"It's like I have a secret, and I'm smiling at everybody," says Robert Geller, the 30-year-old designer, when asked about his eponymous line launching this fall. Geller, who began his design life with an internship at Marc Jacobs, quickly followed by a CFDA award for his partnership with Alexander Plohkov for Cloak, and, most recently, his own critically acclaimed, albeit short-lived, womenswear line, Harald, is on a definite roll, having just added an engagement to his good fortune. But it's his anticipated new take on relaxed menswear that has followers of the young Geller feeling lucky, too.
Less than a year ago, a still-wish-to-be-unnamed fashion company approached Geller to start his own menswear label, allowing him to put womenswear temporarily on the back-burner for his true calling. Although designed in only a month's time, the 45-piece debut collection is a reflection of Geller's own personal inclinations in clothing, picking items that he felt were missing from his own wardrobe rather than playing the old "will my girlfriend think this is cool" trick.
Incorporating timeless dress pieces like oxford shirts and tailored trousers with sportswear staples such as hoodies and waffle-weave long underwear, Geller looked to '60s French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo to achieve a classic but decidedly hip collection that also includes hand-crafted leather suspenders and belts, hats, and jewelry designed in collaboration with the Japanese line Driftwood. "I'm not a prissy person," says Geller. "I like things that you can wear, throw on the floor, pick up, and it still looks cool. Men are not willing to go too crazy with their clothing, and I don't think they should. Good clothing should be a nice color, a nice fabric, a beautiful cut. But it should have details that make it something special."
For next spring, Geller is looking to American icon James Dean, as well as other rebellious types like '70s skateboard Gods the Z-Boys for influence in what is likely to be a departure from his previous collections. Skateboard T-shirts in luminous colors paired with Chesterfield shorts, blazers, and caps will make up the new silhouette, which Geller sums up simply as "easy." Yet Geller maintains despite his new interest in bright hues, "I don't think anyone should look like an Easter egg. I want it to have stealthy elegance."
"This opportunity is kind of like a dream in a way. It's like a playground for a kid," says Geller, whose spring line will also mark his expansion into sunglasses and shoes, and talks are already in the works for a New York flagship store. "I have all the resources to do amazing things now."
Robert Geller finds the undercover cool in menswear.