Designer Spotlight: GAP Men

July 23rd, 2008

by John Liu

Our first designer spotlight highlighted an up-and-coming designer, Engineered Garments.  This time around, we explore a company that has been around for awhile but has been rejuvenated by new designer.  Patrick Robinson, who has worked at labels ranging from Armani to Target, is turning the GAP around.  The GAP used to be that default store for shirts, chinos, and sweaters.  But the GAP seems to have lost its swagger in recent memory.  Is it back? Time will tell, but if Mr. Robinson keeps producing pieces like these, it just may.  

The GAP Original Khaki
The GAP Original Khaki | $44.50 at Gap


The first thing I notice about these khakis is the great fit.  Mr. Robinson has created garments that fit so much better than they have in recent years.  Slim, but not Ramones-skinny, these khakis are what you want; they’re trim but comfortable.  I like them in “chino cedar.”  And, in fashion right now is a short, soft break, such that the pants lie at the top of your shoe.  It’s a casual look to be sure, so don’t wear it to the office on casual Friday unless your name is Thom Browne.

The Leather Bomber
The Leather Bomber | $298 at Gap


Again, fit, fit fit.  The slim fit is what makes this leather bomber jacket so stylish.  Wear it as they do in Milan: slightly snug with a thin layer underneath.  

Striped Pocket T
Striped Pocket T | $19.50 at Gap


Bold stripes and a pocket. I love it.

Herringbone Blazer
Herringbone Blazer | $88 at Gap


Unstructured blazers are the epitome of that dressy casual realm of style.  This two button navy piece is quite rakish, and I love the shirt it’s paired it with too (which, with its bold horizontal stripes, is very much in fashion right now).  Check out the jacket details too. The herringbone pattern gives it something extra.

Flat Front Shorts
Flat Front Shorts | $24.99 (sale) at Gap


It seems Mr. Robinson’s most noticeable effect so far is the slimmer fit of the clothes.  All the pieces suggested are closer to the body than you may be used to with GAP clothes.  These shorts are no exception.  Slim, cool, above the knee, and in a very summer shade of khaki—just how we like it.

Style Tip: GAP seems to be following in J. Crew and H&M’s footsteps by hiring a high-end designer to create a line for the label at a lower price point.  Unfortunately, none of the Pierre Hardy for GAP boots are available online yet, but be sure to check back for them.  The quality and design of Pierre Hardy at a lower price point is a great value.

Entry Filed under: Designer Profiles, Features, Men

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lara  |  July 23rd, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    I read somewhere that Gap has had to do a drastic style revamp because it was losing their market. Well, these new pieces just might give Gap its swagger back.

  • 2. Trisha  |  July 23rd, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Indeed. I’ve been pleased with the clothes that have come out of Gap Men—and Women. I bought a couple of dresses a few weeks back, and the fit and the styling were both spot on.

  • 3. John  |  July 30th, 2008 at 11:04 am

    It’s true; cut is probably the most drastic change i’ve noticed. The new gap clothes are much more trimmer - but not too slim — just how we like it.

    Also exciting is the “guest designer” thing that we’ve seen a number of other retailers do, most notably J. Crew.

    Pierre Hardy does high end shoes, but is doing a scaled back (and priced down) line of shoes for Gap. Look out for them this fall.

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