Blue Valentine

Published February 11, 2015

ABOVE: CRAFT ATLANTIC

At the end of last month at The Tents of PROJECT, Craft Atlantic, a navy-worshipping menswear shop neatly nestled in Manhattan’s West Village, showed pieces from its sophomore collection. Equal parts office- and playwear, Craft Atlantic’s offerings are a tight line up Patagonia-gone-luxe apparel fit for today’s man about town. Updates are subtle, yet meaningful. Silhouettes are slim, and the reduced color palette measured. Sportswear is fitted with a tech edge (read: waterproof wool, rubberized Aquazips).

“I love blue. It’s not black, which is such a statement. And besides, with black,” shares the brand’s creative director, Luis Fernandez, “if it’s washed out, it’s a lot more difficult to pair than pairing all the different blues together. But we sneak it in occasionally.”

The clothes harken a return to elegance in travel attire, but with a modern, decidedly sporty approach. Interchangeable separates are designed to glide effortlessly (and chicly) through the TSA, to the boardroom, and to dinner.

Case in point: Fernandez’s recent trip to Italy, “I wore this outfit from JFK and worked an entire day with our factories…I didn’t take it off until the next morning,” Fernandez explains, pointing to his new urban uniform: a pair of dressy “sweats,” aptly called the Milano Travel Pant, a chambray shirt named Depart, and a color-blocked “Architect Sweater” in navy and black, it’s tonal intarsia knit in a Kubus block pattern.

A former architect-turned-menswear-whisperer, Fernandez and his business partner, Craft Atlantic founder Pierre Mordacq, find balance in each other’s strengths. “Our roles are clearly defined,” shares Mordacq, “so we’re able to help each other.”

“I love Pierre’s thoughts—he has impeccable taste, and loves to shop—so he’s the perfect go-to. But it’s always a good debate, which is very important and helps inform both sides of the business.”

In addition to the aforementioned “sweats,” which come in a quilted or knit variety, standouts include Craft’s reversible Voyage vest and sumptuous merino wool knit scarves in navy or ivory with a single contrasting stripe. We’re especially smitten with a plush eight-ply cashmere jumper Fernandez refers to as “texture blocked;” its knit bands jut from seed, to stockinette, to purl, to moss, to garter, to classic rib stitching in the perfect shade of navy (no red undertones in sight) with the slightest flecks of grey. There are also light-as-a-feather piqué polo shirts, their degradé stripes knit directly into the pattern, and a smart riff on an abbreviated bateau neck silhouette across multiple categories.  If not for its inherent cool factor and versatility, these clothes are worth purchasing if only for the ultra-chic translucent Mylar shopping bags.

Once you’re fully outfitted, check out the Craft Atlantic mini-bar-cum-apothecary worthy of its own boutique. It features candles from Quintessence Paris and cosmetics from Absolutions and Gentleman’s Brand Co. It’s a shame the abstract travel-inspired artworks aren’t available for sale. The “Instagram-esque” detail images were shot by a group of emerging photographers, and take form either hanging or on floor-to-ceiling prints on aluminum in luminous silver and, you guessed it, Mariner blue.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT THE CRAFT ATLANTIC WEBSITE.