Sade and Pocahontas Distilled by Harbison

If you ever climb up to the rooftops of a building and realize you’ve got nothing to shout, you’d do well to use the name of womenswear designer Charles Harbison, who assembles the most unlikely cultural references and nods them all toward menswear to marvelously luxurious effect. Fall 2014, for example, “is grounded in Sade’s cool sophistication and elegance”—as well as the romance between Pocahontas and John Smith. To that end, there was trim suiting in the plummy lavender, rust, and camel colors of the wind; country gentleman fabrics such as a gold and red windowpane and glen plaid; and an abundance of very smart outerwear. Harbison wittily riffed on the function and functionality of the elements of his garments in a way that felt very menswear-gets-naughty: the collar of a shirt served as the hem of a deep indigo top, while sleeves became a knotted shawl over a vest, a bow-like twist on the front of a blouse, and on a coat, a decorative mimesis of the functional tie-belt just a few inches below. And it would appear we have John Smith to thank for inspiring the 10 gallon Homburg hats (created for Harbison by Albertus Swanepoel), and Pocahontas for gold metallic gloves festooned with foliage.

There was also a bit of an interwar attitude—particularly in a sumptuously tweedy robe coat—that suggested Cary Grant might call on this woman at any moment to save the journalism industry or to help him locate a missing dinosaur bone.

Photography by Koury Angelo and Joe Marquez

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