John Bartlett

John Bartlett
John Bartlett

Neighborhood: West Village
Type of Place: Men's Clothing Designers

Since I discovered designer John Bartlett's work, in the late '90s,
I've considered him one of my "underknown finds." This is I'm sure
somewhat unrealistic, as actually he's well-known to many, having won
fashion awards and excelled in the business for quite a while; but
he's not yet the household name that he could be. That will likely
next spring, however, with the arrival of Claiborne by John Bartlett,
his menswear line for Liz Claiborne. And when he's the name on
everyone's lips, I'll get to say I liked him way back when.

I like him because he pursued his concern for global and social issues
by earning a sociology degree from Harvard before entering the field
fashion design. I like him because, at the beginning of this decade,
he put business on hold for a spell, packing up and traveling to
Thailand and Cambodia to study yoga and Buddhism. I like him because,
at the
end of one of the fashion shows of his I was lucky enough to attend,
post-show "bow" was a quick, shy wave to the audience before he ducked
back behind the curtain; any briefer and we would have doubted he'd
shown his face at all.

And I like his clothes--classic and crisp, with a wearable, understated
vibe. Browsing the racks at his cozy West Village flagship shop, I
admired a short-sleeved oxford shirt in beige with white stripes
($165); a
festive (but not flashy) coral short-sleeved oxford ($150); a
black-and-white-striped short-sleeved oxford ($135); charcoal cotton
shorts ($140), also available in dark grey and navy seersucker at the
same price; and a cotton-knit track jacket in navy with light blue
stripes or cream with navy stripes ($180).

Coming upon some packaged incense, I wondered if such an item might be
too "heavy" for Bartlett's fresh styles; but this particular incense
offered what I described in my notes as an uncluttered "clean-guy
smell"--very pleasant, and a current bargain at $7. And in a display
of art
books, I loved one on filmmaker Albert Maysles: another artist in the
much-less-famous-than-he-could-be category (too caught up in the book
write down the price).

Back to clothes, I especially loved the t-shirts ($55) featuring Tiny
Tim, Bartlett's mascot and a major love in his life. Tim is a
mix whom Bartlett found at the Northshore Animal League. He'd been
christened Tiny Tim because he was found, having been injured and
abandoned, on Christmas Eve. One of his legs had to be amputated, but
spirit remained intact--and he now has a great life with Bartlett, as
as prominent representation on everything from shirts to undies. All
proceeds from the t-shirt sales go to Northshore. (A dedicated animal
lover, along with everything else? I knew I liked John Bartlett!)

Just before heading out, I took a look at the handsome ties ($50-$105),
in tasteful checks and stripes. Very nice--but one possible addition
seemed obvious. "Not that anyone asked me," I said to the employee at
the register, "but John could put the Tim logo on some ties." "Dogs
coming!" he replied. "They're in the next line for ties!" Ah-ha! Proud
of my fashion prescience, I made my way through the sunny Village
streets, making sure to say hi to the dogs I passed. John Bartlett--if
hadn't known of him before, remember that you heard it all here first.
  - Pamela Grossman;May 26. 2008

John Bartlett
143 7th Ave. So. and Charles (Charles St)
New York, NY 10014
(212) 633-6867

Average rating:
What do you think?