John Bartlett SS13

Calm, cool, collected, with executives from The Bon Ton in the front row and clothes designed for the plant-based man on the runway, John Bartlett celebrated 20 years in the industry, remaining true to his sustainable spirit and eco-friendly nature. 
Designer John Bartlett walks his finale
His was a collection

all in linen. The concept, the execution, the clothing raising compassion to a creative art, menswear that aspires, in John’s words, to be cruelty free and earth friendly. From his watermelon/kale ticking stripe suit that opened the show, to his navy striped djellaba and “om” printed shorts, jackets and pants, John maintained his compassionate integrity and creative passion.

Happy Anniversary, JB!

Friday:5ive with John Bartlett, Designer and Animal Activist

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Our fav interview of the week featured in our newest FashionWhirled series, Friday:5ive, of course goes out to John Bartlett, the nicest man you’ll ever want to meet. Celebrated men’s wear designer, John’s a two-time CFDA award winner, the reason Hush Puppies became cool again in the ’90s, collaborator with The Bon-Ton stores, helmer of his own eponymous West Village boutique (that unfortunately shuttered about a year ago), tireless and dedicated animal activist and philanthropist.
The Ohio-born John
and I are longtime colleagues within the fashion industry, friends joined initially by the love of fashion — I visited his West Village apartment to view his first collection in ’91, resulting in kudos and a rave review in DNR, as well as a friendship as kindred Midwestern souls. Recently we’ve connected from our love of animals, dogs in general and Mignon in particular. John is the soul reason we have Mignon in our lives, a life-altering meeting during a North Shore Animal League adoption event sponsored by John in front of his store. That chance meeting led to the adoption of the Pomeranian love of our life!
John works hard to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves — the animals — and he puts his money where his mouth is: his three-legged adopted dog Tiny Tim is no longer with us, but John founded the Tiny Tim Rescue Fund to honor his legacy and help support rescue groups nationwide, created the Tiny Tim Collection with proceeds going toward the Fund and he just adopted a third little guy, a chihuahua named Pappi, all while championing the rights of animals (he is trying to educate other fashion designers about not using fur in their collections), volunteering at a Harlem animal care and control center and fighting to find immediate homes and care for dogs on kill lists throughout the city. His mantra, which is on John’s website, is “RESCUING ONE ANIMAL MAY NOT CHANGE THE WORLD…BUT FOR THAT ONE ANIMAL – THEIR WORLD WILL BE CHANGED FOREVER.”
That’s how John rolls. There’s a lot of love in his world, and — if you and I are lucky enough — our world, too. Bottom line? We definitely need more guys like John in this world.
FashionWhirled with John Bartlett, the nicest designer ever
 
FashionWhirled:   what role does fashion, and now animal activism, play in your everyday life and when was that first moment that you knew you were going to become deeply involved in either or both (i.e., as a child or teen?)?
 
John Bartlett:   one of my earliest memories were of my clothes. i was obsessed with how to make my school uniform a bit “personalized” but still passing rigid inspection. fashion became a means of expression for me in college so after Harvard i decided to delve into fashion fulltime at FIT to see where i might land. i continue to be obsessed with fashion and design and am inspired by it daily.
animal activism is a very recent awakening, to be honest. i study it like a student and read everything i can get my hands on. it is an incredibly important part of my psyche now and yet i feel like a newbie still trying to find my voice.
 
 
 
FW:   who is your muse(s) and what importance does he/she/they play in your career as a clothing designer in particular and as a person in general?
JB:   my muses are the men in NYC who are making it happen on whatever level that is for them personally. i am inspired very much by men of my generation who are making the connection between commerce and compassion and who are standing up for what they believe. that’s sexy to me and inspiring as a mindset for me to design into.
on a personal note, my partner john esty who is now my fiance(!) inspires me everyday with his style. he is a cyclist and a master framer and wears cool athletic gear under his work aprons!
 
A cyclist in NYC. Photo: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times.
 

FW:   if you could have any notable person – dead or alive – wear your designs, who would it be and why, and in what would you dress them?

