Number:Lab’s menswear bills itself as “where sporty meets sophistication,” and line’s FW2011 collection demonstrates exactly why that tagline is so apt. Number:Lab draws inspiration from everything to vintage athletics uniforms to modern architecture, and the result is a collection that would look just as at home in a Colorado ski lodge as on the pages of GQ.
The athletics metaphor is so obvious that it’s practically in your face. Models walked the runway with goggles on their foreheads, carrying snowboards. Subtle. In truth, the props weren’t necessary to convey that privileged-but-active-image; the clothes speak for themselves. A sporty turtleneck and a sweater trimmed with snowflakes evoked swishing down the slopes in Vale, while subtly tartan pants speak more to golfing in late October.
The architectural influence is subtle, but more telling. To understand the point of view, think of buildings designed in the 1950s and 60s. Ornaments like Grecian pillars or decorative moulding have been discarded, supplanted by assertive lines and solid blocks of glass, steel, and reinforced concrete. In short, it’s the difference between 1902’s Flatiron Building and 1952’s United Nations Headquarters. Number:Lab is the United Nations. Form follows function, and this simplicity conveys a sort of minimalist sophistication.
Number:Lab takes its prep cred to the next level by incorporating splashes of bold and surprising colors- see the neon yellow vest, or the royal purple trousers. These pieces are the winter equivalent of wearing madras or a pink polo to the golf course. Used sparingly, as it is here, these bright spots add interest and individuality to an ocean of earth tones. However, like madras, there is always the possibility of ostentation abuse. Don these looks carefully, gentlemen.