Whatever Scott Sternberg does -- whether it's a runway show or presentation, a boutique or a website -- it somehow oozes the Band of Outsiders brand ethos. Perhaps this is why no one minded or questioned the fact that after several seasons of elaborate, cinematic presentations and produced runway shows, he simply put a group of models in the empty, unfinished future home of his first U.S. store, had set designer Andy Harman sketch some everyday objects on one wall, and played some eery music. Done. It was just as cool as any other BOO presentation, if not more so. Everyone had plenty of space to mingle and look on in adoration of the designer's pretty perfect womenswear offerings -- even Anna Wintour.
We wondered if the minimalist format had something to do with Sternberg's recent comments to Apartamento that the fashion industry is "retarded" and dealing with press and buyers is like a "dog and pony show." "I regret how that came out," he said of the interview, in which he expressed frustration with, as a relatively small company, having to dedicate so many resources to showing several collections per year and producing in excessive amounts for retailers. "I was probably a little overly articulate and it was probably [taken out of] context. I love putting on a show; it's important for being a part of the dialogue of the fashion community. It's hard when you're the size brand that I'm at to have the time and the resources to pull that all off."
If the format was the result of a lack of time and resources, you couldn't tell, as the surrealist, Lee Miller-inspired collection was equally rule-breaking: There were trompe l'oeil belts and real belts, fake fur and real fur, abstract "B" motifs that were "maybe a school reference, maybe a logo...maybe 'B' is for butterfly, maybe 'B' is for Band of Outsiders." Who knows? Who cares? The clothes were awesome.
And what can we expect from the SoHo storefront once it opens (in mid-July, a press rep confirmed)? "Pure awesome." He says the store will be a platform for "everything we do," including items you won't find elsewhere and presumably more than just clothing. "It will be a little Band of Outsiders playground." Sternberg also plans to release a book and an exhibit of his now-iconic polaroid campaigns before the end of the year.
While Sternberg may continue to adhere to the the fashion cycle and show at Fashion Week, it sounds like he'll enjoy the opportunity to interact directly with consumers through his own retail, without having to rely on press and buyers to shape his already very strong brand message.