Very few collections are successful in uniting nostalgia and futurism. Libertine, presenting its Spring/Summer ’21 runway digitally, surpasses every expectation of both, beautifully mirroring time collapsing upon itself.
A kaleidoscope of Victorian-inspired prints, dancing skeletons, and models perched atop vibrating clouds pushes the boundaries of both the video format and fashion. But Libertine delivers in its excellency and opulence, a haunting Lynchian buffet of taste and beauty. Entitled “Ghosts From Our Pasts,” the Spring/Summer ’21 runway is the ideal collection to look forward to– and back from.
Founder and Creative Director Johnson Hartig reflected on the past two decades since launching Libertine. “What I’m most proud of is 20 years of running a successful, profitable business without any financial investors and very little support form the mainstream fashion industry,” Hartig said in a press statement. “We’ve always forged our own path, done exceptionally creative things and in the end have seen that authenticity can’t be replicated…True authentic creative is a rarity in this industry and if I have anything, I do have that.”
Hartig designed his latest collection with his mother’s 1950s Singer sewing machine, the same machine he used in 2001 when he founded Libertine. The Spring/Summer ’21 styles incorporated a homespun DIY aesthetic through fabric patches, silk-screening, and frayed edges.
The Libertine Toiles de Nantes fabrics was collaged with 18th-century toile remnants that Hartig had previously purchased years prior at a Parisian flea market. The print has small skeletons, and Hartig used the detail to create a motif throughout the collection, with additional references to his Target collaboration in 2007 featuring whales. From Victorian prints to a 1960s Twiggy styled lookbook slouch, “Ghosts From Our Past” acts like a lesson in fashion history and time warp cohesion.
“If I’ve learned anything at all over the last 20 years since I founded Libertine, it would be the power of manifesting your dreams and to be careful what you wish for,” Hartig continued. “Through having a great idea, drive, a non-stop creative mind, lots of work, and some very committed people beside me, we have created something very powerful.”
To honor that power, Libertine plans on celebrating its 20th anniversary with a yearlong celebration in 2021. Hartig is hopeful that they too can host a celebratory show and party to commemorate the milestone. Until then, the Los Angeles-based brand can– and very much so should– cheers to a fabulous NYFW show.