Know Your Labels: Ter et Bantine

In an installment titled “Know Your Labels,” we highlight fashion brands that deserve the megaphone treatment.


I first discovered Ter et Bantine about two months ago at a Lower East Side shop called Maryam Nassir Zadeh. It was the title image’s vaguely Mexican-blanket inspired thick satin blouse-cum-short sleeve jacket that initially caught my eye. I could be the kind of girl who wears that. Aren’t I the kind of girl who wears that?

It’s that precise thinking, I believe, that distinguishes designers from clothes makers. If one is to make clothes, you can assume that if he or she is good, the maker’s consumer will probably want them, but there won’t be a significant visceral relationship that forms between the fabric and the woman. If one is to design, however, the designer is not just selling a loincloth but an attitude and a lifestyle — all those things we talked about yesterday when we were considering New York style.

A designer makes you think and even sometimes want to manipulate who you are to more seamlessly fit their mold. Such was the case, at least, for me with Ter et Bantine, which is exactly what caused a further investigation into the middle-aged Italian designer of the brand who has, according to her website, been manipulating layman silhouettes since the Winter of 2010.

In the slideshow above, you’ll find a selection of images from as recently as summer 2014 (the white that could conceivably be regarded as sterile save for the shredded hemlines and architectural silhouettes; and, of course, the fact that more than half of the blouses in this collection are actually just thin bandeaus). Comparing those silhouettes to the ones that came just the summer before allude to a progression from flirty (one such strapless blouse could also be a full khaki mini skirt) with intent to become more masculine to arrival at destination.

The current resort collection features several pencil skirts coupled with long jackets that feature rounded shoulders and wide sleeves — a nice contrast against the JNCO-style pants maintain wide legs, paired with short, more feminine outerwear. Resort seems to take a cue from the previous fall/winter where similar silhouettes were implemented in darker, thicker fabrics though structure appeared more important in the latter.

That and boob belts.

I’m not quite sure why I have found myself so attracted to what I want to call more cryptic fashion, that “modern elegance” certainly working but not over-achieving. But there is something to be said for this slew of designers who practice not how well their spectators can identify their clothes but how good they feel in an unwitting state of mystical, sartorial reclusion.

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