Rustic Prep: LL Bean Signature for Fall, & Alex Carleton on “Preppy Style Coming Back”

Hello-Hello, and welcome to a Wednesday!

We have to decree our love of technology this week. This afternoon I was able to watch a presentation from LL Bean Signature’s Creative Director, Alex Carleton, while staying right here at the Prepatorium.

Courtesy LL Bean

For a goofy old fuddy-duddy like yours truly, this is rather amazing. Here is a screenshot of the webinar (if that is how one refers to it..?).

Courtesy LL Bean Signature

We recognize this kind of technology is more-than-old-news to many of our treasured readers, but being able to watch Mr. Carleton as he discussed the Fall/Winter Collection was nothing short of amazing. (Keep in mind, you’re dealing with someone who spent 17 years in television *never* understanding how they make the pictures fly through the air.)

Courtesy LL Bean Signature

Mr. Carleton started the session by sharing some of his inspiration for this fall’s collection.

Courtesy LL Bean

As shown on the inspiration board, “Rustic Prep” and “New England Style” are important influences.  The designer talked about his vision for the line, discussing the color palette and detailing fabrics and materials used for the new season.

We originally shared some of the new pieces in this post, but were excited to learn more about the styles and fabrics.  One of the notable points was the variety of textiles used; there is a lot of rich texture this fall, including tweed, knits, and mohair.  Below, one of this year’s Mohair Sweaters paired with a Tweed Skirt, and on the right, a Knit Dress, reminiscent of the 70’s Isleboro Sweater dress. The model is also wearing one of the men’s Field Watches as an accessory.

Mr. Carleton also talked about the challenges of taking a line originally created as a menswear brand to be worn while duck hunting and making it appropriate for today’s fashion-conscious woman. Below, the Flannel Shirt and Skinny Jean, and the Ruffled Top.

Below we show the Alpaca Cable Sweater and Blanket Skirt, along with a Turtleneck we adore.

Some of the most interesting comments came during the Q & A portion of the presentation; Mr. Carleton has spoken about personalities that influence and inspire, among them Katherine Hepburn, Steve McQueen, Ali MacGraw, John Updike and John Cheever, and when asked about associating a celebrity (or celebrities) with the Signature line, he spoke at length about Bean’s humble beginnings and commitment to maintaining that humility.

Our favorite line from Mr. Carleton’s response:

“… LL Bean’s history is not flashy and not celebrity focused…. not needing or desiring a celebrity face…”

Hallelujah to that sentiment.

We move on to a few looks for your MOTH (Man of the House).

We like the Intarsia Sweater and the Men’s Flannel Shirt.

For more on the Menswear styles, pop over and visit Skip at Alexander Grant, he actually went to a Signature trunk show at the Mother Ship in Maine, and has marvelous photos.

Several pieces come in styles for both men and women, like the Tweed Coat.

Also available for both ladies and gentlemen, the Tartan Plaid pant, we show it in the navy and green colorway. On the right, one of our favorite ensembles showcases the vintage fisherman print on the shirt.

Back to inquiries from participants; a question was asked about recent media coverage of “preppy style,” referencing next week’s release of the classic Take Ivy reprint (explained here), and September’s new book from Original Preppy Handbook writer Lisa Birnbach (explained here and here).  There was also an allusion to Guy Trebay’s “Prep, Forward and Back” story in the Times, covered in this post. The designer’s response made perfect sense:

“People are definitely excited about preppy style, traditional clothes, traditional brands. Fashion is cyclical, we’re in this cycle and right now people are feeling (positively) about traditional ideas… in love with history and looking at fashion not being created in a vacuum, things that bring us back… a sense of nostalgia, a lot of people are feeling really good about preppy style.”

Mr. Carleton was clear about ‘preppy style’ being popular again, or statements that “preppy style is back”:

“It never went away. There is this media zeitgeist happening… a lot of people paying attention to it because of the media zeitgeist… it never went away.”

Indeed.

The LL Bean Signature Fall Collection is available next week.

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2 Comments

Filed under preppy, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, True Prep & TOPH

2 responses to “Rustic Prep: LL Bean Signature for Fall, & Alex Carleton on “Preppy Style Coming Back”

  1. Kiki

    I MUST have that knit dress and cable knit t-neck. Love L.L.Bean. Thanks for sharing and take care.

  2. Call me crazy but I think that there is a correlation between the state of the economy and people moving back towards traditional styles.
    Personally, I’m very happy to see a return to this look.

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