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John Bartlett's menswear collection for Liz Claiborne kicked off our Fashion Week coverage this season with an early presentation of Claiborne by John Bartlett spring ready-to-wear in the company's showroom. The collection, grouped by color story—lilacs, lime greens, earth tones, black and white—was trim, wearable, heavy on detail and presumably light on the wallet.
Nautical themes prevailed—braided and ribbon belts, layered polos, stripey knits, cowl necks—and were accented by sort of a school boy prep: vibrant green, blue and purple jersey and pique, over-sized bowties, trim suspenders, slim and slouchy jeans and five-pocket trousers and modern, tailored knits that wouldn't look out of place on a (fashionable) tennis court or golf course. Nothing was terrifically new but that isn't the point—these are mid-range, department store pieces for the normal guy who cares about his outfit but doesn't want to spend a fortune or go through four wardrobe changes a day. And why shouldn't that guy get to enjoy bias-cut plackets and jaunty linings? Congratulations, John, and if anyone can pull off a head-to-toe lilac look, it's you.