Photography: Tyler Stafford
Just who, you may ask, is Gustav von Aschenbach? Well, let’s go ahead and get this part out of the way: He’s not a real person, per say, but rather the creation of German-born menswear designer Robert Geller. Aside from having a much better, more fashion-y name than Geller (which, it’s worth noting, comes from the Thomas Mann novel Death in Venice, a favorite of the designer during his teenage years), Gustav is also more accessible in price point (everything is under $500) and aesthetic than the typical offerings of Geller’s eponymous label. While there are countless advanced contemporary brands that offer women wearable, high-quality staples with a point of view at relatively affordable prices, the market is considerably less cornered when it comes to menswear.
“It’s such a strange time in fashion,” Geller told Vogue earlier this week. “Fast fashion has gotten a little bit closer to what we do, to designer fashion. We have to adjust. To sell to a broader base, you need to be more understandable. I think this is especially true for men.”
And judging by the mob scene at the Gustav (Geller is totally cool with us simply calling it that, by the way) presentation on July 11, people — at least, in-the-know fashion people — are ready to understand. Positioning models in front of bright, color-coordinated doors, Geller emphasized his palette of mostly primary and neutral colors. Bright reds, rich blues, and mustard yellows gave a renewed sense of interest to boxy, artfully oversized silhouettes, as did vertical stripes in corresponding shades.
Indeed, the collection feels modern and wearable, poised to appeal to the kind of quietly-yet-intentionally-hip dude who would feel okay about spending $300 on really cool cropped pants, but perhaps less comfortable copping to it in front of his friends. Luckily for such a customer, Geller’s offerings aren’t just about bright colors and of-the-moment silhouettes — the clothes are also crafted from high-quality Japanese textiles similar to the ones Geller is known for using in his higher-end collection. Which, at the end of the day, might be Gustav von Aschenbach’s biggest asset — aside from that name, of course.