There are those guests at a party who need everyone to know who, where and how they are at all times; they are loud and brash, and annoying in anything but the smallest doses. And then there are those who don’t need to make a racket, who are interesting or beautiful, or both, and can simply let the party come to them. If collections are party guests, Carlos Campos’s Spring/Summer 2011 would be the latter, and if I couldn’t talk to him all night, I’d just be happy to sit back and watch others do so.
Campos has effectively synthesized light knits and cottons with the sophistication and refinement we’ve come to expect from the 39-year old Honduran-American.
While he’s previously described the man who wears his clothes as “a clean rock star,” for next spring, he’s envisioned a young man traveling through Europe, “backpacking, but in a chic way.” No word whether he’s traveling with his axe, but Campos’s more fitted looks have given way to a more relaxed look, like his white 100% prima cotton pants, which give the legs some breathing room without descending into the realm of the too-casual.
He’s got some cool jackets, like a navy trench, where he’s forgone a full lining for seam binding, adding to its levity. There's also a navy blazer inspired by a pea coat, so refreshing and cool you might not even notice the slight asymmetry of the lapels.
For shirts he’s sticking with plaids, like many of his compatriots, but with less dedication than others I’ve seen. Using Italian fabrics and Honduran assemblers, Campos insists on 22 stitches per square inch (most shirts have 14-16), and refuses to use any glue in his products. “These will look even better after you wash them,” he promises. But his real triumph here is in the plaid’s subtlety; there’s nothing garish and the details—French seams as well as gussets at the bottom—show innovation, without making a big deal out if it.
And there’s shoes, too! For the first time, Campos designed footwear. and the result is consistent with the achievements above. He’s fabricated a canvas oxford (in my mind it’s an oxford-meets-espadrille), with smooth leather interiors in 7 of the 12 muted colors he’s chosen for the collection.
The whole thing is a quiet triumph. If I can go back to my original metaphor, I left the party smiling, and looking forward to the next time we’d meet again.