Yes, he’s back. Yes, he’s out there. Yes, he’s causing trouble. Designer Johnson Hartig is Americas fashion’s favorite troublemaker. At least, he gets the credit. I’ve always been suspicious that one never seems him and the Olson twins in the same place. I’ve long held the idea that Mary Kate and Ashley are feeding Johnson material scraps under the cutting table, but hey, it’s not like me to spread rumors or anything.

Libertine has always been that alternative look one would like to create for themselves if they could be trusted with a glue gun and glitter. Some people are craftsy (yes, I just made that a word) and can create their own very special clothes, but for all the other alt kids trying desperately to be included among the kids who are never included, there’s Libertine. For spring/summer, the recipe was rather simple. Create some relatively simple silhouettes using comfortable black or metallic green material, cover in glue, and then roll around in Mary Kate and Ashley’s scrap bin to see what sticks.

This is never an extremely large collection. I’m guessing they probably make enough noise that at some point a security guard or someone runs them out of the bin and then they have to stop by a fast food place to cover up the remaining pieces.

There are a few notable differences this season. They give a nod to convention by using a fair amount of stripes. Granted, the stripes have broken pieces of mirror glued to them, but one can still easily discern that they are, indeed, following a trend. Might want to be careful about voicing that fact, though, or the clothes won’t make it into production.

I also noticed that all the fun stuff was exclusively on the front of the clothes this time. I’m guessing they eventually got tired of those little rubber balls digging into their backs and bottoms when they tried to take a nap, or perhaps someone had an unfortunate skateboarding accident.

One curious moment, about half way through the presentation I think, came when a young lady appeared who seemed to have a board stuck down the front of each of her long, green and black striped stockings. The look gave her shins a rather disturbing aesthetic, like something out of a Tim Burton film.

I’m at that age where my personal response to Libertine’s line seems to depend upon how my day has gone. Some days, like today, I can be very accepting of Hartig’s creativity and ability to recycle the most interesting things into his clothing line. Then, there are other days I’m quite happy my children have never expressed an interest in wearing Libertine; I can’t afford the therapy bills. I know had I tried wearing anything like this, my parents would have sent me to rehab immediately, being quite certain that I was on something.  Yet, knowing that just makes me jealous Libertine wasn’t around to try back then.

If you are the type person who appreciates Libertine in all its glory, then I salute you. You will enjoy this collection as I’m sure you have all the others. If you do not appreciate Libertine, then come sit over here with the rest of the old folks. Just don’t spill your juice on me.

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