 

JB:   i keep a movie still from “gandhi” with ben kingsley spooling his own yarn. for some reason my fantasy customer is gandhi himself. i would want him to teach me how to spin my own yarn and make fabric and then i would cut it into a long fit (and flair) djellaba for him.

Gandhi spinning
 

FW:  what is your most revered, favorite piece of clothing that you own now or have ever owned?

 
JB:   i kept my boyschool letter sweater that i wore in grades four through six. i loved it and my mom sewed my sport patches on it. it felt very butch and kinda animal house! i wish i could squeeze into it now! i treasure it.
 

FW:   what is, to you, the most impressive act you have ever accomplished and how would that be represented by your words to live by, either as an affirmation or quote or perhaps a sentiment for you as John Bartlett the fashion designer and animal activist and/or for you as John the individual?

 

JB:   i humbly think that becoming vegan was the most (personally) impressive act i have ever tackled, but also the most natural, once i made the commitment. i feel that in this moment in time we are beginning to see how entangled our relationship is with animals, and the earth, so for me choosing a vegan lifestyle has been an incredible leap. a quote that i keep on my phone is this one by robert alden: “there is not enough darkness in all the world to put out even one candle.” this has many meanings on many levels and speaks to me…

Great veggies for vegans! Also, JB’s fav hue.
 
 
 

An Evening with John Bartlett

Designer and animal activist John Bartlett was the success story at Thursday night’s dot429 and Wells Fargo “Salon Series: Conversations About Success” premiere. Held in the beautiful outdoor garden of The Yard at the Soho Grand Hotel, the enticing and inviting first of the series focused on investment as the topic and John gave his take on his multiple levels of success, from personal to professional to philanthropic.

“If you’re doing what you love, you can give so much back to your community,” John said, noting
that fashion is a harsh mistress that he had to walk away from after 9/11. He said he put everything in storage and went on sabbatical to Cambodia and Thailand, investing time in yoga and watching the Buddhist monks, where something there “hit my soul.” That led him back to New York, where he adopted a dog from North Shore Animal League, Tiny Tim, who put him on an entirely new path, and he returned to fashion, “doing it in a way that makes me happy.”

Tiny Tim made a huge impact on John and his business. The tripod dog became the logo of the designer’s clothing company, inspired John to volunteer at the Harlem animal care and control, to work with the compassion program to get dogs off the euthanasia list and ultimately to create the Tiny Tim Rescue Fund. “My legacy is the foundation that was created in honor of Tiny Tim. I’m working to merge the two worlds of commerce and compassion.”

Tiny Tim passed away about a year ago, but John says he still inspires him. For one, he’s just adopted a new little dog to join his existing family of two bigger dogs. In Mykonos recently, John got down on one knee and proposed to his longtime partner. Now, as far as investment goes, John quips that he’s planning ahead for 2 — plus 3 dogs. It’s obvious John has given so much back to his community — he loves what he’s doing. And we love him for that.

John Bartlett before his dot429/Wells Fargo Salon Series presentation
The view entering The Yard at The Soho Grand Hotel
The designer on “stage”
Singer Boice-Terrel Allen with Salon co-hosts Tom Julian of the
Tom Julian Group and Montgomery Frazier, The Image Guru
Interior decorator Michael Arguello
Tourism director Reginald Charlot
Co-host Edward Garou and Joseph Miceli-Magnone
wearing John Bartlett signature camo 

John cutting up with me. We go back to DNR days and he 
brought tears to my eyes during his talk, when he gave props 
to me as one of his first supporters, recounting how I’d given him 
his first big break with a glowing review after I came to see his 
first collection in his tiny West Village studio. Talk about investing!

The Lambs Club’s Menswear Gathering 2012

As the second January menswear market week got under way with MRket and ENK shows taking place earlier on Monday, members of the menswear industry reunited at The Bar at The Lambs Club at the Chatwal Hotel on West 44th Street last night. Our fifth go-round, this was our first of the new year.

