Organic by John Patrick – Pre Spring/Summer 2016 Ready-To-Wear
“This is not about surf!” Thus spoke John Patrick of his latest Organic collection, the disclaimer necessitated by his acknowledgment, moments earlier, that he took inspiration this season from John Witzig’s iconic shots of the nascent surf scene around Australia’s Byron Bay in the early 1970s. Patrick spoke the truth: There was virtually nothing surf-y about these clothes. Rather, the Witzig photographs the designer referenced were the ones taken away from the water, which documented the bohemian community surrounding the surfers. The look that Patrick extracted from those pictures could best be described as unraveled preppy, emphasizing colorful chinos, lofty Shetland sweaters, and lots of plaid.
All of that would have made for a rather matter-of-fact outing were it not for Patrick’s tendency to oversize his clothes—the super-slouchy chinos a case in point—and his addition of poetic touches like a feather top or a pair of gossamer-pleated maxi skirts. Taken together, the collection captured what you had to imagine was the vibe in Byron Bay at the time—quotidian in certain ways, but also dream-like, in the manner of all would-be utopias. And for the record, there was a surf-like touch or two: An abbreviated A-line dress, for instance, was made in neoprene. But the fact that Patrick mostly eschewed the obvious surf scene touchstones gave his collection its winning sense of specificity.