As the high-low, fast-fashion collaboration gets more and more ordinary, along comes Gap to make it interesting again.
The mother of all clothing chain stores is taking another run at reinventing the classic white shirt -- this time enlisting the help of four of the most idiosyncratic American designers: Philip Lim, threeASFOUR, Band of Outsiders and Michael Bastian, as part of an ongoing partnership with the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund to support emerging design talent.
Working in crisp white cotton poplin, the designers have come up with clever spins on the wardrobe basic -- none more than $88.
The best of the batch is by threeASFOUR, the avant-garde New York design collective. Naturally, it bent the rules (perhaps knowing one of the hottest trends for spring is the shirtdress), sewing its signature swirly seams into a sporty white tank dress. The result ($88) is clean and modern -- a great day dress to pair with earthy brown sandals.
Bastian, a New York retail buyer turned designer, has two styles of men's shirts: one military-inspired with small front pockets ($58) and one with a Western-style patterned yoke, pointy flap pockets and three-button cuffs ($58). Both are simple enough to appeal to any Gap-minded guy.
Lim, the hottest designer in the contemporary market, created a blouse with a girlie, bow-tied neck and soft pleats ($78). It's cute but boxy in an unfortunate way -- like a dentist's smock.
Band of Outsiders designer Scott Sternberg also took a stab at the shirtdress ($88) that literally falls short.
To complement the line, Philip Crangi, the punk-prep jeweler, was tapped for a black-and-white jewelry line. The pieces have his signature details -- small silver studs on a white resin cuff and a small silver ball on a white rope bracelet. A subtle, and welcome, addition to the clean white palette.