Built to house the Lambs theatrical club, the Stanford White-designed building was a perfect midtown location for the group. The auspicious room, below, was a welcome respite from the rainy mess outside. Surprise guests included Derrill Osborn, former Neiman Marcus men’s tailored clothing director, who among others dared the weather to share their camaraderie, raise a toast and indulge in the sumptuous appetizers provided for the group by the amazing Chatwal general manager Joel Freyberg. 
Designer John Bartlett caught up with Osborn and retail mavens Stan Tucker and Joe Cecil. Journalists John Birmingham and Catherine Salfino reconnected with former DNR staffers, fashion show producers, marketing and publishing specialists. Designers new to the group included Raz Keren and Rufus shirt designer April Singer with colleague Kyle Cherek, who also hosts a television foodie show. 
Cherek would’ve been in heaven at the beginning of the evening, as we walked into the bar just as Lambs Club chef Geoffrey Zakarian, Food Network ‘s Anne Burrell and others were convening at a plush banquette booth in the middle of the upstairs bar.
Designer John Bartlett, right, with Stan Tucker and Randa’s John Kammeier (left)
Fairchild/DNR’s John Birmingham, Beverly Cogan Marksohn, producer Susan Sidor
Susan Snee Stolar and Robin Eckstein
Joe Cecil with Randa’s John Kammeier
Mr. Osborn with event organizer Holly Adam
George Saffo, John Kammeier, Mr. Osborn, Joe Cecil
Photographer Karin Kohlberg and prop specialist Bobby Taylor

Cozy banquettes provided for comfy communicating, noshing and drinking

L-R: designer Kevin Stewart, Susan Sidor, Catherine Salfino, Barney Bishop, Gary Williams

 
  
 Max Wilson brought designer Raz Keren, a newcomer to the group

Event organizer Mary Ellen Barone with Mr. Osborn
The Bar kept us sated with a flow of yumbly appetizers  —
 rice balls, meat balls, sauteed peppers and calamari

Menswear, Reunited

Many members of the menswear fashion industry were feeling the love last night, reuniting at The Campbell Apartment, the hidden gem of Grand Central, for a re-meet & re-greet in NYC.

What started out as four or five friends hooking up for drinks after the trade shows went viral, turning into something truly beautiful to behold. Tenaciously and graciously prompted by Holly Adam, owner of CashmereinC. (always an instigator, since our days back at Rose’s in Florence, Italy during the men’s shows!), and co-hosted by Bobby Taylor of Taylor Creative, Mary Ellen Barone and Tom Julian of the Tom Julian Group, and myself, the evening brought together many of our long-standing menswear friends, some of whom we haven’t seen in years, including some of my former Fairchildren from DNR! 
Many within the group that graced the evening have progressed over the years to varied and diverse new posts, ranging from fashion directors to retailers, marketers, producers, authors, fashion bloggers and publishers. Some of our favorite designers dropped in, from John Bartlett to Jeffrey Banks. 
Kevin Krier of Kevin Krier & Associates with designer John Bartlett

 
Bobby Taylor, Stan Tucker and Kevin Stewart
Look for another gathering, most likely in the Spring, with info to come at a later date.

In the smattering of photos, below,  apologies in advance for the quality of the shots. Out-of-focus and red eyes are the result of my camera being on the wrong setting, not from too many Prohibition Punches, the signature drink of The Campbell!
 Kevin and Mary Ellen Barone
Mary Ellen and our dear friend Joni Fiore, co-owner of the Orange Domino Showroom in NYC
 Joni with my former DNR colleagues Lisa Marsh, now an author as well as a fashion blogger for StyleList.com and Today.com, and Bill Gibbons, now a publisher at Hearst Corporation
Former Fairchildren: The handsome Robert Bryan, author and menswear expert, and the beautiful writer Catherine Salfino, with designer Jerry Kaye in the back right corner
 Joni, Lisa M., Bill, Gary Van Dis of Condé Nast fame and Catherine
Consultant Lisa Silhanek, MEB, Kevin, Joni and IMG’s Christina Neault
 MEB, Joni, Christina
GVD and Joni
 Nelson Mui, Holly and GVD
 Photographer Karin Kohlberg and Kevin
 MEB, Tom Julian, Bill and Daniel Magnus
Me, BT, Holly, Stan, Gary and Kevin
BT, takin’ care of bizness at the end of the tab!

