^ John Bartlett
First up is John Bartlett (b. 1963), a menswear designer who hails from Cincinnati, Ohio, but who rails against the philosophies of his Middle American origins. I’d not heard of him before happening upon his entry in the book but having read the mini-interview and gained more of an understanding of his aesthetic leanings, I reckon I’ve found a like-minded individual when it comes to all things menswear.
A FIT grad counting Genet and Mapplethorpe amongst those who inspire him, Bartlett says he seeks to “merge masculinity and fashion”, and in the process he’s become fixated on uniforms, esp. those of the military. Although his parents sought an investment banking future for Bartlett, he opted instead for a full immersion in the world of clubbing and clothing in 80’s London, frequenting the King’s Road for his gear, and club Taboo for antics. It seemed to work for him, too, considering he was the inaugural recipient of the CFDA Perry Ellis Award in 1994.
Looking at his work now, I couldn’t honestly say I’m enamoured of his collections in their entirety, the silhouettes being that bit flabby by today’s modern, much more svelte and closely-cut standards, and the visual effect having something of the kitsch to it (and not in the ironic hipster sense). Still, certain elements (those above) assure that Bartlett can hold us own amongst contemporaries, and that’s noteworthy enough, no?