Baja East – Pre Spring/Summer 2016 Ready-To-Wear
There’s no doubt that the fashion establishment is at long last opening its eyes to the potential of a post-gender approach. Look no further than Selfridges’ recently debuted unisex department or transgender model/It girl Hari Nef, who just signed with IMG. But where some brands undertake dressing across X and Y chromosomes with an avant-garde, editorial flair, Baja East is an ambisexual brand that’s making a bid for the American luxury market. Designers Scott Studenberg and John Targon aren’t just turning out hyper-luxe ponchos for urban nomads and surfer girls. They’re also designing for clients who shop at stores like Bergdorf Goodman, where in a couple of weeks Baja East will make its debut with Pre-Fall, sitting alongside such labels as Bottega Veneta and The Row. While Baja East is less than two years old, Resort marked one of its most persuasive outings to date.
For starters, there was a new lookbook format, in which male and female models wore many of the same garments side by side, illustrating the real-world styling possibilities for both sexes of the label’s cropped skater shorts, harem pants, and wrap-style bandeau tops. The tenor of luxury was high throughout the collection, particularly when it came to the soft cashmere robes in Baja’s signature tonal “ikat graffiti” print. Creating pieces like that was a savvy move from the designers (who cut their teeth in sales at several top houses), since Resort deliveries will be hitting stores just in time for holiday shopping. The customer who has the disposable income to gift one of those items probably has an evening event or two in her iCal, so Studenberg and Targon explored the possibilities of dressier fare, like a louche white jumpsuit in double-face crepe-silk. Elsewhere a citron jungle-print techno jacquard sprung to life in slouchy trousers (notably not of the pull-on sort) and a sleeveless trench. And dressing for wintertime bashes will be a chic, simple feat thanks to a ribbed turtleneck maxi dress that contained the subtlest hint of Lurex—enough, as the boys pointed out, to wink with the inevitable pop of a camera flash.