Gant is a historic American label—full name: Gant of New Haven—but the second-act success story of its revival owes as much to the Swedes as to the WASPs; it’s now Nordic-owned. The label’s dual citizenship gave Michael Bastian a jumping-off point for Fall. “We’ve been spending so much time in Stockholm,” he explained. “We really wanted to celebrate the two sides of Gant’s life: the whole U.S. heritage, but also now this cool, modern, sexy Scandinavian thing that has crept into the label in a big way. What you’re seeing is a hybrid of America and Scandinavia.”
The individual pieces—sport coats, parkas, puffer vests, embroidered khakis, camo pants, and so on, for men and for women—are true-blue U.S.A. But the styling, according to the designer, comes from the Swedes. “Swedish winters are not for the faint of heart,” Bastian said. “It’s dark, it’s freezing, but somehow they manage to look cool, chic, and sexy while totally layered up—which is hard in a big parka.”
A big parka’s not the half of it. It wasn’t uncommon for looks to include three or more shirts, plus a coat, plus hats and belts, watches and ties, color piled on color, print on contrasting print. But take off any piece, put it on a rack, and you’ve got what smells like a sale. And, even layered nearly to the point of exhaustion, the pieces did have the kind of off-kilter, cocky cool that’s native to rambunctious kids. What sort, exactly? “We thought of the guy as part of a cross-country ski gang—which is kind of funny, because cross-country skiers don’t form gangs,” Bastian mused. “Then these girls were schoolgirls who were almost abducted by this gang.” Freedom fighters, meet the Winter Olympics. Stranger things have happened.