Patrik Ervell took on a military aesthetic at his fall menswear presentation yesterday. "I started with early Chinese army uniforms," he told us as he was winding down after the show. "But that was just a beginning point." His reinterpretation took military and expanded it to include the use of latex and rubber for transparent raincoats and gear. "These are all handmade," the San Francisco native said, referring to the flexible material used for the outerwear. "It takes three days to make one, and there are no seams — it’s all just bonded rubber." The idea of see-through clothes for men intrigued us, especially because the pieces are still wearable. "Part of what I do is for effect," he said. "There’s little space in menswear where you can really do these things that are more dramatic and a little more romantic. For me, I always find that space in outerwear. I mean, you could wear it as a raincoat. I would, and I don’t really wear crazy clothes."
Ervell seemed relaxed and satisfied by the end of the presentation, most likely because he overcame his biggest hurdle in the very beginning: Anna Wintour not only showed up to see his work — she showed up first, and early. "It's so characteristic of her, she comes early, which is kind of amazing," he said. Ervell officially made Wintour's list of designers to watch when he placed as a runner-up in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund awards this past November, where he was awarded $50,000 and a mentor to help grow his business. "When they give you that prize, they’re doing it because they’re investing in you," he explained. "And you feel that they want you to succeed." While he doesn't have Anna on speed dial, he's happy enough counting her as a fan. "It's wonderful to have her support. What she does for young designers is amazing, and really, no one else does it. You would think someone like her wouldn’t take an interest, but she does, and she does more than anyone else." One of Ervell's representatives told us that before Anna left, the editor-in-chief asked them to pass along the following message: "Tell Patrik I loved the collection." We'd be surprised if Patrik didn't polish off a bottle of Champagne last night to celebrate a seal of approval like that.