The Other Side Of Camp

The word ‘camp’, which has been bantered around and used ad nauseum as of late, has several meanings depending on its usage. As we all know by now, as an adjective, it means something that provides sophisticated, knowing amusement by virtue of its being artlessly mannered or stylized, self-consciously artificial and extravagant or teasingly ingenuous and sentimental. Used as a noun, it refers to a physical place which camping takes place; a place usually away from urban areas where tents or simple buildings such as cabins, are erected for shelter or for temporary residence as for laborers, prisoners, or vacationers. It can also mean a base or a military group, not necessarily temporarily.

This past week the spotlight was on campy designs that are extravagant, exaggerated and over the top and there has been not much, if any focus on clothes that are versatile, functional, uniform like and military inspired, with camp and camping in mind (though in my mind, it’s the chicest camp on the planet!). And as it happens, they could not be more of the moment; not they ever go out of style.

Sophisticated, well designed, and eternally chic examples of utilitarian designs stormed the runways. They were made of durable, sturdy materials like cotton canvas and cotton drill, boasted functional details such as multi pockets, and were usually seen in neutrals like tan, chino, khaki, olive, and army green. These are some of the most notable examples currently available ranging in price from $149 to $2580.

Zara’s patchwork Japanese cotton shirt dress has an asymmetric bib and hem, $149. More info/purchase

Cut from cotton-twill, Loewe’s cropped blouse is defined by sculptural sleeves that tumble towards your ankles, $1150. More info/purchase

Sies Marjan’s Sander Lak swapped out his signature vibrant colors for a more neutral Spring ’19 palette, rich in utilitarian hues. This waist defining jacket is cut from army-green wool-canvas and has an asymmetric buttoned layer over the top, $1895. More info/purchase

In-keeping with this season’s utilitarian trend, Saint Laurent’s shirt is inspired by traditional military uniforms but designed in a more refined silhouette. It’s been made in Italy from an army-green cotton and ramie-blend that holds its shape really well and has a lace-up front, $1190. More info/purchase

Givenchy’s cropped cotton-drill bomber jacket is cut oversized but in a cropped length. It’s been made in Italy from sturdy cotton-drill and has cargo pockets. The ties at the back are punctuated with the label’s logo, $2580. More info/purchase

Inspired by the summer tradition of camping, GANNI’s wide-leg pair is made from airy beige white and green cotton topped with a stretchy rope belt. They have plenty of pockets and unzip at the thigh so you can convert them into shorts, or just leave them partially undone, $315. More info/purchase

Mara Hoffman’s army-green Tencel and linen blend ‘Atticus’ jacket has a notched collar, oversized bracelet sleeves and cargo-inspired flap pockets. Use the detachable belt to cinch the loose shape, $425. More info/purchase

These clothes stand on their own, but needless to say, you could also add a touch of camouflage, python, or leopard with your choice of accessories. As for color, a hit of chrome yellow, orange, or kelly green would make any of them pop!

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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