John Bartlett: The. Sweetest. Designer. Ever.

Did a quick drive by after the Perry Street block party to see John Bartlett, one of my most favorite designers of all time. I wanted my Loup Charmant designer friend Kee to meet him finally and see his magnificent style.

We were saddened to hear that he had bad news about Tiny Tim, the beloved tripod canine love of his life, who is also the logo for his adorable retro and rustic Seventh Avenue shop.

TT has just been diagnosed with lymphoma and while JB tried one go-round with chemo, he decided not to put his buddy through the whole ordeal. We concur and commiserate, and are sending John, his hubby and Tiny Tim all our love and positive thoughts.

Speaking of positive thoughts, we can’t stop thinking about the sweet capsule group of women’s wear that John just introduced, the one that was practically hidden that night in a back corner. The pretty little men’s wear inspired pieces include a luxurious butterscotch and buttery cashmere cable sweater, soft tweed trousers and vest. A particularly soft and cushy black and white houndstooth check hunting shirt had me practically fainting, as did a black and white argyle cashmere turtleneck that would be the equivalent to wearing your favorite blankie out to dinner. We vowed to come back for more, as the whole thing left us girls salivating, in particular, about owning a John Bartlett man’s suit sized to fit us. John promised us he’d be getting in more and keep us posted.

Now, isn’t he the sweetest designer ever?

It’s a dog’s life, for sure

I am so lucky to have this little thing to wake up to every morning. I think about this a lot, of all the joy and love she has brought into our lives.

She lights up early in the a.m., waiting quietly until she can no more and then, wriggling ecstatically, pounces on P to give him his morning kisses, grinning at him to roll her over in a rough-and-tumble tummy rub or throw her doggie-crack toy around the bed for her to chase like a mad beast.

She is a beautiful soul, an intuitive friend, a great listener, a super snuggler, a wonderful traveler and a master of the fake-out/sneak-in when it comes to restaurants, cocktail parties and art museums. She is a celebrity on our 7th Street sidewalk, greeted by neighbors I’ve never met. One model-esque couple stopped us with “Is that Mignon? We thought we recognized her!” And then spoke French to her. Children love her, and while she may be afraid, she is never snippy or mean to them.

New comprehensions and communications astound me. How she understands what I ask her to do and how she does it, blows my mind. New positions for sleep, with all four legs in the air, amuse me. I realize just how bound together humans and canines truly are. And I love it.

I am blessed that we were able to bring Mignon back with us from the North Shore Animal League that November day, thankful to John Bartlett and his endearing and unending love and support and championing of all the rescue animals brought in to that facility needing new families.

Thank you, John. Thank you NSAL.

Look at us.

What a lovely little family we have now.
xoxokimmie

Puppy Love

Meet Miss Princess Pomegranate Lulubelle Mignon!!!!!

Mignon for reals.

I first met this beautiful little pomegranate, oops! er, Pomeranian!, at a North Shore Animal League adoption event sponsored by designer extraordinaire/animal rights supporter John Bartlett, held in front of his 7th Avenue South West Village clothing boutique a couple of Saturdays ago. In my mind, it was just a drive-by for us, a quickie run-through-the-wagon-thang to say hi to JB and head home for a very much needed shower. (P and I had pitched in with the workmen that morning during a massive cleaning of my co-op’s cellar storage space, recently made even more filthy than its normal cellar dirtiness from a building-wide electric upgrade.) The deal had been struck between the two of us that I could run through and look at the doggies, but that P would not get out of the car.

On first pass, this Little One, “Penny” on her cage’s name card, coyly drew me in with those endlessly deep liquid eyes, then literally drew me in with her dexterous curling paws, begging me to scratch her behind her ears in between sweet, warm licky kisses. She had me at ~ yes ~ hello. Yet still I dangerously pushed my limit by giving in to the attendant’s request to hold her.

