LibertineIn the interest of full disclosure, I should begin by saying, I love Libertine. The idea of taking, in many cases, existing looks, then adding something extra and turning them into individual works of art is, well, sensational. They can be sleek, they can be serious, they can be crazy, the bottom line is, it’s the most fun collection to walk the Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week catwalk, season after season.

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For Spring/Summer 2015, it is all about beads. I’m not talking about the dainty, sparkly beads that make evening gowns glitter and add a little bling to the average blouse. These are proper beads, bright, colorful, sometimes almost childlike, depicting shapes, letters, anything, really, in a series of playful, primary colors. They adorned everything from sunglasses to business suits, sweaters to shorts.

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The show began, as they always do, with the gorgeous Michelle, model and muse, in a black, dropped-waist dress embellished with glittery flowers. What followed were dresses, both dressy and casual, brilliantly colored skirts, sweaters decorated with puff-balls and outerwear. A particular favorite was a long, purple, embossed coat with a kind of burnished pattern that was smart, sophisticated, yet cheeky over red pants.

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This wild combination of colors, patterns and decorations can only come from the mind of Johnson Hartig. He sees fashion in a way no one else seems to, with even the most serious styles taking on a fun, whimsical edge. He told me he found it a bit difficult coming up with an inspiration for this collection. When he found it, he ran with it with a series of looks that scream summer, glamorous, edgy and unique.

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Menswear was, as ever, outrageous with shorts and shirts in crazy colors and patterns. If nothing else, it takes a confident man to wear Libertine.

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I have followed Libertine for years, from the tiny venues where anything goes to the Pavilion at Lincoln Center where shows are more structured, crowds are more demanding. And what I’ve found is, it doesn’t matter where Johnson places his runway, the clothes that come down it are born of the heart and soul of the designer, and that, I trust, will never change. He, and his designs, are truly one of a kind, and I can’t wait to see what inspires him next season.

 LibertinePhotography: Anton Brookes Video and Edit: Scott Fetterman

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