I’ve always considered Jack Spade to be like some sort of Norman Rockwell with a pulp colored palette. Rockwell’s canvases immortalized this idyllic, ever-presently nostalgic sense of America, that I think is shared by Jack Spade and their line of candy striped shirts, and combed out sweaters. And yet, as I entered the Jack Spade showroom on Monday afternoon, what I saw in front of me wasn’t so much Rockwell as it was Ray and Charles Eames. With the brand now well into their second decade, I suppose it only makes sense that Jack Spade would draw inspiration from the design world’s first power couple. After all it was the clean lines and primary colors of the Eames’ work that helped usher this country from our quaint Rockwellian days into the brave new world.
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.
After my post on Lubiam a couple weeks ago, the good people in charge of PR for the brand reached out to me, inviting me up to their showroom to take a look at what the brand has on deck. So last week on the first of what is sure to be many unbearably hot summer days, I walked into a sun-soaked office in New York’s Garment District and was greeted by the familiar sight of the brand’s unstructured jackets.
I was mainly intrigued by what L.B.M. 1911 is working on, not only because their casual sport coats have become a cornerstone of my daily uniform, but because it wasn’t that long ago that I first read about the brand. In just a few short years, L.B.M. has built up a dedicated fan-base due largely to their unstructured jackets that everyone seems to be after these days. Early on the brand was heralded for their accessible price point, yet stockists were always an issue and the jacket’s weren’t exactly easy to find. All this changed when Gilt began carrying the brand, a move that actually only increased demand for L.B.M.’s jackets, and led to even more accounts.
Today L.B.M. can be found in one hundred twenty stores nationwide, and after taking a look at the brand’s latest collection, I can say they’re clearly evolving in all the right ways to keep up with this new higher profile. The basic framework is still there-washed, soft shoulder, fully unstructured jackets with a nice slim cut, yet it’s great to see L.B.M. elaborating on the area that I believe has always made them so noteworthy: their fabrics. The textures and patterns of L.B.M.’s jacket’s are in my opinion their strongest point, and for their next season they continue to expand on this, bringing in a range of fabrics that could pack an entire closet. Covering everything from the simplicity of a solid navy jacket, to the intensity of a bold tartan complete with suede elbow patches, the collection really runs the gamut on soft shoulder tailoring.
Building off this L.B.M. is also introducing a new break out line this year called FLY. These jackets will be slightly narrower in the body and a bit more cropped than the average L.B.M., yet they’ll be made from loose-knit fabrics to compensate for this tighter cut. The FLY jackets that I tried out felt closer to a sweater than a traditional jacket, and seemed like they were made for a fall weekend, bridging the gap between a lightweight L.B.M. and traditional outerwear.
In a move that seems like a natural step for an expanding brand, L.B.M. is branching out into the world of scarves and pocket squares. The lightweight linen scarves featured paisley motifs in muted colors that undoubtedly reflect the brands Italian heritage. As for the pocket squares, their translucent linen construction and soft tones seemed like the perfect compliment to the brand’s jackets.
It’s refreshing to see a brand progressing in an intelligent manner, understanding what’s worth playing with, and what should just be left alone. With such a strong collection, I think it’s safe to say that this isn’t the last you’ll be hearing from me about L.B.M. Thanks again to Cristiano and Blanca from Cristiano Magni Public Relations for extending the invitation, and for their hospitality.