Words and photos by Pete Anderson
Among the sea of hiking-inspired footwear at Capsule, a pair of tassel loafers really stood out. It helped that in those shoes stood a man in plus fours and suspenders, a massive (and I mean mass, not volume) shearling jacket, and voluminous scarf. Koji Norihide dominated the entryway to Capsule’s second floor in his Haversack display, surveying the incoming crowds and five racks full of Haversack samples. Norihide founded and has designed Haversack since 2001, slowly adding sublines like Attire and General, and even womenswear in 2007. Having shown at Pitti Uomo 10 times, this was his first appearance at Capsule NY.
Coat is vintage, moustache is new.
Mr. Norihide does not speak English, which is a shame because that's all I speak and judging by his designs, he clearly has a lot to say. The Haversack racks were one of the most varied, yet cohesive, collections at the show. Haversack clothing wears its vintage influences proudly (that shearling is vintage, apparently military issue), but the vintage Norihide mines is different from that which informs, for instance, Heller’s Cafe by Warehouse, only a few hundred feet away at Capsule. Most of the hip vintage we’ve seen in American shops for years has looked to working-class influences. Denim, workwear; I don’t have to tell you the story. Haversack’s perspective is more aristocratic, for the most part.
By that I mean full-on thornproof tweed suits made in Japan of English fabrics, knickers, fur collars (coyote fur, in this case), Wilde-worthy velvet, and animal prints. Leather driving caps, mohair knits, and a decent amount of silk bow ties. Haversack has claimed the fall/winter 2011 stuff is descended from 1920s attire, and it shows.
More practical dressers could dismiss Haversack as costume, and certainly the clothes here could be the costume department for a class-focused, mannered epic. The gentry are out on the hunt, blithe to the struggle of boys in the merchant navy, toiling at sea. Take it from there, Julian Fellowes. More adventurous dressers should be able to use Haversack pieces in many settings. Haversack’s main and Attire lines are dandy, for sure, but tweed jackets have become de rigeur for well-dressed guys, and idiosyncratic accessories are what can make otherwise simple, classic tailored outfits personal. Some sweaters are loud but would be much tamer under a piece of outerwear. And the matching silk shirt and bow tie (as in, same silk used for both) could be split up to decent effect.
The General Garments line, leaning heavily on an indigo palette and closer to workwear, is perfectly wearable casually. It should have particular appeal for people who appreciate the maritime direction of men’s lines like Mister Freedom, Saint James, S.N.S. Herning, etc. Quilted vests, sailor sweaters, and denim shirts are nothing new (but what really is in Haversack), but they’re made unique by Mr. Norihide’s attention to detail and Haversack's general build quality, which is superb.
Haversack is been carried by Context Clothing and Saks Fifth Avenue. A list of stockists is available on Haversack’s site.