Walking into the L.B.M. 1911 showroom this past week, I had one question on my mind: what happens after the hype? When the unstructured wave hit menswear in full force a couple years back, L.B.M. was perfectly positioned. Accessible, well-made, and designed to meet the demands of a younger audience that suddenly wanted to wear jackets, L.B.M. quickly became one of the most talked about menswear brands. The kicker with L.B.M. though was that unlike say Brunello Cucinelli or Thom Browne, the twenty-something bloggers that were writing about the brand, were actually wearing their jackets too.
The truth is though, getting people’s attention makes you a good brand, but those come and go. It’s keeping people’s attention that makes you a great brand, and after visiting L.B.M. 1911 to see their latest collection, I can say that they’re undoubtedly heading towards becoming a great brand. Walking through the collection, I was relieved to see all the elements that drew me to L.B.M. in the first place still intact. They continue to use their signature washed fabrics, making pieces that mold in a way, not giving structure to the wearer, but taking it from them. The soft-shoulder, unstructured construction (or lack thereof) is still king, a comforting sign that L.B.M. is continuing to lean on their Italian heritage.
When I last visited L.B.M. I was most intrigued by their fabrics, saying they’re probably the strongest asset that L.B.M. has, and this time around things are no different. The palate and patterns in L.B.M.’s newest collection continued to draw me, except this time, it wasn’t about being bold, it was about being refined. While last season L.B.M. seemed to play a lot with color and checks, this time around they seemed to have honed things in quite a bit. The collection felt very gradual, as each subsequent sportcoat I saw seemed to be drawn from the one that preceded it.
The tones were always familiar, as if one step lighter or darker, or muter or brighter from the one that came before. The brand feels very strong in this collection, as if they building their own palate and refining the look down into something distinctly L.B.M. The browns flowed nicely into beiges which progressed into the greens, which moved nicely into blues. Even the more intense patterns seemed appropriate, as if a bold gingham check is just one step evolved from a subtle windowpane.
Ultimately though, it was the blues in the collection that stood out the strongest to me. Of course, there’s the signature set of navy and slightly off-navy pieces, but there’s also barely noticeable tone on tone checks, and brighter French blues, as well as muted blues that almost seemed earthy. Most interesting though, were the denim jackets, which I believe are new for this season. Pre-washed to various degrees, they had a nice pre-worn quality to them (particularly around the pique stitching), with a dynamic texture that I hadn’t really seen before in L.B.M.’s collection. L.B.M. 1911 has our attention, now they’ve given us a great reason to keep it there.