Michael Bastian makes some of the snazziest menswear around, but between those debonair looks he sends sauntering down the runway, the designer’s got a soft spot for Stevie Nicks, Hall & Oates, and this season’s soundtrack of neo-disco jams. The former men’s fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman launched his line back in 2006 after noticing a gap in the men’s designer world, and wound up becoming the perfect person to fill it. Since then, well, he’s been named Menswear Designer of The Year by the CFDA, collaborated with GANT, and has racked up a laundry list of prestigious stores around the world that stock his designs. Right career choice? Yeah, we think so. Find out what four songs influenced Michael’s most recent collection and the Fleetwood Mac cover he thinks you should download right this very instant. Or, just pick up on his “sit down and shut up” technique to get tushes back in the fashion show seats. Teachers, bosses, and various authority figures, take note.
Tell me a bit about the music you’re using this season.
The whole vibe of the show is kind of late ’70s, early ’80s, with a bit of neo-disco. So, the first two songs are really new, but sound like they could have been from the ’70s or ’80s — like a modern-day interpretation of disco. The third song kind of fell in our lap in the last moment. We were just saying, ‘We need something a little darker, a little sexier,’ and had just been talking about how Donna Summer passed away recently, and Stefan Campbell, our creative director of the show said, ‘Wouldn’t this be great?’ as a tribute. I spent my life trying to figure out a way to work that song into a show, and here it is, the perfect place for it.
And how about the Youngblood Hawke song?
For finale music, you need something to send people out kind of pumped up. It’s just a great finale song, with those tubular bells and the chorus.
Donna’s a different story, but how did you initially come across the other three songs?
We have this funny way that we do our music; we kind of call it the ‘sit down and shut up song’ (laughs), where the people come into the seats. You know what it’s like before a fashion show, everyone’s standing around, talking to their friends — you gotta get their asses back in their seat, paying attention, putting their phone away — so the light goes down a little bit, and we always have a song that we kind of love. Not a show song, but a ‘get you in the mood’ song. So, I was in the Hamptons last weekend looking at a magazine, and saw that they were talking about how a new Fleetwood Mac tribute album just came out. This band I’ve never heard of before called Gardens & Villa did a cover of the Stevie Nicks song, “Gypsy.” It is so amazing. It’s weird hearing that song sung by boys, you know? We all love that song, we grew up with that song, [and] they kind of put their own indie weird spin on it. So, that’s our ‘sit down and shut up’ song, which I really love. We really think about the music a lot.
What songs have you just played and played and played?
In my life? Oh my god, well, you know you can play that game with your iTunes and see your top 100 most played songs? My No. 1 song, you know what it is, it’s “Sara Smile” by Hall & Oates. We had a whole season inspired by that song, [and] we heard it 5,000 times!
The music you listen to seems to reflect everything you do at work.
Exactly. What I’m listening to reflects exactly what I’m working on. And, it seems like I don’t get tired of it, because remember, I have two jobs — I’m also doing GANT by Michael Bastian, and that comes with its own playlist, too. And that’s always a whole different inspiration, so if I get sick of one one day, I can click to the other one.