No doubt about it. I was hooked.

I ran out to the car and now I was begging, pleading with P to come in and meet her, breathlessly describing how her sweet little delicate face seemed a combination of Kuku’s, our former pocket Yorkie, and Lily’s, our lovable Maltese we’d lost nearly a year ago, whose death I thought I’d never get over enough to want another doglet in our lives. Obviously, I was wrong. The time had finally come.

JB came over and met the hubby, but P still wouldn’t get out of the car. Okay, I rationalized, we’d go home, shower and return to the adoption wagon. They’d be there at least until 4:30, according to one of the volunteers. If the doglet was still there when we got back, it would show that it was meant to be. If not, oh well. We’d only just begun to talk about adopting a shelter dog, anyway, and we hadn’t even begun to look at any at all. This was our first foray. And it was a big step.

Of course when we got home, there was no water in the building. I waited, secure in the belief that we’d be able to shower soon and head back over. When 4:30 came and went, I started to accept that maybe it wasn’t meant to be, and when it was 6 and there was still no water, I began to worry about how we’d get cleaned up for dinner plans we had. By the time our friends let us know they were running late and we finally had water to shower, the doggie adoption idea was fading as fast as the shower water was swirling down the bathtub drain.

I Facebooked John quickly before running out the door, thanking him for inviting us and apologized for not making it back. I inquired about the little pom and who she’d been adopted by and told John we were thinking about heading out to Long Island the next day to check out what other doggies the shelter might have. When I got home, John’s response made my heart jump; a woman had been in the process of adopting the Little One and had gone out to get her checkbook but never returned. Little One was still available for adoption!

That next morning we got out to NSAL later than we’d planned, more like around 11 than the opening hour of 10. Inside the atrium, a young woman already was playing with “Penny,” her completed paperwork piled to one side. I watched as a worker came and took “Penny.” She was being adopted.

When the news was confirmed, I burst into tears behind my sunglasses and merely walked silently out to the car, crushed. P tried to console me and as we were about to drive out, I had a change of heart and decided we should make certain the adoption was going through. For an hour or more, we tried to track her down, bugging various volunteers, unable to find out exactly what was transpiring. The young woman adopting “Penny” was now playing with two other puppies. No one could tell us where “Penny” was. One worker said she was already adopted, and tried to steer us toward other Poms. I tried to explain that we weren’t looking for Poms in general, merely looking for one Pom in particular. Another worker said he found out that she was on hold but couldn’t figure out why or how, since the shelter doesn’t allow holding; it’s a first-come-first-serve basis facility. Then we were told she was on hold along with another Pom for a worker’s aunt whose Pom had died earlier that week.

We gave up; it was all too confusing and I sadly resigned myself to the fact that this Pom and we were not meant to be. I’d left my name and number with one of the more helpful and kindest of the volunteers, Steve, and we were driving out of the parking lot when Steve rang, hurrying me back inside. I was ushered into an interior administrative office where I finally, finally was able to hold the sweet Little One on my lap.

We found out what little information they knew about her. She was a puppy mill mommy from Missouri, a pretty little dog relegated to live, eat, drink, eliminate and whelp her little ones over and over in a wire cage much like a rabbit hutch kept up off the ground. She was 3 or 4 years old and that would have been her existence for the rest of her life, until she died in puppy birth or could no longer have pups and was deemed redundant and let loose as a stray or hit on the back of the head with a rock. Her tummy and teats were swollen from perpetually pumping out puppies that were then taken from her, shipped out probably not even yet weaned and sold in pet stores around the country. She was from one of five states that allow the more notorious mills, “commercial breeders,” which basically ignore the Animal Welfare Act.

The rest is history. She’s not housebroken, but almost. And she has just found her voice, another difficult training path we are on. But we are making it work, the key being incredible diligence and consistency. And watchfulness. It’s hard work. Especially with my other hand having just been operated upon this past week. But, again. We are. Making it. Work…

And, of course, wee wee pads help!