The proportions felt like a riposte. Niklaus Hodel, Matthias Weber, and Florian Feder, the band of outsiders spring 2017 creative team behind the newly relaunched Band of Outsiders were out to make one thing clear as they debuted the rebooted brand tonight: This isn't Scott Sternberg's Band anymore. The point was made most plainly in the general slouchiness of the clothes they showed, streetwear-inspired stuff that erred toward the oversize and leaned hard on au courant elements like elongated sleeves. It was a far cry from the shrunken fits the original Band of Outsiders made its name on.
Sternberg had a lot of friends in the fashion industry. But those loyalties would have been set aside if the vision for the new Band that Hodel, Weber, and Feder introduced here impressed showgoers as distinctive and exciting. Though some individual items were appealing—a leaf-patterned satin bomber, say, or the little lace pencil skirt shown with a no-brainer hoodie—the men's and women's looks on the catwalk this evening represented a fairly well-wrought hodgepodge of ideas that have been better effectuated on other runways.
Speaking before the show, Hodel noted that as teens growing up in Europe, he and his confederates had a fetish for Americana. This show did reflect that; it was personal in that way. But the version of Cali cool these designers put forward suffered from a sense of vagueness. Basketball shorts, varsity lettering, suits mixed with sweats—it was a bullet-point take on American sportswear, which would have counted for something if Hodel, Weber, and Feder had at least acknowledged the clichés as clichés and romanced them a bit to make up for their familiarity. The trio inherited Band of Outsiders' brand equity, the bulk of which, one might have assumed, rested in the particular inflection that Sternberg had given to American prep. The new leadership went out of their way to dispense with that. Why?
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