Michael Bastian’s straightforward, unaffected collection of pared-down sportswear for Gant was inspired this season by the works of Norman Rockwell. Aptly, the presentation was staged Monday at the Art Students League of New York, where students sat at easels drawing a handful of Gant-clad models scattered around the classroom. One subject sported a distressed leather bomber jacket and blue plaid shirt straight out of Rockwell’s famous “Freedom of Speech” painting. “Maybe it was because it was an election year,” explained Bastian of his sentimental touchstone this season, although he was careful to note that Rockwell’s works are often darker and more nuanced than he is given credit for. Bastian’s designs for Gant were relatively basic and devoid of spirited flourishes, but the highly wearable collection featured a flurry of military details, twill elbow patches and at least one must-have seasonal motif in sweaters with apple emblems — perhaps a nod to the pies that are as American as Rockwell himself.
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