“Tough beat, boys.” That’s what I had to say to Joe Sadler, Greg Ullery and Derek Buse, the trio behind Riviera Club, who were recently nominated for GQ and the CFDA’s New Menswear Designer of the Year award. Riviera Club lost out to Alexander Wang, but I can see why they were nominated in the first place. They say their collection is “nestled at the intersection of blue collar chic and polished dishevelment,” and I’ll buy it. This is a coherent, handsome collection, punctuated by sparks of color, work wear and Americana. Inspired by the story of the California wine renaissance, the models sat around a giant dining table that overflowed with sausages, turkey legs, and various other heaps of meat (hats off to Michael Sturgeon, who designed the set—with a wink and a nod to Thom Browne, who did the inverse at his Paris show last month). The scene was absolutely relaxed and celebratory, with crew sweaters, cords, woolen trousers and shirts of the club, denim, hunting and prisoner variety. I was absolutely smitten with their lined club pant, the prisoner shirts, and a herringbone tweed suit that is as elegant as it is relaxed. Their thin well chords have an inviting, older brother quality and their double-faced hoodie is a simple show stopper.
What I like most about the apparel is that the Riviera boys aren’t afraid to just do their thing. They aren’t scared into adding bells and whistles, or to reach for inspirations beyond their pale. They are their California, and they’re cool with that.