The Quiet Man

And-i turns out London's new lounge-about. By Christina Gregory
They shouldn't work, but they do. The shiny, bright-orange shorts with the collarless black button-down, and the slim, black jazz shoes, or the powder-blue track suit with the peach and white chevron zip jacket. At first, these clothes might seem like thrift store scores, but look again. This is and-i, a new line from London centered around cozy, off-kilter streetwear. Spring-summer 2008 is the fifth collection by this elusive design team (how many designers are there? Where did they come from? Our inquiries into the group were ambiguously answered. And, you try googling and-i, too...).
This kind of self-effacement is not surprising considering the tagline of the collection: "The quiet revolution in menswear." These are easy-living, day clothes in soft, skin-friendly cottons and knits in an array of dreamy Zen'ed out muted tones—coral, sky blue, lemon, orange, shades of grays and blues. The sillhouette is alternately slim or baggy—jersey and cotton blazer-cardigans and tapered soft trousers rolled at the ankle. There are the subtle details that let you know these are thoughtful, cleverly designed lounge-about pieces (a shirt sports buttons on the inside). There are signature, outsize "mitten pockets" on a color-block nautical windbreaker that "let your lover cosy up." If you take a closer look, however, those shiny orange shorts are paired with a gorgeous button-down that combines two materials—soft shirting with looser, knit sleeves.
According to and-i, the idea of relaxed menswear doesn't have to mean sloppy or slept-in. Informal looks that can go from late brunch to the record shop and from the park bench to the loft party, no doubt and-i will be the go-to gear for the discerning young lounge-about.
Available at Oak, 208 North 8th Street (between Driggs and Roebling streets), Brooklyn; 718-782-0521.
And-i turns out London's new lounge-about.

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