LIGHTING UP THE RUNWAY WITH COLOR AND STYLE
I believe that to truly appreciate Libertine, you must first know designer Johnson Hartig. What you will discover is a serious designer with the heart of a precocious young boy, full of fun and an innate and undeniable talent.
Every look that came down the runway at Café Rouge for Fall/Winter 2013 was a joy to behold. It sparkled and shined with colorful embellishments from beads to sequins. But if you took away all the color and sparkle, you would see the serious designs underneath. And that is what Johnson does best, start with the base of a serious suit or dress or cardigan, then dress it up in a way only he can, in stunning, eye-catching color.
His joy at each collection is palpable. This season, he told me, “I just love our clothes, and would want to wear all of them, and I think that’s a really great position to be in, in regards to the work that one does. I feel fantastic.” And he makes everyone around him feel fantastic. It’s no wonder the same people, from stylists to makeup artists to Michelle, his model and muse, come back to work with him season after season.
Michelle (and one day I will discover her last name), the woman who leads every Libertine collection down the catwalk, said, “I know I say this every season, but this one is my new, new favorite collection that he’s done. The way that he did everything, and the color palette is so fresh and fun. I didn’t think it could get more fun and fabulous and then it did.”
It was fabulous in every aspect: women’s day wear and evening wear, beautifully tailored jackets, fun and flirty skirts. And his menswear showed the same level of cheeky fun.
His girl this season is glamorous as always, but a little bit dirty. She’s been partying all night, and now she’s making that long walk home. Hair, by Tamaribuchi, set just the right tone. She described it backstage as, “textural, but also very natural at the same time.” She told me, “the look is very embellished and very glamorous and the look in the eye is patent leather, very strong, and so with that we wanted to create a kind of juxtaposition: natural, a little bit of grit, a little softer and a sort of more undone lipid quality rather than a complete glamour girl.”
But one of the most amazing things about the runway look was the nails, by Butter London, a backstage staple and soon to be a brand you’ll see everywhere. It was a perfect match for the collection, a gold created to match the clothes, then covered with the very beads and colors that embellished the clothes.
Katie Hughes told me, “we had to go big or go home with this collection. We decided to do every color from the looks. The look was inspired from his collection which is so amazing and art-inspired and collage-like and beautiful and embellished and crazy. It reminds me a lot of London, which I love, and being “Butter London” is important to me. It’s really cool.”
Cool and as exhilarating as the collection itself. Red Stiletto has covered Libertine for a couple of years now, and every season it’s surprising and joyous. I hear he’s traveling in South America at the moment. I can’t wait to see what he comes back with for next season.