At this point it would be fair to say that David Hart has never half-assed a design concept for his eponymous label. And that consistency serves him well in his Spring Summer 2018 Collection “Tourism in Cuba” presented at New York Men’s Day. Mr. Hart’s irresistible confections are inspired by the dazzling ebullience and charm of the Caribbean island nation, albeit as Mr. Hart himself points out, through the perspective of someone who may have washed ashore and marveled at the amber encased mid century looks of its locals. Obviously this was meant as a celebration of the move toward renewed diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba. But since collections are conceived and produced through a protracted process that takes months, nobody could have foreseen the relentless backsliding the new administration has taken on many policies including this one.
Still, this collection manages to shine as a beacon of hope, if not an outright statement of resistance. On show were the brand’s signature spectacular suits, light and cool guayabera shirts as well as a reimagined version in knit, sport coats, shorts, trousers, and scarves. Prints, colors, and styling drew heavily on the shared American by-way-of-cinema images associated with Cuba – plantains, cheroot, royal palm tree leaves, Panama hats – mostly in warm tones of ochre, carmine, and tobacco with a handful of ocean blues, cool mints and emeralds.
No one serves up nostalgia on a brand spanking modern platter of impeccable menswear with assuredness as Mr. Hart. While his fondness for mythic “cool” themes serve like catnip to fashion insiders, he has made accommodations to render these in easy and relevant wear for men everywhere. And the new collection certainly goes a long way in proving that menswear need not be confined to joyless basics. He launched with a striking neckwear collection in 2009 and has since developed the brand into a total suiting label, infused with an assortment of sportier knits, earning him a GQ’s Best New Menswear Designer title in 2015.
Images Courtesy of David Hart/Footwear by Toms, Eyewear by Occhialeria Artigiana Italia, Hats by Rod Keenan and Sue Saas, Styling by Shelby Petra, Hair by Kien Hoang for Oribe, Grooming by Lab Series Skincare for Men, Makeup by Augment + Make Up Pro