FA2L is for anyone who cares about beautiful things–clothing, shoes, accessories, home furnishings–and the interconnected tribes of those who make, sell, market and desire them. If something speaks to you, buy it now or hold your peace: there are links in each story, so the item you want is just a click away. I'd like to hear from you, too: please view my profile, use the email button and send me your comments.MG

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet, We're Hunting Wabbits"

Every model, publicist, designer and retailer knows there's nothing warm and fuzzy about the fashion business: it's a blood sport. That's why tough-guy gear is perennially popular. Denim, of course, has become the default setting for every man, woman and child, but a dash of military surplus or classic work clothing also projects enough irony to offset expensive watches and extraordinary shoes.

Canadian twins Dan and Dean Caten, designers of DSquared, do a lot to popularize a rugged, outdoorsy look (all very tongue-in-cheek, of course). They take wool hunting jackets, heavy leather topcoats and plaid shirts, reshape them to make them sexier (and more fashionable), and unleash perfect storms of male archetypes: lumberjacks, ski bums, and Canadian Mounties galore. Paul Bunyan, meet Tom of Finland.

The hat and bag here aren't "fashion," per se, but that's why we like them. The carry-all is L.L. Bean
's Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife tote (we own it in camo print): you can choose one of four animals embroidered on the side, and part of each sale is donated to conservation efforts. The hat (spotted on a friend in Williamsburg, Brooklyn) is Stormy Kromer Mercantile's waxed cotton cap. Both are giving so much realness they could pass muster in a UP Michigan bar, yet they hum with enough personality to set fashion antennae quivering. Let the hunting and gathering begin.