Often, what constitutes a “grail” piece of clothing is a garment that is both eminently wearable, but has enough of a discerning design to it that it feels special in its own way. Whether it’s the vertical quilting and extraneous straps of a Craig Green jacket, or the repurposed punk graphics denoting an UNDERCOVER piece, there’s enough of a distinction from the norm that makes this particular item of clothing feel special, and worthy of handing down to future generations.
For designer Emily Adams Bode, that feeling was first discovered through home textiles. She inherited some vintage fabrics from her grandmother, and spent some time antiquing with her mother, developing a taste for 19th and 20th-Century fabrics and quilts. In July 2016, she established her menswear line Bode, melding her appreciation for time-worn fabrics with hard-wearing menswear silhouettes also meant to stand the test of time.
“I’ve always been inspired by more utilitarian garments,” says the designer at her recent New York Fashion Week: Men’s show, where she had the opening spot. “This collection is inspired by my conversations with a botanist-turned-quilt-dealer.”
Bode’s clothes toe the line between playful, practical, and instantly covetable. Ivy League-inspired elements like regatta stripes and herringbone wools are reimagined through patchwork construction and rustic embroidery. Her recurring chore coats feel elegant in verdant shades of green, a nod to her botanist friend, who happened to study the science of plants at Harvard. At a time when plenty of menswear enthusiasts are beginning to outfit the interiors of their homes as much as the exterior of their bodies, the inspiration is decidedly on-trend.
At her last show, Bode featured several beds around the presentation, tying into a feeling of homeliness, relaxation, and comfort that tied in with the clothes, which are almost always made of home textiles and have a decidedly lived-in appeal. Of course, for beleaguered fashion editors and buyers, the thought of getting back into bed after a busy fashion week was equally as enticing. For this season, titled “Dear Homer,” Bode enlisted Green River Project to install a day bed as well as custom furniture and a greenhouse, where plants drove home the botany theme of the clothing.
“We have smaller details—I think that’s what I’m drawn to in menswear—and that’s what I wanted to evoke in this collection,” she continues. “Like the tabs, we did a cardigan and a jacket, but yeah, I think it’s the simplistic shapes that make it more timeless.”
Indeed, floral needlepoint details and beadwork add a certain intricacy to the clothes that contrasts with their otherwise wholeheartedly rugged feeling. Despite the precious accoutrements, Bode emphasizes that these clothes are meant to be worn, and lived-in to a greater extent than how they already look. The vintage appeal isn’t meant to be hung up and admired, but rather inspire the wearer to add even more life to the garment.
As a contrast to the seemingly feminine lace and quilted fabrics, Bode also implements a rough cowhide in several outerwear pieces. It’s an evolution from her last Fall/Winter collection, which included deadstock shearling material.
“I really wanted to do a cowhide jacket because of the way that it falls,” she explains. “It looks super boyish and I thought it would be an interesting way to incorporate a much more winter weight, but it’s still cowhide rugs.”
At just under fourteen worldwide stockists that include Trés Bien, Totokaelo, and United Arrows—as well as an online shop—Bode still has plenty of room to grow as a label, but is already showing a lot of promise. And if the brand’s strong Fall/Winter 2018 offering is any indication, it will continue to make itself feel at home in the fashion world.
Now check out more upcoming labels with a look at our Under-the-Radar booth at Capsule New York.
- Photography: Bryan Luna