Punk fashion is back!! After a three-year absence from fashion, Libertine has brought punk style back, but it returns the Libertine way!! Fashion designers/brands from Vivienne Westwood to Custo Barcelona to Hedi Slimane when he helmed Saint Laurent have found innovative ways to translate the anarchistic elements of the punk rock movement into a chic, stylish fashion expression that has relevance 30-plus years after the punk movement became a political and cultural force.
For spring 2017, Libertine has revisited that particular style and era. But, unlike fashion brands the conjured up punk style three years ago, Libertine went all the way back to this cultural phenomenon’s roots, Great Britain in the mid-70s. Remember, the punk movement in Great Britain was a direct response to the austerity of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. (Thatcher disabled many of the worker unions and reduced education programs in Great Britain during her tenure as Prime Minister.)
Libertine is perfectly poised to embrace the anarchistic, rebellious nature of punk style. As a fashion brand, Libertine’s creative director Johnson Hartig has always turned the brand’s nose up at polite fashion.
This spring 2017 season, several brands—Telfar, Georgine, Rinat Brodach, and of course Jeremy Scott—have pushed the proverbial fashion envelope by doing things their way and not genuflecting to certain fashion authorities that silently proclaim that retail value trumps creativity and personal vision. With this collection, Libertine continues its membership in the club of fashion freedom by giggling at the fashion elite with this collection. But, the brand kind of always does that!!
Going back to his punk British roots, Hartig employs some classic British iconography in this collection. Coats are heavily adorned with Queen Elizabeth buttons and broaches. Union Jack motifs and even a Union Jack trench are incorporated throughout the collection, as well. There is tropical print with imposed images of the British band Wham and Bob Marley, a nod to the humor in this fashion outing. And in a tribute to the British punk movement there is a painted moto leather jacket with the emblazoned words “We Hate Everything.”
Hartig ingeniously takes all these punk references and 70s motifs and produces a collection that does something that so few collections nowadays do; evoke mood and have fashion-forward sensibility that stimulates conversations and excites the soul. Standout looks in the collection includes the pink moto jacket with matching skirt embellished with Georgian jewelry and Queen Elisabeth iconography, the portrait-painted jumpsuit, and Union Jack trenchcoat.
—William S. Gooch