I often wonder about the changes the garment industry had to make during World War II with all the government rationing. Down to the very pleats of pants were affected all in the name of saving fabric for uniforms and military paraphernalia. Times sure have changed though. Not only has the amount we consume in fashion expanded but so has the places from where we do the consuming. The US gets too expensive? Get it from China! Can't swing the designer price tag? Go the H&M Route! There's many things today that we acquire but don't really need. However, if we in fact do need them then there are many plausible ways which are not often explored in which we can make substitutions and still uphold a modicum of fashion, tradition and craftsmanship.
This is what I sort of loved about the Fall/Winter 2013 Collection that Marlon Gobel showed last week. The collection was a grand "what if" executed in beautifully tailored elegance of the ideas we hold dear about the construction and execution of luxury. Mr. Gobel was inspired by Michael Carson's short story "The Punishment of Luxury" in which a 'Dark Green' government introduces their radical beliefs about what the world should look like.
Tinged in military surplus, the collection was a nod to the strength of men, a versatility through function, the elegance of the simple and the luxury that remains even when our commonly held beliefs of it are removed. Removed was the leather, the exotic skins, the hand-wrought embellishments and replaced by them were vibrant blanket plaids, inky heavy lustrous denims and great rustic but refined wools that called to mind more solid "home grown" than "Made in Italy". The strength of this collection was taking the simple and infusing them with luxury by the way they are classically tailored, something Mr. Gobel knows all too well. The best anchoring from the collection was the expertly tailored jackets and outerwear that called to mind moving and artillery blankets that when paired with trim trousers seemed more a case for the sartorial than the sergeant.
Mr. Gobel is always inspired by something deeper than Pantone's key color for the season for each collection. However, he doesn't get lost in his inspiration. He offered quite attractive clothing for a modern man who understands and appreciates menswear history and even American history for that matter. He offered modern luxury, green or dark green.
MARLON GOBEL • Autumn / Winter 2013 "The Punishment of Luxury"