Michael Bastian's Spring 2011 show was an exuberant celebration of strength and athleticism, and further proof of the evident joy this designer takes in his work. Inspired by Navy SEALs and the crew of Jacques Cousteau's Calypso, Bastian injected an extreme body-consciousness into his take on classic American sportswear. Emphasis on the sports: Upping the ante on his signature shorts, Bastian made the bathing suit a building block of his new summer wardrobe, pairing it with everything from a rugby shirt to alpaca and cashmere knits. (Seersucker shorts for evening were aslightly more conventional alternative.)
Bastian also put a twist on the military theme, with a camouflage pattern created from leopard spot. He cut a shirt and tie from this to accessorize a midnight silk/mohair tux, underscoring the finely honed appetite for the outré in his work. This collection, for instance, managed to tip its leopard-camo cap to both David de Rothschild and François Sagat as contemporary male archetypes. Predictable? Hardly—and that is the secret of Bastian's success.