-fact styling translate into a very modern sense of luxury for the house.